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Ask HN: Has Cold Contacting Investors Ever Worked for You?
13 points by zxcvvcxz 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments
Or anyone you've known?

It's one of the first things you learn, at least via US-centric entrepreneur/VC lessons: get a warm intro from someone they know. Just because they have an office or a public e-mail or LinkedIn, don't use it.

Well, has anyone just said screw it, or not known, and cold-contacted investors with any level of success? I imagine some eventually successful entrepreneurs really do start with zero network, and come from disconnected backgrounds.

Interested in hearing your stories and thoughts around this topic.

Most of the companies YC funds (250+ / year) come through its online application [0] without any recommendation. So most YC founders have such a story. After YC, they have connections to all the major investors.

Not many other investors consider cold applications, because it's incredibly labor-intensive to consider them all. It takes a medium-sized organization to make so many difficult decisions.

[0] https://ycombinator.com/apply

> Most of the companies YC funds (250+ / year)

That's the numerator, but what's the denominator? I couldn't find any official numbers from YC but some Quora "answers" https://www.quora.com/How-many-people-apply-to-Y-Combinator-...

If the 8-9k per batch is to be believed, that could be under a 1% chance for success of a "cold" application and still fall under "most" of the accepted ones. It's also unclear how repeat applications affect the likelihood.

That certainly counts as "ever", per the OP's question, but it puts the rarity into perspective.

In grad school this worked for me a few times, though I was not at a startup but rather contacting them re a topic of mutual interest. One was a VP at a top-5 biotech fund and another the former head of a well known VC who was doing angel investing in between jobs. The former connected me with a bunch of his VC friends at other firms, relationships I still have. The latter, in his reply to my cold email, invited me to his home to check out his (rather impressive) home brewery setup

Playing the student card works, as does contacting them regarding something that they're interested in / that benefits them

Yes, cold contact with the intention of building a relationship over a time is important. What you do need is an initial hook - be relevant and understand how you can help the investor and whether it makes sense to fit yourself into his/her portfolio.

This is small bore, but I was working on a startup idea for a while and met an angel investor at a meetup and asked them to grab coffee to talk about my idea and they were happy to meet and talk, nothing came of it, but nothing came of my startup idea in general :)

Only two ways to get investor attention in the initial stages: traction (i.e build something that people are raving about) or team (i.e find people with reputable backgrounds). Without one of these, it's a waste of time.

No. It takes years of building contacts or at least 6 months of building really focused relationships with the already "right" people.

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