Peter Yared is a 7x entrepreneur. Most recently he cofounded InCountry which is a data residency-as-a-service platform that enables global data compliance for international business. The company has raised over $20M. Prior to this, he sold Sappho to Citrix for $225 million and j.rad to Sun Microsystems for over $200 million.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to look at problems and find solutions
  • How inCountry is helping with this transition and compliance
  • How he met one of his investors at a meditation retreat
  • The wisdom in listening and learning from others

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About Peter Yared:

Peter Yared is the founder and CEO of InCountry, a regulatory technology company that is providing data residency-as-a-service worldwide.

Peter Yared has founded six enterprise software companies that were acquired by Sun, Oracle, Citrix, VMware, Sprinklr and Prograph.

Previously, Peter Yared was the CTO/CIO of CBS Interactive where he was responsible for bringing CBS into the cloud with the end-to-end replatform of its Comscore #7 group of Internet properties.

At Sun, Peter Yared was the CTO of the Application Server Division and the CTO of the Liberty federated identity consortium that designed SAML 2.

Peter Yared is the inventor of several patents on core Internet infrastructure including federated single sign on and dynamic data requests.

Peter Yared began programming games and utilities at age ten, and started his career developing systems for U.S. government agencies.

Peter Yared regularly speaks and writes about technology trends and their impact on society, and has written for the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, TechCrunch and VentureBeat.

Peter Yared is an RYT500 certified Yoga instructor, 2nd dan in Tomiki Aikido, and has practiced Muay Thai kickboxing for seventeen years.

Peter Yared grew up internationally, speaks three languages, and has lived in or visited over 80 countries across seven continents.

Peter Yared has contributed to several large scale digital art installations.

Connect with Peter Yared:

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:

Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone, and welcome to the DealMakers show. Today we’re going to be learning quite a bit from the founder that we have joining us. He’s done it multiple times: building, scaling, financing, exiting, you name it. So without further ado, Peter Yared, welcome to the show today.

Peter Yared: Hey, thanks for having me, Alejandro. It’s a real pleasure to be here.

Alejandro: Born in Geneva, but I know that you jumped quite a bit when you were growing up because your father was part of the UN. How was that experience for you?

Peter Yared: It was really interesting, and it does map to entrepreneurship. My mother was American. My father was Lebanese. We didn’t grow up in Lebanon. There was a war there at the time, or in the United States. So, my family started in Switzerland, where we spoke French. Then we moved to Ankara, Turkey, in the Middle East, where I learned English. Then we lived in London for a little bit, and then Vienna, Austria, for six years, where I learned German. The finally to the U.S. when I was 14 to a suburb of D.C. What was interesting about that, speaking different languages, knowing them all concurrently, visiting a lot of other countries is you understand that there are different ways of looking at the exact same thing. Even if you’re in your own head, you speak three languages; you know three cultures. You can see something, and you look at it from three concurrently different perspectives, and they’re all equally valid.

Alejandro: Absolutely, and obviously, you learned quite early to program computers. That was in Vienna. Correct?

Peter Yared: Yeah. It was ’79, 1980, my school got an Apple II, and my friends and I started coding them. We were instantly attracted to them. I was very fortunate that my parents bought me a Commodore Vic 20. I used to code on that all the time, all night, and made games. Coding became another language for me.

Alejandro: Then you get to high school, and you start working with the government. How did that happen?

Peter Yared: It’s funny. A local government contractor had an advertisement at our high school for graphics work. I go there, and I start working for them. Then they’re like, “Oh, you can program computers. We have these Macintosh SEs.” I had toyed with Macs before, and I didn’t think they were real. “Start using this.” And I start writing programs for them internally. Then they’re like, “Oh, these programs are great.” And it was even my idea. “Why don’t we make some of these for the government.” So, we started building client-server systems for the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I wasn’t allowed to see any of the data, so I would make these things and send them to Los Alamos, and they’d be like, “It worked. It didn’t work.”  

