Leore Avidar is now on his fourth startup. He currently runs two fast-growing companies, and he has raised $100M or more for each. His venture, Lob has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Indicator Ventures, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Frontline Ventures, and Quiet Capital.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Applying to Y Combinator
- How to be prepared for the different stages of fundraising
- The only 5 things you should be focusing on as an early-stage startup
- Hiring your first startup employee
- Landing your first enterprise customer
- More about Lob and Alt
Also Wingman is sponsoring this podcast. Visit https://www.trywingman.com/dealmakers for more details!
This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Visit betterhelp.com/
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Leore Avidar:
Leore Avidar serves as Co-Founder at Lob.com, Inc. Prior to Lob, Mr. Avidar worked as a Technical Business Developer at Amazon Web Services and as a Quant/Derivative trader at Citigroup. Leore Avidar is working towards increasing the transparency and liquidity of alternative assets. He started Alt after reigniting his longtime passion for collecting sports cards and realizing the lack of infrastructure in the ecosystem today.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them
Connect with Leore Avidar:
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So very excited about the guest that we have today. We’re gonna be talking about all types of startups I mean he’s done quite a few and he’s even operating 2 rocket ships at the same time. Unbelievable. So. Again, you know building scaling financing you name it so without furtherdo. Let’s welcome our guest today Leor Abidar welcome to the show. Thanks.
Leore Avidar: Hey excited to be here.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally you know you were born in Milwaukee but you went quite early to Chicago so give us a little of a walkth through memory lane. How was life growing up. So.
Leore Avidar: It’s pretty good I grew up in ah, a small ah small town northwest suburbs in Chicago called morning grove most people have have not heard of it. But um, yeah I really enjoyed it. Um, most of my childhood I would say probably remember 2 things which is playing a lot of basketball. And just being outside and not enjoying the cold weather those are probably like the 2 things that I take with me every single day now and I try to go as far away from the cold as possible but you know Chicago is a special place in my heart I spent many years there all the way up till college.
Alejandro Cremades: So how did you get into obviously finance and engineering you know, problem solving you know stuff like that because that’s what you ended up studying in Michigan but what got you into into that kind of blend of of both you know worlds.
Leore Avidar: Yeah I Always ask myself. Ah, you know how I got there. My dad was a trader on on Wall Street for many years he was at bear stearns and so I I think I was exposed to finance really early early on in my life. Not even having realized it and my mom worked in software at SApAmerica So Almost like ah ah, a byproduct of them I Also really like numbers So my whole life I’ve just it’s come really easy for me I’ve always had an aptitude for numbers and so I wanted to find something where I could use you know use that skill set So probably a combination of all 3 of those.
Alejandro Cremades: And then also you know once you um, graduated then you went into into the financial service space. so so I mean that’s quite different than what you’re doing obviously today. But what you know would would you say that maybe that was like kind of like following your. Father’s footstep footsteps into wall street.
Leore Avidar: You know I had a different I would say dreamer goal than than my dad like for me I remember early on like the first goal that I had was I wanted to create this machine that would just trade stocks and bonds all day long so that I could go and travel the world. It’s like a very definitive goal that I had so it’s like okay I need to. And to learn the finance side of it to understand you know the products and and how to actually like build the system and the financial acumen to do that and come up with the strategies but I needed to know how to I need the computer sign skills to be able to program that and so um. I always tell people I felt like I did college wrong because the only 2 types of classes that I took were either finance or computer science like there was no art history. You know, no other interesting classes or there was like I have 2 types of classes that are going to serve my goal and that’s the only thing that I want it to take. Um. So yeah, that’s that’s really what I wanted to do I wanted to retire when I was really young and I wanted to explore the world like I’m a very curious person and I would say like that. What drove me really hard to to study really hard in college and um, you know, get those skills.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in your case too. I mean interesting that you went into into all these big banks. You know as your first job because you even had your first startup in college in Michigan so I don’t know I mean it’s since since you were already like into the startup thing and building things. I mean what happened there with that first startup and why didn’t you say? Okay, you know what? I’ll I’ll keep doing this thing of building companies. So.
