I received an email the other week from an entrepreneur introducing his startup idea to me.
It was a perfectly reasonable idea although I didn't take a meeting because it wasn't a fit with our investment strategy. (We specifically focus on early stage UK ecommerce businesses and this wasn't a UK business).
Something troubled me about this introduction though.
The subject line read
Pradeep asked me to email you
(Pradeep is on our investment team at Forward Partners).
At the very end of the email, after the sign off, there was a P.S.
P.S. Sorry, I actually don't know Pradeep, but I thought it'd help to get your attention, which probably isn't easy ;)
He had a interesting business idea developing and this type of introduction devalued his idea. In my reply to the entrepreneur I suggested that this wasn't a good move and not to do this again. Some people might see it as a hustle and give him credit for his initiative. I didn't.
I just saw it as being slightly deceptive and it made me concerned that if that's how he started out on a relationship, how else might he mislead in the future. A relationship between a startup founder and an investor works best when there is mutual trust and respect - and this introduction started to erode trust from the very beginning.
On the first contact, it's best to build trust, not erode it. Yes, as a start-up founder it can be difficult to get the attention of investors. To build trust, one way is to be introduced via someone that the investor already knows.
A good introduction will build trust from day one. This one didn't.