Got a call this morning from a fresh Associate at a top VC firm. Yesterday I had pinged the most senior Partner about a round of funding for a startup I am coaching. The Associate had previously not responded to multiple emails from the startup's law firm.
That has been my experience: When you want action, start at the top. It is tempting to say you know an Associate and can get inside the VC firm that way. But a couple of decades of painful experience have taught me the opposite: When I started with an Associate, 100 percent of the time a Partner later said "No" to the deal.
Partners are experts at efficient decision-making. They know what the firm is and is not looking for. They are swift at processing your elevator pitch and fast about deciding to say "Tell me more" or "We'll have to pass on that one" (meaning "No thank you"). They won't waste your time.
BOTTOM LINE: Don't count on getting funded by starting with an Associate. Instead contact the most Senior Partner. Try to get an introduction (from a friend, angel, lawyer, CPA). If you have a good idea (with an unfair advantage) you will get the immediate attention of the Partner. That is much more efficient than waiting for a response from an over-worked junior Associate who means well but cannot deliver.