May 16, 2022
Future of entrepreneurship and building of unicorns
Everyone who cares about business and investing either wants to be a unicorn or discover one. But what does it take to be a unicorn or to have the ability to find one in a business environment replete with so many other creatures?
Gigi Levy Weiss, General Partner at NFX, knows what it is like to be a unicorn, to identify unicorns, and to support their development. As a child, Gigi’s attraction to tech was first activated through a love of video games. Then, his adult career began as a pilot. After serving in the Air Force, he founded several startups, worked as the Division President of Amdocs, and then was CEO of 888 Holding, an online gaming company. Following his own business success, he turned his attention to acting as an angel investor. Eventually, he became a partner of the venture capital firm, NFX, to offer more hands-on guidance to founders.
On this episode of Future of Tech, Gigi offers his thoughts on promising industries for future investment, including: fintech, synthetic biology, gaming, crypto, and marketplaces. Gigi contends that A.I. is now cutting across many industries rather than simply being a part of standalone businesses. He also shares the wisdom he has learned along his entrepreneurial journey that can be helpful to current and future founders. Enjoy!
- Giving Back to Other Entrepreneurs and to Country: A passion for service can be a very strong motivation. Gigi explains that he is driven by a desire to help entrepreneurs. He also refers to his passion for supporting Israel and its economy. He believes that “Israeli high tech is the new Zionism.” In both cases, Gigi is passionate about giving back.
- Local Leaders Versus Global Leaders: Gigi draws a distinction between companies that are focused on becoming a local leader, in a particular country, for instance, and those with the intention of becoming a worldwide leader. From an investment perspective, he reveals that NFX is focused on supporting those businesses that are striving for global leadership.
- Different Patterns for Success: When trying to discover unicorns, there can be a reasonable tendency to look for particular patterns. Gigi suggests that the path for success can be very different, however. He points to the Facebook model of moving very quickly even if something is not perfect as opposed to the Instagram model of waiting until everything is just right before releasing something. It’s inarguable that both companies had success yet their approaches were fundamentally different.
Advice for Future Unicorns: The path to becoming a unicorn for a founder is not easy. There is an intensity to the work that one cannot avoid. Gigi describes how working a lot is necessary for success but that it can take a toll on personal commitments. He suggests that founders must surround themselves with supportive people.