Neil Patel

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Henri Asseily, a tech entrepreneur, co-founder of Bizrate, which he sold for $525 million, and active investor, boasts an inspiring journey from his early years in Lebanon to leading innovative tech ventures. His passion for technology and unwavering determination make him a key figure in the global tech landscape.

His venture capital firm, Leap Ventures, is investing in startups like Brigad, Instabug, Joust, Enterprise Applications, and Consumer.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Asseily’s early life in Beirut and his journey to the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton
  • The creation and success of Bizrate
  • The innovative concept of Telnik and its challenges
  • His perspective on the role of luck and timing in entrepreneurship
  • The launch of Leap Ventures and his decision to move away from the VC world
  • His current focus on directly assisting and mentoring entrepreneurs.


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About Henri Asseily:

Henri Asseily is a founding partner of Leap Ventures, an entrepreneur-led Venture Capital firm based out of Beirut and Dubai. Henri has 20 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur focused on internet-related businesses and has particular expertise in relation to algorithmics and computer science.

Henri is the founder of / Shopzilla, acting as CTO until its sale in 2005 for US$569 million. He was designing flat models before they were called NoSQL and led the creation of the first product-centric online search engine.

Henri has been coaching entrepreneurs around the globe and is often seen conducting workshops and training sessions. Henri holds a BA in mathematics and economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He still codes from Arduinos to iPhones and prefers the Vim editor

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Connect with Henri Asseily:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: Um, right, hello everyone and welcome to the dealmaker show. So today. We have a very exciting founder a founder that has done it. You know, been there done it scaled finance exited you know one of these companies for half a billion dollars so again you know super exciting stuff. So I guess. Without farther ado let’s welcome our guests today hena sillyli welcome to the show. So originally born in Beirut. So always he you know born in such a beautiful country but I’m sure that you know growing up there and and there’s just like so much.

Henri Asseily: Um, thank you. Thank you to? humble.

Alejandro Cremades: You know going on war you know you name it. You know you had to move out with a family ah to London Paris so how was life growing up.

Henri Asseily: It was life a bit of a nomad it was in retrospect very fulfilling actually because you end up meeting very different people. You end up learning about all the ah. Different ways of thinking and for example, there’s 1 story that I that I like to tell is ah mathematics. Ah when I was in school in in Paris there was ah I was in eleventh grade or so and there was ah there was a ah ah problem that we need to solve. And I solved it in about 30 seconds with classical geometry and the professor later on went on and solved it with analytical geometry so equations and it took him about 20 minutes of solving it with the equations. And then I came up to him and I said ah but this thing is trivial I mean you can say it’s the square with ah with classical geometry in 30 seconds that’s how it does and he says well here we don’t teach classicalry and then I was like wait a second I could look at problems from multiple. Face facets and I could have multiple tools in my toolbox and I don’t need to use one tool I can use many tools to solve problems and what I should do is be a generalist in life and not be a specialist.

Alejandro Cremades: So then I guess say you know tell us about 2 you know, moving from 1 place to the next you know because obviously it sounds like there’s been a lot of moving you know in your life. You know I think that you know perhaps you know that started growing up. You know, getting the exposure to different places right? I mean you ended up moving to Philadelphia you know out of of all places right? I mean it’s it’s not that they close by to where you were you know in in Paris or London. So how do you end up in Philadelphia.

Henri Asseily: Um, ah we had family friends. There was a family friend who was ah um, a a surgeon up in at Yuan and that’s how we learned about Upan and we really liked it and my brother went there and then I followed him. Yeah I don’t have a problem going places I like it.

Alejandro Cremades: I Love that you know, just a it gives you I guess ah a different perspective and and mathic and economics where where does that come from that love for for numbers.

Henri Asseily: Well I wanted to do econometrics because I liked the the idea of being able to predict things and to plan for things. Um, but it it. It didn’t pan out that way when I went and I started. Ah. Studying econometrics and taking classes in Econometrics I Realized that most of it was just decide what kind of data input you want and that will give you your data output and you can massage anything with anything so it’s just not worth it. So. I Realized that it was not very interesting and so I moved to to mathematics which I’ve always enjoyed.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, and the first area where you ah you know got a step a stop at it. You know are really applying. You know the lessons you know, learn there was building a cement Factory I mean that’s that sounds quieting unique. Why why have somement factory.

