On a given day there are at least 10-15 investment proposals in my inboxes at LinkedIn, Facebook and Office365. Dhiral and Nikheel have almost the same (or more) flooding their inboxes and in fact even our recently added superstar, Apurva, has her hands full with sifting through the proposals in our pipeline. The team tries very hard to give due justice to each application and each founder wants their venture to be looked at with priority.
If we made everyone a priority, then no one would be a priority! So, until now we typically screened and sorted the applications using an internal scoring system but the flood of proposals has made that system redundant.
I would like to provide some method to the madness by making it open to everyone how we rank for priority the applications that come to us for funding so a founder can help us help them.
A referral/recommendation is the best way to walk into a sale whether you are selling widgets or shares in your company as the buyer is warm lead instead of a cold call. A warm lead brings down the customary wall of distrust and makes the job easier for the seller.
Right below, you will find (in order of preference) the referral (or recommendation) waterfall to get our top priority.
- Founder referral
A founder’s referral is gold to us… we take them very seriously! When we have backed a founder to buy shares in their business and then they vouch that you are the next big thing, we are going to give you a priority pass to the top of the pile. With 51 investments (and 3 in closing) there are over a hundred founders that know us. The founder ecosystem is small so find out how you know them and get them to write an email introducing you to us and why they recommend you. Our list of investments is updated regularly at this link
- Co-investor referral
The next person we trust after our founders are our co-investors. These are the people that been with us on multiple safaris of the startup amazon where we were the hunted or the hunters so we trust their opinion of you and your venture idea. Our co-investor list runs into the hundreds so there is a good chance that the investor you are speaking to knows us and all you should do is convince them to write an email introducing you to us and you will make it to the top of the pile!
- Incubator/Accelerator Referral
Incubators and Accelerators play an important role in our ecosystem by nurturing napkin stage ideas into coherent business models. We respect their opinion and are in regular touch with many incubators and accelerators. If you were part of one of their programs, then you should ask them to recommend you to us and we will be all ears!
- Fund Referral
There are many funds that find ventures that do not fit their investment mandate because they are too early or too late for them (or a host of other reasons). In my opinion an entrepreneur is a salesman selling shares so he/she has to make a close at every sales call. Therefore, if a fund gives you the shaft, ask them to give you a recommendation to Artha… we will gladly nurture you till you are ready for the big boys!
- Business Partner or Family referral
Within our extended family and their various businesses, you may find a link to get through to Artha. Be advised that coming through such a referral puts all three of us (you, the referrer and us) in a very awkward situation. Whilst it isn’t the most preferred avenue for approaching us, it isn’t the least preferred road. If you cannot find flavor amongst the top 4 options, you can always bank on our extended family and their business partners! J
- Come through an angel network
There was a time where a deal recommendation email from an angel network would make me drop everything. The proliferation of angel networks, the conflict of interests in their recommendations and founders opting to stay away from networks have reduced our reliance on angel networks for deal discovery. There are still a few good angel networks who we trust so get a good network to recommend you to Artha… it is better than coming in cold! If you don’t know any (really!) then you can apply to us directly by clicking “Apply Now” on our website but when you claim that no one knows you (or will recommend you) then you can imagine how difficult it would be for us to take you or your sales ability seriously. Getting a referral is a big deal so take it seriously, get your sales cap on and get someone to recommend you to us!