Getting Access to the Old Boys’ Club (how to approach a VC)

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Many VC websites have a tab that will tell you that you can submit your business plans to enquiries@vc_company.com or some similar generic email address.  But does it really work?

Can you really send your business plan over the transom and expect to get a positive response?  The short answer is “no” – don’t waste your time.

I know some VCs would take issue with this and somehow I’m sure that there are some success stories with this method but trust me this is worst way to approach a VC.

Why is it a bad idea?  Most VC firms receive an unbelievable number of business plans every year.  It really is hard to process them all effectively so some sorts of filtering techniques develop.  I remember asking for advice from a law firm in 1999 (before my first fund raising exercise) the best way to approach VCs.  He told me that “most VC’s will figure that if you are truly an entrepreneur you’ll find somebody that knows them, develop a relationship with that person and find a way to get them to introduce you to the VC.  If you can’t do that then you’re probably not really an entrepreneur.”  It sounded a bit like an “old boys club” to me.

It may sound harsh but in reality I think it’s true.  If you can’t get a warm introduction to a VC then how on Earth are you going to break down the doors to get to the VP of Sales, Biz Dev or Marketing in the organization that you’re looking to sell your products to to or develop partnerships with?  If you’re not assertive and creative enough to get through a VC’s doors then how are you going to get the most sought after journalists to write your stories or the most skeptical buyers to part with their hard-earned cash?

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