Save time, avoid awkward situations, and make quicker connections with this simple tactic.
During our day-to-day at Bread and Butter Ventures, we often find ourselves asking founders to send us a forwardable email. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you write a good one?
The easiest way to explain a forwardable email (or just a “forwardable”) is an email you send to me that I can forward to someone. Bill sends me an email. I forward that email to Brett. But it’s a bit more nuanced than that, and it’s a great skill to hone and master as a startup founder.
In this post, we’ll go through how a forwardable is often used in the world of venture capital and startups, give you an example of one, and provide a simple framework for writing your own forwardable emails.
How Do Investors Use Forwardables?
Forwardables are most used to secure an introduction to a potential investor, customer, or employee. For this post, let’s dive into how you use them when fundraising.
In this example, founder Bill is starting to fundraise. Before Bill asks for introductions to investors, he has prepped his documents and is ready to make use of his target investor list. Bill is ready to raise his seed round, so he sends his target investor list (here’s an example) to his current pre-seed or angel investors, his mentors, and other close members of his network like me. I see Bill wants an introduction to Bread and Butter Ventures, a connection I happen to have, so I put my name in the “Intro from?” column and ask Bill to send me a forwardable.
Once I get Bill’s email, I hit forward, add some context about Bill (“really awesome founder, has seen a lot of growth recently!”) and send it over to Brett to see if he would like to meet Bill.
If we break this down into steps, here is how a forwardable email works in fundraising:
- Founder Bill identifies I know Brett, an investor at Bread and Butter Ventures
- I volunteer to make an introduction and ask Bill to send me a forwardable
- Bill sends me an email written to Brett
- I forward Bill’s email and add a note about my opinion of/relation to his company
- Brett decides whether he’d like an introduction
This process often happens repeatedly. I may know eight different investors Bill wants to meet. In this case, Bill sends me eight separate and personalized emails, each in its own thread. I am happy to send these emails because Bill has made it incredibly easy for me; he has done the work, and I don’t need to sit and customize numerous different emails on his behalf.
Ok, but What’s in a Forwardable?
Every single fundraising forwardable should include the following elements:
- Thank the introducer
- Introduce yourself/provide information about yourself and your company
- Include why you’re specifically interested in meeting the person (this can go in several different places but should be included—it shows you do your research and you’re specifically and purposefully choosing to reach out to the investor)
- Compelling traction, recent major win, an important client (you want to give enough context and peak interest)
- An ask—keep this short but include details like fundraising status or if you’ll be in the person’s city soon
Here’s Bill’s email to me:
Thank you for offering to send this email to Brett at Bread and Butter Ventures.
I’m Bill, Founder and CEO of Spark Labs, and we’re building the future of food traceability using NFTs. Our founding team combines deep Web3 expertise with food industry knowledge and has a mission of solving food traceability once and for all. I think Spark Labs might be a great fit for you because of your focus on food tech and specific call out of food traceability in your 2022 Bread and Butter food tech thesis.
A few facts about the last few months at Spark Labs:
- MVP launched in May 2022, $260K Annual Run Rate November 2022
- Pilots with 3 of the world’s 30 largest food companies
- 22 percent month-over-month revenue growth since launch
We are about to start formally raising our seed round. Would you have 30 minutes to talk more about Spark labs and why we would be a great fit for Bread and Butter?
Why Send a Forwardable Instead of Just Introducing Someone?
A double-opt-in intro means that both parties have agreed to an introduction before it happens. It saves time, avoids awkward situations, and is a best practice all-around. Great forwardables make a double opt-in intro easy and straightforward for all parties. It’s a great tool to have in your back pocket as you run your startup.