Henri Asseily: Well, the the family is involved in in heavy industries in lebanon including cement and so in talking to the german engineering ah company that that works with us back in Lebanon. Ah I was like hey it’s it’s to be very interesting for me to get some exposure in the practical aspects of of technology I’ve always liked practicality I’ve always you know, liked doing things with my hands and I didn’t want to do anything. Theoretical I didn’t want to go and study engineering or things like that. But I thought hey let’s go see what can be done on the ground and so I went to former East Germany in a place called Beenbuk in zaen unhat ah, that was back in 92 where it just reunited. They still had the old cars with the 2 cylinder and 3 cylinder engines and. And everything was gray and um it it was extremely interesting because ah you know so 22 21 22 year old who was a university university student working with the guys there who most of them did not have much of a formal education. But they had a lot of practical education and they knew all sorts of things and being there and getting the information like we would get ah schematics and and and and and and ah although.

Henri Asseily: All all the machinery and all the pieces spare parts etc from from the ah the office in West Germany and that we had to go and build them up in in in East Germany in that form East Germany in that in that cement factory but you always had problems I mean nothing was perfect and and. Ah, the plans. The schematics were never 100% so you had to fix them. You had to go and and figure out every day you had problems and you had to solve those problems you had to figure out how to make it work and it it was. It was incredible because 1 time for example, there was ah there was this. Ah, massive machine that stopped working I won’t get into the details but because because somebody made a mistake and there was too much material in it and then she’ll stop working and I was trying to figure out how to make it work again and 1 of my coworkers who had quite a bit more experience than me said you know roundup 20 guys. Like what? yeah round up 20 guys. Okay, so I round up 20 strong working guys and like okay bring them up to the machine and pull the belt. So we’ve put 10 people on one side 10 people on the side. We pulled the belt and all of a sudden it worked and then I realized wait a minute you know. You don’t just need machines a human body works very very well as as as ah, as as as as as a pulling power and I thought I I must have thought about that and I’m not thinking enough outside the box.

Henri Asseily: And and that stayed with me you got to think all the time outside the box. You got to think about all the different things that you’ve got or that you may have to solve whatever problem your your face with.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, so then in your case you know at this point you receive you know Philadelphia knocking on your door again. Yeah, and that was to go after your Mba. So what? what was that thought process behind thinking. Maybe it’s a good. You know time for me now to to go after on Mba.

Henri Asseily: Yeah, it’s kind of of a cultural thing where we always want to do the and Nba because back then not today is different but back then it was like the Nba is the thing you want to do so you you get something practical experience and then you go to your Mba. Okay, and it turned out.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, yeah.

Henri Asseily: It was amazing. It’s it was just amazing for me because I was at the right place at the right time. Ah, the web was starting web 1.0 as we call it and I had exposure to it right? there it was. We were the first class to get email for business. Guys not the engineers the engineers that had it for a while but but the business school it was the first class to get email. We had access to unix server which was great because nobody understood how to use the unix server I was the only one so I could do all sorts of things with it. Um, and so I started building my webpages.

Henri Asseily: And I learned the the web technologies right there and we started doing a lot of stuff at wharton as the Nba and I was doing entrepreneurship so I was ah studying entrepreneurship as an and Nba and I was looking at all those new technologies and I was thinking. That’s what I want to do I mean this is huge. This is huge. It’s changing everything that is what I want to do I had no doubt.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, and and that’s why you ended up. That’s why you ended up doing because and by the way I find that you know programs like Workton they’re like a great way to um, not only to to to get going on on building a company but also because of the network and there you’re able to meet people that are you know. Ah, like you know when it comes to to thinking drive and ambition now for you. You know, Definitely what? that was the immediate step for you to really get into it like really serious and this is how you got started. You know to with bis rate.