Alejandro: That’s amazing. Then that got you to college, and I believe you overlapped there in Maryland with Sergey Brin from Google.

Peter Yared: Yeah. Isn’t that funny. There are a lot of smart people there. What was unique about the University of Maryland back then is, you could take all 400-level classes. There were no pre-requisites, so it attracted a certain type of geek. I was still working through that, so it took me a little longer to graduate. Yeah, it was a great school. Great people there.

Alejandro: Tell us about the experience because you were also working, as you were mentioning. Some of this work actually eventually led to creating your first venture, so how did this happen? I know that there were some interesting phone conversations that happened when you were at a conference, and so forth. How did you bring this company to life?

Peter Yared: Back then, we called them projects. My first project, a friend of mine as like, “Look at this new language program.” It was this visual-flow data language that was like a Smalltalk. It has these features called late binding. Then we were like, “Ah! Let’s add a bunch of client-server stuff to this.” So, we built a whole client platform on top of that platform. What was interesting was, back then, one person could build viable enterprise-class software. It’s really not like that nowadays. Or a couple of people could. Then the people that published Prograph, they’re like, “This is great.” They published the software. They licensed it and resold it. Then, this went on for a couple of years. Back then, there were a lot of different languages and a lot of different platforms, so it was super competitive in the client-server world. There was Delphi, PowerBuilder, and all this stuff, the things that really stand out. I was at an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in Sweden in November or December. It was crazy weather. I met this guy from Semantic, and he was like, “You should try out Java.” I was like, “I thought Java was just like little widgets on browsers.” He was like, “No! It’s a real language. It’s awesome.” So, I flew home and downloaded Java. It’s 1995, but we’re all geeks. I had a full-time internet connection coming in my house and a web server and stuff, so I downloaded this stuff, and I fell in love with this language. Then coincidentally, at that same time, the Prograph people were like, “Can we just buy you out of this because we don’t want to pay your royalties anymore.” I was like, “Sure.” So we did this deal. It was like 50 or 100k, something like that. Then I used that money to fund me, pouring the exact same software to Java, because I was like, “Sure, you can buy this out, but only for Prograph. Then I sat down and imported the whole thing to Java, and that became j.rad, which was one of the first Java enterprise tools.

Alejandro: And j.rad ended up being acquired by NetDynamics, which ultimately ended up being acquired by Sun Microsystems. I know there was a fun story there that had to do with cars. What was that story?

Peter Yared: Oh, my gosh! Yeah. I sold j.rad to NetDynamics, and it became the basis of their next generation of NetDynamics, and we created this great demo of all the new Java technologies on top of the NetDynamics app server, mainly on the tooling side. We went and showed it to the Sun people, and they liked it, and they almost fell out of their chairs. Literally, two months later, they buy the company for over 200 million dollars. Then their stock went up 13 times in one year. This was right before the dot-com. Their market cap turns. They had spent around 2 million dollars. But, listen to this. A year later, they do a deal with AOL, where they buy out Netscape Server Group. Netscape came with this really bad app server that was written in C++ called CAVA, that they had acquired. They put this little thin Java veneer around it, and they pitched it as like a top-notch Java server. They convinced the Sun people that was the way to go, and they should kill the Java server they had and go with the C++ server. Ed Zander, the COO and this guy Mark Tolerant, they come to our office. It was like a crap office in an industrial area off of Marsh Road and Midland Park, where Facebook has taken over that whole area now. They come in, and we’re all in our little center cafeteria area, and they give us the big speech about, “It’s all good for you that we’re killing your baby,” which we were all bummed about. But I’ll never forget about this: I was in the VP of Marketing’s office. We were glum about it, but we could look out the window, and those two guys were standing in the parking lot, and they’re looking at a row of Ferraris and Porsches, and BMWs that were bought with their money, just shaking their heads. They just gave so much money away.

