A ways back, we did a great digital event, The New New in Venture.  We explored how venture has changed since March 2020 with many of the best, and many I look up to, from Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures to Satya Patel of Homebrew to Keith Rabois of Founders Fund and so much more.

I took advantage of the format to ask every VC I interviewed one question: Do You Open Cold Email?

Because while I do, there is so much on Twitter and the internet saying cold email doesn’t work to VCs.

And it turned out it wasn’t just me.  (I love a great cold e-mail).  All of these top VCs read cold emails.  Themselves.  You can catch up on the sessions here:

I asked again and again, clearly.  Do you open cold emails?  How often?  And have you funded deals from them?  The answers were consistently yes, most of them, and yes, I’ve funded them.

I learned:

  • Keith Rabois prefers a deck, and he reads most of them.
  • Aileen Lee or her partners read every email pitch that comes into Cowboy Ventures.
  • David Sacks of Craft prefers a short email pitch that summarizes the opportunity.
  • Satya Patel of Homebrew reads everything sent to him

Personally, I do get behind on email, but I love an amazing cold email and have funded maybe ~50% of my investments from them.  I like an email pitch that is so amazing that I’d fund it just based on the email alone.  More on that here:

2 Cold Emails I Funded For Millions

So yes, is a perfect warm intro better?  Well, maybe.  But even the top, most famous Seed VCs are hunting.  Hunting unicorns and decacorns.  And they can’t wait for them all to come from their networks.

And does this work for later-stage investments?  Not as well.  Once you are at the Series B, C, D stage, well, most of those investors are much more interested in warm emails.  They pretty much assume all the good ones are either in their database, or known to them from their hunting.  At least, for the most part.  But seed is different, even Series A.  Because there are just too many startups to track.

Here’s one I funded, in fact, Talkdesk.  That’s now worth an incredible $10 Billion:

So put together the very, very best cold email you can.  Make it awesome in every way.  And send it to your top VCs.  At least seed and probably Series A VCs, too.

They may not respond.  But if it’s awesome, including the title, I bet they open it.  And if it’s super awesome, you have a better chance than you might think of getting a meeting.

Just don’t ask for coffee or to compare notes.  Selling stock in sales.  Make it count.  And it will work.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic post here)

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