Sample E-mail Template of reaching out to Savannah Fund

By Mbwana Alliy  |  September 25, 2012


Earlier today, a twitter conversation I had with someone who was interested in working with Savannah Fund resulted in one the best e-mail intro formats. It quickly helped me decide whether it was worth further. It took me less than 1 minute to establish whether to continue to connect or not.

We constantly get people who are interested in helping us out at Savannah Fund but we hold a high bar into the kind of team we want to build from consultants to entrepreneurs. Most of the time like with any hiring, its not a fit. I wanted to provide this a template to help others in future who are reaching out to us whether entrepreneurs or potential partner/mentors.

After getting permission, I am able to repost. A few guidelines why this mail was so compelling:

  1. – Immediately focusing on the key question I asked “Why Kenya and not Nambia”? And anticipates my next questions (saves a lot of back and forth e-mailing)
  2. – Quickly establishes experiences and background (mobile expertise and startups)
  3. – Focuses on tangible projects that fit with Savannah Fund’s mission (incubation, PR, mentoring etc…)
  4. – Clear timeline of when will be in Kenya and fully committed to being here.
  5. – You don’t see it here, but there were about 8 or so links to showcase work or link to articles and prove that homework was done and understand the space. Resume link was 1 page in a unique format.

The most important thing about this mail is that it was clear, concise and it stood out.

I have removed any identifiable information and added xxxx as appropriate. I should also note that this is from a person with marketing/PR background which by this mail clearly demonstrates the talent. Sometimes I will get an e-mail from an engineer and they won’t use the opportunity even showcase their engineering skills via a linkedin profile or links to past projects. In the e-mail itself you can tell this is a qualified PR/marketing professional.

Thanks for sending over your address. To answer your most recent questions posed on Twitter, I had originally planned on moving to Namibia to help my cousins get their xxxx biz off the ground and create an online presence for them. However, the more and more I read about Kenya’s tech scene, the more I know this is where I really want to be.

Currently a xxxx here in Silicon Valley, I work for global agency xxxx and am a consultant to xxxx, where I play an integral role driving communication campaigns for the company’s mobile initiatives in developing countries.

Living in xxxx, I’m fanatical about the tech and start-up scene. As a consultant for xxxx, my expertise is in mobile money. The work I do further drives perception of xxxx as being best equipped to bring mobile financial services to developing markets and confidence among xxxx investors that the company’s mobile strategy will drive sustainable growth.

Why Nairobi?

I’m currently looking for a job or fellowship within the business development and marketing realm in Nairobi, and I would be honored if you would consider me for any positions you might have available at Savannah Fund. Given my background and interest in tech, the start-up scene and mobile opportunities in Africa and developing countries, Nairobi is a natural fit for me. Having read and researched the booming tech scene in Kenya (nice Savannah Fund placement BTW), I can’t think of a more exciting place to be in tech right now.

Why Me?

· I have a deep understanding of the mobile tech industry. With 5 billion mobile subscribers around the world today, mobile is the world’s first truly universal technology. The opportunities that come with this kind of inclusion fascinate me not only personally, but also professionally. Yes, I have a deep understanding of the mechanics and scalability behind my client’s mobile products and a strong knowledge-base of mobile trends—but I’m also a skilled story teller. Because, let’s be honest, the best marketing is good storytelling and the ability to help people understand and remember your company.
· I have my finger on the pulse of tech trends and the media landscape that shapes it. I work with leading tech journalists from key publications ranging from TechCrunch to the New York Times on a daily basis, and I’m confident that the media relations aspect of my current role gives me a unique advantage. For example, I can advise that Ina Fried of the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD is more likely to cover a start-up who has a compelling human interest angle—a knowledgeable, charismatic co-founder can go a long way. Similarly, I’d advise start-ups to be laser-focused on who they pitch, get to know writers via Twitter and Facebook, become genuinely interested in what they cover, understand what they like and reach out as appropriate.
· I have experience in counseling and mentoring entrepreneurs. I volunteer for a non-profit called xxxxx, an incubator hub in its own right that offers high school girls the opportunity to create and build a mobile app within a 12 week timeframe , with the winning app distributed on the Android Market. Alongside some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley, including Ben Horowitz, Marissa Mayer and individuals at leading tech companies like Google, Twitter and Square, I help the girls think about where their app would fit in the marketplace and provide counsel from a marketing and sales perspective. I’ve also helped secure visibility and exposure for xxxx, including a live broadcast on CNBC , coverage in Forbes and San Jose Mercury News, among others, which has given xxxxx exposure both locally and nationally—ultimately driving the growth of program participants, mentors and volunteers—and credibility within the tech community.
· I’m driven, entrepreneurial, scrappy, motivated, knowledgeable and passionate about mobile technology—and I will give you 120%.

Mbwana, I have confirmed plans to move to Africa at the end of 2012, and I would like to be considered for any positions you might have available at Savannah Fund. I’ve included my resume for additional background and I look forward to hearing back from you!


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