A typical week for me is about 15-20 introductions to entrepreneurs and VC’s. I love that part of the job, in fact. If I could do more, with less time, I would any day, but I am getting more judicious lately.
There are 3 primary reasons why I am slowing down my “warm” introductions.
First, even though I know both the parties well enough to make the introduction, turns out many things change in 3-5 months that I am not on top of. One of my friends at a VC firm, decided to focus on B2C later stage instead of B2B. After 2 introductions, which I made to entrepreneurs, I found that out and also found out that he was “forwarding” my emails to his colleague. What I thought was “helping” was actually creating more work (useless and unnecessary) for him.
Similarly, an angel investor wanted an introduction to an entrepreneur who was looking to raise money a few months ago. Turns out by the time I made the intro, the entrepreneur had changed roles to be the product guy, got a new CEO and also had finished raising money. Again, creating more work for him was not my goal but I ended up doing just that.
Second, in many cases the entrepreneur or the investor is not a good fit at all. Take a case this week. A very smart investor is a hugely sought after lady in my network. Not a week goes by, when I am asked to make an intro to her. I was asked this week by a good friend and entrepreneur to make an introduction to her. I like the team, so I was willing to help. Turns out, the investor had already looked at the company and decided to not engage because she has a competitive deal in the space.
Now, I had obligated her to find a way to “help” my entrepreneur friend in some way. That’s negative brownie points for me, even though I wanted to actually help them both.
Finally, there is a power dynamic in play with most situations. The “requester” of the introduction and the “recipient” are not sure in most cases who will actually benefit. Neither am I am very clear about who needs who more. In most cases, when entrepreneurs ask for an intro to an investor it is clear, but in many cases when I have a “hot” entrepreneur in my network, it is not unusual to have 3-4 investors seek my help for a warm introduction.
While making introductions is a critical part of the role that I play, it is becoming clear that the work that it generates for me is becoming onerous.
The best approach is to email the person who is the recipient of the introduction if they’d like the introduction, then wait for their response and then respond back to the requester of their response.
So one email introduction now becomes at least 3 if not more in some cases. Multiply that by 15 a week and I am spending close to an hour making introductions. There has to be a better way.
What do you suggest? I like the connecting and the introductions, but the work involved in doing this is getting to be too much.