Henri Asseily: Um, that’s what.

Alejandro Cremades: You know, obviously more moving more moving involved because you you you landed in in Los Angeles so how did the idea of this rate you know come you know and and and what was that process of incubation to launch and and and and basically bringing it to light.

Henri Asseily: Um, well as you said it started with the fact that wharton and top and Nba Schools has this ah this this this one great asset which is a networking you you meet people who are very interesting and. I met my co-founder Farhad Mohit who’s originally iranian moved from moved to us. Ah, right? after the iranian revolution and ah we headed off ah very early on and we did a bunch of things together and I showed him the web and we did all sorts of things. And one day we were sitting one night we’re sitting on my place and chilling or hispa arm remember drinking. We used to do quite a bit of that back then and discussing what we wanted to do because we both knew we wanted to do something we both knew we were unemployable. Ah, we thought. Too much outside the box. We always wanted to improve things and it was very difficult for for any company to to hire us because our job is to disrupt things I mean that’s just we want to do all the time and we were talking about what to do and we knew we wanted to do something on the internet as I told you on the web. And we just sat there and said okay, what? what can we do and we realized that shopping was going to be big and why was shopping going to be big because it’s very simple. You have a webpage that is infinite in size you can change it whenever you want.

Henri Asseily: And so right there and then we’re like wait a second the whole business of ah catalog shopping is going to go. You don’t you don’t need to be a genius to think to look at the catalog shopping where they used to send you ah big thick.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Catalogs with all the prices and the products and the descriptions and every month they would send you that and then if you liked something you called them and you told them I want this this and this and you gave them a credit card on the phone you did whatever, whatever and so we saw you don’t need paper. You’re not going to print anything the the inventory is always up-to-date and it’s infinite.

Alejandro Cremades: You like.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Obviously the whole catalog business is going to go away plus everything else so at a minimum you’ve got trillions of dollars or billions and billions of dollars of of catalog sales that are going to go away and so we thought okay this is great, but it’s just starting and there’s the number of things that need to get done.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: What we want to do is to help people shop that was the main idea and we didn’t know that at the time but this this vision which is very broad is extremely useful. So when you’re starting to think about what you want to do. It’s very useful to have a very broad vision. Not a detailed product thing but you say okay, what environment do I want to operate in we wanted to operate in shopping online shopping. We wanted to help people shop and it turns out for 10 years

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: That thing did not change. It was a broad enough vision that that we stayed in this environment and that’s 1 thing you kind of really want to do ah as early as possible in your thought process. What’s what’s your real vision.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: And then we start saying? Okay so we want to have people shop. How are we going to do this and the first thing we did was create a system and from a to z we thought it through etc of of telling people. This business is better than this business or this business is doing very well here here and here so how do we do it. We rate businesses.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: How do you rate? businesses. The best way is to get customers to rate them. How do we get customers to rate them. We go and talk to the businesses and we tell them please we want. We’re doing this system put the survey code on your shopping cart at the end of the shopping process so it comes to us. Independent thirdpart. We gather the surveys then we give you back the data so we started doing that and it started picking up steam and that’s what that’s what we called it bizreit but business rating so we did the ratings before ebay before anybody so we had the 1 to 10 rating then the 5 star ratings on all sorts of different.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, bring up.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Dimensions, etc. And that was ah you know ninety six ninety seven I built it that we built the tech ourselves.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: At the time we wanted to get somebody to build the tech it turned out that everybody was asking us for one hundred thousand here two hundred thousand there we’re like no no no I told for her I’m going to do it I know how to do it. We’re going to do it even if you don’t know everything and that’s a very important if you know that you can do enough that you can get to the next level. Do it.

Alejandro Cremades: Like.

Henri Asseily: Because you don’t know what’s going to happen afterwards. So get to the next level if you know you can get to the next level do it because the level after that you don’t know what it’s going to be and by then you might get your knowledge your own knowledge. You’re able to continue by then something else might happen. So.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Don’t don’t try to plan for too far ahead in in startups especially in early stage startups plan for the next stage and probably the stage after but that’s it so we did that? yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: So then so then so then in this case for you guys with this rate, you know you guys got going there and you had build a tech So at what point does shopza come into the equation.

