This post contains updates.
Originally published back in 2008, this post described a hack for using Bit.ly hyperlinks to know when someone had read your email or looked at a power point attached to your email.
Tech has evolved since then and now DocSend is commonly used. My opinion as an angel investor is different from my opinion as a founder. As an angel I hate DocSend files, but I understand the entrepreneurs’ perspective on using it. Files do get sent around and shared by investors, no question.
VC Twitter: I know every single VC hates when they receive a docsend link but during my latest round I have twice physically caught our deck circulating to other parties that it was not shared to. What is the actual answer to this problem?
— Kevin Gibbon (@kevingibbon) May 13, 2020
I tend to think it’s best to share the minimum amount of information needed to raise interest (or get and meeting) and forgo tracking all together.
To that extent, I recently learned about a Gmail feature that has existed in plain sight but that I’d be unaware of: Confidential Mode.
With Confidential Mode on, recipients of the email won’t have the option to forward, copy, print, or download. You can also set the amount of time the recipient has access to the materials. It works really well, albeit without the tracking feature of DocSend. But, to my point earlier, if you are sharing a minimal amount of detail then in my opinion it’s the way to go.
Grant access to investors for a month or two – if an investor is looking at your deck at some point past that, it’s not because they want to fund you.
Keep in mind recipients can use screenshots to “defeat” any of these services mentioned.
If you want to add a bit of security and not annoy investors, Gmail Confidential Mode seems like a good option.