The Only Way to Ask for Investor Intros

Aaron Dinin, PhD
3 min readJan 21, 2020

A general rule of thumb in fundraising is that warm intros to potential investors are always better than cold reach outs. For investors, entrepreneurs who are “vouched for” by someone in their network they already know and trust is a helpful filtering mechanism to sort through their over-crowded inboxes of eager founders trying to pitch their startups. As a result, getting intros to investors is critical for fundraising success. Do you know how to get the kind of intros that lead to meetings with venture capitalists?

When asking people to introduce you, you’re asking them to risk their reputations with the people to whom they’re connected. They know that a valuable intro will increase the clout of future intros (and other requests they might make), and, conversely, a poor intro will dilute the value of their intros. Because of this, the likelihood of someone deciding to make an intro depends largely on how well they think you’ll represent them.

For me, if the person asking for an intro is someone I know well and trust, I’ll usually do my best to make the intro. Even if I don’t have a strong relationship with the investor to whom I’m making the intro, there’s a surprising amount of value in sending an email that says: “I know we haven’t spoken in years and you probably don’t remember me, but the person who asked me for this intro is so amazing, I was…

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Aaron Dinin, PhD

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @ aarondinin.com