By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)
Not much of a reader? I will skip to the end, just for you. If you are a startup founder, you need to sign up for EquityX now. Why? Because you will have access to top talent who are also looking to take on companies like yours and be compensated in equity, and not cash. Win win. Sign up.
Ok, now some background. I have been fortunate over the years to meet some remarkable entrepreneurs building truly innovative startups out of Startup Nation, Israel. You can see some of those faces here.
If you aren’t familiar with Israeli tech, here is some breaking news to emphasize just how truly hardcore the tech being built in Israel is. As I write these words, Intel just announced that it has just made the largest acquisition in Israel’s history and bought Mobileye, the autonomous car company for a whopping $15,000,000,000.
Israel is where it’s all going down in terms of tech.
Over the years, I have always played the long game and tried to help as many entrepreneurs as possible, most of the time without compensation. Yes, really. Read about the long game and you’ll understand.
When I meet these startups, sometimes, very rarely, do I join them in an official advisory capacity. How do I choose? Three main criteria, that if at least one is met, I might join. If more than one is met, well, that is a no-brainer:
- Strong team I can learn from: If the team brings expertise/experience from which I can grow/leave my comfort zone.
- Huge need for the product: If the product solves a real problem, especially one that resonates with me.
- Long term mutually beneficial relationship: If there is long term value to be gained by me joining.
Like I said, rarely do I meet companies that impress me so much, I feel I need to join the team. You can see more about my work and my portfolio of companies that I have joined on my site here.
So, let’s talk about EquityX and why this company, pretty much from the first meeting was a perfect example of a company I wanted to work with and that wanted to work with me.
The CEO and Founder of EquityX is Ran Oz, THE Ran Oz. He will not approve of me singing his praises, which I have found to be something all great people share in common. Humility, sometimes, to an extreme, but I am working on him. Take a look at his Linkedin to better understand how much the man has to offer. Today, he is a Limited Partner at several leading venture capital funds after having several exits and several IPOs in his career. One might say, everything he touches turns to gold.
Ran’s Co-Founder and CMO is Ori Netzer, who brings extensive experience in both product and marketing to the table, is the man! Both serious dudes from whom I have a lot to learn. There you have it, criterion #1? Met.
Let’s continue then, shall we? Here is a question I get hundreds of times a month: “Hey Hillel, know a CTO who would consider joining my startup, which by the way, is now an idea on a napkin? I can’t pay her, but will gladly give away equity.” My response is usually something along the lines of “Good luck with that.”
You see, the way things have been done traditionally, is that the top talent expects to be paid accordingly so if you are looking for a CTO or CMO that can take your idea and make it a product/business, you are going to need millions, just for their salary alone. Until now.
You see, what I said above about the top talent expecting to be paid accordingly? That is so 2016. Now, experts in their fields are looking to build their portfolio. They are looking to bring their expertise to companies who can benefit from their knowledge and in exchange for that knowledge, take a stake in that company’s success. They want to be compensated in equity.
There are a few challenges here. First of all, discovery. How do these startups find these experts who want to build their portfolio and how do these experts find the relevant startups? Secondly, for a startup to give equity, they generally need board approval, which is a process that can take too long, especially if they want to repeat the process with a few different experts. Finally, just the technical logistics of it all, it can be too much for the expert to deal with, and most definitely too big of a pain for young startups.
EquityX handles the whole process end to end from the discovery, through the process of getting board approval for EquityX as opposed to going through the process per expert, and finally, by handling all the logistics of the onboarding of experts and their compensation. All frictionless on EquityX. So yea, this solves a huge pain point that resonates with me both as someone who has built a portfolio by helping startups and as someone who tries to connect startups with the talent they need as they scale. Criterion #2? Bam!
Finally, EquityX is just getting started with both a top notch team and a strong need, but like every marketplace, what it needs now is the demand, the startups. If only there was someone who lived and breathed startups and who understood the need for something like EquityX, and can help the marketing team increase traction… Yea, like I said, no brainer.
Excited to help build EquityX along with Ran, Ori, and the rest of the team and I invite all startups to join the platform. Especially if you made it this far and are still reading. No, but seriously, join EquityX and find top talent for your startup by leveraging your equity as currency. Sign up here, thank me later.