[Laughter]

Alejandro: That’s unbelievable! Unbelievable! So then, I know that you stayed at Sun Microsystems for quite a bit. How many years were you there?

Peter Yared: I was there for five years. The stock was still worth a lot. There were interesting projects for an engineer. Then even after the dot-com crash, I worked on a project for them for federated identity. You could show up at one website and login with another, which everybody uses now — login with Google or what have you. 

Alejandro: Yeah. And this led you to do your next company, WaveMaker.

Peter Yared: The interesting thing about Sun was, I was on the buy-side. I sat around and helped buy a bunch of companies, including public ones. What I realized toward the end of my Sun days was that the Java thing had become super, super bloated, and things were going to need to move to something else. I was like, “If it’s not that, what’s it going to be?” What was emerging at that point was running large clusters of Linux machines, where prior to that, you would buy one big Sun machine. I was attracted to this technology called LAMP, which is Linux Apache MySql, and the P could be Python or Perl. Of course, Python was my favorite, and it was the right call ten years later. This is where you learn that early is wrong. You can pick the wrong markets sometimes because what ended up winning was Lightweight Java. We just stuck to Lightweight LAMP for too long. When we finally pivoted, it was like a catch-up operation. There is a lot of internal strife and thrash, like, “Why are you changing what we’re doing?” I tried bringing in a professional CEO. It was a disaster. Eventually, we pivoted to Lightweight Java, and then a little bit after I left, they sold it to VMware for like 20 or 25 million. There were some good lessons to be learned in that process.

Alejandro: Which one would you say was your biggest lesson from WaveMaker?

Peter Yared: Have your vision. Have your idea of where you’re going, and you should stick to it, but maybe not so much. You have to look at what’s going on in a market, and you have to iterate with it. Just because Python is your favorite language does not mean that enterprises that were running fat Java — the easiest shift for them is to go to lightweight Java, which is what SpringSource did and companies like that that exited for hundreds of millions of dollars. That was the biggest lesson for me. Then also, if you’re going to change what a company is doing, sometimes, you have to reset the entire place. You can’t go incrementally. 

Alejandro: Of course. Then this led you to your next one, Transpond.

Peter Yared: Yeah. Transpond was a fun one. The thesis there was that people didn’t like going to websites anymore. They liked going to aggregators. Back then, it was portals like iGoogle. The original thesis was, “You don’t want to go to Wells Fargo. You can just go to your iGoogle homepage and make that all secure.” But right after we started that thing, Facebook launched their platform. So we pivoted to doing little apps within Facebook, and we closed customers like CBS, NBC, and Ursula Music Group. If you remember those days of social marketing, there was this massive wave that just hit. It seemed like things were going great, and then bam — end of 2007 hit. Then you had to hunker down and try to survive, so we were in survival mode for two years on that company after the financial crisis.

Alejandro: I know this ended up being acquired by Oracle. Is that right?

Peter Yared: Yeah, in a long-winded way. Our investors, the fund fell apart. The partner that was on my deal that I had known for years was basically out of that fund. I ended up with this really old guy that would send me emails that would look like a memo. It would be like, “Dear Peter…” It just wasn’t viable. Our competitors. All their internal guys funded them, like Buddy Media. We had made it for just six more months, but we like the guys at Webtrends a lot, so we did a deal with them. Then, that place fell apart, and then eventually, they took all the analytics and marketing technology and sold it to Oracle. Then I think they left Webtrends behind as like a website optimization tool.

Alejandro: I know that after this, you spent some time at CBS. But during that time, you also had your side project, Postano. Can you really quickly touch on Postano?

