Chris Osborne

How to email 10,000 tech startups at once

The following guide outlines how I emailed 10,000 startups using GrowthList, my hand-researched list of 10,000+ fast-growing start-ups, for a new project I’m working on.

The Project

In 2015 I launched FoundersPerks. It’s a collection of exclusive perks and discounts from some of the hottest tech startups.

The business model is simple: pay a one time fee of $99 and users receive a .pdf with details on how they can access all the perks (normally via promo codes).

I haven’t updated the project since I first launched it and some of the promo codes have expired. So I’ve been keen to relaunch it, but want to make sure that v2 gave away the perks for free, so upcoming startup founders could use the discounts to build cool stuff.

While in the shower last week (shower ideas – don’t you love them?!), I come up with the idea to provide users one exclusive perk per day, for free, via a year long email sequence using ConvertKit.

Almost like a Christmas advent calendar I had over the holiday season as a kid, everyday subscribers would be introduced to a cool new product that could help their business and be able to access the product at a discount.

To cover the cost of the project, I’ll charge 30 companies who want to have their perk delivered to subscribers within the first 30 days of the email sequence.

Within a few days I had designed and coded the new site (I still need to make it mobile responsive and add a logo – but the signup form works if you want to subscribe) and got thinking about getting another 300+ tech companies to offer a perk and have 30 of them pay me $399 to have their perk go out first.

Enter GrowthList

GrowthList is my hand-researched list of 10,000+ fast-growing tech companies I’ve been building over the past 18 months so it made total sense to use this.

I include both a generic email (think info@ or sales@) and the founder’s email (if it’s publically available) in the list.

Knowing this didn’t really require the attention of the founder/CEO, i.e it was more suitable for the sales/marketing department to handle, I decided to use the generic email for this campaign.

Pro tip: Emailing the generic email is a great way to get an introduction to the right person at the company.

GrowthList is split up into separate files for each market so I simply exported and combined both the company name and the generic email from each list into a new Google doc. I left out the 2 Shopify lists knowing these companies would not be a good fit for this project.

With my list of companies with validated emails ready – which is really important by the way – it was time to write and send the email.

The Email

As I outline in my ‘beginner’s guide to acquiring new customers with email outreach‘ guide, I wanted the first outreach email to:

Here’s the email I settled on:

My name is Chris Osborne and I’m the founder of FoundersPerks.com, a collection of exclusive discounts from some of the best product/services companies in the world, including Stripe, MailChimp and many more.

I’m currently revamping the project and I wanted to reach out to see if {company name} would be interested in offering a perk?

If so, please respond back and I’ll happily provide you with more info including a mock-up of the new site and approach (the new perks package will be free).

I look forward to your response.



Pro tip: Always write outreach emails the day before you are due to send them so you can revisit the email to make adjustments and improvements. This extra time nearly always produces a better email.

Sending the email

I used EmailOctopus to send the email. It’s a great service that integrates with Amazon SES and is both very affordable and super easy to use.

Here’s what the process looks like after you’ve signed up for an account:

The first step was creating a new list and importing my contacts. Easy stuff.

The next step was to setup the email campaign. I’m not a fan of tracking link opening as this increases the chance of your email going into the ‘Promotions’ folder with GMail users – So I deactivated this setting.

I then tested the email a few times and when I was happy with the formatting, I clicked ‘Send’.

The results

All in all the campaign was a huge success.

Within the first 24 hours of sending the email it has a 49.89% open rate and I was able to respond to 600+ companies who were interested in learning more.

I expect these figures to increase over the next few days and with some follow-ups, I’m confident I can reach my goal of getting another 300 companies onboard to help startup founders.


1. Next time I do a big send like this I’ll have my email address setup with HelpScout so my assistant can log in to help respond to the incoming leads. With such a vast quantity (that’s not a complaint, by the way!), it took me a good few hours responding to everyone.

2. I’m very active with Twitter and Facebook advertising and I know a good quality lead costs anywhere from $2 to $5 each. With a response rate of 600=, the incoming leads I was able to obtain from this email outreach cost a heck of lot less (and took 1 day compared to weeks with paid ads), which confirms the power of highly targetted email outreach.

3. If you have any questions I didn’t cover here, please feel free to ping me on Twitter.

4. Don’t forget to check out GrowthList which made this campaign possible.