Yaron Ismah Moshe is the Co-Founder and CPO at Exceed.ai and a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in building products and product groups.
Yaron served in one of the elite tech units in the Israeli Defence Forces for more than 6 years, and then built and led R&D and product groups, some of them in companies that were acquired.
Yaron is now building a third company from zero, and has been able to raise $5.5M so far, as well as having dozens of companies use the product he’s built.
What You’ll Hear
- [1:30] About Yaron and his background
- [4:00] Why Yaron became an entrepreneur
- [6:05] Where the idea of Exceed came from
- [8:50] How Yaron stayed motivated
- [10:37] How Yaron overcame challenges
- [11:25] How to stay ahead of the competition
- [13:25] Why businesses struggle with sales and marketing
- [14:35] Yaron’s advice for a new business owner
- [17:17] Tips for starting a tech company
- [19:17] The most interesting place Yaron’s visited
- [20:30] Final comments
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About Yaron and His Background
Yaron started in product development in India and the US, and worked on a big project to bring in a new merchant payment method for stores in 2014. This unfortunately coincided with the introduction of Apple and Google Pay and ended the venture.
He moved back to Israel and started EGGZZ, a Pokémon-Go type game which allowed people to send virtual eggs which could be picked up at a location and swapped for a gift card. He founded his current business in 2016.
Why Yaron Became an Entrepreneur
Yaron says he’s always been an entrepreneur, starting a floppy-disk business when he was 15. He’s looked for opportunities throughout his career to start a business. As an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for all aspects of the business, which he loves.
You also have the luxury of building something from scratch, and start from the idea upwards. It’s more exciting than being an employee, says Yaron, and you need an entrepreneurial mindset.
Where the Idea of Exceed Came From
As a consumer, Yaron says he was often frustrated by the way businesses in Israel communicated with their customers. People don’t want to send a fax or wait for someone to answer the phone.
Focusing on ecommerce businesses, Yaron’s company developed a way of turning their online catalogue into a conversational experience – with a chatbot. After two years, he decided that he wasn’t going to be able to scale, and pivoted to explore a few ideas.
Finally, he chose to take the infrastructure he’d built and moved it to marketing and sales to allow companies to converse with leads at scale.
How Yaron Stayed Motivated
“We only live once, and we all have dreams. We should take a leap of faith and make a change. Entrepreneurs have more to lose than most people.” On a day-to-day basis, Yaron is motivated by his customers.
Having something that people want puts you in a great position, and you can use customer feedback to develop your offering and find more customers. And of course, positive feedback helps you stay motivated.
How Yaron Overcame Challenges
First, you have to breathe and take it easy. And secondly, every challenge in the company is another chance for us to improve ourselves, our company and our processes.
“Every time we have a big challenge in the business, we have a post-mortem to see where we can improve things and what went wrong. I think this is the right approach.”
How to Stay Ahead of the Competition
Yaron says many companies struggle with this, but your mindset should be customer-first. When you build something the customers truly love, you’re there for them and understand their pain, it will pay off. Customers will leave good reviews.
And as consumers ourselves, we’re used to looking for reviews about businesses, so we know that customers do that for us. To stand out, improve your social footprint and focus on your customer.
Why Businesses Struggle with Sales and Marketing
One of the most difficult things for new businesses is getting their messaging right. They rewrite their communications or they change their audience, which makes it hard.
The right way to do it is to have some hypotheses and check them with your market. Don’t change them all the time, says Yaron, but take some time to test them. Then make small tweaks and improve your messaging until it’s almost automated. You’ve validated your messages and you know it works.
Yaron’s Advice for a New Business Owner
The most important thing Yaron has learned as a business owner is to find the right partner for the journey. Employees will come and go and you’ll face a lot of challenges, but you need to make sure you’re building a partnership with someone who shares your values. You need the same approach to business growth and to have the same end goal.
It’s best to have a partnership of two or three people – four or more is too many. And make sure you can work together for the long term, because it’s no good if one person leaves after only a few months.
Tips for Starting a Tech Company
Before you start building your product, make sure it will solve a real pain point for your clients. Don’t just assume your customers will love it; you have to talk to them and validate the idea. What is the real pain they have?
Once you’ve identified the pain, you can start to build. Too many entrepreneurs assume that customers will love their product because they do, and that’s just not true.
Build your minimal viable product, iterate fast and improve yourself. Listen to your customers and track what they do inside of it to better understand how they use it. This will help you work out how to improve it.
The Most Interesting Place Yaron’s Visited
Yaron and his wife honeymooned in South America, and loved it. Peru was his favourite place, and the locals are happy with their lives. They have less pressure and take it easy. It was a lesson learned.
First of all, believe in yourself. It sounds like a cliché, but if you surround yourself with the right people, you can build a great business. The sky’s the limit once you find the right customers.
Connect with Yaron at Yaronisme on Instagram or email [email protected]
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