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How to write a cold pitch email to a venture capitalist



Arlan Hamilton
Arlan Hamilton.

  • It’s hard to get a venture capitalist’s attention in a

    cold email
  • But Arlan
    , a VC who launched her own firm after being homeless
    and teaching herself skills on YouTube, said there’s a formula
    for writing an email that will get responses.
  • The key, she wrote in a blog post, is to “make it personal,
    but get to the point.”

Venture capitalists turn down thousands of offers a year from
prospective investors. 

But every now and then, a cold
will get their attention and lead to a response.

Take it from Arlan Hamilton, a 38-year-old venture capitalist who
built her own firm in 2015 from the ground up. The self-made VC
spent countless hours watching videos about investing on YouTube
and reading books about the business at Barnes and Noble before
launching Backstage
, a firm that invests in women and minority

Today, Backstage Capital has invested in more than 100 startup
founders, and recently launched a $36 million fund for black
female founders,
according to Time

The formerly homeless Hamilton doesn’t fit the stereotype of a
typical investor, and in 2016
she wrote a blog post
about how other aspiring entrepreneurs
can stand out in a VC’s inbox.

In the blog post, titled “This Is How Long Your Cold Call Intro
Email to Me Should Be,” Hamilton said she gets between 50 and 100
emails a day, most of them from people seeking funding.

Hamilton gives an example of the ideal email that would get her
attention: It’s two paragraphs long, contains a brief description
of who the writer is and what makes them unique, explains what
they want the email to accomplish, and provides details about why
they’re writing to her in particular.

Read more:
and former Googler explains 3 steps for crafting the perfect cold

The key part, Hamilton said, is the brevity.

“What happens when they’re too long? I skip over parts, I
scan, it loses its punch, I save for later, and have a hard time
coming back to it,” Hamilton wrote.

Hamilton said learning how to write the perfect cold-intro
email is a skill that takes practice:  “

I used
to write absolute novels to people when I was first emailing
strangers. I mean, just … the longest, life-story-telling emails
ever,” she said.

But she eventually developed a rule that led to better
results — write out whatever you want to say, and then “cut at
least 50%” of it.

“Make it personal, but get to the point,” said. “Leave room
for more later. Make it an exchange, and not an allegory.”

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