March 5, 2024

How Self-Reliant Founders Create Access

In the fundraising process, founders need to figure out how to access investors.

Usman Gul
Founder/CEO, Metal

In the fundraising process, founders need to figure out how to access investors. The conventional wisdom here is that founders need to hustle and persevere, knocking on a lot of doors until someone answers. While resourcefulness is always valuable, we believe that running an airtight process is perhaps the most crucial lever that drives success.

In a previous post, we have shared ideas on how founders should go about identifying the “most likely” investors for their specific startup. Subsequently, founders need to run a simple process to create access:

1. Tap Into the Existing Network:

The world is more connected than many of us realize. Most founders know someone who can introduce them to a given investor. The challenge lies in not knowing who we know that can introduce us to a given investor. This, then, becomes an information or knowledge problem.

Metal’s platform solves the above with a simple functionality – the platform integrates with your Gmail / LinkedIn data and then checks each of your connections against a proprietary record of 100,000+ VC-backed founders and investors. Within minutes, the platform is able to identify who you know from the venture industry.

Once a connection is identified, the platform further identifies all the investors that that particular connection knows (based on recent co-investments in the case of investors and recent investors in the case of VC-backed founders).

On the Metal platform, founders can look up any investor and view a set of optimal introduction pathways. This eliminates the need to spend hours of research on LinkedIn and surfaces introduction pathways that you previously weren’t aware of.

2. Creating Access Where None Exists:

Most established investment firms have previously funded hundreds of founders. And many of those founders are easily accessible via email. Using Metal’s platform, for a given investor, you can immediately pull together a list of portfolio founders in your specific country or sector that are most relevant for you.

You can then write concise and compelling notes to such founders to get them to introduce you to the given investor. If your note is persuasive, and if it is accompanied with a compelling pitch deck, you may be surprised at how many portfolio founders are willing to broker an introduction.

Founders that don’t have the time to execute on the above process to request introductions and/or cold email portfolio founders are best served by hiring a fundraising EA that can run through the motions of building access and landing investor meetings.