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Seedcamp Tel Aviv Panel Discussion '09

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At Mini Seedcamp Tel Aviv Reshma Sohoni, CEO of Seedcamp moderated a lively and educational panel discussion featuring (left to right in the below picture):

Discussion immediately turned to the economic crisis portraying a positive, optimistic outlook. Comments drew attention to:

  • The decrease in competitors improves your chances of success in the long run.
  • The increase in opportunities due to a changing market interested in cost effective solutions like web applications.
  • The fact that if you survive the next couple of years you stand in good stead for the following period.

Product was the next topic of conversation. Tal Barnoach kicked off with some proverbial words of wisdom, “Don’t sell Pizza and Falafel in the same restaurant”. Focusing on one core competency is obviously a clear element of Tal’s restaurant choice.

There was also general agreement that it is key to launch your product early and iterate to best match your customers’ key requirements quickly.

Saul Klein emphasised the importance of metrics and referred to the definitive text on the subject, Dave McClure’s Start-up Metrics for Pirates. He stressed that you need to know what you are measuring and why, this will provide a criteria for success and builds confidence with investors who want to see measurable progress.

Gigi Levi emphasised that you should keep a close eye on your customers’ behaviour, he elaborated thus:

  • Talk in the language of the user. What your product does for the user?
  • It is good to have big dreams but have a laser focus on what you are doing > focus on the core.
  • Check the behaviour of the user compared to your expectations.
  • Then adapt.

What do investors look for in a team/investment?

Tal Barnoach likes to see a team interested in a long term investment and a product with a key selling point for the user. He also advised teams to improve their presentations by making them an emotional experience, addressing the needs of the user.

Gigi Levi is interested in seeing smart teams who know their market. He wants them to be able to name ALL their competitors and demonstrate why they are better!

Saul Klein encouraged teams to leverage the investors, as at an early stage they should be a key member of the team. Use them to open doors to countries, hires, scaling and crucial expertise.

Avichay Nissenbaum recommended that it isn’t worth talking to investors until you have polished your pitch talking to everyone else. You should also take references from your investors to check what they are like to work with.

Thanks to all the panelists for taking part!

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