Peter Yared: Yeah. It’s funny. Postano was when I was at Webtrends doing my year of penance for selling a company to them. It occurred to me that all these brands — actually all my friends were posting more interesting articles than I was reading in the news. So, I wrote a news aggregator, and I was called Post-Post initially. You’d log in. It would go through your Facebook feed. It would grab all the articles your friends posted and turn them into like a Pinterest-style board. We hadn’t even heard of Pinterest yet, but there was a tool call Masonry that would layout stuff like that. We launched that, and then all these brands called us and said, “Can we get one of those?” That’s what turned into Postano. I was consulting at this place called Tiger Logic, which is a small public company. They were like, “We really like this thing. Can we buy it from you?” We did like this rent-share deal, and then they wrapped a lot of that public company around this social aggregation tool. It was like in sports stadiums, you’d do an Instagram with the hashtag, then there was a control panel, where they could say, “This is decent content,” and they’d put it up on the billboard. Or you’d go to a bunch of brands like Nine West, or whatever, and there would be the social aggregator there. They sold it to Sprinkler. Then they bought me out. It was actually very similar to the early ‘90s deal I did with Prograph.

Alejandro: Wow. I guess here it’s a reminder of how side projects can actually become something much bigger. I know you did some time at CBS, but that led you to Sapho, and Sapho was like a side-project that really exploded.

Peter Yared: Yeah. One of the things I’ve learned, and this is from those active great WebMaker days: you’ve got to get market and timing right. That’s the #1 thing. There’s this VC years ago that said, “Early is wrong.” You could be like, “I created the Instacart in the ‘90s.” Who cares — which I did as a side project, actually. Everyone has a story like that. Now, my technique is, do things as a side project. Iterate on them for a couple of years. The whole time I was at CBS, this guy, Marc Raiser, that I had known since the early ‘90s, he and I were working on this thing. Back then, we called it MobX, our codename for it, but it became Sapho. The idea for that was, aggregate everything a user needs to do by going into each system in an enterprise and figuring out what’s relevant for them and telling them about it. There was machine learning behind it, and all of this cool stuff. You could just say, “Yes. Approve,” off of a Push notification. That’s where I met my co-founder for Sapho, who is a Chief Strategy Officer there, Fouad ElNaggar, and I was the CIO at CBS Interactive. We had a lot of fun. We were doing everything over there. It was basically a re-platform, #6 or #7 on the comp score for the internet at that point, and we did it. He’s very strong on the business side, and I’m very strong on the techno side. I was like, “I have this fun side project.” He had these great ideas, and we were like, “Let’s go do it.” So, we left CBS and started Sapho.

Alejandro: Nice. Sapho was quite a journey. When you left for Sapho, what happened next? What was the next phase of bringing this to life?

Peter Yared: Well, you know, it’s funny because this is around 2014. We tried the typical thing, which is, start a company and get a cool space in San Francisco and try to hire engineers. We realized very quickly; you can’t get talent at SF anymore. We had this one guy that was a mid-level engineer, and we gave him our max offer, and then Google countered for like 50 grand more than us, and the guy wasn’t even that good. I was like, “You know what? This isn’t going to work.” But in the meantime, this guy who had worked for us at Transpond was in Prague in the Czech Republic. This guy was a rock star. He and a friend were doing a startup together. He was the frontend guy. The other guy was a backend guy. They were funding their startup development by contracting with us. But their startup was having problems with their go to market. I’m like, “Why don’t you just come do this cool Sapho thing with us?” We gave them a bunch of cash and stock, and then we built up to an 80-person team around those, and we’re real rock stars. We were getting the best talent. It was a great way to build the company up because we weren’t exposed to the hiring challenges that people have in Silicon Valley when you look at 2012 till now.

Alejandro: I think that’s a very interesting point. When you’re building a business and trying to hire talent, being able to compete against the Googles and the Facebooks that they’re paying so much money, what kind of strategies or things did you learn along the way to be able to enroll people in the vision and get them to join you?

