Smartup 3 winners offer tips for other entrepreneurs
Every new entrepreneur should know that the road on which he is embarking is strewn with dilemmas, opportunities, meetings with important and unimportant people, disappointments and small successes, and that everything is – to tell the truth – chock full of clichés. It starts with the recommendation, “Go with your truth” and ends with, “First of all, be true to yourself.” But such advice is superfluous for entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem, in which if you did not have this truth at the outset, let alone faith in the idea, you probably would not embark on this road, which is everything except comfortable.
Advice should be taken from people with experience. They might be gurus, who have chalked up some successes (or at least not failures), or they might equally be entrepreneurs still on the road who have learned a thing or two about it. It turns out that the greatest challenges are revealed to be simpler than you thought, and the things you thought would be easy become obstacles.
The winning entrepreneurs in the “Globes”-Bank Hapoalim (TASE:POLI) Smartup3 program have something to say about the road, even as they are on it, and they can allow themselves to offer some tips.
PayBox Ltd. offers a group bank account for share purchases. CEO Tal Grinberg also talks about things that favorably surprised him, despite worries about difficulties. “One of the basic elements for building our customer experience required building a special relationship with credit card and clearing companies. Happily, at the beginning, we found a sympathetic ear at Leumi Card Ltd., and we’ve established a wonderful relationship with it. Secondly, we chose to develop PayBox as a solution for end users. One of the key challenges for companies that seek to work directly with the end consumer is to reach a potential customer and persuade him to work with the new brand. This challenge is honed in the case of a payments product. After all, as consumers, the money it’s about money, the element of confidence in the brand is fundamental. Happily, we discovered that, even though we chose to work directly with the end consumer in a complicated market environment, we were able to persuade user to try and give trust.”
Where were you surprised by difficulties?
Tal Grinberg (Paybox’ CEO): “PayBox’s pace of development depends on the number of developers. When we began hiring developers, we thought it would be straightforward, because who wouldn’t want to work for a cool company like ours? But we were surprised to discover that the process was complicated, requiring a lot of focus, energy, and connections, especially for skilled full stack developers. Even now, we still have not hired developers to man the important development positions at the company. Secondly, to continue supporting local growth, launch the product in the European market, and install new business models, we need money. We chose to raise money through outside investment. In this case, it was clear to us from the beginning that the process would be complicated, but over time we discovered that it was really complicated. Because this is a seed-stage investment with a very high risk level, investors sought clear or semi-clear indications that their investment would yield results in the future. These indications varied from investor to investor, and it is sometimes difficult to choose the measures that the company should achieve to persuade an investor that this is a clear indication, grow backbone, and build a clear strategy that will focus the company in one direction.”
Have you some tips for entrepreneurs?
“On one hand, take a deep breath, because it’s going to be a long and twisted journey. You’ll have to compromise on a lot of things, especially time and money. If you’re not ready for that, your team definitely won’t be ready to do it.”