Last week, UpWest hosted a full-house event in Tel Aviv to discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with building Frontier Technology startups. During the event, two UpWest portfolio founders shared the challenges of starting and growing companies in the frontier technology space.
Up first was Ran Krauss, CEO of Airobotics, who founded the first company to develop a fully autonomous drone system. Their clients use their technology to run missions that monitor, inspect, survey and secure large industrial facilities and other strategic sites. The company secured $28M in funding in the past 18 months.
Next was CEO and founder of Neura, Gilad Meiri, a company that creates intuitive and intelligent experiences between people and their connected environments. Neura enables devices with context awareness and adaptive learning capabilities: a requirement for today’s developing physical Internet. Neura has raised $13M to date.
Both companies shared fundamental points. For example, they explained that mission, vision and persistence are critical (even more so than in a mature domain)to navigate the countless unknown obstacles and more time must be taken to explain and educate the market. In many cases, a “leap of faith” is needed to discover and create creative use cases which have been overlooked until now. As Gilad said, “you need to sell the dream to the investors.”
When discussing competition with large companies, Gilad and Ran advised not to let their tens of thousands of employees scare you off. “Your team is in competition with a 50 person team within a large corporation, which often is not as fast and as innovative as your people”, said Ran.
Gilad and Ran also believe that focusing on top priorities and maintaining a persistent radical optimism are key to maintaining your momentum.
Finally, Ran mentioned that founders need to take time to evaluate whether they want to really pursue a startup in an emerging technology. Conversely, if the potential to enable, transform and improve how people do things today continues to excite them, he maintains founders actually have an obligation to pursue their venture and lead the way in their respective field.
We look forward to continuing to invest in founders that are pushing the envelope on new technologies and its impact on our daily lives!