It’s All About the Entrepreneurs
Blog Series | Part One | It’s all About the Entrepreneurs
Since founding Glilot Capital ten years ago, I’m amazed, but not surprised, at how much has evolved in the venture capital and tech landscape. I consistently evaluate the steps we have taken as a venture fund and look to the industry as a whole, learning valuable lessons along the way that have been key in supporting our portfolio companies from seed to scale.
First obvious lesson is that the founders are the most important piece of the puzzle. The work we do is meaningless without them, as we do what we do to help the founders and increase the odds for them to be successful. There are many contributing factors to the success of a startup including product offering, GTM and Investors support. But at the end of the day, without solid Founders, the startup foundation will crack. The startups that succeed today are run by Founders who can lead while being part of the team; Those who possess technological know-how as well as strong business acumen, and those who have the desire and persistence to be successful, no matter what falls in their path.
Consistently Challenge Your Model of Conduct
I’ve learned that no matter how successful you become, you must also continue to consistently challenge your beliefs and model of conduct. In the VC world this is especially tricky. As humans, we tend to rely on our experience to drive us forward – that we can replicate the past experiences that led to success in order to drive further success. However, in the VC and tech ecosystem, if you rely on this model, you are bound to make many mistakes. I’ve learned that we need to constantly reexamine our thesis – to base our decisions on what is relevant today or what we believe will be relevant in the future, not two years ago, because in this industry, two years is a lifetime ago.
These learnings are what has enabled us to succeed and get to where we are after a decade – The biggest achievement of which, in my opinion, is helping the entrepreneurs become successful. Former generations of entrepreneurs would launch their startups and end up with minimal money in their pockets, if any. This would often result in their return to the workforce as employees in large companies, or set them back in their career in some way.
Success is Not Only Exits and Returns
Today I look back and am in awe of the high success rate of entrepreneurs. At the beginning of Glilot’s run, we were measuring success by the number of exits and returns. Today we add to that the fact that we are seeing many second-time entrepreneurs – a testament to the fact that our partnership with them offers more than just monetary value, but it positions them well for the future.
So What Does the Future Hold?
The Israeli ecosystem is in a great place right now and I’m more optimistic than ever about how it will play out over the next decade. From a technological perspective, I believe we will continue to see a boom of cybersecurity and cloud related companies. The motivation and ‘no-fail’ attitude of the entrepreneurs behind these companies are driving them to move forward, and will lead them to grow as companies instead of exit.
Additionally, something has changed in the dynamics of the entrepreneurial world over the last couple of decades. 20 years ago, it was more difficult to be an entrepreneur. Today there is an increase in the amount of available funding, making it easier to build a company from the ground up as opposed to changing an existing company. Startups will continue to grow in the Israeli ecosystem as Israeli entrepreneurs have proven themselves to be successful and we will find ourselves seeing more unicorns and more multi-billion dollar companies.
Finally, the VC and tech world is slowly becoming more diverse. We are starting to see increases in under-represented communities such as women, the Ultra-Orthodox and Arabic communities, but it’s still not where we want it to be. This is a harder goal to achieve, but given the increased awareness, I am optimistic we will see a more diverse representation. This is also something I have been pushing forward as Co-Chairman of Power in Diversity, a bottom-up initiative inspired by Kate Mitchell and the American National Venture Capital Association. We aim to increase diversity in the Israeli startup industry.
The last decade has shown many shifts, from an increase in Israeli serial entrepreneurs to an increase in cloud and cyber startups, and more. The venture capital space is one that is ever-evolving, and one that requires a consistent thrive to stay ahead of the curve. I am optimistic that this is only the beginning, and look forward to seeing what the next decade will bring.