Peter Yared: It’s interesting because in the old days, in the ‘90s, if you wanted to poach somebody out of Oracle, you’d pay them maybe 10% less than what they were making and give them stock, and they were very happy. But now, even if you exit — the engineers are smart. “Okay. If you exit this company for 250 million dollars,” — they do all the math. “What I’m going to end up with is the same amount of money if I stay at Google for four years.” It just doesn’t work. I’m fortunate because I grew up in Europe, so it was very easy for me to get on a plane and fly to Prague, which is part of like the Hot Spring empire. It looked just like Vienna, and be able to work with people there. So, it worked out well for us. But to do this kind of remote team, it takes a lot of time on video and a lot of time on a plane.

Alejandro: Yeah, I know. 100%. What was the business model of Sapho, so that the people that are listening get it?

Peter Yared: We sold Enterprise Software to large customers, like Fannie Mae, Johnson & Johnson, and people like that. They would deploy the software. The idea was if you had a bunch of old systems that were never going to get replaced, SAPs and stuff like that, and even new systems like Workday, that people hate or Salesforce if you had to go in there once a week. We would put this layer on top of it all and provide a clean, modern interface with these things called micro-apps. You could go in and do what you needed. Then it would learn about you and learn what these systems needed you to do and send you notifications or a feed of stuff you needed to do, organized by your priorities.

Alejandro: And here, you guys raised quite a bit of money, too. You guys raised how much?

Peter Yared: That company, we raised 28 million dollars.

Alejandro: Twenty-eight million. Something super interesting here is that the exit was quite a big exit, Citrix. How does Citrix come into the picture, and how did that deal happen? Make us insiders for a bit here.

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Peter Yared: It’s funny, and it’s actually a very funny story because we were having these meetings with VMware, and we’re like, “We need to sit down, and we need to wrote a little caps analysis for all of these.” So, I listed out all the people in the space and all the features they had and then their gaps. There was this big glaring hole for Citrix. I asked my co-founder, “Who is running [21:25] at Citrix that they haven’t even called us?” I’m not kidding. That weekend, I get a call from an old friend of mine that I’d known from the early ‘90s, and he’s like, “I’m at Citrix now, and your name came up.” But these things take time. It still took over a year to piece a deal together, and we were still building a business because we had just hit the inflection point where like Toyota was calling us going, “We have budget. Can we do a POC by the end of the year and get this thing in here?” But Citrix came and my co-founder — he’d been an adventurer and real business guy, so he negotiated an excellent deal for us, and we ended up signing that business for, I think, 225 million.

Alejandro: Why did you guys sell?

Peter Yared: They offered a multiple on ARR that you really can’t say no to. The board was behind it. In all of these companies, even after they go public, they get bought. So, one of the things I’ve learned is there is this point where everybody can’t say no. That’s what happened there. Also, we were like four-and-a-half years in at that point. Then, before that, it was like a two-year-plus side project for me. It gets to the point where it gets a little boring. Then I had the new company, InCountry, as a side project at that point.

Alejandro: Would you say there’s a point in time that typically founders lose a little bit of energy or passion because they’ve been at it for a while. Do you have any thoughts around that?

Peter Yared: There’s always peaks and troughs. The thing is, you just power through those. But all of these companies, sometimes, they hit a point as a company, where the entire place is in a trough, and sometimes, it’s hard to recover from that. I know that we hit that point at ActiveGrid, WaveMaker. A lot of it is, even if you’re down on your company, and you’re bored with the idea, or you think it’s going nowhere, you’ve got to put your pants on and go to work and make it happen. Make it happen, no matter what. There’s no, “Ah! I feel so bad, and I’m so sad. I need a trophy even though I delivered nothing.”

Alejandro: I hear you. So, here you go, Sapho, a nice exit. I’m sure that you were able to go on vacation or do some nice stuff with the exit money from that, more than cars, hopefully. Then you went into InCountry, your latest baby. Why don’t we talk about InCountry? You didn’t have enough with all the previous businesses, so why did you go at it again?

