This June, Oribi completed its first investment round. I’m very excited to update you that I’ve raised $5.4 million from an investor ‘dream team’: Haim Sadger from Sequoia Capital (the world’s leading venture capital fund, with whom I’ve already had the privilege of working with once), Rona Segev from TLV Partners and Zohar Gilon. I’m extremely grateful that this great team believes in me and in our product.
Every day, a few articles are published in the press about some startup’s financing round, with all the ‘usual’ details – how much money was raised, who the investors are, what does the company do, and who’s on the team. In this post, I chose to share the events behind the scenes – the investor deck I used, why the product has changed since the last time I wrote about it, how I chose which investors to contact, why did I choose to work with several investors and how I felt during the financing round.
So, what are we developing?
A few months back, I talked about a Facebook-ads analytics oriented product. This has changed a lot since then, although in retrospect, I only went back to my roots. Advice I often give entrepreneurs who make their first steps, is that the most important thing is simply to start, rather than wait months or years for the perfect idea or the right partner; Just start building a product, and while being ‘hand on’ you’ll learn the market much better, being able to improve (or pivot) it in the right direction. This advice was also helpful for me.
When I founded a new startup, it was clear to me that I wanted to build a B2B company, but with a simple and approachable product that will completely change the way companies work. In the past, I mentioned being inspired by companies such as Zenpayroll, Zendesk, Stripe, and Slack, which started out in highly competitive markets but managed to become market leaders by creating a simple product. The primary reason why they’ve been such a source of inspiration is that they’ve managed to make a solution accessible to the entire market, rather than only enterprise companies. I think that the current world of BI/analytics presents an amazing opportunity – think of the effort required to monitor basic data about product/website usage. There are currently dozens of successful, enterprise-oriented companies, with highly complex solutions requiring integrations and code annotations. Simpler tools, such as MixPanel or Google Analytics require ongoing support from developers to add events and develop scenarios you would like to monitor. I’ve started working on Facebook analytics, rather than general analytics, because it was important for me to build a profitable company as quickly as possible, and I felt that the combination of a real need in this field and a major budget could make the company profitable fast. We launched a beta version in early February, and quickly reached a few hundred companies who used the product, and then several thousands. By working with customers, I came to understand that I’m capable of creating a tool that would change the way people work with data. The customers gave me the confidence to chase my major dream: a real industry game-changer.
So, this is the product we’ve been developing:
- Our objective is to enable e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e, not just developers and analysts, to access their data and ask all the important questions. Consider the possibilities of writing data into a DB or of tools such as MixPanel, but without requiring technical personnel at all. Consider the possibility of a display that instead of being a ‘data puke’ with hundreds of irrelevant details – shows only what matters.
- We are developing a technology that studies products and sites. This technology will allow our users to independently set dashboards, track various product uses, build complex queries, get audience cross sections, analyze usage patterns and track the effect of content or design changes.
Once we have launched the product in the coming months, this will become much clearer.
An investor presentation
This is important – don’t take this presentation as an example. I managed to complete the funding round first and foremost because of my experience and the investors’ confidence in my ability to build a successful company. The presentation didn’t achieve this. On the other hand, I did ask several entrepreneur friends to share their fundraising presentations, which helped me to determine the order of a presentation and the manner in which to present the problem. Note that I’ve used this presentation in face to face meetings, and if some slides aren’t very clear, it is only because I provided more details in person. In addition, this was also a very short presentation (about 10 slides) with more text which I could send via email. Here are few important notes:
- I believe that the most important part of a presentation is showcasing the company’s potential. It’s easy to delve into solutions and technology, but it is considerably more important to clarify that there is a large market and a lucrative opportunity.
- Before meeting with investors, I made a number of dry runs with other entrepreneurs and former investors, which was instrumental in making my message clearer and dropping unnecessary parts.
The entire presentation is attached. The only slides I’ve removed include the financial forecast and details about the technology. Although I usually focus extensively on design, in this presentation I chose to stick to a clean design, since I felt that an over-designed presentation would overshadow critical information and that ‘beautifying’ the content was unnecessary.
The emotional side of funding
This is a topic only rarely discussed. There are many “X is raising $Y millions” articles in blogs and newspapers, that show only the team smiling. The road to that point is often very long. For most entrepreneurs, financing is the most challenging part of building a company, mostly from the emotional aspect. In my case, Oribi was the third company I founded. The funding process was, relatively speaking, not that long (about a month) and I was in contact with only a few funds (five overall); However, this still was not an easy process. Many investors are amazing people, but there are also enough of them who will shake your confidence and create highly unpleasant interactions. What kept me going during this process was my belief in the product and the confidence that, even if I fail to raise the target investment, I will still succeed in developing a great product. I kept reminding myself that raising funds is not the end goal but only the means to building a disruptive product and that there are many ways of reaching this objective.
I have many roles and missions as the CEO, but in the past year,I’ve really only considered two things to be crucial – building a great product and an amazing team. Building a technically complex product that would still have a simple interface, building something that just works, that suits many users and mainly an addictive product, which users would rush to open in the morning.
Recruiting a great team is the company’s heart. The people I hire now will shape the company’s product, technology, and marketing, but mainly its spirit. I believe that the first dozen employees will define the way the company looks when the team grows to a hundred. When it comes to employees, I constantly try to think about both sides of the coin – how they will be good for the company and at the same time how the company will be good for them. Or, more accurately, how joining me rather than another successful startup, will help them better realize themselves.
I believe that the company’s culture will further develop in the coming months, but these will be the key principles within Oribi:
- Personal development – for me, entering the startup world was primarily an amazing journey of self-change. Even before career and money came into the picture, startups were where I could overcome low self-esteem problems, challenge myself in different fields, meet fascinating people, start giving talks and writing. I want to provide other people with a similar experience. One of the most important aspects of Oribi will be personal development – help all employees to conquer their summits – building the right track that will enable people to give talks, learn programming if you have a less technical job, learn product and UX aspects if you are doing a technical job, study finance and more. Every person will, of course, learn what they are interested in.
- Work life balance – a startup has to move quickly and make significant progress from quarter to quarter. This does not mean that you must be stressed out all the time and that any person leaving the office before 8 pm should get stared at. One of the principles I consider vital is to keep a calm working environment while taking into account that my employees also have a life outside of the office.
- Transparency and sharing – I firmly believe in full transparency within the company, and in all employees being involved in the product. I don’t know if this is feasible in bigger companies, but one of the nicest things about early startup stages is that you can share everything and hear what the people who know the company best think. Even if mistakes or failures happen (and they will happen), there is no point in hiding them, this is an inseparable part of building a company.