Mister Beacon Episode #157
Funding Lessons for Entrepreneurs in a FlashNovember 22, 2022
Dov Moran is a venture capitalist and very successful CEO. As well as being a great VC, he invented the USB Flash Drive. He was one of the first investors in Wiliot. His new book “100 Doors: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship” has just been published.
We talk about what it takes to get funded now that we are in a market downturn, his inspirations, struggles and amazing success with developing the Flash Drive. Also, what his view is on the future of Ambient IoT and his latest career as a drummer in a rock band.
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Steve Statler 00:00
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast, I am very excited about a historic episode. This is our first interview with a venture capitalist. We think of you as our listeners, our viewers, as, as entrepreneurs, solutions, architects, but sooner or later, you need some investment. And maybe it's investment from your company that you work at if you work for a big company. Or maybe you want to follow the path of many amazing entrepreneurs, and start up your own company. This is the episode view, because we're talking to Dov Moran, who is the inventor of the thumb drive. So he sold his billion dollar company to scan disk. And, and pioneer the technology behind these amazing devices that are still indispensable. He is the managing partner of Grove ventures who are actually one of the VCs that invested in the first round of without the company where I have my day job. And he has an incredible archive of knowledge in his brain, which we tap into. And he's an author. He's just published a book called 100, doors, an introduction to entrepreneurship. And that's really the essence of what we talking to him about in the show. The second part of our show, we talk a bit about his personal life, his journey. It's really fascinating conversation, in my opinion. But the first part of the show, we'll be talking about what it takes to be a leader of a firm the kind of qualities that venture capitalists look for in the companies that they're funding. And there's a lot of great advice and feedback, which I think you'll find very useful if you're in the solutions business. So please enjoy. The Mr. Beacon, ambient IoT podcast is sponsored by Wiliot. Bringing intelligence to every single thing. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this podcast. You're the first venture capitalists we've had on the Mr. Beacon podcast, the show has been going for over five years. So this is a milestone for me. And it's a milestone having someone with your experience on the show. So thank you. So we're in we're recording this show at the tail end of 2022. And the markets are not good. There's not a lot of companies that are going public. And, you know, the question that I had had in my mind for you is what your advice is for entrepreneurs seeking funding these days? Is Is there still funding available for good ideas? What's the market like?
Dov Moran 03:26
salutely? Yes, the answer is absolutely yes. And again, it's yes. For the good companies. It's no for the big companies that fail maybe a year ago Hey, you could just a you could just invent this kind of stuff with some line on there to say that's very rigged out how you want yeah, and then competing if we have a you know, formal form of resistible Yeah. If I would invest about as we come in, always gone. No more formal. Yeah. You know, for fuel for
Steve Statler 03:56
Yes. Fear of missing.
Dov Moran 03:59
Missing investment. Yeah, it's famous supposed to be famous. Yeah. And in reality, they eat we raise money, many other funds raise money, I think that people are more cautious, excellently dislocated the rate of investment. There is no doubt no more. This VC is late stage VCs, which used to so big amount of checks hundreds of billions of dollars on companies without really evaluating the process, the risks, opportunities exist, you have to look at the opportunities potential. You need to look at the risks. They didn't look at the risks, they look only their potential. Wow, amazing potential. Let's see, there is a risk, you have to calculate risk. You have to measure things and do it smartly in a way that you take finally, the right the right company, so many lates those late stage races, some of them has gone or they became very, very careful with divestment. Early stage, I seen it almost every VC, I know waste money last year, year before, they still have money to invest in their slow, which is good. They are more selective, which is very, very good. And there are more no matter we we don't see any more these guys coming from the Israeli army army, you know, intelligence to analyze. And say we have an idea, you know, cyber, we know how to do cyber. Okay, $60 billion on the value of 180. We thought last year. So basically, it's a good market for the good companies. And it's a good market for VCs. Do you know why? Because, hey, it's more normal, it's more, we do see more opportunities, we do see valuations, which are the right valuations, company has a great idea. But with every great idea comes in lots of risks. And if it companies its early stage, you have to vote to to make the calculation of the risk against the potential, the right probabilities, the right amount, that's the value. And, and yeah, be able to do it in a way that the values are dictating by this balance between the potential and the risks. And not by Hey, somebody else offered them now twice. We don't do one thing, right. So that's it people's time. And I by the way, at least we should invest even more than before, or not less than before. Because the intrapreneurs are there, the ideas of their technology needs to continue to be progressed.