Leore Avidar: Yeah I feel like every startup I have there are like a lot of really good learnings and so like the first startup I remember it was freshman year. It was basically instacart just way too early. Um and kind of the big learning was my freshman year of college I started with my friend Brian um. Called it blue lane grocery. We digitized groceries and people could actually go and order groceries online and you could go to the store and pick it up and kind of the big learning there was I wasn’t a developer right? and so there was always a bottleneck of of the company where if we needed to build something. We’d have to go and pay money and hire a developer right? And as a. resource- constrained college kid. You don’t have infinite money right? We didn’t raise money and so at some point in time I was like okay we can’t afford hiring a developer and so kind of that big learning from that first 1 honestly was as simple as like ah developer like having developers or understanding computer science and being able to program. On. The web was a skill that I needed to have and so from that point in time I was like okaym then I’m going to go learn how to program I’m going to go start creating websites and so that was kind of the the first one it was it was a great idea just you know executionalized. We didn’t have the skillset that that we needed so that was kind of the the first foray into that. Um, wall street obviously was just kind of a natural progression a little bit more on the finance side. Um I love the problem set on wall street you know back then the smartest people went to wall street it wasn’t you know people weren’t going out to Silicon Valley and I wanted to you know I always tell people. Ah.
Leore Avidar: I played basketball but I’m not six six right and so for me like I can’t be in the and Nba but but to go to wall street was kind of like the and Nba of like intellectual curiosity for me right? I wanted to compete with the best people in the world. The smartest people in the world and show that I can I can make money I can make more money. I wanted to compete like I’m and just a natural competitor and so you know you go to wall street because they have the hardest problems the biggest problems and the most lucrative problems and so that’s kind of what drew me there.
Alejandro Cremades: Now it sounds that for you, you know something clicked at some point you know and then you decide to turn it off. You know they wall street. You know like a path and you did a startup So what happened there. So.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so I enjoyed wall street like the problem set. But I I move fast. Um, and you know the the culture didn’t hit the right way like I kept trying to innovate on wall street and you know the wall street mindset is especially when you’re a young kid coming out of college is just do as you’re told. Like’t and I’m like well I actually know a lot and I can actually help the company I can help help my desk and I really felt like they weren’t ah weren’t open-minded enough to do to listen to me and in in some cases they were doing something wrong and so I was like okay this is not going to help me grow I’m not growing I’m not moving fast enough. And so again on the side I was like okay I need a harder problem to solve I started working on a startup with some friends. Um I was really interested in in commerce like e-commerce back then and how e-commerce and I think ah there was a lot of kind of new social plays coming out back then so I was like how do you combine social and commerce together. And so we had this concept called dress me which is I would say ah a kind of a different take on pinterest that we started and again only lasted about five months but learned so much and I think again was a big critical part in me, kind of being successful later on.
Alejandro Cremades: Now I think that for you. What really gave you the big push to get into the venture world in a big way was a your stint even though it was short. You know I’m sure it was quite impactful in Amazon.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, Amazon was I mean I would say Amazon 1 of my the best opportunities that I’ve ever had I was there in 2012 so that’s actually before became the rocket chip that it was today that you know the Aws team so more particularly you know. Ah, Amazon Web Services was the team that was at it. It was still small and so I I really loved it. I I had been playing around with Amazon Web services on the side and was just wowed by the fact that I could go and spin up a thousand servers from my bed. And I could start competing with some of these large companies and build services and so I remember kind of talking to them and giving them my opinions like I’ve never had a shortage of sharing my point of view and they’re like whoa, you need to come and work with us and you know you have really great technical knowledge and you’re a good salesperson. Come and help all these startups that are starting to come on Aws and help them build the right way and so I love that I was working I was interfacing with vcs and startups and technology. Um, and yeah I was there and then it really started clicking to me. You know as you get older. You. Start being more and more self-aware. It’s like wow I really you know I keep talking to startups and it keeps bringing me a lot of energy and then I keep thinking of startups. Ah and it it just I would say like the most important part about Aws was the business model I learned the business model and I was like wow this idea of creating an api for something.
