WEEK OF the Cold Call
We’ve been busy bees at Talos, but most notably, Brandon has been cold calling venture capital firms in New York City in pursuit of Series A.
It is true that at most tech events in the city, you will have a conversation with at least one person who can offer a coveted referral to a VC partner, or the firms themselves will have sent representatives specifically to scout new investments. Firms have never been more accessible than they are now.
A quick run of the numbers, though, shows why we have decided to simply call the eight firms on our list that invest at our check size and share a general ethos with our company.
Let's say 10 firms are a good fit for you, and these firms have an average of 10 employees and partners who would actively seek out or respond to a referral and maybe 250 people from whom they take warm referrals seriously in the NYC area. This means there are roughly 10 X (10 + 250) = 2,600 individuals who can link you to the firm you need.
Now, suppose on the low side there are 100 active funds, meaning if the above holds true, there are 26,000 people who can offer referrals. Suddenly, you have less than a 1 in 10 chance that a referrer you meet at an event can offer a referral to a fund that would actually be a good fit.
Talos goes to tech events. There are probably three decently sized tech events a night in NYC, and, well, we work long hours, so we attend when we have time. Talos can easily afford event tickets and general tech networking around NYC, yet it is still difficult to get in front of the right living, breathing VC partners and meanwhile maintain an operating company.
It’s hard to believe this is still the norm. When all your pitches come from folks met at high-priced Manhattan tech events or friends-of-friends referrals, your portfolio will look a lot like those places. Maybe this is why diversity in tech isn’t improving, or why a lot of funded startups crash and burn when they realize there’s no market outside of NYC or Silicon Valley for their inventions (this week’s case in point: the cookie pod oven… because putting cookies in your regular oven is for squares.)
At Talos, we don’t mind a phone call, and we’re persistent enough to land meetings with VCs, but we don’t believe this system finds the best and brightest new ideas in technology. And, it’s why the Talos development structure features a web form for first contact. We want the best, period.
Keep up with Talos Insight! This week on the blog, Brandon can’t remember the origin of the Talos name but takes his best guess, and Nicole asks, “Do bot girls make it harder for real women?” (They probably do.)
Currently reading: In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney
Currently listening to: “Women of the Hour,” Lena Dunham’s new podcast
Brandon’s new gadget this week: Humon wearable (still in beta)