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Texts with Founders: Intros and Forwardable Emails
Make it easy for connectors to facilitate introductions
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Intros and Forwardable Emails
Intros are the lifeblood of startups. A single introduction can change the trajectory of a business.
Today, we'll cover intro protocol and how to create a forwardable email that streamlines intro requests.
The early-stage ecosystem has developed a process for how intros are made. But, the protocol is not widely understood—even by people who have worked in tech for many years.
The Intro Protocol
When someone offers to introduce you to a person you'd like to meet, your goal should be to make it as simple as possible for them to facilitate that connection.
You can assist them in making the intro by offering the following:
I'd love to meet [Name] — would it be helpful to send you a forwardable email?
They may decline and say that the person is an easy text message. But 9 times out of 10, they'll be grateful for the forwardable email.
How Forwardable Emails Work
The goal of a forwardable is to make it easy for the connector to make an introduction:
You send a forwardable intro email to the connector.
The connector hits "forward" and adds a quick note when sending the message onward to provide additional context about the intro request.
That person responds yes or no to the request.
How to write a forwardable intro
The content of a forwardable should accomplish the following:
Make it easy for the connector to forward
Succinctly convey what you do and why you want to speak to the person.
Here's an example of a forwardable intro:
Thanks for offering to see if Harry was open to connecting about what we're building at Hook&Ladder. We have plg similar to Motion, so we would love his feedback.
Feel free to forward this email to him — more info about Hook&Ladder is below!
Hook&Ladder is building a way to coordinate volunteer firefighter departments. We launched 2 weeks ago and currently have 3 fire departments using the platform — one of which is paying us $10 / user / month. I have been a volunteer firefighter for 3 years and an engineer at Lyft for 2 years before starting this.
Volunteer firefighter departments often need to overcome communication barriers exacerbated by the part-time nature of participants, leading to slower response times and inefficient resource allocation during emergencies.
Hook&Ladder is a unified platform for all volunteer firefighters to communicate in real time, ensuring swift and coordinated actions.
Through Hook&Ladder, departments can share resources, view available equipment, and assign personnel based on proximity and expertise, minimizing response delays.
With thousands of volunteer firefighter departments worldwide, many of which still rely on outdated communication tools, Hook&Ladder offers a solution to a widespread problem. While starting with volunteer firefighters, we can become the operating system of every fire department in America. Then we can expand abroad.
The example is on the longer side, but not absurdly so.
Be concise while providing sufficient information about who you are and what you're building.
Bullet points make the text more readable.
Don't Ghostwrite for Connectors
The place where many founders go wrong with forwardable emails is mistakenly believing that they should be ghostwriting the email on behalf of the connector.
For instance, the founder might write, "Hey [Name], I just met this amazing founder named Mike who is building Hook&Ladder — he's one of the best founders I've worked with, and you should invest. Want to meet?"
Avoid using this ineffective tactic.
It can come across as presumptuous.
It's impossible to nail the connector's tone.
You'll likely not fully understand the relationship between the connector and the person in their network.
How to make a multi-use forwardable email for investor intros
When fundraising, existing investors are an excellent source of referrals to other potential backers. Instead of writing custom forwardable emails to every investor, you can make a multi-use forwardable message.
This is similar to the example in the "How to write a forwardable intro" section above, but you'd modify the start of the email to something like this:
Thanks for offering to make introductions to investors who might be interested in what we're building over here at Hook&Ladder.
Feel free to forward this email onward — more info about Hook&Ladder is below!
For investor intros, it's generally good to include a link to a deck (I recommend DocSend — email/DM me for a discount code) so investors can learn more beyond the email blurb.
That’s all for this week — thanks for reading.
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