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 company.
Tal developed his methodologies in the course of leading five startups over more than 20 years. His biggest success story was invi Labs, a smart messaging app that was acquired by Google in 2018, which 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, where Tal shared his seven-step method to managing a meeting with investors, including actionable tips for effectively following up on promising pitches.
“Would you enjoy being in a meeting day after day with people trying to hard sell you the entire time?” Iddo Tal
When Tal began pitching investors in Silicon Valley, it took him some time to understand the dynamics at work in those meetings.
“Would you enjoy being in a meeting day after day with people trying to hard sell you the entire time?” he asked.
He recalled trying to hard sell the room for the full hour-long meeting and watching as investors’ shoulders tensed. “I was trying to teach investors every bit of information I knew about the market and the business, and this is such an ineffective method,” he said.
Over time, he created a framework that changes the dynamic. It works so well, he said, that even if the investor is not a good fit for your startup, they might just introduce to you their contacts.
1. Open with two to three minutes of small talk
Begin the meeting with a few minutes of chitchat to create rapport. Let the investors talk about something that interests them, or look for a common interest.
If you’re pitching on a Zoom call, take a 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 you get into your pitch, lay out what they can expect from the meeting. This shows investors that you are organized and prepared, and it keeps you from rambling.
Tal recommended that your framing should sound something like this:
Hey, [investor], thank you so much for inviting me here. I believe we have an hour, right? So how about we do the following:
For five minutes I’ll give you my pitch with the deck. After that, we’ll take the biggest part of the meeting — about 30 minutes — for your Q&A. And then I’d like to spend 10 minutes asking you questions. In the last 10 minutes, we’ll define the next steps together. How does that sound?