Leore Avidar: And charging for usage this is going to change the way that everything is done right? like Aws is doing it for cloud computing. But ah what other areas could you go and apply it to and that was kind of the ahamo and wait a second I could do this for print and mail right? what what aw us is doing for cloud computing I can do for all print and mail I can make it so that. You could take an api request and literally create a postcard or a letter and put it into the real world and so for me I was just I was like okay I’m going to go started I’m going to go apply to y combinator I had always applied to y combinator because I had such great recognition for it and I got in and so that was kind of the hey. Time for a first startup number 3.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow now now obviously y combinator was quite the experience for you. So so walk us through through I mean obviously you know here you were you know, very much used to the East Coast and you know obviously you’re a background in finance and now you know obviously with Amazon but. But I’m sure that the y combinator startup mentality and move fast and break things and things like that I’m sure it was quite the experience.
Leore Avidar: It it really resonated with me like I’ve always been iterating really quickly I broke all the rules my entire life like you know whether it was in high school or was around wall street like I just broke every rule and so the fact that like y combinator embraced that I loved it like I remember the the interview you know. I think it’s why combin inter has changed so much you know back then there were in in the summer of 2013 there were only 52 companies and so I remember me and my cofounder pitching Paul Graham back then who was involved and. You know we studied pretty hard for the interview like we wanted to know that we knew our business and we knew what it took to to start a company like I’d I’d failed twice and I think failure is really good like I I had all these learning I was like I remember telling my co-funder hair is like I know what it takes to get in. We’re both technical right. Just want people who are going to hustle and not give up and iterate and not be stubborn in terms of like you know what? they’re learning like we got to take feedback and so y combinator really embraces that they tell you the only 5 things you should be doing is writing code talking to customers eating sleeping and exercise and I was like. That’s all I want to do like I don’t want to do anything else that sounds great. Sign me up and so you know 2 23 year olds got into y combinator in the summer of 2013 and that’s kind of really the the start of my journey and I remember like everyone is always like man, you’ve you quit so many jobs jack and I was like.
Leore Avidar: Quitting Jobs was so easy for me like I didn’t care about the money I just wanted to I’ve always been just I want to do something that I that really like flexes my muscles in my brain like I need that I need that every single day to exist and get energy and so yeah, that was the start. That’s how we. You know, got into y combinator and was the beginning of of the Lob journey.
Alejandro Cremades: So let’s talk about lop as well for the people that are listening what ended up being the business model. How do you guys make money.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so lob from the beginning was a print and Mail Api basically we charged people for sending out mail at scale and so the initial product was you take an api request. You give us and a physical address where you want to send something an Html. Ah, that was the content portion of it and you tell us what you want to send whether it’s a postcard a letter or a check and we sent it out and we just charged you for exactly what that was so a postcard was ¢41 so that was kind of the initial business model as we matured it turned into saas plus usage and we still have our.
Alejandro Cremades: Hey lear can you hear me Leor can you hear me le.
Leore Avidar: You know our free tier where it’s just usage today. So it’s it’s very simple business model. We just full full cost all in what it take you know from api request to the mailbox ¢41 for a postcard. You know there’s a price for a letter check and so forth.
Alejandro Cremades: Leore, Can you hear me.
Alejandro Cremades: Leore, I think I lost you there.
Alejandro Cremades: Leore.
Alejandro Cremades: So for the people that are listening. You know to really get it. Why ended up being the business model of Lob How do you guys make money I.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so the way the Api works is every single api request you put in a physical address. So The address set to the person that you want to send it to and then html which is basically the content of the actual postcard letter or check that you want to send and then we deliver it. You know from Api request all the way to the mailbox and we just charge you a usage fee for that. So That’s inclusive of print and postage. So For example, a postcard would be ¢41 and so you pay for pay for what you use.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in this case for you guys I mean the fake it till you make it. You know how did you go about getting the first Enterprise Customer I’m sure that was quite a quite a challenge.
Leore Avidar: Yeah I mean even to give people kind of what our setup was in the early days the the printer was just a hp printer I mean back then when you bought like a mac you got a free hp printer we were just in Sunnyvale California we just had a hp printer in our in our living room and that’s where we were printing the mail that people were sending and that only lasted I would say until we got to you know some of our larger customers. But um, you know after we hired our first employee and um, we started getting a lot of inbounds from really large customers and I remember 1 time. This really large enterprise customer in Sunnyvale California um, you know, kind of messaged support and then said hey like we we have a ah use case where we need to send 23000000 pieces of mail and we were like okay okay, yeah, we can handle that of course we can handle that. Um. And so they’re like well when can you you know when can you meet and we’re like well we’re in sunny ofvale 2 they’re like can you come now and we were and so um, you know my co-founder Harry and our first employee Dan they ended up actually going to this massive company. You know it was literally you know the you know public company just going around the corner. They were thinking they were going to meet you know, probably ah at ah at a smaller coffee shop or or something and they end up going to this massive mega enterprise um, and so that was kind of our first dealings with a really large company. We ended up signing a contract. It wasn’t for for $23000000 but it was just really funny that. Um.
