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We recently published a list of Investors in Europe. I have now been approached by dozens of founders who want guidance on how to best approach these investors.

The best way to think about figuring out which VCs to approach is counterintuitive. Most founders try to pick the right VCs off the list. Given their lack of knowledge about each firm, they typically end up picking all the wrong investors (e.g. they are looking to raise a seed round and are picking famous US firms that are looking for Series A and B deals in Europe).

The right way to use the list is not to pick the right VCs. The right way is to exclude the wrong ones. This is how you do it:

  1. Make a copy of the list
  2. Remove all investors who are not investing at your stage (e.g. you are raising a seed round and they only do Series A and Series B rounds)
  3. Remove all investors who are only investing in specific geographies you are not in (e.g. they invest in Scandinavian companies and you are a US founder living in Germany)
  4. Remove all investors who are only investing in specific industries you are not in (e.g. you are an e-commerce company and they only invest in cleantech)

That is it. You should end up with a list of ca. 50–100 investors or so. That is your target list. You didn’t pick any of these firms. You just removed the ones that are not relevant to you.

Next, you need to figure out whom you know who can introduce you to these VCs. Use LinkedIn. Use Conspire. Make sure you are connected to all of your current investors, mentors and advisors. Also, ask all of them which firm they can intro you to and then show them the target list and ask them whom they know.

Craft a forwardable email. Send the person who should intro you to the VC that email. They will reach out on your behalf and, if successful, will intro you to the partner.

And that is how you use the list effectively. Good luck with the fund raising.

PS: I wrote a manual on how to best raise VC funding almost ten years ago. This is as valid today as it was back then. It explains all the steps in much detail.

Jens Lapinski
Managing Director of the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality, Powered by Techstars. Before Techstars, Jens was a partner at Forward Labs, which he co-founded in January 2012. http://jenslapinski.com @jenslapinski

  • This is super cool 🙂

  • This is golden thanks Jens!

  • Foreign Entrepreneur

    Straight forward. That is the only way I would think of in order to select the investors: crossing off those which don’t apply and following a process so you can have them “tabulated” and marked which one doesn’t and why.

  • chrija

    This is awesome. Super helpful.

    Do you know if something like this exists for US focused investors as well?

    • I haven’t seen anything that’s a 1:1 match, but I am personally a fan of http://startupangels.co/ and Angelist for tracking down investors (also local angel networks). Safe to say that if we put that resource together, you’d like using it?

  • Great list. Thanks for it!

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