The first stage in the investment process is the pitch. The opportunity for you to pitch typically comes through being introduced to one of the partners at a VC investment firm.
Partners are constantly receiving lots of introductions from other VCs. Handling those introductions isn’t their only priority, and they don't always have time to reply to each one individually. That’s why it's normal for a partner to let one of their associates or analysts handle the initial contact.
Even if your first interaction is with an associate rather than the partner, that doesn't mean the introduction is unimportant. In fact, it’s a crucial factor in securing the opportunity to pitch. Don't underestimate the importance of those interactions.
Analysts and associates are the company’s gatekeepers. They can decide whether or not a deal goes forward, so you have to keep them on-side. Also, they'll probably be the ones to conduct some early-stage due diligence on your business.
It might feel a little off-putting to be initially introduced to the partner, then have someone else take the lead. But it doesn't mean the partner isn’t interested in your business – far from it, in fact.
You should also aim to contact multiple VCs, rather than just focusing on a single one. The key though is to make sure each one is high quality. VCs get hundreds of introductions every day, so you’ll need to stand out.
At the same time, you should avoid giving the impression that you’re treating the VCs like it's an auction, in which the one offering the most free money wins. That's not the right kind of relationship you’ll want to have going forward.