Henri Asseily: Okay, so we start building biz rate in ninety six ninety seven ah there was not enough technology available back then to do more than rate the businesses. You could not search for products. Okay, searching for products was was too far. It was you know you needed millions and minutes of products you needed databases you needed whatever back then we just couldn’t do it but ah 98 we got a first round of funding.

Alejandro Cremades: My.

Henri Asseily: Ah, four and a half million was very tough to fund because ah nobody wanted to talk to us nobody nobody was interested. 99 a second round of 20002000 february third round $50000000

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: And we raised that in two weeks at that point everybody wanted in on everything and it’s not that our company had was had so much revenue in ninety nine we had like 1000000 in revenue and back then ah in in October Ninety Nine we added the product.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Search engine so comparison what we call now comparison shopping but shopzilla itself the new brand called shopzilla that one came about in 2003 I remember if I remember correctly it’s when we had started thinking. Okay, we went through the.

Alejandro Cremades: Um.

Henri Asseily: Insane growth I mean we’re talking ah 98 we were 7 people. Um February may may 98 were 7 people February 2000 or March 2000 we were 247 um

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, now.

Henri Asseily: We got our our 50000000 in fundraising at a post of 7 50 in two weeks we um, we’re creating our s one to go public. We’re going to file it on monday.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: On friday the market turned it was 2000 you know all the or your listeners I don’t know how many of them were around in 2000 but it was an absolute massacre. We’re talking the Nasdaq.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Going from I think what 6500 or something like this to 1000 and and some ah companies going from being valued at a share at a hundred to value of a share at $0.1 I mean things like that. So like it’s it was insane.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, crazy crazy.

Henri Asseily: And so the market turned we tightened up and we went crazy on the revenue we said we got to get revenues. We got to keep the costs down etc so we started cutting cutting cutting and increasing revenue started working on the affiliate fees then we. Invented some kind of ah ah what we call now Cpc which everybody knows but back then nothing existed and the reason why was that the affiliate fees existed so you could get percentage of the say and then as as we started getting more cloud.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: We went to the merchants and told them listen this doesn’t work for us you I should not be dependent on you for my money in the sense that if you’re doing a bad job converting the guy I should not be paying for it. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to buy the the lead from me.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: And then it’s your problem so we change from affiliate to cost per click instead of taking a percentage of the sale. We just selling the potential lead to the to the merchant and then we said that’s how you do it. You get the you get the sale you get you get the the potential lead. ve ah, we’ve we’ve gotten a really good lead for you. We’ve qualified the lead. We did very well now it’s your problem but you pay me for it. So that’s how it turned into the concept of a cpc cpc. It’s then also that we created job zillow where we said hey there’s something there’s something there

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: I Mean it’s not just business ratings. It’s like the whole thing. It’s it’s the whole shopping experience. It’s the whole marketing. It’s everything so we created the bank shopzilla.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, that’s amazing. So then so then at what point does the acquisition become an option for you guys.

Henri Asseily: Good question so 2001 2000 the whole thing just goes everything dies. We started ah shrinking and increasing our revenues and we ended up doing you know if I remember 2001 we did $10000000 2002 we turned cash flow positive in december ah we did 20000000 in revenues in 22 in costs. Ah, but in december you know the the the revenues went up and so we turned cash flow positive. We had four weeks of cash left in the bank. We had 81 employees.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: So we went from 7 to two forty seven to eighty one ah and and then we started growing again and so we went to 40000000 in revenues in 2003 then in 2004

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: I completely changed the technology of the company instead of being an integrator of technologies we started building our own technology so we built our own database engines. We built our own search engine specific for shopping so we we went from ah indexing 9000000 products and 24 hours to continuously indexing 45000000 products in half an hour 2 hours whatever it was continuous indexing of 45000000 and we could have gone up to 200000000 products if you wanted to so it changed our our life.

