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Entrepreneurial Lessons. Rafi Gidron rafi@prologue.co.il. Prologue is an investment and entrepreneurship organization that invests intellectual, financial and management resources to create and nurture early-stage ventures targeted at high growth markets and applications.

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entrepreneurial lessons
Entrepreneurial Lessons

Rafi Gidron

rafi@prologue.co.il

prologue parallel entrepreneurship
Prologueis aninvestmentandentrepreneurshiporganization that invests intellectual, financial andmanagement resources tocreate and nurtureearly-stageventurestargeted athigh growth markets and applicationsPrologue – Parallel Entrepreneurship
the prologue parternership
The Prologue Parternership
  • Principals:
    • Dr. Rafi Gidron
      • Chromatis (founder), Scorpio (founder), AST, Columbia University
    • Orni Petruschka
      • Chromatis (founder), Scorpio (founder), Cellaris, ECI, Bellcore, Cornell
    • Albert Olier
      • Chromatis, Scorpio, ZettaLight, IAF, Technion
    • Nimrod Goor (US Office)
        • Model N, Devicescape, MedSim, Banner Aerospace, HBS
high tech commercialization drivers
High-Tech Commercialization – Drivers

Technology

Entrepreneurship

Market

Capital

prologue value proposition
Prologue – Value Proposition

Technology Backlog

Large Markets

Undeployed

Capital

slide14
“Because it is there”George Mallory, British Mountaineer, before attempting to climb Mount Everest in 1924
the challenges
The Challenges
  • Market
  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Business
  • Execution
  • Exit (financial reward)
  • Fun
the means
The Means
  • Team
  • Product selection
  • Execution and culture
  • Finance
  • Timing
  • Luck
the team
The Team
  • Core team
  • Employees
  • Venture capital
  • Board of directors, board of advisors
team selection core team and employees
Team Selection -Core Team and Employees
  • Balanced and seasoned founding team
  • Founders from the target market and from Israel
  • Employees with high B/E (Brain/Ego) ratio
  • Preference to potential vs. experience
  • Enhance the management team with expertise according to the company’s life stages
road to success
Road to Success
  • The right product at the right cost point (Marketing, R&D, CTO)
  • Development execution (R&D)
  • Bugs free easy to operate systems (R&D)
  • Be in front of the customer (Sales)
  • On-time delivery (Operations)
  • Customer support (Sales, R&D)
  • Infrastructure (HR, Finance, Administration)
  • Financing, coordination, management
team selection venture capital
Team Selection - Venture Capital
  • Resources to support the company over time
  • Chemistry with management
  • Leading US-based VCs for their reputation and contacts base
  • Israeli VC for comfort level for US-based VCs
  • Strategic investment: dilemma
team selection directors and advisors
Team Selection - Directors and Advisors
  • Enhance board with external director
  • Name recognition
  • Experience
  • Contacts to client base
  • Contacts to strategic partner base
product selection tradeoffs
Product Selection - Tradeoffs
  • Market opportunity is not obvious - some selection criteria:
    • Market needs vs. Market trends
    • Execution risk vs. Technology risk
    • Niche vs. Mainstream
    • Geographical focus vs. Worldwide
    • Point product vs. Platform
  • Numerous roadmap choices

(depending on product

complexity)

  • Product selection is only

a basis for change!

product direction
Product Direction
  • Keep an open mind
  • Be in the face of customers
  • Listen to customers
  • Listen to your colleagues, peers, subordinates, supervisors
execution
Execution
  • Company setup
  • Focus FocusFocus
  • Professionalism
  • Culture and values
company setup
Company Setup
  • Target market based company - facilitates access to market and strategic partners
  • Israeli R&D
  • Avoid usage of government aid programs with strings attached
  • Significant target market presence from Day 1
  • Over time move center of gravity to the target market as company matures
professionalism
Professionalism
  • Take responsibility - no “small head”
  • Dedication
  • Be on time
  • Challenging, not impossible milestones
  • Balance between orderly and creative processes - know, or ask, when it is ok to cut corners
  • Raise a red flag the moment you identify the problem
  • Do your utmost to solve the problem
company culture and values
Company Culture and Values
  • We are all partners
  • Listen and communicate
  • Team work
  • Hierarchy does not mean much
  • Talk at eye level internally and externally
  • Help recruit more good people
  • No bullshit
timing is everything
Timing is Everything
  • Market development and product introduction phases: Prefer time to market over completeness
  • Financing rounds
  • Exit considerations
ipo vs acquisition
IPO vs Acquisition
  • Build the company solely for IPO
  • When an acquisition opportunity comes up, consider shareholders value in light of IPO track risks:
    • stock market volatility
    • political risks
    • execution risks
slide31

“I have climbed my mountain,

but I must still live my life”

Tenzing Norgay, first to climb Mount

Everest together with Sir Edmund Hillary

lessons learned the hard way
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
  • A few examples:
    • Strategic investment - created misperception in the industry
    • Operations support was started too late
    • Product definition zigzag
    • R&D performance could be even better
    • Late in correcting staffing mistakes