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Stanford Seminar: Ziv Gillat, EyeFi

Stanford Online2017-02-10
Entrepreneur#EE203#Ziv Gillat#Stanford#SCPD#Stanford University#EyeFi#Seminar
734 views|7 years ago
💫 Short Summary

The video discusses the evolution of a camera company from simplifying photo sharing to developing innovative USB sticks and smart memory cards for cameras. The company's success in retail, online, and global sales, as well as partnerships with major camera companies, is highlighted. The importance of timing in exiting a business for maximum profit, the significance of negotiation in acquisition deals, and the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship are also emphasized. Additionally, the speaker shares insights on intellectual property protection, venture capital landscape, and the benefits of bootstrapping a startup and leveraging angel funding over VCs.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Evolution of Camera Technology in the Digital Age.
The speaker discusses the founding of a camera company with friends to simplify photo sharing and usability.
The shift from film to digital cameras is highlighted, focusing on the inconvenience of transferring images.
The idea of a USB stick to streamline image transfer was conceived during a meeting.
Popular retail stores like Costco and CVS played a significant role in shaping the photo industry.
Development of USB stick and smart memory card for cameras.
USB stick designed to protect camera images and videos, memory card aimed to automate photo storage and organization.
Team faced skepticism but successfully created products, proving capabilities.
Detailed components and functionalities of memory card explained, highlighting innovative approach.
Discussion touches on technical aspects of products, such as radio frequencies and chip design.
Company acquisition and growth history.
Raised $50 million and presold 10,000 cards for $100 each before crowdfunding platforms existed.
Raised a million from angels, launched in retail in 2006, and expanded to online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy.
Raised $20 million from DoCoMo, grew sales globally across 48 countries, and achieved success in major retailers worldwide.
Innovated by creating memory cards that could upload data, not just store it.
Development of camera technology for wireless photo uploading.
Secured partnerships with major camera companies in Japan, Korea, and Germany, resulting in millions of units shipped.
Nikon's support opened doors for other companies to adopt the technology.
Initially focused on tier 2 and tier 3 companies before gaining trust of top companies.
Technology led to Wi-Fi support becoming standard in cameras, despite competition from smartphones.
Importance of exiting a business at the right time.
Optimal exit should be when experiencing significant growth and having the most fun.
Exiting does not mean stopping, but continuing to grow and expand post-acquisition.
Recognize the trend of growth and seize the opportunity to exit when the business is thriving.
Challenges may arise, but it is crucial to capitalize on the opportunity for growth.
Importance of timing in exiting a company for maximum profit.
Examples of companies like Flip and Instagram growing exponentially after being acquired.
Exiting doesn't mean losing out, proper timing can lead to continued growth and success.
Speaker reflects on missed opportunities in their own company's history.
Significance of recognizing when to exit for optimal results.
Negotiation is crucial in acquisition offers, as everything is up for negotiation.
Seniority plays a role in the outcome for founders, employees, and VCs in deals.
Luck is a significant factor in business success, and not all companies will reach the level of Facebook or Instagram.
Snapchat's decision to hold out for an IPO instead of accepting acquisition offers highlights the importance of strategic decision-making.
Staying true to your path can lead to success, even though outcomes of different choices are unpredictable.
Importance of Small Exits in Building Value
Small exits are crucial for building value for shareholders and oneself.
Challenges and Rewards of Entrepreneurship
Being an entrepreneur requires relentless drive to keep working despite obstacles.
Experience with Smart Camera Project
Speaker worked on a smart camera project for a Japanese company with potential applications in robotics, cars, and cameras.
Protection of Work Through Patents
Speaker mentions protecting their work through patents and failed attempts of a Chinese company to copy their technology.
Importance of execution over patents in protecting intellectual property.
Small companies face challenges against larger competitors in this area.
Personal experience shared of not filing patents in key regions leading to legal issues with a competitor.
Landscape for venture capital discussed, with a positive outlook for the upcoming year due to funds being utilized after a period of caution.
Emphasis on creating commotion to attract VCs and the influence of angel funding on VC decisions.
Changes in Angel Investing Landscape
AngelList and syndicates have changed angel funding, allowing small angels to invest together.
This shift reduces risk for individual angels and ensures fairer outcomes.
Starting a company with friends and shared beliefs is emphasized.
Maintaining day jobs initially is advised to ensure steady income and avoid hasty decisions.
Benefits of bootstrapping a startup and maintaining a day job while building a team and network.
Importance of finding co-founders who believe in each other and leveraging meetups for networking.
Angels are recommended over VCs when seeking funding, with friends and family advised to have a net worth of at least a million dollars to invest.
Angels are more accessible, with many being former employees of tech giants.
It's suggested to only accept investments of 50k or more from angels to ensure commitment and support.
Importance of Capital Structure in Startups
Raising more money leads to dilution of ownership in a startup, with the cap table representing the distribution of shares among founders, employees, and investors.
Different valuation buckets are mentioned, emphasizing the importance of not being overcapitalized to avoid down rounds.
Speaker shares their own experience of being conservative with fundraising, achieving incremental valuations through multiple rounds.
Many founders make the mistake of overcapitalizing, leading to challenges in subsequent funding rounds.
Importance of Conservatism in Business Success.
Conservative approaches at the start can prevent future setbacks and employee turnover in companies.
Openness to questions and financial support is vital for success.
Speaker's transparency and willingness to share information serve as examples of this key principle.