Alejandro Cremades: So um.

Alejandro Cremades: Power.

Henri Asseily: And but but but then our growth slowed a little bit because we had to change technology so we went from 40 to 67000000 old revenues. But then the year after that was the explosion we went to over 150000000 in revenues but remember this is real revenues. It’s not. It’s not all the you know? ah.

Alejandro Cremades: Um.

Henri Asseily: Fluft up stuff that they talk about today. We’re talking pure revenues. Not not amount of product but that went through the system etc so 50000000 revenue fifty million in profits and that’s when we sold the company.

Alejandro Cremades: I Mean really incredible growth there and so so selling the company. What was that process like.

Henri Asseily: Um, we engaged an investment banker. You know at these volumes you you you want to do that. Okay.

Alejandro Cremades: But why well would mean at what point you were were you guys like okay we got to really go start a money process get an investment backer and and we got to do it now.

Henri Asseily: Um, okay, ah it’s ah it’s a it’s a combination of factors in 2005 beginning 2005 we knew we were on a massive growth trajectory. We also had Google trying to do Google shopping and other things everybody bunch of big guys getting into the space which was a bit dangerous. Ah, but the space was super hot and very interesting at the same time we had been at it for ten years nine years you get you get tired after a while you kind of get tired of it I mean I you know I’d gone through it I was my job I was doing it my eyes closed I mean it’s.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: But was nothing challenging anymore. Ah, for both of us. It was like this and then the vcs that invested in our company back in Ninety Nine ninety 8 ninety nine and 2000 at first of course during the crash everybody you know.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Wrote everything off they wrote absolutely everything off but by 2005 the guys were like wait a second. This guy is 1 of our winners. 1 of our huge winners and we want to close the funds too. So they’re getting.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: To a point where they needed to close their funds and they had a huge winner in in their hands and so they also wanted to kind of exit so it was kind of it was ah it was a combination of factors where we ended up saying you know? Yeah, we all like we were’re Okay, with exited.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: I Mean it’s ah we’re on a huge trajectory. It’s everything’s positive. Ah, we’re going to make a lot of money. Everybody’s going to be happy. Um, why not let’s let’s see what we can do. Let’s see what the market says and that’s when we engaged ah an investment banker.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Are. Are the.

Henri Asseily: And we got a couple of very big companies ah discussing the acquisition and trying to outbid each other to to acquire shopzeno. No it can’t be a long process.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, was ah what said our long process.

Henri Asseily: Not not when when you’ve got interest and you’ve got your investment banker doing a good job. It took you know the the negotiation part maybe three weeks a month max max. But then you’ve got the due diligence on all the other stuff that that takes a a bit longer. But.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, yeah, and the lawyers and I don’t know that stuff.

Henri Asseily: Yeah, but in the United States it’s it’s it’s fast europe is a disaster United States is really fast.

Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, absolutely now now now in this case, you know like how how big was the transaction.

Henri Asseily: Five Hundred sixty nine million dollars it was 520 it was 525000000 plus cash and so we had a lot of cash so it was 5 16 on. Ah, we’re talking we’re talking in in 2005 so today it’s.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, ah sal that a lot of five zero

Alejandro Cremades: Um, yeah, yeah, no kidding well come on. You got you got to tell us now what is the first thing that you bought when the money hit the account.

Henri Asseily: It would be well over a billion. Yeah, so it was It was a good transaction. Everybody was very happy. Everybody.

Henri Asseily: I bought only 1 thing um a four gd a 2005 white and blue striped for gt why? why? because when I married my wife.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, love it. That’s I.

Henri Asseily: In 2001 early 2002 she asked me a very interesting question. She said if you had all the money in the world. What car would you buy and I found that question very interesting and I told her of four GTForty she said why don’t you buy 1 I said First of all I don’t have five million bucks to spend on a machine that I can’t ride.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: And then it’s all metal and crap and it’s just on unrivable said okay forgot about it then I sold my company for came out with a 4 Gt which is basically a Replica modern with the macinto sound systemtem air conditioning etc and it was pretty relatively cheap I mean it was one hundred and fifty hundred and sixty thousand dollars

Alejandro Cremades: Um I love it. Ah so that so some so.

