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How do I get meetings with venture capitalists?

Cold calling or cold emailing an investor is generally not the best way to reach a venture capitalist. Getting venture capital is about your network, and if you don’t have one, it is about your ability to network your way to a venture capitalist. Many venture capitalists contend that if you cannot figure out a way to get to them, how are you going to be successful getting to customers you need to acquire.

Given the importance of networking, you will ideally want to make contact with prospective investors through a respected referral such as an attorney, accountant, consultant or business broker. A respected referral gives a business plan a better chance of being considered, as opposed to a cold call or submitting your business plan via a link on the investor’s website, which can easily be dismissed.

You can also aim to network with venture capitalists at events they may attend including conferences, seminars or pitch events. If meeting a venture capitalist in such a setting, it will be important to have your elevator pitch finely tuned as you’ll have limited time to talk to them. In these settings, venture capitalists tend to be very popular as there are always more companies seeking money than those giving out money. You should use such opportunities to pique their interest and then commit to followup to setup a conversation.

Some entrepreneurs also comment on the blogs of venture capitalists as a way to build a relationship with a venture capitalist and potentially ‘grease the wheels’ to get a meeting and more. This is a highly unproven strategy and while there may be anecdotal cases of it working for an entrepreneur, those appear to be the exception more than the rule.