Pitch Your Insiders First

Imagine you’re about to go out for your next round of funding. Who do you pitch first?

It should be your insiders! Pitch first to those who have already invested. They are the most likely to give you direct and honest feedback to help you make your pitch better. They’re also more likely than anyone else to invest (again).

At Techstars, we’ve invested in more than 800 companies. We helped hundreds of them raise Series A rounds after their initial seed round. We’ve helped our accelerator program alumni raise billions of dollars. We want to help, and we are good at it. Yet it amazes that some companies still just hit the market without asking us or their other insiders to give them critical feedback on their pitch!

From our vantage point, it’s easy to see a correlation between those that pitch their insiders first and those who have the shorter and more successful follow on fundraising experiences. It’s not just about the feedback they get by pitching insiders first, it’s the awareness they generate. This often leads to introductions, re-investment from the insiders, and other goodness.

Don’t be silly. Pitch your insiders first!

file under: Blog, Startups, Venture Capital
  • Sean Green

    Hey David, I’m a founder who has (like us all) worked hard to build a network around my team and I. My initial investors could only write the first check because that is all they had to offer. I’m forever grateful for that. What’s your suggestion for a guy like me who is working on raising and needs to access a wider network of people as my current network is tapped? Your post hear didn’t appeal to me as it begins with going back to your initial investors and that’s a means to no end for me and others who are in the same boat.

    • David Cohen

      hey sean. it’s still valuable to pitch them first. they’re vested in your success and it will improve your pitch. and there’s no doubt that some of them are more tapped in that you know. randomness is a beautiful thing. don’t assume that every pitch needs to lead directly to a yes. it may be more indirect. my two cents.

      • Sean Green

        Thanks David. Really appreciate your answer here. “Randomness is a beautiful thing” resonates with me. I believe in things that happen just because you’re there and others and a spark happens in the moment that is random but helps push the needle forward!

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  • Well said, dance with the one who brought you!

    It’s very common (if you agree) for founders to feel that they have to cover over the warts, and they may fear that any discussion of next investment with current investors will expose that. How do you advise Founders to get over this fear, to move beyond appearances of success in order to more deeply problem solve leading to greater success?

    You’re the best!!