Situation: You want to get a hold of a startup founder, but don’t have his or her email address & have never built a relationship with that person directly. You either are looking for discounted pricing on a product, a job at the founder’s company or maybe even an interview with the founder.

Problem: You don’t have the founder’s email address and you have never built a relationship with him or her before

Proposed Resolution: Find the founder’s email. Build relationship with founder.


  1. Look on the company’s website. You don’t want to contact helpdesk or support. You want direct access to the founder. If you can’t find it there, move on to step 2.
  2. Look up the company on crunchbase.com, which is probably the largest free database of startups & technology companies
  3. Find out who founded the company.
  4. Find links to the founder’s Twitter account
  5. See if the founder links to personal blog in his/her Twitter bio
  6. Check personal blog to see if you can find an email address for that person. The site may have a contact form which is nice, but you are still looking for a personal email address.

If you still don’t have it, then it comes to a little obvious hackery (This only works if you use Gmail or Google apps)

  1. Download rapportive which is a MUST have tool for anyone who uses Gmail.
  2. Open up Gmail & compose a new email.
  3. Start guessing what the founder’s email address is. Try firstname@companyname.com. If rapportive shows that person’s info on the right hand side with a link to a Linkedin profile & Twitter account, you know you hit the jackpot. Common email address structures are: firstname.lastname@companyname.com and firstnameinitial+lastname@companyname.com. Keep trying until rapportive gives you the green light

BINGO! You now have an actual email address!

In my next post, I will cover what the body of the email should contain to get responses and build relationships with startup founders.

Photography: Jon Gosier