Henri Asseily: So I sold the company I was like I got I got to buy the car because I told my wife and if I don’t buy it Obviously I’m a liar so I am the buying it and it’s a great I still have it. It’s the most. It’s the greatest purchase I ever made it was amazing car.

Alejandro Cremades: So after you did a transaction I mean really really incredible outcome here. You I ended up moving again. You know that’s just in in in the nature of you I’m moving in again. So then you go back to Europe and then you get involved with a company called telling and I guess that this was your immediate step to. Um. To to exploring to the other side of the table more on the Vc side. So tell us about this next chapter in your in your life.

Henri Asseily: So I went to work with telnik had a friend who was the main the main investor in there and he asked me to come check it out and and help out and I invested in it and we did a lot of very innovative work. Very interesting. And we raised also quite a bit of money from from not the classic vcs not the the not the vcs from the valley because at the time First of all, we’re in Europe and the Uk and the Uk wasn’t what it is today where the vcs are global and they try to find deals everywhere again.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Things have changed dramatically over the past twenty years or 15 years for for good for good. But back then you know Europe was like not interesting and so we raised money from all sorts of different places and what I learned there.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Is that timing truly is everything when I when I tell the entrepreneurs when when entrepreneurs ask me so what’s the secret of success. What’s the secret I said listen guys you’re not going to like what I’m going to say to you but 60% of it is luck.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: E.

Henri Asseily: not 40 not fifty sixty hard work and all sorts of other things is 40 you know, but ah, communication, etc, etc. But 60% is pure luck now you can you can make your own luck.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: You can say you’re lucky you can find opportunities where others don’t find the opportunities for sure. But in the end there’s timing issue. There’s a huge timing issue with Shab Zira was there the right place the right time it was was great. Of course we executed, etc etc. But that was ah the.

Alejandro Cremades: Um.

Henri Asseily: Big, big, ah positive then with telnik we’re at a point where we’re trying to do the single point of contact we were trying to do where the thing where you own your own domain you own domain name. The dot tell domain name and then with your Dotel domain name you can.

Alejandro Cremades: I mean.

Henri Asseily: You don’t need to ah to communicate anything with to people ah other than your dot t. Then they can say okay I want to contact him. So let’s say I want to contact handle. How can I contact him? Well, what do you want to? do you want to talk to them in video you want to send him a message you want to do whatever. Want to send a message. You can have email you can have what’sapp who can have this you can have that if you want to call him so all of these in 1 super easy, very easy. Um, ah Apis just the Dns we were too early. We were too early in my opinion were way too early. First of all the Iphone hadn’t hadn’t been ah released yet. It wasn’t ubiquitous yet. So the mobile phone. The the smartphone wasn’t ubiquitous and second um, the the vcs were all about Facebook everybody was on Facebook and it’s all about Facebook so you don’t need anything else. Okay I’m on Facebook.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: So talk to god on Facebook I wasn’t I didn’t have Facebook I delete to Facebook and everything back then already, but most of people were on Facebook so so so long story short we were too early wrong timing today. Everybody talks again about you know.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Your own contact info. Ah the web 3 the blockchain today. Everybody says you know, get your Ems your your ethernet name system thing your own name so that you can validate who you are and the only way to validate who you are is with things like like having your own domain name because you paid for it. You know you’re there.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: You do, etc, Etc, etc. So today everybody understands what we’re trying to do back then back then nobody understood it and it it didn’t work out I mean it’s still around it did exists but it lost it. It lost the the battle so tonight makes everything.

Alejandro Cremades: Remain.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, and it sounds to that thing and it’s ah I can have that timing you know luck I think that that same really incredibledible that that you’re touching on that because I absolutely agree with you now in your case, one of the things that you realized is that you don’t enjoy lps. When it comes to a Vc fund structure and raising money from people and reporting and the admin and what? what what? What got you to turn to to get so turned off with the lp side. You know when you know putting together our venture capital firm.

