How to Stalk a Venture Capitalist

 How to Stalk a Venture Capitalist

Internet Stalking 101

You’re a startup with a killer idea and are looking for a venture capitalist to pitch to. Or perhaps you’re a senior at college, about to graduate, and have an interview lined up with a top tier PE/VC fund, investment bank, consulting firm. Problem is, you know absolutely nothing about the people at the fund or firm.

Well today is your lucky day as I’m about to show you how you can do your due diligence on just about anyone with an internet presence.
(Let this be a warning as well — check your own digital presence and clean it up because if I’m can stalk you, anyone else can.)

Today we’re going to use Blockspring (the powerful Googlesheet / Excel add-on that I’m obsessed with) as well as a couple of APIs — Full Contact, Twitter, Email Hunter, Github, AngelList.

Using either a Chrome plug-in (Scraper is the easiest to use and exports directly to Googlesheets; Kimono Labs used to be my favourite but was recently acquired and stopped offering their service) or the ImportXML function on Google Sheets, I am able to extract all the Twitter IDs from this article “EdTech Investors and Venture Capitalists You Should Follow on Twitter” onto Google Sheets, which I then manually classified into “individual” or “fund”.

Venture Capitalist - Edtech Investors
Source: EdTech Investors and Venture Capitalists You Should Follow on Twitter, Edtech Review

Let’s take the first person on the list for example: Allison Baum. She looks interesting — an Edtech investor focused on Asia.

Using Blockspring and Full Contact’s API, I can see what she looks like……

Venture Capitalist - Allison Baum

…look at her digital footprint….

Venture Capitalist: Allison Baum Digital Footprint

…and search for her social profiles and usernames.

Venture Capitalist: Allison Baum Social Profiles

Interact with her via Twitter

Using a template similar to the one that I built to hack BuzzSumo and other paid Twitter tools, I can fave or retweet her tweets

Blogspring Fave a Tweet Sheet

I can do the same for the tweets that she’s faved.

Blockspring Fave a tweet sheet 2

 Evidence of my retweeting

Tweet from Blockspring

In fact, I can look at her past 200 tweets and do the same. Loads of great education related tweets — think I’ll save them for my Twitter account that focuses on Education.

I can also see the latest people following her on Twitter.  And I can follow them based on their profiles: using their profile descriptions, followers to friends ratio and Klout scores as screening criteria.

Blockspring: Get a User's Followers

Using AngelList

Next, let’s head over to AngelList — an unusual but great place to search for information about a person. I recently found over 400 of my Twitter followers on Angel List that I can’t wait to do similar analysis on. Oh look she can’t code but she speaks Japanese!

本当に? Allison-san, 日本語ができますか? 凄い! Blockspring も凄い! 大好きyo!

From AngelList you can see what her hiring / investing criteria are as well as her own self-declared skills are.

Have someone that you want to find out more about?

If you’re an investor looking to fundraise, or a student looking to interview with a company, I suggest doing your due diligence on who you’re about to meet.  This is a simple but effective way of doing your homework.

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