The perfect letter to the investor

Original author: David Cohen
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Translation of David Cohen's article: a cult personality, founder and director of TechStars (one of the best American startup accelerators), venture investor. He talks about the most “correct” letter that he has ever received from a startup who is looking for advice and money. To the anger of the day to Russian startups.

As you might imagine, I get a bunch of letters. At the last check, there were more than 500 of them per day, and 50 of them were from people whom I do not know. They often ask for advice or want me to pay attention to their startup for the purpose of investing. And this is normal, I try to answer everything. But one day I received a very excellent letter. It did not sound like a “cold call," it was carefully thought out and very relevant. And here is its content:

Hi David,
I have a question for you about a startup that I think was created for you.

We are starting the CriticalArc project, the main goal of which is to solve the problem associated with real-time broadcasting of status and location. Things like imprisonment and critical events. We are developing a very strong back-end to provide mission-critical applications. We have a start page ( and we plan to present our first system at a startup event here in Sydney on March 31st. Now we are attracting customers and programming as damned.

I know that you have experience in dispatch systems for working with Pinpoint and I’m interested in your opinion in this case: is it better for us, as a startup looking for investments and a scalable business model, to focus on infrastructure or on solving a specific problem? Or is it better to start shooting with two hands and decide what exactly to concentrate on later?

In other words, ideally should we be SimpleGeo (but with real-time mode) or should we provide a solution similar to what you did with RightCad in PinPint?

I will be glad to hear what you think!

As a bonus question: would it be interesting to know how many projects in this area you are currently encountering? Is geolocation the same trending theme as Groupon's clones, which pitches you probably hear every day? Or do you think that not all the places are occupied here yet? It is somewhat difficult to judge this from Australia.

Thanks for taking the time to read! I suppose you are now falling from viewing applications for TechStars. Good luck with the summer program!

Glen Farrant
CEO of CriticalArc

What I like about this letter:

  • He is familiar with my background and formulates the question using the relevant context.
  • He understands who I am (link to TechStars)
  • He understands that I see a million Grupon clones that annoy me, to put it mildly.
  • It is clear that he is generally an intelligent guy who can clearly and simply formulate his thoughts.
  • He speaks the same language with me. He mentioned Pinpoint and the summer program (despite the fact that he is in Australia, where it is winter). He refers to SimpleGeo - one of my investment projects. And he formulated the question in such a way that I just answer it.

Of course, I try to answer all the letters that I receive, especially if it is from an entrepreneur. But it was really special and aroused a desire in me to help. So I decided to share and tell what was the reason.

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