Oron Afek has already built several companies from the ground up. His newest venture (co-founded with Asaf David) brings together all that he has learned so far, and has already attracted $100M in capital.
On the Dealmakers Podcast Oron walked us through his leap into entrepreneurship. He shared what he has learned at each step of the journey, and has carried forward to create even more successful companies. Plus, we break down fundraising by round, the best business models, and his top advice when starting a business of your own.
Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.
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“I’m Better Off Starting My Own Thing.”
While entrepreneurship and running a business of your own can be hugely advantageous and beneficial for everyone, there are some of us that gravitate to it, because we realize we are just not cut out for being a cog in the wheel, building someone else’ dream. Oron Afek is one of them.
As a young teenager he tried out different summer jobs to make money. Yet, growing up with watching his dad be his own boss, and independently running his own construction business, he realized there was something better.
He saw his father’s ability to create his own destiny, make his own decisions, and enjoy great freedom. He got to do what he liked, when he liked. Though he also demonstrated an extremely strong work ethic, and what it was like to work hard.
Oron found working for others was limiting, and from that early age, he decided
“I’m better off starting my own thing.”
Surround Yourself With Smart People
Growing up in Israel, the Startup Nation, Oron also had to complete mandatory military service.
In school he had excelled at his studies and soccer. When he arrived in the military he quickly found himself surrounded by many smart and talented people, from a variety of different places.
He found the strengths of working and competing as a team vital for success. In fact, his top advice for others inspired to start their own businesses today is to surround yourself with others who “are 10x smarter than you, and put your ego aside.”
If you do this, he says instead of needing 100 people to accomplish something, just three or four will be enough. Success in business is all about first putting the right people on the bus.
You will make mistakes on the way. Though he says when you get feedback or data which shows you a better way, put your ego aside, be willing to change your mind and course of action. Your teams will respect you for it, just as your business will flourish because of it too.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
Industry Hopping & Knowledge Transfer
Oron Afek has proven to be able to hop between different industries, as he has evolved his business building skills. Taking key lessons with him to create even more success each time.
His first startup venture Cellxpert was in the communications space. He met his cofounder in university who had created some great technology. It was all about facilitating a consistent application experience across all of the different types of feature phones and mobile operating systems that were in the market at that time.
His partner Assaf continues to run the company today. However, after four years Oron decided it was time for him to move on to something different.
He was still intrigued at how technology can solve big engineering problems. Though this venture had been mostly opportunistic. Not something he had set out to get into. He had the experience of starting and building a company, but wanted to apply that to something more intentional. To solving a problem he could connect with on a personal level.
He learned that great technology is not enough. Instead of creating great technology and trying to find someone to sell it to, he says you have to begin with the customer. Start with the problem and the customer, and create a solution for them.
Oron’s next adventures was the gaming company, Smite.
This was a transition to a more B2C, and direct company, which moved fast, and produced feedback quickly. He loved the information loop that the data provided.
Yet, he again began questioning what would make him happy. What mission would be satisfying to work on.
He even questioned going to get a job. Then spent some time in Spain working on another business.
Gaming was fun, and the data was interesting. It just wasn’t fulfilling for him.
Analyzing Startup Business Ideas
Oron says he turned to a spreadsheet to find clarity on what he wanted to start next.
He considered that if he could go back in time by a decade or more, what company would he have been proud to have created today.
Names like Uber, Airbnb and Amazon came to mind. As did other marketplaces.
He was further intrigued by the demand and supply dynamics of marketplace businesses, and how they can be used to create efficiency and value.
He struck on the apex of technology, marketplaces, and healthcare. He saw healthcare, especially in America being hyper expensive and inefficient. Not unlike taxis, hospitality or books when those other startup giants started out.
This led him to launch a healthtech startup, Vim in 2015. They’ve already raised $100M, from great investors including Sequoia, Anthem and Unitedhealthcare.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Oron Afek was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- How Vim is innovating and scaling in healthcare
- Pivoting to create a successful business
- What investors want at each round of fundraising
- The best books for startup entrepreneurs
- Creating platforms that change the world