By Sarit Firon, Managing Partner, Team8 Capital
The increasing social and economic complexities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are triggering intense transformations in business, creating a need for increased cloud, AI, and cybersecurity adoption for more efficient, effective, and secure business processes. It’s an opportune time to turn challenges into meaningful change. As I join Team8 to launch Team8 Capital, I’m focused on investing in companies that best capture these trends as well as supporting entrepreneurs who’ll be at the forefront of successful change-making.
Team8 Capital is a new venture capital vehicle which leverages the Team8 foundry model, renowned for creating and building category-leading companies in data, AI and cybersecurity.
Team8 Capital invests in early-stage enterprise technology startups across the same focus areas, at seed, A and B rounds.
Liran Grinberg, who co-founded Team8 back in 2014, helped fashion Team8’s unique company-building model, and built our group’s unique go-to-market capabilities, will join me as managing partner at Team8 Capital. Together, we’ll dedicate ourselves to the success of our portfolio companies. We’ll continuously develop our investment thesis, partner with exceptional entrepreneurs and help them grow.
As Team8 Capital’s launch has coincided with the current pandemic, allow me to say that this isn’t the first crisis I’ve had to navigate. In December 2007, I joined MediaMind Technologies to lead its IPO. The prospectus was filed in early 2008. Then the global financial crisis hit and MediaMind had to cancel the IPO. We took the necessary actions to extend our resources and navigate the storm. We kept optimism as our main philosophy for the sake of our employees and to allow a healthy work environment that doesn’t turn off the passion and level of engagement. We continued to align with our internal compass, to sharpen our sense of direction. All of this helped us to move forward with confidence, execute on our IPO plans with a “fashionable delay” of two years, and successfully take MediaMind public on Nasdaq.
Fast-forward to today’s crisis – Covid-19 has already led to many changes and will lead to many more. I believe the pace of investment will slow down for the next few months, but I also believe that afterward, things will gradually return to their former state. It’s a good time to reinforce investments in cybersecurity, data, AI, and machine learning, and a good time to introduce a new vision for supporting entrepreneurs to success.
In the summer of 2012, I was approached by the founders of the marketing intelligence platform, Datorama. I led the company’s Seed round when all they had was a great idea and a presentation. As an active director on Datorama’s board, I worked closely with the company’s founders for six years until its sale to Salesforce in 2018 for $800 million. I saw firsthand how an investor can play a more extended role in an entrepreneur’s journey, beyond the capital. I now reimagine entrepreneurial success as one that fuses the existing model of Team8 and my own philosophy of hands-on guidance.
Team8’s unique company-building model connects perfectly with my vision. In today’s environment, I believe the investor should play a much broader and higher impact role in the success of entrepreneurs and their companies. An investor should deliver real value that extends from 1-on-1 advice, offer a methodology that delivers strong go-to-market capabilities in marketing and business development, and provide deep connections to enterprise executives as well as top talent hiring.
With that in mind, Team8 has built a unique community we call the Village. It’s a tight-knit network of over a hundred C-level executives from the world’s leading technology, financial, consumer goods, automotive, and media companies. We’ve succeeded in creating a powerful eco-system of potential partners, design partners, and buyers for our portfolio companies’ products.
Every startup encounters hurdles and challenges more often than not. To cultivate confidence in decision making and to navigate uncharted waters, our portfolio companies benefit from the insights provided by our Village, as well as from proactive and applied guidance offered by the Team8 group. My passion, as I join Team8 Capital, is to bring my operational experience that spans for more than 20 years across Silicon Valley, New York, and Tel Aviv, and help companies tackle whatever challenges come their way through strategies for growth and scale, for expansion into new geographies, for talent-hiring, weathering crises, financial strategies etc.
We’ll be offering our entrepreneurs our experience and insights, to accelerate their trajectory to success as they move across stages, domains and geographies.
Despite the pandemic, I’m optimistic. I know from experience that crises can be met with positive action and problems can be grasped and solved via new ideas and ventures. I trust that when the trend changes direction, optimism will return and the wheels of industry will once again push forward with vigor, possibly more than before.