Lateral Capital Management, LLC

How Investors Can Help the Companies They Invest In

by John O. Huston, Ohio Tech Angels

After they have written their check, lots of Early Stage investors look for ways to be helpful to the CEO, but without being a bother. After all, if everyone on the cap table constantly offered assistance, it would impinge on the CEO’s focus – and drive them crazy! One approach to address this is simply to ask if you can help with a simple e-mail. Here’s how it could look:

Greetings, Ellen/Eddie Entrepreneur

As one of your angel investors, I am offering to provide assistance as you grow your team, customer and supplier base – and seek to optimize your own personal financial reward for all your hard work. The attached resume shows my background. But your answers to the four questions below will help me think about how I might be helpful in the near term. Thanks in advance for your response, which I will not share with other investors unless you want me to.

  • Staffing:What are the open positions you are most anxious to fill? I may know someone I can introduce.
  • Suppliers:What is your largest problem in this area? I have experience in negotiating deals with [specifics], and I might be able to help.
  • Customers:What are the top 3-5 prospects you most want to convert to customers? I may know someone there and might be able to help.
  • Other Challenges: In light of my background, do you see any other ways I might assist?

I know your scarcest resource is your time, so please feel no pressure to respond. I will send you this e-mail from to time in the future, so you’ll have plenty of chances! Ideally, I can add my experience and relationship capital to the financial capital I have already provided and help you become a fantastic success!

Best wishes for your continued success,

It may be that you will never hear back from them or get a polite “thanks, but no thanks.” Don’t be offended. That’s the CEO’s prerogative, and he/she may have more to do than you can imagine. But there is one kind of offer no one has ever turned down: A live introduction to a potential customer! So if you are really looking to help, ask if an introduction to a specific company would be useful.