Tel Aviv — Israel
Where is the joy in your work?
I’ve been building startups for most of the past 12 years. The common thread in the three main ventures I was part of was the passion for creating something new and valuable in the world. I love diving into a new domain, thinking through the different facets and the deeper layers of a problem and the process of making something new using tech, because it can quickly become impactful for millions. In recent years I had the privilege of closely supporting other founders on their path, and I found great joy in that. I’ve moved from building to partnering with inspiring builders because I am too excited about various tech vectors, too impatient to park my unsatisfied curiosity, and too eager to work with multiple founders to have the laser-focus that leading one venture requires.
Most insightful books this year?
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse - The Almanack of Naval Ravikant - The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
How should a founder manage their board?
They shouldn’t. As a founder or executive, I learned that your board members can become some of your most insightful and influential partners in this crazy journey. I’ve had the good fortune of working with incredible board members who came through time and time again. Great boards have vibrant, insightful discussions and disagreements, but it is very rare for someone to tally the votes on a big decision. The big decisions are, at the end of the day, almost always up to the CEO / founders. So the CEO / founders need to leverage this powerful resource - the board - through close, transparent and authentic communications. This is of course a two-way street.
So don’t choose a board member you need to worry about managing. Don’t choose someone you need to play a role in front of. Choose a partner that you can just be yourself around and that you wish will be there with you, in the trenches, when the going gets tough. It probably will.
What experience do you wish you could erase from your mind, so you can do it again for the first time?
Sunrise on the Playa.
Where did you learn most in your career?
Developing the vision of Props and bringing it to life together with my co-founder Adi and the rest of the amazing Props team has been the most exciting and teaching adventure of my career. For context, we started Props to go after a big vision: bring user ownership to today’s popular apps. Power users - not companies - are what drive most of the value in consumer networks. Individual users are social media’s content creators and curators, Uber’s drivers and car suppliers, Airbnb’s hosts and real estate investors, etc., yet they don’t own a piece of these networks. I believe that ought to change.
Today, multiple apps leverage Props to run their “user ownership loyalty program” using a simple API integration and see material growth to user loyalty and engagement. With ~6 million Props token users, Props is one of the most highly used crypto tokens out there and keeps on growing.
This was a deep learning experience because to get here, we had to do a lot of things for the first time: go down the complex and nascent blockchain technology rabbit hole, build expertise in token economic design and modelling, take the company through a first of its kind “mini IPO” as one of the first SEC-compliant tokens in the US, invest heavily in community management and investor relations as a publicly-traded asset, champion a completely new concept and business model for our partners - all while still searching for product-market fit.
I bring so much from my time as a founder to my job as a VC, but one that I really want to highlight is deep empathy for the builders. As a founder, I probably heard “no” from over 50 VCs before we were able to land $25M from incredible investors, including Union Square Ventures. I am used to sitting on the other side of the table, and I remember that experience vividly in every interaction I have with founders these days.