Startup Founder Becomes Investor, An Interview With Inon Axel Who Built And...

Startup Founder Becomes Investor, An Interview With Inon Axel Who Built And Sold “Kasamba” A $40 Million Startup

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Looking To Learn From Successful Startup Founders? An Interview With Inon Axel

I am a strong believer that entrepreneurs from all industries can learn from each internet startup founder. I am proud to bring to Startup Bloggers an interview with Inon Axel who founded Kasamba, a successful startup that got purchased by LivePerson. Today Inon acts as an investor and he is enjoying his role on the “other side”. Startup Bloggers really enjoyed interviewing Inon, and we were very happy when at the end of the interview he gave us some very useful tips that each startup founder can learn from.

Inon Axel

 

Q: “Inon, can please tell me about Kasamba?”

Inon: “I co-founded Kasamba in 2000 along with two friends. It was an exciting journey during which we had gone through a roller coaster ride of successes and failures. Kasamba was an expert advice marketplace where anyone could get advice on any topic via online chat. When we started, few people believed that the idea was doable, but eventually we carried out our our vision and created a live marketplace where people were getting their problems solved on one side, while experts were using their knowledge base to make a living by working from home or earn extra income. Eventually, in 2007 we sold the company to Liveperson, who shared our vision for Kasamba.”

 

Q: “Why did you decide to become a startup investor?”

Inon: “I like the entrepreneurial spirit that I see in startups. There are always new, exciting ideas and most of all I like working with people who are creative and passionate about what they are doing.”

 

Q: “What are you looking for in a startup that wants you to invest in them? What stage do you typically invest in (Seed,A round etc.)?”

Inon: “I usually look for early stage companies (seed and pre-seed) because this is the stage that I believe I can contribute the most.”

 

Q: “Tell us a bit about one of your recent investments, anything interesting?”

Inon: “About a year ago I invested along with other leading Angel investors in a company called imonomy, an Israeli startup that developed technology that can automatically match images to text.”

 

Q: “Who uses imonomy’s product currently?”

Inon: “The product is used by thousands of websites and online publishers, we are growing very fast, and the product just keeps improving.”

 

Q: “What is imonomy’s business model?”

Inon: “imonomy’s service is totally free for the publisher. Our business model is based on ads and related content that are displayed dynamically with imonomy’s  image monetization technology.”

LivePerson Experts

 

Q: “What is the background of imonomy’s founders? Did it play a role when deciding to invest?”

Inon: “When I invest in an a company, especially a young startup, the founding team is the most important thing I look at. It is even more important than technology. The founders of imonomy are both graduates of a technology unit in the IDF. They both have rich development and managerial experience, and they have proven that they have the ability and the determination to develop a great product. Moreover, they understand the importance of building a great team so they only hire employees with high skills and motivation which fits the companies dynamic culture.”

 

Q: “Do you have a mentor in the startup community, or are you a mentor yourself?”

Inon: “I love working with young entrepreneurs and sharing my experience. I believe that one of the most valuable advantages we have in Israel is that the community is strong and there is a lot of cooperation and knowledge sharing between people and companies.”

Startup Founder Inon at imonomy

 

Q: “Do you plan on expanding your investment portfolio in 2014?”

Inon: “Certainly! I’m always looking for new ideas and great teams to execute them. I believe that there is a huge opportunity in the mobile and internet market and that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.”

 

Q: “What can you recommend newbie entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey?”

Inon: “Listen to other people, get good advice and be open, but ultimately listen to yourself and to your intuition. Always learn – from books, workshops and other people. Know yourself – your strengths and weaknesses and delegate authority to others when needed. Find a partner that is different from you and completes you, but with whom you share the same set of values. Find employees that are better that you (at least in some aspects). Hire proactive people (and not reactive ones).”

 

We hope you found this Interview useful. If you have any questions you would like to ask Inon, please leave them in the comment section bellow.

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