How to Pitch Your Startup to Me

My impersonal but incredibly useful response to your outreach about investing in your startup

DC Palter
4 min readFeb 8, 2024

--

Random Outreach on LinkedIn. Image by Author.

Thank you for reaching out to me. I apologize for this impersonal reply. I’d love to reply to everyone in person, but then I wouldn’t have time to do anything else.

If you’re being directed to this page, you’ve sent me a message along the lines of: “Hi, I see you’re an angel investor. Can I send you more info on my startup?”

Okay, let’s be honest, there’s no obvious connection between your startup and me. You found my name on a list, or by searching LinkedIn for “angel investor,” and sent me a generic message.

So, lesson #1. If you want a personal response, you need to send a personal message. Angel investors are not professional investors looking at pitches all day. We have full time jobs. We invest in a few things in which we have a personal connection.

If you want to be successful with your outreach, look for investors with some tie to your product or industry. Send a well-crafted, personal message explaining why you’re interested in having an annoying curmudgeon like me among your small group of investors.

Lesson #2. Follow me here on Medium. Sign up for email notifications to get my articles each week. Make sure to read the articles. There’s a lot of good advice. I promise, or your money back. The full set of over 100 articles is on my website at: https://pitchingangels.com.

Lesson #3: If you really want to get on my good side, read my novel about SüprDüpr, a sinister Silicon Valley startup, and the hacker who has to figure out what’s happening inside the company.

Don’t forget to leave a review and tell all your friends.

Without further lecturing, hectoring, and self-promotion, here’s what I’m looking for:

  1. If you’re based in Los Angeles or have a significant connection to Southern California, I encourage you to apply to Tech Coast Angels. Please review the details on what the group is looking for. If you have specific questions on the process or whether you’d be a good fit, I’m happy to help. The group does not limit itself to investing in LA startups, but in general, it’s best to have the local angel investment group where you’re based operate as your lead investor before reaching out to other angel groups with which you have no connection. Angel Capital Association maintains a list of hundreds of local angel groups. Please reach out to members of the local groups for guidance.
  2. If your company is a hardtech startup developing advanced chemistry or materials, please apply to Chemical Angel Network. If you have specific questions about the group and whether you’d be a good fit, I’m happy to answer them.

For #1 and #2, please read over this article on how to apply to angel groups and their investment process:

If your startup is still pre-revenue, unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get traction with angel groups and professional angel investors. Please read this article for how to raise a “pre-pre-seed” to get over the hump and into initial revenue where angel investors will be ready to consider the opportunity:

The vast majority of my investments are through TCA and Chemical Angels. Having a large group of people with different skills and expertise reviewing the company and participating in the diligence process is the only way to invest with any hope of success.

Nevertheless, I do on rare occasions make small investments in startups that are too early for angel groups if they’re in my area of expertise and interest. Usually, before investing in a startup, I work with them as a mentor or advisor. If you’re just looking for a quick infusion of cash, sorry, try someone else.

Here are the only 2 areas where I invest outside of my angel groups:

  1. Energy sustainability and ClimateTech. Mostly this means scientific advancements in things like more efficient batteries or better solar panels. I’ve invested in solar trackers, home thermal energy storage, sustainable fibers made from agricultural waste, and better flow battery membranes. If you’re developing something along those lines, I’d love to chat with you.
  2. Computer networking and telecoms. I’ve built 2 startups in computer networking and telecommunications and know the space well. If you have something relevant, be prepared to be grilled on the technology and marketing.

I sincerely hope you find this guidance helpful. Raising money for a startup is one of the hardest things you can do, especially in the early rounds when the company is more ethereal vision than sales reports and CAC trends. It’s incredibly humiliating and frustrating.

I’d love to help every startup personally but I’m already spread too thin. So for most of you, I wish you the greatest success. For the few who fit my very narrow criteria, I look forward to our interactions.

For advice on how to create an effective pitch deck and find investors for your startup, please see my archive of articles, including my 11 part series on the perfect pitch deck at:

--

--

DC Palter

Entrepreneur, angel investor, startup mentor, sake snob. Author of the Silicon Valley mystery To Kill a Unicorn: https://amzn.to/3sD2SGH