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Best templates for a cold fundraising outreach campaign

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Writing a great cold email can be challenging. When you’re asking for money, maybe millions of dollars, to fund your dream business? In this current climate? Then it’s a whole new ball game. Just the idea of emailing a powerful investor can be enough to scare many entrepreneurs off. 

The good news is that, with the right cold email, you can approach investors without any previous connection and still secure funding, even when your friends and family are adamant that no-one would invest in any business right now. 

In this post, we’ll look at some examples of successful cold outreach to investors, break down what made them so effective, then use that information to engineer some cold email templates to help you get started. 

Is it possible to raise funding with a cold email?

The idea that you can send someone a cold email and somehow end up with them investing millions into your business doesn’t just seem unlikely; it’s more like something out of a fairy tale. However, while no-one can guarantee what results you’ll get, this is a fairy tale that most definitely can come true. Perhaps the most well-known example is Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, who has invested in several different businesses as a result of being cold emailed. 

Of course, not every investor will jump at the chance to throw money at you, whether you’ve reached out to them through a cold email or other means. However, there are some that will check their emails and, if they’re suitably intrigued, be ready to learn more. 

Remember, when you’re reaching out to investors, they’re looking for companies to invest in. It’s literally their job. As long as your idea is sound, in their area of expertise, and looks like it could make money, then they want to know. It’s cold emailing 101: Provide value. But what’s the best way to do that in a cold email? 

For starters, don’t just tap out the first email you think of in a couple of minutes. This is not a time to spray and pray. This email could change your business forever. It could mean millions of dollars. It may be the most important email you’ve ever written in your life, so do it justice. 

Breaking down million-dollar emails

Another example of someone who’s invested millions as a result of cold emails is Jason Lemkin. Fortunately, we don’t have to guess what it took to get his attention. He’s published the emails and shared why they worked. 

Here’s the first:

Here’s what Jason had to say: “It is really strong. Not just the metrics, but the case studies, the sense of the go-to-market strategy, and more. Lesson: anyone would want to take this meeting.”

Let’s break down what we’re seeing. 

The greeting: “Hi Jason. When you’re pitching a big-name investor, it’s easy to think you have to be formal. However, opening with “Dear Mr. Lemkin” sounds like the start of a letter from the bank or, even worse, a scam email. Being respectful is great, but there’s no need to be overly formal. 

The opener: Tiago doesn’t waste space on trite niceties, asking Jason how he’s doing and that he hopes his family is well. He doesn’t even go for any flattery, saying how much he admires Jason and the work he does. Instead, he dives straight into the reason for his email. In two sentences he introduces the business and its advantages. Short and sweet, with a link to the website if Jason wants to check it out and learn more. 

The stats: Tiago then outlines all the details that an investor would likely want to know. These are all cold hard facts, with the MRR down to the last dollar (and backed up with a screenshot if an investor wanted to verify it). This is all presented in bullet points, so it’s easy to scan and digest without going through a wall of text. 

Case studies: Finally, Tiago gives some case studies, so an investor can go beyond the stats and see how the business is working in the real world. He’s able to drop some big names too, which helps, but more importantly he’s able to give details and concrete numbers. Rather than making baseless claims, the results speak for themselves. 

Let’s take a look at the second email. 

Why did this stand out to Jason? “It does a good job of summarizing the opportunity, early customers and traction, growth profile, and market size. Perhaps just as importantly, it is truly personalized. Also for me at least, it’s low drama. “Do you have any time the week after next?” The confident and relatively data-rich but low drama emails work best. Knowing there’s a little time makes it much less risky to meet a founder you’ve barely met before and dig in.” 

I love the idea of a data-rich yet low drama email. Let’s jump in and break it down a bit further to see exactly how it works. 

Subject line: On paper, this goes against everything you’ve ever read about subject line length. It’s massive, far longer than what I’d normally recommend. However, in spite of its length, it’s still concise, giving plenty of information:

  • The company name (“Mapistry”)
  • What the business does (“SaaS for environmental compliance”). 
  • Why investors should care (“Fortune 500 companies”)
  • Why Allie is emailing them (“Seed” funding)

While I still wouldn’t recommend using needlessly long subject lines, this example makes it clear that clarity is even more important. 

The greeting: Again, as with Tiago’s email, Allie keeps it simple and relatively informal. 

The opener: Allie very briefly introduces herself and her company. No niceties, no unnecessary questions, no wasted space. The rest of the opening paragraph describes the problem they’re solving, all in easy-to-understand language. It’s deceptively simple. As Allie explained afterward: “Explaining what Mapistry does and the problem we solve to investors is not easy. Customers get it because they have the problem, but investors never have the problem we’re addressing, so this paragraph was a tough one. But luckily, figuring out this paragraph is very related to figuring out my pitch in general.”

The stats: Again, Allie uses bullet points to highlight the facts and figures an investor would want to know. At a glance, you can see the company’s current customers, their growth rate, their revenue, and more. As an added bonus, she includes a link to a presentation if the investor still wants to learn more. 

