Building my network of Israelis in NYC
I started by setting meetings with pretty much anyone I could. My focus was successful entrepreneurs who raised early stage rounds in the U.S. but I ended up meeting any entrepreneur and even bankers, lawyers and all sorts of middle mans.
Let’s look at the odds for a second.
After all this work I had on one corner:
- An awesome company
- The right setup to technically complete an investment process in the U.S.
- A credible story that I’m moving the company to NY/Boston
- Target audience that is willing to invest in Israeli entrepreneurs
- Network of people helping me out
On the other corner I had:
- One big myth to prove wrong
Round One – no lead investor
I ended up meeting 32 investors in the NYC and Boston scenes. On the more institutional side, 3 of them started a process and with one I made it to the partner meeting phase. Number of U.S. investors willing to lead this round – 0.
Round Two – closing the round in Israel
Of course, while focusing on the U.S. market, I was also meeting any investor I could in Israel. I ended up getting more traction in the Silicon Wadi and SOOMLA had interest from both VCs and Angels. One thing led to another and 2 months into the round we had a lead investor. While it seemed like the longest 8 weeks ever, the round closed about 2 months since the lead investor joined and a total of 4 months from the beginning. By closed, I mean – money was in the bank. If you have another type of “closed” you are making a huge mistake.
Afterthoughts – local investment myth and the value of pitching overseas
While I can safely say that I failed at breaking the myth, I couldn’t have wished for a better round for SOOMLA. Here are some takeaways from the experience:
- Our lead investor was based in Israel but he was introduced by a U.S. based entrepreneur
- Some Israeli investors perceived SOOMLA as higher quality due to our U.S. orientation
- Israeli VCs talk between them to understand your alternatives – having a co-located allowed us to keep our cards closed to the chest.
- The advice in the U.S. improved SOOMLA’s pitch a great deal