Thought Waves

Meet the Tidal Team: Fee Lal

I’m Fee Lal, the latest addition to the Tidal Investment team. With a foundation in corporate law and M&A, my focus has always been on supporting founders from their earliest stages through to exit and beyond. I thrive on tackling complex challenges, balancing my human-centred ethos with my corporate strategic approach. Keen to hear how I got here? Well, jump in!

Fee Lal

22 Feb 2024 · 3 min read

Cutting my teeth in transactional law

The first eight years of my career were in corporate law, where I found my niche in M&A and investments. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so I thrived in the fast-paced and high-risk nature of transactional work. What energised me most was the diverse range of activities in a single day. In the morning, I’d help a client with their ESOP, then find myself drafting a SAFE for another client before jumping into an acquisition negotiation in the afternoon.

Amidst all that excitement, what truly made me tick was the opportunity to form deep relationships with founders during pivotal moments in their lives. However, the transient nature of transactional law was a challenge; after closing a deal, you’d swiftly move on to the next one. This constant shift had me wishing for a more lasting connection, a desire to continue the journey with the folks who I had become so close to. That was my primary motivator to jump out of law into the world of tech (that said, I can still get pretty nerdy about deal structuring and will always appreciate a well-drafted Russian roulette provision 😉).

Seeing technology M&A through to success

Following law, I found myself in the M&A team at Atlassian. M&A gets a pretty bad wrap; reports indicate that 70% and 90% of all deals are deemed “failures,” marked by management dropouts, insufficient value realisation, or even complete divestitures a few years later. I’ve long believed that the lion’s share of these failures can be attributed to a lack of emphasis on the people part of these transactions.

My role at Atlassian was focused on addressing the people experience within transactions. At the outset of each deal, we delved into understanding founder motivations and aspirations, aiming to decipher how they could thrive within the Atlassian environment post-deal. On the backend, we’d act as a founder’s “chief of staff”, helping them integrate into Atlassian’s culture and ways of working and ensuring their teams were set up for success in their new home.

Becoming the G&A whisperer

Though the structure of tech companies varies, I generally categorise them into three distinct organisational units: Governance and Administration (G&A), Research and Development (R&D), and Go-To-Market (GTM).

G&A typically encompasses what some might call the “unsexy” or boring work like people, legal, and financial. But it’s exactly where I like to play (hear me out). In my view, robust G&A is the linchpin that distinguishes a good company from a truly great one. The foundational work of implementing effective governance structures, enhancing productivity, spearheading people programs, and aligning company goals and OKRs serves as the bedrock for scaling companies. These elements empower R&D and GTM teams to do their best work.

At Tidal, where we focus on Seed Phase investments, we seek founders who are already displaying early signs of product-market fit and witnessing the beginnings of a repeatable GTM motion. What they need are the right foundations to supercharge those motions and achieve MMF (model market fit). And that’s precisely where my expertise comes into play!

I get to engage with incredible founders every day, from seed to exit and beyond, while also leveraging my legal, people, and project management skills to provide invaluable support. Whether it’s offering governance insights at the board level, negotiating deal terms, or contributing to workforce planning and people systems, I am deeply passionate about making a meaningful impact.

Pioneering the future of work

Driven by my passion for people programs, productivity, and governance, it should come as no surprise that I have a keen interest in investing in the future of work. I’m convinced that the trajectory of AI will be a game-changer in reshaping the way we work, allowing us to focus on the parts of our roles that actually require deep thinking and genuine human involvement. Rather than machines assisting humans, I expect we’ll see a paradigm shift towards humans assisting machines. Against the backdrop of the slowest productivity growth in 60 years and the unprecedented rate of AI adoption, it looks like a thrilling window of opportunity is emerging for new players to join the race.

With my unique cross-section of legal, governance, and people programs expertise, I’m well-positioned to identify and advocate for companies at the forefront of this transformative wave.

Get ready for my first question

Tell me about you and the journey that got you to this moment.

When I come across a prospective investment, my first question is simple: “Tell me about you and the journey that got you to this moment.” People are at the core of what I do, and starting with the founder’s journey helps create a relaxed atmosphere for a more fruitful conversation.

If you’re a visionary founder ready to make waves, please hit me up. Let’s chat about your market-shaking, ambitious product that’s changing the world. I’m all ears and excited to explore the possibilities with you! 🚀

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