The plan: This is where the two emails differ. Rather than going into case studies to illustrate her business, Allie goes into why she’s emailing and what she would do with the investment. Investors still like to know where their money is going, and that it isn’t just going to fund the biggest office party ever. 

Personalization: Something that we always encourage at Reply is personalization, and Allie does a great job of it here. This isn’t a quick one-liner mentioning previous companies the investor has funded; Allie uses a couple of paragraphs to show, in a natural way, that she’s done her research. At the same time, she ties it back to her business, so that it’s relevant rather than a vague compliment to the investor.

The conclusion: Allie finishes off the email with a request for a 30-minute phone call or coffee next week, which is a great CTA. It’s highly unlikely that an investor will be ready to invest in you off the back of one email, but if you’ve done a good job with the email, 30 minutes of their time to learn more about a potentially lucrative investment is a much more reasonable request.

The key components of an effective cold email

We’ve had a look at two emails that successfully led to investment, and broken down their key elements and why they worked. Let’s put that all together and come up with the ingredients for an effective fundraising email:

Research: Before you even think of starting your email, you need to have done your research, and plenty of it. You need to know everything there is to know about your potential investor. What interests them? What kind of businesses have they already invested in? What kind of content have they put out on social media? This will confirm if they’re the right investor for you, as well as unearthing new opportunities for personalization (more on that later).

Subject lines: Don’t use the first line you think of. It doesn’t necessarily have to be short, as Allie’s email showed. However, your subject line should be clear and give the investor a reason to open the email. It should also stand out from the hundreds of other emails flooding their inbox. Yes, I know it’s a lot to ask from just a few words, but it’s vital to get it right. Avoid cliche and exaggeration. Even if you believe it’s true, a subject line of “This will make you millions” is most likely to end up in the spam folder. 

The greeting: Keep it simple. It shouldn’t be overly formal unless your research indicates otherwise. A simple “Hi {FirstName}” is a safe bet. 

The opener: Don’t waste time here. Get to the point and introduce your business, then tell the investor why they should care. What problem are you solving? What are the advantages of your solution? Again, keep it short and to the point. They don’t need to know all the backstory. I hate to break it to you, but—at least at this stage—nobody cares about your first sale, how you built this business from the ground up, or how you’re doing this to make your grandfather proud. You’re not auditioning for Shark Tank here.

The stats: Give the facts and figures that make your business worthy of investment. A bullet list is particularly useful here, as a reader can quickly scan through and get a sense of the current health of your business. Remember, you get to pick what you share. If your MRR is astronomical, let them know. If it isn’t, no problem—focus on your growth, or your Fortune 500 customers, or something else. 

Bonus: Link to your full presentation if they want to learn more. 

The plan: Tell them what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do in the future with the investment. 

The personalization: Make it clear that you’ve done your research. Call out something you learned about them, or refer to something they’ve shared online. Ideally, link this to your business, so that it’s clearly relatable and not just a random snippet. Finding the right content to use in your personalization is hard work, and may take several hours of research. However, when you find that golden piece of news or content that’s relevant, you’ll stand apart from all those who’ve used a scattergun approach.

The CTA: What do you want them to do after reading your email? Make it a simple request that’s easily fulfilled, such as a quick call or coffee. As with most cold emails, the best result is usually to start a conversation rather than make the ‘sale’.

The follow-up: Even with an attention-grabbing subject line and a polished email, there’s a good chance your first email will be lost in the inbox. Again, the best practice for all cold emails is to send a follow-up message, maybe 3-4 of them, to increase your chances of getting a response. 

The Templates

We’ve covered the theory, so now let’s put it all together into a template we can use. 

Template 1 – The initial email

Subject line: {Business USP}, seeking {investment type} 

Hi {FirstName},

{Company Name + two-sentence description, including the problem you solve and why your solution is the best}. Here are the stats:

  • {Stat 1}
  • {Stat 2}
  • {Stat 3}
  • {Stat 4}
  • {Stat 5}

You can check out more details in our short deck here

I’m seeking to raise {investment amount/type} to {future plan}. 

I heard/read your interview/post/talk and your point about {key point} really stuck home. {Sentence showing how the key point relates to your business plans}. 

I’d love to tell you more over a 30min call or a coffee. Do you have any time next week? 

{Name}

{Contact Details}

Template 2: The Follow-up

Hi {FirstName},

Were you interested in learning more about {Company Name}? All the details are in the email below, or you can reach out if you have any questions. 

{Name}

{Contact Details}

Template 3: Second Follow-up

Hi {FirstName},

I wanted to let you know we’ll soon be closing this round of financing. We’ve currently raised {amount}, but it would be great to have you and your expertise on board as well. 

{Name}

{Contact Details}

Conclusion

Sending a cold email asking for investment is probably one of the hardest emails you’ll ever send. However, it could also be one of the most rewarding emails. By taking your time to research the investor and sending a clear, concise email showing the value you bring to the table, you can stand out from all the other emails and make a positive impression. 

Are you ready to send your own million-dollar email to investors? Do you want to send personalized outreach at scale? With our advanced features, Reply makes it easy to send powerful emails without sacrificing the personal touch. Sign up for a 14-day free trial and see for yourself.

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