May 21 2008

Should I Send My Business Plan To Every VC Firm I Have An Email Address For?

Q: Is it a bad idea to send a business plan to too many VC firms? I have access to a large list of VCs that invest in my type of company and I was thinking about blasting out a business plan to all them. My thought process is it is a numbers game and the more people that see it the better the odds are that someone will be interested in it. I am just a little worried about the intellectual property side of things and by sending it to too many firms it could be vulnerable.

A: (Brad) This is a terrible idea.

First of all, don’t send your full business plan in your first email to a VC.  Instead, send a short overview (in the text of the email) and an executive summary.  A VC should be able to quickly determine whether or not he wants to spend time with you from this information.

More importantly though, simply sending your business plan (or overview) out to a large number of VCs with whom you have no relationship with is unlikely to yield any results.  When you are raising money, it’s a "quality" game, not a "numbers" game.  The higher quality your introduction, the greater the change you will get an audience from a VC. 

Some VCs take a look at every email that comes in over the transom (I do – and I always try to respond.)  However, if it’s a totally cold, random, "Dear Sir" type email, I give it less weight than if an introduction is made by a colleague that I know and respect.  While there is a range that varies based on how busy I am at any particular moment, what kind of mood I’m in, and whether or not my dog woke me up too early in the morning, some sort of connection to someone or something I know is always better.

Finally, I wouldn’t worry to much about the intellectual property side of things.  Even though the theme that "VCs steal entrepreneurs ideas" seems to go around the system regularly, my experience (as an entrepreneur, angel investor, and VC) is that this is an urban myth.  Most VCs will simply ignore your email blast.