It’s a commonly held truism that venture capitalists don’t invest in an entrepreneur that hasn’t been introduced through their network. I’m sure that everyone has that one story of the entrepreneur who emails a firm on a lark and ends up with 5 million in financing. The one I know of is that of Tony Hsieh who invested in Zappos after a message left on his voicemail. This is hardly the norm, and I’ve personally seen how hard it is to get ahold of investors.
So why is it that so many venture capitalists have links on their websites to “submit your business plan”? Does anyone actually do this? Is it to perpetuate the myth that these firms are approachable?
Here’s a better solution: use LinkedIn, or rather, this nice little mashup here. This bad boy will tell users how many people they know at your firm via their own networks. I think this could be phenomenally powerful if I were looking for financing and I got to your site and saw that by virtue of my connections, I knew 2 associates and a partner at your firm. Now I can get an intro and actually have my business plan heard, as opposed to dismissed out of hand.