Each month Startup Grind hosts an event in Tel Aviv featuring a successful entrepreneur or investor. In August we hosted Eyal Herzog at Rise Tel Aviv.
Eyal is a serial entrepreneur who has been coding since the age of seven. Eyal has often operated on the cusp of new technology waves. He was a co-founder of Metacafe a once very popular humorous video sharing site before Youtube launched and also co-founded Contact Networks a social network for friends and business contacts years before Facebook or Linkedin launched.
Lately, Eyal has been in the news for his latest venture, Bancor, which he co-founded alongside Guy Benartzi, Yehuda Levi and Galia Benartzi. Last June, Bancor raised about $150 million in the single biggest token generation event in history.
Fresh from this buzz which also drew some controversy Eyal sat down with Ram Yonish for a fireside chat where he shared advice for entrepreneurs and lessons learned from his own journey:
- Invest time and effort into the area of business that you are passionate about. It took Eyal 6 years working on user generated currencies before the liquidity problem which Bancor solves became abundantly clear to Eyal. This was the idea for which Bancor raised $150M in just two hour an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) record.
- The right market is important but product is king. Eyal launched popular video site Metacafe before YouTube was launched but Metacafe lacked the stickiness of YouTube.
- Know your audience and understand their culture. MetaCafe was headquartered in Israel while the market was in the US. This disconnect was partly responsible for MetaCafe missing the importance of social networks like Myspace for video sharing.
- Timing is also critical. Eyal raised $15M to launch Contact Networks a social network for friends and business contacts years before Facebook or Linkedin launched.
- School isn't for everyone. Eyal grew up in Ra'anana one of three siblings and hated school with a passion. When his father's cousin brought a computer from abroad he started playing with it and quickly realized that "it could be used for more than just games -you could earn a living with a computer."
- Team, Team, Team. Eyal credits Bancor's funding success to the team, their collective experience learning from past failures, and the amazing board they assembled which includes Bernard Lietaer also known as the "Architect of the Euro."
- Every entrepreneur needs to be paying attention to cryptocurrencies right now. According to Eyal "The killer app for user generated currency is venture funding and Ethereum is the platform for that."