Leore Avidar: You know, just from a support ticket or just from a live chat back then you can land a really large customer. We were like how did you find out about us. We were so small back then.
Alejandro Cremades: And then also the first employee it did tie in very nicely to with your capital racing effort. So tell us about that too.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so I would say this is for you know for a lot of young entrepreneurs who are coming out of college 1 of the hardest things to do is actually hire and and not because hiring or interviewing is hard. It is hard. But you don’t have a network right? You have very little experience. You have very little people to draw from right when you hire a seasoned executive. They generally bring over a lot of people that they’ve because you know they might have 101520 years and so the only place that Harry and I could draw from was college and so for Michigan and so ah. You know Dan was our first employee. It’s actually ah quite a funny story Dan was supposed to start at uber back in 13 um and two days before he was supposed to start at at uber um, we just had enough money to hire. You know the first employee and so I called up Dan I was like. And Dan had lived with me when I was in New York right out of college and and I remember calling him up was like Dan I have some some good news and some bad news I mean and you know bad news you’re you’re not going to go work at uber you’re coming to join me and Harry at a startup. Ah, we also can’t pay you very much but it’s going to be the most amazing experience ever. And literally next day flew over joined us. Um I even remember promising him hey like I’m going to get this really nice place in San Francisco it’s so much cheaper than than New York and lo and behold. He ends up having to sleep on our couch for for about a month um and so
Leore Avidar: A lot of our early employees were friends of ours from college. It’s probably been one of the most exciting parts of building. The company is just doing it with your friends. Um, and so we had a lot of Michigan people join us even our our next couple employees were also from Michigan another Dan as well and it was. It was. It was really fun. Those early days especially you know when it’s a group of friends. You’re young and all you do is you? You know you work and you hang out that’s that’s basically it.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing now in your guys’ case. Also you’ve raised quite a bit of money. How much money have you guys raised for the company so far and how has it been the experience of going from 1 financing cycle to the next more in terms of like.
Leore Avidar: Probably around a $100,000,000 at this point.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah, have you seen expectations shifting and things like that from investors. So.
Leore Avidar: I think early on a lot of it is more weighted on storytelling because you just there are so little data on the company and people are like okay can these founders and can this idea be successful. Do they have what it takes to kind of get to the next stage and so I think. You know now even being an investor myself I think what people are looking for is okay, are these guys technical can they build this product. Are they going to hustle right? and is this idea big. So if they do you know figure it out. Can this idea be really big and so from the seed round perspective I actually think this is why y combinator and some of the early investors. Believed in us and because we we checked those boxes right? and we were working really hard. Um, and you know again I think we were very stubborn about the vision. We really believe that this product should be should exist in the world I think going forward every round even from I would say series. You know more? So from the bc standpoint the numbers matter right? It’s not only about hey is this vision believable but have you have do you have traction right? Have you closed enterprise customers. Do you have a sustainable business model. Are you operating in the business efficiently. Do you know how to acquire customers and so. I would say over time you need a combination of storytelling and really good fundamentals. It’s not 1 or the other and so all of a sudden you have to really showcase to people. Um, hey this is this is a real business. You can make money from it right? here’s how you’re going to have to make money from it and so understanding what investors look for later on.
Leore Avidar: Very different from the seed round.
Alejandro Cremades: And obviously for you too I mean there’s been tremendous growth for the business because I mean how how many employees do you guys have now that’s incredible. How how would you say that you’ve also been able to um.