Henri Asseily: So I love entrepreneurship and I love entrepreneurs I Love helping them and I decided the next step would be to help entrepreneurs and every which way I could and ah I then realized that they weren’t enough. Ah, there wasn’t enough money.

Alejandro Cremades: A.

Henri Asseily: In the ecosystem both in the Middle East and in ah, continental europe to do that. So I ended up getting together with a couple of friends and and ah ah, creating leap ventures which was ah ah ah font. Ah um, a Vc.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: That had 2 fundts 1 in in Lebanon a 100000000 and then another smaller one for for seed import of Europe so we could do everything for entrepreneurs. We could do the funding we could do the mentoring. We could do the help etc all technical stuff if necessary help them on technical aspects.

Alejandro Cremades: Are the. Are.

Henri Asseily: Because I’m I’m still very very technical as to program and I and I’m trying to stay on top of all technologies. So. That’s what we did. That’s what we did but then ah that that was great. That was very very good but then over time I realized that that being a Vc. Is you know? ah 20% working with entrepreneurs and well over fifty percent ah managing lps because then you have to do your next fund and you can do whatever and that’s how you can do you make your money etc and that’s not of interest to me that really isn’t of of much interest to me.

Alejandro Cremades: A.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: So that’s why I realized that hey you know I love helping entrepreneurs and working with entrepreneurs. So I’m just going to do that and so that’s why that’s when I moved away from ah from being a Vc to working directly with the with companies small and large. Helping helping entrepreneurs at every level doing you know working with them on the on the management working with them on technology being temporary cto for companies for for a while to to bring up their tech teams ah doing doing major scalability work for very very large. Ah.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: Ah multinationals in Europe you know anything that gets my mind working my brain working because as you as you age the the 1 thing you want to do is to constantly bombard your brain and your mind with.

Alejandro Cremades: Um.

Henri Asseily: With new challenges constantly you you don’t you You should not feel comfortable if you feel comfortable. You’re going to decline and that’s what I try to do.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: Um I love that it’s obviously now you know you get to? um, not deal with the lps you get to continue to invest in companies you get to also get involved doing the technical you know, getting your your hands you know, dirty and and getting that stimulation. You know at an intellect level. I and I guess you know there’s probably a lot of people that you know right now are are listening and are wondering hey you know like I would love to reach out to Henry you know and and say hi to Henry what is the best way for these people to reach out and and do so.

Henri Asseily: I still have Henry Dot Tell H and r I dot tell I think ah, it’s let me check it. But I think it’s still around and it’s got all my information in there or just send me send me an email. Yeah, you got well I need to update it but but send me an email.

Alejandro Cremades: Um.

Henri Asseily: You can find me online.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, all right? amazing. So so one last thing that I want to ask you Henry is if I was to bring you back in time right? there to wharton. That’s what’s part your entrepreneur own you know excitement and then say I put you.

Henri Asseily: Um, yes is fun times. Fun times.

Alejandro Cremades: I put you there right in in that classroom and and I give you the opportunity of whispering to your younger self one piece of advice for launching a business. What would that be and why giving what you know now.

Henri Asseily: Um, oh launch for launching a business one one piece of advice. Okay, ah, just 1

Alejandro Cremades: Um, just one.

Alejandro Cremades: Are. Are.

Henri Asseily: Um, I’d say go for it but go for it and.

Alejandro Cremades: Like.

Henri Asseily: Don’t expect things from anybody in the sense that don’t try for partnerships. Don’t expect other entities.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: To work with you because you are going to you can and you must impact your environment you will impact your environment.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: At some point you realize that everybody around you and all the businesses being run around. You are as clueless as you are and it’s up to you not up to you but you can and you should yourself transform.

Alejandro Cremades: That.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Henri Asseily: The environment you’re in for the better for yourself.

Alejandro Cremades: I love that Henry that’s very profound. So again I just want to you know? Thank you for taking the time here with us Henry. It has been an absolute honor to have you on the dealmaker show. Thank you? so so much

Henri Asseily: Um, thank you.


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