Businessman counting Euro billsHere are answers to the most commonly asked questions.

How soon can I expect to hear back from a VC or angel investor after you send out my query?  And how quickly do you send out my order?

Once we have your final query letter, we send it out within 24 hours, generally on Sunday nights through Thursday, to avoid sending queries on weekends.  After your e-query goes out under your own e-mail, you will generally hear back from some VCs and angel investors within a few hours; most others will respond in 1-2 days.

* * * * *

What do I need to be ready to use your service?  Do I need to have a completed business plan?

You generally need a business plan, since investors will want to see this. However, some clients use the service to test the level of interest in their idea and arrange to complete their plan within 1-2 weeks.  Ideally, your plan should be complete, but in many cases, you can send key parts of your plan (such as Executive Summary and information on any past track record, your vision for the future, and key management personnel, and provide the more detailed financials and other supporting documents with a week or two after that.

* * * * *

Can you send out a query for me for a percentage of whatever I get?   I’d be willing to give you a percentage of what I raise — say 3-5%.

Unfortunately, we can’t do this.  The e-mails go out under your own e-mail and any arrangements are between you and interested investors.  We have no way to track your results, unless you tell us, and we have no contract with you to take a percentage.  Plus you would be giving us far too much money for what out sending out a query or helping with your business plan.

* * * * *

We just paid a huge sum to a consultant and at the end, we lost at all. So we would rather reward your effort with equity in our company.  When the company goes public in 4 years, your 2% contribution could be worth over $1 million.  

While we appreciate the thought, we can’t base our query service on a business model where we might get money from clients, no matter how much, in 4 years.  Also, you would be vastly overpaying for our service.  We certainly sympathize with your bad experience with an expensive business consultant, but we are only asking for a small amount — $250 — about the cost of a half hour to hour consultation — and you will see results within the first day of sending out your query.

* * * * *

Why don’t you offer reports with e-mails, addresses, faxes, and phone numbers or sell lists or databases with this information?

We don’t do this because this is proprietary information. Thus, your report includes only the names of individuals contacted and their companies, although if they are interested in your product or company, they will contact you and provide you with this information.

* * * * *

How do you differ from the various venture capital sites that offer to sell CDs or software with contact information for VCs and angel investors?

A key difference is that we send out an e-query for you. We also draw our information from dozens of sources and regularly update it.  Additionally, we target your query based on the type of funding you are seeking for your type of business; then send out your query using a special software that sends out the query from your email and personalizes it to each recipient..  If you tried to do this mailing yourself, it would take you many hours and hundreds of dollars to buy all of this contact information, and you would then have to individually send out your letters.  We have systematized the process, so your query goes out faster, and we help you write a good letter as well. With these CDs or software packages, you are on your own after you buy them.

* * * * *

What is your “success rate” for sending unsolicited query letters to VCs? Do these VCs read them and are your clients getting results with this strategy? 

You can see the testimonials about our service on our “kudos” page. Virtually all of our clients have gotten responses – some as many as 40 to 60, even 100 or more responses, and about 80-90% of our clients have gotten requests to send in material for further consideration. Commonly clients report several dozen responses.  The level of interest will depend on your type of project.  We can open the door for you and help you write a strong query letter that will be read.  Then, your success depends on the strength of your business plan.

* * * * *

What should I include with my query letter? 

Only send a query letter for your initial contact.  Don’t send your business plan until you get a request for it.  Keep your query simple, text only, and no attachments, since many people won’t open these.  We recommend using your e-query letter simply to attract interest, and then let the contact tell you what he or she wants.

* * * * *

You say I need a strong query letter to gain interest?  How do I know if I have a good letter and what if I need help to write a good one?

We provide tested guidelines on what works, plus we do an initial review of your query letter when you send it in.  Then, we do some tightening and polishing as part of our regular service, and we’ll help you come up with a strong subject line, too.  Should your query letter need some major revisions to be effective, we’ll let you know, or we can write it for you through our query writer service.

* * * * *

I’m interested in using your service.  What is the next step?

Once you have placed your order (using PayPal or a credit card), send us your query letter as a Word, rtf, or txt attachment.  You can use the guidelines on the site for writing a query letter to help you do this.   Then, after we give you some feedback and the letter is finalized, we send it out as an e-mail query and send you a report of the contacts queried.

* * * * *

How do you select the contacts for your queries?

We select them from our databases of 20,000+ names based on the criteria you select for your industry and countries of interest.

* * * * * * *

Where do you get the names of your contacts and why can’t I get them myself?

These names come from the major industry sources which are available to anyone either through published directories or online, many of which cost $100-300 for a CD or password to access the data.  While you could purchase these names, type up lists, create a database, and organize the mailings yourself, we do this for you using our own database and mailing software, so we can quickly and easily select the VCs and angel investors who would most likely be interested in your project and query them for you.

* * * * * * *

Why should a successful  VC want to get e-mails from unknown people with business plans? Aren’t the best VC’s already swamped with queries?

Good VCs might be receptive to such e-mails if you can send them a very short, compelling pitch that conveys the power of your business concept and model.  Then, they can quickly decide if they want more information. A good short query letter is the key to getting your project considered by a VC.

* * * * *

Won’t VCs be turned off by getting e-mails from you, if they get a lot of e-mails from business people with poor business plans?  And if they get such e-mails, won’t that make it difficult for me to query them myself?

First, the e-mails come from the person or management team with the business plan, using their personal or company e-mail addresses.  They do not come from us. Secondly, we provide a preliminary screening, and if someone’s project sounds terrible, we would turn them down. Also, during this screening, we can advise a client if they have a poor query letter, so they can fix it, use one of our professional business plan writers, or hire their own. Then, too, as we grow, we may limit the number of clients we accept, so we don’t send any contact more than 1-2 e-mails a day for our clients.

* * * * *

How can a scattershot approach to a group of VCs work, since different companies are looking for different types of projects.

This isn’t a scattershot approach, since we have categorized VCs and their companies according to the major funding levels, industries they are interested in, and location.  Plus if there are VCs you don’t want us to contact, we can screen them out of the VCs to contact.

* * * * *

How do I know these VCs are still in their positions or actively looking for deals? 

We constantly keep our lists up to date in several ways.  First, whenever we add new contacts, we do a test mailing to them and drop any listings if we get return e-mails or the contacts advise us they don’t want to receive e-mails.   Secondly, each time we do a mailing, we use any returned e-mails to clean our list.  Thirdly, we regularly check industry sources to get new listings and make changes accordingly.  We also check websites to check on additions.  Then, we send all new listings an e-mail to test them out.

* * * * *

I’m a member of an entrepreneurs’ group and can get referrals to VCs from other members.  Why would I need your service?

If you can get a great referral from a personal contact, great.  But often the VC or angel investor may be busy or may not be right for your type of business.   Also, our service will give you a much greater range of interested VCs and angel investors to follow-up with than relying on your personal network.

* * * * *

Why can’t I do my own mailing to VCs using their e-mails or addresses?  Why do I need your query service?

You can do your own mailings.  But it will usually take you hours and hours to gather this information and take you even more time to set them up to do a mailing to each contact individually.  It is also expensive to purchase these databases of VCs and angel investors. Plus we save you the time and hassle, since we have already obtained this information and automated the process, so you have more time to devote to your own work.  And the time you save is money.