Leore Avidar: Right around 200 people
Alejandro Cremades: I Mean you were saying that you ah you always have had this curiosity to learn and to keep yourself. Ah you know, challenged you know mentally and and to feed the brain and and to and to develop yourself. So I mean you’ve had to develop yourself quite a bit in order to keep the same pace with the business. So how did you go about doing that.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so everyone learns differently I would say my style of learning is by trying and making mistakes so I’m I’m very comfortable experimenting and making mistakes and I would say I’ve I’ve made a shit ton of mistakes I’m not afraid to say that I think you know you have to as an entrepreneur. So i. You know the best part about being the Ceo of a company is that your role changes in the early days every three months and then later on every six months and so what I would go out and do is I would say okay, what is the area that is just alarmingly wrong at the company right now and that was the problem that I wanted to go and spend time on and learn right. And so I would go and spend time and I would go and learn I would go and ask people I would go talk to advisors mentors people who I thought were doing it really well and I would try to become an expert as fast as possible and so that 0 to 1 phase is something that I get really excited about and then kind of the next step is okay. Now that I know and I can can talk to talk and I know the problem who is the best person in the world that I can go and hire to bring in to you know to maintain and solve this problem going forward and then I would hire them and that’s really been kind of my model the entire time has become become an expert really quickly or enough to be. You know, really dangerous and then go hire somebody who can just continuously teach me and actually run that function.
Alejandro Cremades: Now if you were to go to sleep tonight you’re and you wake up in a world where the vision of love is fully realized what would that world look like.
Leore Avidar: The full vision of lob so I would say there’s almost 2 points. The first one is like all mail should be sent through lob just hands down. There is no reason for somebody to go and work with a printer these days. It’s too manual. It’s too cumbersome you then got to go to work with Usps directly. All mail should be sent through lob just. Hands down. It’s as simple as that. So that’s kind of the the male vision of lob but there’s a vision beyond that right? like I’m I’m fascinated with the automation and the the connection between the physical and digital world and so for me, it’s ah it’s a set. It’s a suite of services. Right? That really kind of connect this physical to digital world and so I want to be able to release more more more lines of businesses outside of just print and mail.
Alejandro Cremades: Now running a business like this I mean it’s it’s it’s it’s tough. It’s not easy. I mean you’re you’re literally in this rocket ship but you know you’re not running just 1 You’re running two. So what literally like almost three years ago you had you know, ah old. You know, really that your other company that you also brought to life. So so how did that happen I mean obviously you know just running law alone. It’s probably like an incredible undertaking so you know how did you build the courage to say hey you know what? I’m gonna I’m gonna do 1 more? yeah.
Leore Avidar: Yeah I mean it’s It’s always I say one of the the It’s an interesting path that I went down for for allt like I I Love law I You know I Run Lob day-to-day right now and you know everyone has time where they need to kind of take off from the business. And kind of destress and so at night my big thing since 2014 ever since I left kind of the trading world I was always trading something whether it was trading stocks and bonds then in 2014 it moved to cryptocurrency so I was really early in in crypto and then it turned into trading cards. Like actual basketball cards and football cards and so you know every so often. Um I kept running into this problem with ah my with banks where I would try to go get a mortgage or a loan just to kind of you know, go through the adulthood that most people do like buy a home and. I always had I would say a different experience than everybody else who had a normal job which is banks would not lend to me right? because my balance sheet was law equity cryptocurrency and basketball cards right? So when they looked at me. They’re like okay so you have a ton of Risky Assets. We can’t lend to you. And I was like what are you talking about this. This stuff is worth real money right? My lab equity was worth real Money. You know crypto is you know, worth a lot now and it was worth a lot back then and my trading cards were worth a lot too and I was just I got so fed up with kind of talking to that they wouldn’t give me like a mortgage and kind of right when Covid hit.
Leore Avidar: You know I had famously. You know turned around $15,000 into close to $15,000,000 in trading basketball cards and I was like okay they they have got to give me ah a loan at this point like that’s that’s a lot of money and I still couldn’t get a loan and so the the problem just hit so hard. That I was like I got to solve this right and not only do I got to solve this. You know, no one else is out. There is building a company that’s going to solve this so I got to go and and do it and so it was it was just out of personal need like at some point in life. You need to be able to take what you’ve built and actually turned into real dollars and that translation layer didn’t exist and. You know all these founders that I had become friends with all these ceos that I had become friends friends with we were just so annoyed that like no one was lending to us and there wasn’t liquidity that we needed and so that was the goal. The goal was hey alt is going to be providing liquidity for alternative assets whether it’s trading cards whether it’s you know sneakers watches. Whether it’s you own founder equity. We will help you. We will be that company that allows you to get liquidity and so it was just a near and dear pain point that was like I got to solve this one way or another and so I was like okay like I’m going to once again, you know, go do this for another you know ten twenty 30 years. You know luckily at this point. When I started it I started it with 6 other people like I had a founding team almost right away. Otherwise I would have never been able to do it.
Alejandro Cremades: Now. Wow Fifteen Thousand into fifteen million my god that is a quite their return. Why? What? What? What was it exactly that that that that you were trading there. what what what was what was it
Leore Avidar: Yeah, ah basketball cards. So I was ah you know buying Kobe Bryant cards on on ebay and selling them and you know the the trading card or collectible boom really kind of you know, blew up, you know during covid and I was sitting on this mega collection of Kobe Bryant cards
Alejandro Cremades: I Remember yeah.
Leore Avidar: Ah, that I had been basically putting together since since 2016 and again it was more of a I’ve always loved ebay I love flipping things I loved the art of negotiation I love the arbitrage and I just saw so much arbitrage and so I just started kind of going really hard at at doing it and so.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow.
Leore Avidar: Yeah I you know again I So I still have a massive collection I enjoyed and I was like I need to turn this into cash. You know I need to or even more so I don’t want to sell them but I would love to get a mortgage like you know like buying ah almost such a milestone in anyone’s life because it’s you’re like you know you’re kind of like independent I was like.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, it is.
Leore Avidar: I Need to get a mortgage right? How do I get a mortgage like why can’t chase Svb in first Rep Republic Why can’t I get a mortgage you know and I mean why is that such a hard problem.
Alejandro Cremades: So then in this case with alt. What is what is the business model there. How do you guys monetize? okay.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so we have kind of 3 lines of business. We have an exchange where you can buy and sell trading cards. The second one is we have a lending product where you actually can take loans on alternative assets. So. Ah, that one is not just trading cards. It’s any alternative assets. So we’ll give you a loan against a portfolio of trading cards, watches sneakers and nfts and then we have a funds business which actually allows you to actually invest in those lines of businesses. So we have the world’s largest sports card fund. It’s a. I think at this point a $40,000,000 fund and you can get exposure. That’s not correlated to the s and p 500 we actually have ah an amazing set of returns over the last year and a half and have completely. You know we’re we’re actually up where the market is is down and we’re up considerably. So um.
Alejandro Cremades: I Think right will.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, the the goal is to get into more asset classes and you know we named the company Altsalt.xyz it’s a combination. It’s built a lot of it on on top of the blockchain and we yeah, we just want to give liquidity to people who have these assets and I believe that alternative assets are going to be 1 of the most you know. Growing segments of of asset classes over the next twenty years and I want to be the ones that’s going to support people on them around $100000000 as well. Ah, $300000000 including some of the debt that we’ve raised for the lending facility.
Alejandro Cremades: And how much money have you guys raised there. So.
Alejandro Cremades: Got it and how does the the combination of debt you know versus equity. How does that work on a company like alt and.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, so we have around one hundred and twenty five million dollars we’ve raised probably like a 100 and something million dollars in equity $200,000,000 in debt and then on the fund side. We’ve raised around $440,000,000 and so the debt is used for the lending vehicle. So it’s part of that line of business.
Alejandro Cremades: Got it. And how many employees do you guys have at all and Wow now in your case. How do you go about running both companies in parallel.
Leore Avidar: Ah, around 90
Leore Avidar: Yeah, very hard. Um, and I would say kind of my my leadership style I you know I can I summarize it by saying I call it the the vp of nothing that’s that’s really my job right? like I’m I’m not supposed to be running any function. But. Ah, that actually is not the case you can’t you can’t build a company without running and any function and so I have a really strong management team on both sides and so you know I would say one of my super skills is is hiring. Um I really try to find people that I can learn from. Um, that are much stronger at a specific line of business or function than I am and I try to bring them in and so you know lob has a fully built out management team and when I started alt I actually brought in a management team right away I would have never been able to start alt without that management team in place because I just I didn’t have the time on my hands. Um. And also at both companies. There’s a very clear like number 2 who is running the day-to-day and so kind of what I do on a particular day I try to be very focused which is number 1 setting the culture culture and values. What is the tone. How are we going to actually build this company that’s number 1 and 1 of my most important jobs number two is fundraising. I love talking to investors I have a very strong vision. You know I have a commercial mindset in place I want to tell people you know, not only why is this journey going to be really, you know, impactful to society. But how are we going to make money. How am I going to get you return on your investment and then the third one is hiring a management team.
Leore Avidar: That’s those are the 3 things that I should be doing on a typical day right? and you know everything else should be done by the leaders that I’ve hired now. It’s never the case. It’s never a perfect world. You know there’s something that’s always on fire and I’m kind of diving into it. But that’s kind of how I build the companies almost to a point where like Lior doesn’t have to be a part of them. Um. And so I really trust my management team and I have I have a great set of leaders on both sides.
Alejandro Cremades: And when you’re hiring I mean is there like 1 maybe like 1 specific question that you’re looking you know for an answer or 1 thing that you look at that is the most important to you.
Leore Avidar: Yeah there’s a couple of things. So ah, the question that I generally ask an executive. Um I care a lot about numbers and looking at their track record. So I always ask them. What’s the single most metric that you look at every single day that measures the health of of the line of business that you you measure right. And so I want them to articulate that metric to me and then I want to ask them how they did on it and then I want to go so detailed I want to go I want to see how if they actually understand how that metric works and so that’s kind of the quantitative aspect of performance and what you’ll find is that people who know their numbers and have a track record track record of performance. They can replicate that from. Ah, from company to company that’s number 1 the second question and this is more of a question that I ask myself is did I learn something from this interview right? You should be hiring people who are smarter than you. So did I respect them did I learn something. Um you know would I be willing to go and work for them. You know would would I go and work for this cmo that I hire would I go work for this cfo that if the answer is no to any of those you can’t hire the person because you need to hire people that are smarter than you if you’re always the smartest person in the room and you’re always coaching people. Your ceiling is only as high as as. Yourself and like you can’t do it yourself and so um, that that was like something really early on that I learned like I got to bring in people who are smarter than me I got to people bring in people who want to that I can learn from like I want to learn right? I’m not here to teach I’m here I’m here to learn right first and foremost.
Alejandro Cremades: Now imagine if I was to put you into a time machine le or and I bring you back in time. Maybe I bring you back in time to that moment that I don’t know you were still in Michigan you were like thinking about like building a company of your own either at that point or one day. And you had the opportunity of having a sit down with that younger self and giving that younger leor one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, it’s not going to go the way that you think and it’s going to take hard work. You know everything I’ve learned in life is it’s I’ve planned for so many things I was always the one who had this was my path. This was my goal. It never goes the way that you think it’s going to go and that’s that’s the part of life and. The second part is there are no shortcuts. You know I was always the one who was looking for. Okay, how do I you know make a million dollars this way or how do I no matter what you do, you have to work hard right? and so that is something that I’ve always taken. Um, to heart I work really hard day in day out and I tell this to everybody is that you have to work hard if you work hard. You will be successful. You just you got to put in the work. Um, and that’s it like if you come to work every single day you give a year all I really believe anyone can be successful. You just got to try and iterate. Um. So it’s as simple as that just keep trying. You know it’s not it might not be startup number 1 it might not be startup number 2 like I tell people I’m on startup 3 and 4 and you know I still have this chip on my shoulder every single day I don’t believe that I’m the smartest person in the world I don’t think I’m the most successful person in the world. And I work every single day because I want to be the best at what I do right? I want to be you know for me I see it again. It’s the scoreboard. It’s like this is the the game of intellectual curiosity I want to be able to prove that I can build a really strong business that is durable that with ah an employee base. That’s really happy and so that’s kind of what.
Leore Avidar: You know drives me every single day.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love it. So for the people that are listening. What is the best way for them to reach out and say hi.
Leore Avidar: Ah, email me at Leor At Lob Dot Com or at Leor At Alt Dot X Y Z I will respond I’ll try to help as much as I can or at least find the right person that ah that can help you with that.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing. Well lear. Thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor earth to have you with us.
Leore Avidar: Yeah, thanks so much for having me.
* * *
If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at [email protected]