- Twitter/Falon Fatemi
- Falon Fatemi has secured more than $20 million for her tech startup Node, and even convinced Mark Cuban to invest.
- She said whenever she was caught off-guard by a question during a business pitch, she would write down the question afterward and incorporate her answer into her next pitch.
- She also asked investors for feedback on her pitch, and found most were willing to help her out.
One of the keys to a successful business pitch is addressing your audience’s questions before they’re asked.
Although it’s not always possible to predict what investors will ask you, one entrepreneur has a smart strategy that has helped her raise more than $20 million for her tech startup.
Falon Fatemi, a Google alum who became the company’s youngest-ever employee when she was hired at 19, is the founder and CEO of the startup Node. Fatemi said whenever she’s thrown off by an unexpected question from an investor during a business pitch, she’ll write it down later and incorporate her answer into the pitch next time she gives it.
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“Success is built on a ton of failures,” Fatemi told Business Insider. “Getting rejections can be painful, kind of like dating, but it’s really important you use those as an opportunity to get feedback and improve your pitch.”
“What I actually used to do is, every set of questions that I was asked in a meeting, I would actually write those questions down and build an objection-handling doc,” she said.
“Every hard question I would get that I hadn’t prepared for beforehand, I actually would take those questions and build on that. Like, think a little bit on how I could improve my pitch, and weave that objection into my pitch so I’m already covering that, which only made my pitch stronger every time I had a conversation.”
Fatemi’s strategy has clearly paid off: since launching Node in 2014, the startup has secured $23.3 million from 24 investors, according to Crunchbase. Node uses AI technology to help businesses connect with potential customers, and its investors include Mark Cuban of “Shark Tank.”
Whenever Fatemi failed to convince a prospective investor, she found they were often willing to suggest ways she could improve her pitch – all she needed to do was ask.
“I would ask for feedback,” she said. “I’d say, you know, I really want to understand why this wasn’t a fit for you. I would also like to hear your feedback as to what I can do better, and/or do you have suggestions for people you think would be a better fit.”
Fatemi said most investors know within five minutes of talking to her whether they wanted to invest. That makes it critical for entrepreneurs to be able to articulate their story and why they’re seeking funding to begin with.
“The amazing thing about the fundraising experience is that it forces you as an entrepreneur to be very, very clear about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what your long-term vision is,” she said. “And that’s something that most entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time on.”