Peter Yared: It’s become a bad habit. At this point in my life, we’re in the same house, and we have the same car. My wife, not so happy that I immediately did another one because I thought this would be a slow-row. I’m like, “Ah! It’s just going to be like five or six of us fooling around for a year because no one’s going to get this thing. Instead, what happened was I seed-funded it with a million dollars, and it was just me and Marc Raiser again, the guy from Postano and the guy from Sapho, the first engineer on Sapho. We thought it would take a while for people to get it. But my previous investors from Sapho were like, “Yeah, we want to preempt this thing.” We ended up doing a seed round really fast. Three months after we started, we raised 5 million dollars. Then we launched in early May, and people globally really got it. What this company does is called data residency. We help used stored data in up to 80 countries in the world — store and process it in each country. You can still run a global central web app like a Salesforce or a ServiceNow. Then, if for compliance reasons, you now need to store some data in Saudi Arabia, and some data in South Korea. We manage all of that transparently for you.

Alejandro: Especially for the people that are not so technical, what would be one of those examples that someone would say, “I’m going to shift gears here on how I’m storing the data”? 

Peter Yared: Let’s say you’re a medical device manufacturer that’s global or a pharmaceutical company that’s global, and you have a customer service desk. Somebody from South Korea calls in, or somebody from the UAE calls in and says, “I have a problem with my diabetes monitor. That’s now their personal health information. Two years ago, they could do whatever they wanted with that data, but nowadays, there are regulations that cover this in almost every country in the world. A lot of them say the data is under our jurisdiction. The health information of our citizens is controlled by us, not America, and the data has to be here. Now, I’m like, what am I going to do? I run a global call center and a global system, let’s say Salesforce Service Cloud or Zen Desk or ServiceNow that stores all the data in Mountainview. That’s where we come in, so we have a little plugin that lets you direct which fields and objects get stored in which countries, and then we do it super compliantly. So, it’s standards like SOC 2, PC, SaaS, HIPAA, each country’s local standards. Then we get infrastructure in each country.

Alejandro: Very nice. How do you guys make money at InCountry?

Peter Yared: We sell the processing and storage capability by the record in each market. So, two cents per record per month, which can add up.

Alejandro: How much have you raised for this business, for InCountry?

Peter Yared: 1+5+15 = 21 million.

Alejandro: Twenty-one million, and I see that you have quite a fair amount of investors. You have great people like CRV, Felicis Ventures, so why did you choose these investors specifically for this?

Peter Yared: Felicis and Caffeinated were the investors in Sapho, so they were the first money into InCountry. Then I met Max through Ray Tonsing, who is just incredible, at Caffeinated. He’s like the seed investor in everything you’ve ever heard of. He introduced me to them, and I was like, “This guy knows our space cold,” which very few people do, so I was very impressed, and they were kind enough to put a little bit of money into our A Round.

Alejandro: How did you end up with Mubadala Capital in your cap table? That’s quite random.

Peter Yared: You think it’s random, but the people that understood our business were international investors after we launched. It’s Melissa Guzy at Arbor Ventures, Donald Stalter at Global Founders Capital, and I coincidentally met [Ebert Heim 28:29] from Mubadala, at all things, a meditation conference.

Alejandro: That’s amazing.

Peter Yared: And this is a funny story because nobody really talks about what they do. I met him the first night. It turned out he was from Lebanon originally. My family was from Lebanon. For two or three days, anytime I saw him, I cursed at him in Arabic as a joke. Then, the last day, we’re both on the back of a golf cart. “What do you do?” What do you do?” He was like, “I run Mubadala Ventures.” Then he’s like, “I’m doing this cool little thing called InCountry.” He goes, “Oh, that sounds really interesting. Can we invest?” I was like, “I thought you guys did like the SoftBank vision fund.” He’s like “No. No. No. We also have an enterprise software fund. They put money in, although they were slightly delayed because of Ramadan. Then, listen to this. What came out on the other side of it is the GCC, so all the countries in the Gulf area there, like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain, became out #1 market. They love best-of-breed software. They don’t love their data being in other people’s hands.

