Two things ain’t nobody got time for:
2) Keeping track of all of the various criteria and foci of the hundreds of potential co-investors you could have in a seed round.
Especially not as a one partner fund.
Given that I often help my companies finish fundraising by introducing them to other investors, I wind up making a lot of intros. Keeping up with who does extra stage, what defines too early, who will only do B2B, consumer, etc., is a huge pain in the ass.
Granted, sometimes it’s really clear that a deal is right for one particular co-investor, and that person or fund has done a great job branding that they want to see those types of deals, most VCs will look at a lot of different things and do things by exception all the time. Plus, they’re always shifting around or refocusing on certain things.
So I’ve mostly given up.
Instead, I’ve started circulating a private list of things I’m working on–as well as a note about when some of my companies might be raising. I’ve also thrown in a few notes about good people I know who are looking for opportunities.
You want to know what deals I’m doing? Here they are. Knock yourself out. It’s actually what SV Angel used to do back in the day, before the days of Angel List.
I’ve taken to calling it the #vcbcc list. Every month I send out a BCC note to about 190 investors who I know well, have done deals with, or who have asked me to keep them in mind for deals. I’ve sent out about three or four of them now and I’m thrilled to say that the list has now sourced over a million dollars of co-investors. Moreover, it gets me deals back in return–because sometimes it’s just a matter of being top of mind for someone.
The best part is, a lot of the interest has been from VCs I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of for that particular deal.
Do I worry about other people crowding me out of these deals? No… because if I try to make sure I build good enough relationships with the founders so that I can anchor my position in a deal when we send it far and wide.
Do I worry that these investors might be in competitive deals? No… because if the mere fact that someone is fundraising is enough information for a competitor to crush you, then you’ve got other problems.
Why not make this list public? Because the world of customers and media doesn’t need to know who is raising. PR happens stories are carefully crafted, and sometimes fundraising takes a long time, even for the best companies.
If companies struggle to fundraise, won’t it look bad that they’re still out there? Actually, the last company that just raised off my list has been out there for six months–and I’ve posted it to the list a couple of times. Why it tipped this month, I have no idea.
So there you have it. A VC hack of the week. If you’re an investor and you’d like to be on the list, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.