Iddo Tal has an infectious enthusiasm for fundraising. He believes that when startup founders know how to raise money, they can find the freedom to approach investors with confidence and raise the capital they need to grow their business.
Tal developed his methodologies while leading five startups for over 20 years. His biggest success story was invi Labs, a smart messaging app acquired by Google in 2018 that integrated the technology into Google Messages. By the time he stepped down as product manager in 2020, the platform had more than 600 million users worldwide.
This article is based on an episode of Foundersuite’s How I Raised It podcast, in which Tal shared his seven-step approach to managing a meeting with investors, including actionable tips for effectively following up on promising pitches.
“Would you enjoy being in a meeting every day with people trying to sell you all the time?” Iddo Talic
When Tal started pitching investors in Silicon Valley, it took him some time to understand the dynamics in those meetings.
“Would you enjoy being in a meeting every day with people trying to sell you all the time?” he asked.
He recalled trying to sell the room for the entire hour-long meeting and watching investors’ shoulders tense. “I was trying to educate investors with all the information about the market and the company, and this is such an ineffective method,” he said.
Over time, he created a framework that changes the dynamics. It works so well, he said, that even if the investor isn’t a good fit for your startup, they might introduce their contacts to you.
1. Open with two to three minutes of small talk
Start the meeting with chatting for a few minutes to build rapport. Let the investors talk about something that interests them, or look for a common interest.
When you’re on a Zoom call, look at what’s in the investor’s background — a diploma, a photo, a trinket — and ask them about it.
2. Frame what will happen during the meeting
Before starting your pitch, explain what they can expect from the meeting. This shows investors that you are organized and prepared, and it keeps you from wandering.
Tal recommended that your framing should sound something like this:
Hi, [investor], thank you so much for inviting me here. I believe we have an hour, right? So how about doing the following:
For five minutes I’ll give you my pitch with the deck. Then we’ll take most of the meeting – about 30 minutes – for your Q&A. And then I’d like to spend 10 minutes asking questions. In the last 10 minutes we determine the next steps together. How does that sound?