Alejandro: That’s amazing. I find it fantastic that you share this story because I think that founders really forget that when it comes to fundraising and pitching, they just want to grab their pitch sticks and shove it down the throats of the investors, and they really forget about the human component and the importance of the background relationship. In this case, without going too far, the fact that you guys both had roots in Lebanon, how that got you guys close.

Peter Yared: Yeah. It was a coincidence of “Hey, you’re Lebanese. I’m Lebanese.” Oh, we both like meditation to kind of slow our lives down. That’s how we made a connection well before — I didn’t even know he was an investor. Yeah. I genuinely like the guy and appreciate where he’s coming from. In Venture, everybody’s awesome, but this guy stands out as somebody who is super solid, super ethical, and just a good all-around person does not mean he’s a bad business person, but a good, ethical, solid person, which is hard to find sometimes. 

Alejandro: Of course. I have a question for you, Peter. Imagine that you go to sleep tonight, and it’s like an off-the-chart snooze. You’re waking up five years later, and you’re waking up in a world where the vision of InCountry is fully realized. What does that world look like?

Peter Yared: I hate to say it, but because of this coronavirus, the world is actually right now. What this COVID-19 thing has done is accelerated us ten years into the future. If you’re a bank or a healthcare provider, or pretty much anything, and you didn’t have a good online strategy, you’re screwed. This whole digital transformation thing has been massively accelerated, and now every financial institution worldwide can no longer say, “Oh, come on down to the branch so we can talk about that.” They have to get software in as fast as possible to enable online banking, telemedicine, what have you. They have to get the best-of-breed software into the systems integrators now. And then they also need the data to be resident in multiple markets. We’ve had some deals just totally implode on us like in the transportation sector and places like that, but in financial services and healthcare, we’ve seen an acceleration, actually.

Alejandro: This is what you were alluding to before: how important timing is when you’re doing anything.

Peter Yared: It is, and it’s hard to predict. We knew there was interest, but in our sector, we suddenly got a boost, and it’s apt to say because this has been devastating for a lot of people both for businesses and also personal lives with family members sick.

Alejandro: Yeah. Absolutely. One of the questions that I typically ask the guests that come on the show, Peter is, if you had the opportunity — and obviously, this is impossible, but if you had the opportunity to go back in time and have a chat with your younger self — imagine after all these different companies that you’ve done, building, exiting, all of that stuff, if you were able to go back in time and have a chat with your younger self, maybe that younger Peter that was coming out of college thinking about doing something and starting a business, what would be that one piece of business advice that you would give to your younger self and why knowing what you know now?

Peter Yared: Of course, I would tell myself this, and I would not listen to myself, which is “Shut up the **** and listen a little bit.” It’s like when you’re young, you’re so full of yourself and just believe in your own vision. It’s very hard to understand other’s viewpoints. I look back at several of my mistakes. It’s not like people didn’t tell me exactly this was going to happen. And my current startup, we have a standard all-hands deck, and there’s one slide on there — there’s like this anthropological thing years ago how primates learn to crack nuts. When one primate learns to crack a nut with a rock, there are certain animals that won’t copy that. It’s a certain type of intelligence called “learn from others.” We’re like, “Hey, there were people here before you. They made some smart decisions based off data. So, before you think everyone’s wrong, find out where they came from, and then make your decision.” That’s something, sadly, for entrepreneurs sometimes comes with age, but I highly encourage to get different viewpoints. Find out what’s going on. Then always remember that these startups are very, very unstable. They have a tendency to attract unstable people. So, try to put a filter on that if you can.

Alejandro: I love it. For the folks that are listening, Peter, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hi?

Peter Yared: Oh. @peteryared on Twitter.

Alejandro: Amazing. Well, Peter, thank you so much for being on the DealMakers show today.

Peter Yared: Hey, thanks so much for having me and such great questions. You’re clearly passionate. I can tell you do this yourself.

 

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