← Return to all blog posts

An open letter to new investors

Investors incessantly tout their successful investments and IPOs. On Twitter. On their website.

Nobody but their limited partners care. Founders know you probably just lucked out.

You know what founders do care about? How you actually helped those startups. Make a page detailing what you did for each—to get them where they are.

There are more investors than ever before. Stand out by proving you're useful beyond your dollars.

Great investors can in fact be truly useful. The problem is founders don't know which ones are great, and there aren't many.

This is part of why getting into Y Combinator is valuable: they help you navigate the investment terrain. Plus, they act as great investors themselves: the partners go above and beyond to help their startups. They provide you with alumni connections that can make a difference.

If you detect saltiness, it’s because a third of my Twitter Search stream is people congratulating the companies they've invested in. It’s ego-driven spam 😂. Spam, by definition, is any messaging that almost none of its recipients benefit from.

Budding investors, you're doing it wrong. I suggest an alternative form of self-promotion that will actually give you a competitive advantage and will contribute to the startup ecosystem: Write blog posts detailing how you helped your startups so that others can lean from it.

This doubles as a conduit for letting founders get to know you. Your voice and your priorities.

Why do you think founders applied to YC in its very early days—to its very first batch?

Because of Paul Graham's online visibility through his essays. YC itself had no credibility yet, and no one knew what an accelerator was. But a bunch of aspiring founders loved how he thought.

For over a decade, the model for being an in-demand investor has been out there for you to replicate.

You're good to go  ⚡ Say hello on Twitter.

Julian Shapiro headshot

Who's Julian Shapiro?

I go deep on topics I find interesting.

Build MuscleStartup GrowthCritical Thinking

All my blog posts

What to work on

Choosing your big projects

My favorite stuff

Shows, films, albums, podcasts

On being annoyed

Control yourself better

My Hollywood story

I broke into the film industry

Stress of competition

How to handle competitors

Running an agency

Strategies for efficiency

How to punctuate

Writing clear sentences

← See all blog posts