Eli Novershtern

Partner
Tel AvivIsrael

What in your childhood made your career trajectory probable?

I started programming in third grade, and since then through elementary and middle school I learned a new programming language every year (here, I am outing myself as the nerd that I am). I then had the privilege to serve in the IDF at the nexus of defining and prioritizing needs, characterizing and sometimes inventing technological solutions, and integrating relevant operations. In retrospect, this was not such a bad Petri dish to grow a VC.

What advice do you live by?

It’s all about the people.

What is rare to find?

Humility is unfortunately too rare - people willing to admit they don’t know or don’t yet have an answer to a challenge. People willing to admit that their competitors are also smart and may have some important competitive advantages. This is very often the case, and acknowledging it is an important step in dealing with it.

Why should someone build a startup?

Building a startup is very, very, very hard. You should only do it if you are genuinely passionate about what you’re doing and want to do it for its own sake. You should only do it if you WANT to eat, breathe, and sleep (well, not a lot of sleep) your company and industry. Otherwise, it is too hard, and it will be very difficult to be very good at it.

What’s the first thing you do when you meet a company?

I always like to get to know the founders first. What is their life story, what is their motivation, how did they get together, what brought them to this idea?

What’s the next big opportunity in tech?

Technology is very interesting and fun, but in the end, it is a means to an end. So as long as life is imperfect and there are problems to be solved, technology can help solve those. One of the beauties of our profession is there are always big opportunities for technology to help people and businesses, and these opportunities keep evolving, sometimes in surprising ways. Some that seem small turn out to be big and vice versa. So there is not one answer to this question, the multiple answers that exist change over time - and that’s the beauty of it all.

Where’s the joy in your work?

I love to think together with entrepreneurs, and to help them refine and define their ideas - and then help bring them to life. I realized pretty early that I can be a good “midwife” for people with good ideas -one of the reasons I wanted to become a VC.

What is similar between Square Peg and the founders you back?

We are a startup - and should always strive to remain that way. We are relatively young as an organisation, which means that we keep thinking about what we do - are we doing it the right way? Is there a better way to do this? In that sense we are similar to early-stage entrepreneurs - we sometimes experiment and change our ways if we think we got it wrong. Inevitably we also make mistakes while experimenting (failure is an inherent part of our business!). But as long as we learn from our mistakes, we are usually better off for having made them. This is why it should always be day one for us.

Companies

Square Peg Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 164 352 229) is an Authorised Representative of Victoria Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 159 228 314) AFSL 428989