The Email That Snagged an Investment from Shark Tank's Mark Cuban

You don't have to go on Shark Tank to catch the eye of a major league angel investor. Here's how one entrepreneur got funding by just sending an email.

learn more about Carol Tice

By Carol Tice

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every week, inventors and entrepreneurs tune in to watch startup founders pitch the heavy-hitting investors on ABC's Shark Tank. Judging from the number of emails I get from people who'd like to know if I can introduce them to QVC's Lori Greiner or put them in touch with the show's producers, everybody now sees a TV appearance as their ticket to angel investor money.

But there's more than one way to get an investor's attention, even a mega-high profile one like Shark Tank's Mark Cuban. That's what Ryan Ozonian found out last year, when he dashed off a quick email to Cuban through Cuban's blog.

Ozonian reports that he heard back from Cuban "within eight minutes."

"At first, I thought no way it was really him," Ozonian says. "But after a couple more notes back and forth, it became clear it was."

A couple months of due diligence later, he'd received $250,000 for his Los Angeles-based social-gaming startup, Mention Mobile.

Related: Investor Lori Greiner on Her Swim in the 'Shark Tank'

How'd he do it? It's a story of doing your homework, proving your concept, being willing to take a chance...and sending a well-crafted, short email.

Ozonian got the idea to contact Cuban after researching the billionaire and stumbling upon a 2010 blog post on Cuban's Blog Maverick site that said, "If you develop Social Games I want to talk to you. I'm looking to invest in games, developers and projects."

What did Ozonian say that got Cuban on board so fast? Here's his exact email:

"I'd like to quickly introduce myself and my company, Mention Mobile.

In 2010, I partnered with Kory Jones, an Emmy award winning entrepreneur fresh off the sale of his last two companies, to form Mention Mobile. We run an up and coming mobile social gaming and application business out of our offices in Los Angeles (currently bootstrapping). We have released one game and will be releasing the second game soon. Both games are very social and take full advantage of the Facebook API. We have a lot more in the works coming out this summer and an awesome concept portfolio."

Cuban responded with a request for a concept portfolio, and estimates of expenses and revenue for the coming year.

Related: One Entrepreneur's Rocky Road to Success After 'Shark Tank'

In other words, "What are you going to build, how will you build it, and what are your revenue projections," says Ozonian.

Ozonian admits that having a marquee name as a co-founder (Jones has created graphics for big names like Fox Sports and Skywalker Ranch), helped get him noticed.

But more important was the fact that Mention Mobile already had a small track record -- its first game, Trivia Friends, was already developed, released, and finding success. The game uses public Facebook information to create trivia questions about a player's friends.

With Cuban's help, Mention Mobile has pumped out several more games and is preparing a game called Word Derby for what will be the company's its biggest launch. The new game will be the first of Mention Mobile's games to have a paid version (the others are free, but give players the option to pay for add-on items). They are partnering with a powerhouse, Electronic Arts' Chillingo, to market the new game, a move Cuban advised on.

Related: The Shark Tank Effect: Top Success Stories from the First 3 Seasons

"Any critical decisions that can make or break a game or a deal, he's kind of steered us in the right direction," Ozonian says.

Ozonian's advice for other startup entrepreneurs hoping to connect with a big-time angel? With the cost of bootstrapping a tech startup fairly low now, investors want to see proof that your idea has a market.

"Be able to say you've executed on some part of the idea," Ozonian says, "before you go pitching people for money."

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

American Airlines Sued After Teen Dies of Heart Attack Onboard Flight to Miami

Kevin Greenridge was traveling from Honduras to Miami on June 4, 2022, on AA Flight 614 when he went into cardiac arrest and became unconscious mid-flight.

Business News

Jake Paul and Lindsay Lohan Fined $400,000 for 'Illegally Touting' Crypto

The SEC just disclosed that eight celebrities agreed to a massive settlement without admitting guilt.


After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.

Author Karen Inglis breaks down the strategies and tactics you need to generate awareness and sales for your self-published book.

Business News

Would You Buy Maggie Murdaugh's Monogrammed Snake Print Pillows? Items From the Murdaugh Family Home Are Going Up for Auction

The sale comes just weeks after Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the June 2021 murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh.