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Crossing the Desert, Hitting the Jackpot: Taboola CEO Adam Singolda (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Mar 12th 2014

Sramana: What was your frame of mind as you approached the angel investors? You had just left the Army and it sounds like you may have been looking for a bit of a break at that point.

Adam Singolda: At that time, I was considering two things. One was to do an MBA because I really wanted to move to the US. I wanted to have a chance to make a living and join the industry with a better chance of sticking to it. The other option was to start the company, but I did not have absolute confidence that I could do it. The investor recommended that I delay my MBA by a year to start the company. In the worst case scenario, I would still get my MBA, but on the upside a year later, we could potentially be building something great together.

Sramana: Angel investors were offering you money to build a company without a business plan? What prompted them to offer you money? You did not have a track record of being an entrepreneur.

Adam Singolda: Essentially, yes. I believe that angel investors invest in the person asking for the money. I don’t think any investor will spend money on the idea. The investor wants to work with the founder if he believes in that person. This angel invested in my because he felt that it would be a good chance to work together. He told me up front that he assumed that he would be losing his money.

Sramana: How long did you know him?

Adam Singolda: I had known him for about two months. He was impressed with my technology background. He realized I was passionate about the space and that I had the technical expertise to do something good. It was too early to assess the business environment. He also realized I had no ambitions of wasting his money.

Sramana: How much money did you get from this guy?

Adam Singolda: It was in the lower end of the six-figure range.

Sramana: What did you do after you raised the money?

Adam Singolda: I called the guys I worked with in the Army. I told them I had a tough job and not a lot of money to pay them, but that we could have fun again like we did in the good old days. The first few employees were friends of mine from the Army. We formed a small but unique tech team. I started working on building decks to see if I could formulate a story that made sense. The team started to work on developing technology. I basically took on the roles of BD, CO, Sales, and Marketing. The team took care of engineering.

Sramana: How many people are on the team?

Adam Singolda: Initially, there were four of us.

Sramana: When did this get started?

Adam Singolda: A few months before July of 2007. Our office was my private investor’s office. We did not have any expenses. We then raised our first money from a VC. Our VC round was raised based on an angel investor in combination with our team and idea. We had nothing but a deck and a team at that point. That was enough to get us $1.5 million from our first institutional VC.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Crossing the Desert, Hitting the Jackpot: Taboola CEO Adam Singolda
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