Back in 2009 Fred Wilson introduced the "The Double Opt-In Introduction". An email intro etiquette that most of Silicon Valley follows today, with one core principle:
"When introducing two people who don't know each other, ask each of them to opt-in to the introduction before making it."
So if you want to raise capital for your startup you are undoubtably going to have to master the art of the warm introduction via this process. Crafting a solid forwardable introduction email takes a bit of time, but you will see your fundraising prospects rise when you get it right. The double opt-in approach to business introductions is a tried and true one, and it is something that every startup founder needs to get right. With this approach, the entrepreneur wants to ensure that their communication will be welcome and that the recipient will pass on the email to others in their circle. The better you are at this, the more actual investor meetings you are likely to get.
The perfect email will ask for an introduction in a subtle yet persuasive way. The crafter of the email will address the communication to the person they want to be introduced to, and they will first write a bit about their business and what it does. You can think of this as a kind of written elevator pitch, and writing the email with that in mind will help a lot.
Following the brief introduction, the email writer will go on to express their admiration for the recipient, perhaps talking about how they first learned about the individual and the part of their story they find the most compelling. For example, when requesting an introduction, the email writer may talk about their inspiration when learning about their company and the lessons they have put to work when living out their entrepreneurial goals.
Forwardable Introduction Email Example
One of the best examples of these emails is this template created by Alex Iskold of 2048 Ventures which looks like this:
From: krystle @ getbentobox.com
To: alex.iskold @ techstars.com
Subject: Intro to Danny Meyer at USHG for Bento Box
Alex, thank you for passing this note to Danny.
We now have over 100+ top NYC restaurants as customers including most of the Union Square Hospitality Group, Meatball Shop, Breslin, etc. The restaurants on the platform are seeing significant increase in conversion and reservations.
We've been growing across our key metrics 30% MoM and are now expanding to Boston and Portland.
I've been a follower and admirer of yours for years, and I would love to get your feedback on our business.
This email is quick to forward and makes the lift very light for the person making the introduction for you. When they initial recipient receives the email, the goal is to have them forward it so you can secure a warm introduction to the investor you are looking to meet with. A correct introductory email can open doors and get you better results.
Email Etiquette Tips to Follow
Crafting the perfect introductory email is a skill that every startup founder and entrepreneur will need to develop, but writing a great email is not enough. In addition, there are etiquette rules to follow, and failing to abide by those guidelines could be very costly.
When crafting an introductory email, it is best to follow the double opt-in strategy. That means asking the two parties to agree to accept the introduction before the actual introduction is made. Yet, it is surprising how many entrepreneurs and founders fail to do this. In a world where people get more cold email then ever before, they usually filter their inboxes by simply responding to email from contacts they already have relationships with. Without a warm introduction you will likely be ignored.
Just put yourself in the place of an in-demand startup investor or CEO, one who may receive dozens of requests for meetings in a single day. Do they respond to each missive by saying they do not want to meet, or do they respond to every email they receive. In most cases, it will be the former which is why warm introductions are so key to unlocking your network.
By using double opt-in intro, entrepreneurs and startup founders can make the most of their time. They can ensure that the meetings that are scheduled are being set for the right reasons and that the people they are meeting are truly interested in what they have to offer. As you move forward with your own business, you will find that knowing the right way to ask will make all the difference, so keep those guidelines in mind.
One online tool to help you facilitate warm introductions if you are the one frequently making them, is Bridge. With Bridge every single introduction is tracked and you can tell exactly what is happening to it. You can even get feedback on your introductions and if both parties thought the connection you made for them was useful.
If you are on the other side of the table as a founder, constantly trying to source warm intro paths to investors your would like to meet, then Finta's automated CRM might be perfect for you. The "Introduction Path" is featured on your Investor Tracking Dashboard so you always know who to reach out too.