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How to Build Relationships With Investors Like Billionaire VC Chris Sacca

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Chris SaccaBloomberg via Getty Images

This piece originally appeared on brunchwork.

Before ever meeting him in-person, Adam Besvinick landed a gig working with Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca, one of the most prolific investors in the country. The billionaire tech guru is known for his early bets on Twitter (TWITR) and Uber as well as Instagram, Stripe, Twilio, and more. How did the then Harvard Business School student do it?

At our latest brunchwork startup workshop at LMHQ in NYC, Adam (now a Principal at Deep Fork Capital) discussed his philosophy of “providing value before asking for value,” and revealed three strategies that others can use to build valuable relationships in the startup world.

1. Persistence pays off.

Adam caught Chris Sacca’s attention online. “I sent Chris blog posts, which I wrote, that I thought were relevant to his portfolio companies or to the things he was investing in,” Adam said. “I would tweet at him. I would email him companies that I thought he might consider interesting or worthwhile.”

When it comes to networking and introductions, Adam encouraged us not to underestimate the importance of offline avenues. “A lot can be done over the phone, email and Hangouts,” Adam said. “I’ve actually only met Chris twice in-person in four years of working with him.”

Digital etiquette is important. While responding to every email may seem daunting, Adam makes it a point to do so.
“Everyone acknowledges, respects and appreciates a response. I reply to literally every single email that I get from a founder.”

2. Know each investor’s individual interests.

Research individual investors and not just their investment firm. “You think every investor is going to be interested in the company that you are building,” Adam said.

“The biggest mistake a lot of founders make is that they think every investor is the same.”

That’s not the case. Instead, Adam said, “Every investor has certain metrics or qualities that they place a higher emphasis on.” Entrepreneurs need to identify those qualities for each investor and determine if they match them.

3. Build relationships before you need to.

Adam’s most important pieces of advice for founders: “Reach out to investors before you’re ready to raise,” he said.“The worst time to get to know someone is when you actually need to know them.”

Building investor relationships takes time. By getting to know investors early on, you can “get feedback on what you’re building [and] try to build a relationship and a dialogue with them leading up to when you actually need their capital,” Adam said.