Steve Statler 06:48
So as Grove ventures who you're an investor in Williams company, my day job, the company I work for, in fact, you interviewed me. So thank you for helping get me this job that I love. I've been doing it for five years, which is a privilege. What are you invested in the very early stages of Williard? But what what typically what stage does Grove invest in? Where are you in that? Because you started off as an angel investor, right? As an individual you.
Dov Moran 07:21
I started actually, I started as an angel investor, and I didn't plan to invest. But people used to come to me and say, Okay, nice, great idea, they came back to say no one was ready to, okay, I put some money. And I got into the conclusion, the conclusion that this way of off is a bad way, it's a good way to lose money. Because you don't really get to see the best opportunities. And maybe you don't do a real soul due diligence as you should do. And SF standalone, personally is difficult to really monitor and help and support. And that's where I went to establish a goal. But anyway, I invested as an engineer about 10 companies, and some of them are doing very extremely, very, very well. One of those companies is a company called rapidapi, run by somebody who was 15 and a half, when I got to know him. And I invested in his while hopefully, I didn't invent it ask it didn't establish company, he just it was very slow. He developed something and it was very, very slow. So I asked him, Why don't you hire somebody to help you said, Hey, I don't have money, you know, and I was a student at high school. So I said how much my theory said 60 doesn't go off. Okay. Let's make it a company that says, you know, it's an exercise for us, for me for you. We opened a company said, Okay, we'll open a cooperation with the company and the lawyers will take. So again, we'll see if he doesn't do us on a pre money value of $180,000. And this company now has a value of over a billion dollar. And it's very nice. It's enough money for many such investment that they've done. But I made it the first and we are early stage fund. We are early stage fund we are we invest in companies, really at the beginning, we want to help them to be themselves. We want to see that is the right DNA, and culture and vision and mission statement. And the guys are hiring the right people. And yeah, I think that hiring people is crucial. Company finally, company will do as well as the level of the people would be and if they would hire bad people. I there could be great, but it won't happen. And maybe that's one of the reasons I interview and puppet that's always nice. I was able to take you
Steve Statler 09:54
anyway. So what are the key thing when you have your partner's meetings you're talking about an investment what what are the things that you typically debate about? So you talked about a lot of criteria, the mission and the quality of the people and the culture. But what are the things that you find you're debating in your meetings with your other partners, you're the senior partner, you read it, but I'm assuming there's still some debate about where the investments go. First, we
Dov Moran 10:28
are equal partners. So we are we are four partners, everybody go 25%. And we take decisions, you know, as an entity, notice, they don't say that audit. But we are I, the guy that defined who is pulling all the time, most of the hard stuff, the the deep tech, the deep tech, which means semiconductors and cloud infrastructure and call AI, science, I do like things coming from science, I like very much biotech as well. And it's in it relates to healthcare, digital health. So that's the nature of our funding all of those subjects, really, at the very, very early stages of the company. And then we are we are there and we are coming as the guys who are coming to help the companies, we're not coming as the guy sitting at the ball, they're providing commands, and I don't I don't know how much data is telling you tell you about my efforts to come and help connected there. And go through these and the and sometimes criticize you, which I don't do it about it. I do it when we meet, but almost nothing to criticize him because he's almost felt like this is one of the best CEOs I've ever met. He would compete for the for the job of the best CEO. Yeah.
Steve Statler 11:48
Well, what makes I've got to ask you what makes a great CEO? What what what do you love in a CEO?
Dov Moran 11:56
I tell him generally, when we evaluate entrepreneurs, how do we evaluate how do we first we have the statement, people first two principles, people first thing well, and and how do you measure people have you know if they are good or bad for the specific job, not for how they might be very good as a husband followed by my daughter, but not good as? So they? The answer is, but I do ask this question. Many students, when I come to give speeches from universities ask, What do you think IQ is? Is that important? Now there are students so they're very, very smart. They say no. Your portfolio IQ is important. We don't we don't. We don't take idiots that we don't invest in IQ is important. But it's nothing which is more important. Clearly, this is EQ emotional quotient. How the person knows how to get a group relations, I care about others. And it's crucial. It's crucial to him knowing how to raise money, because raising money is not a thing. I've amazing idea investing? No, no, no, it's very aware of that. And it's hard as you know, to sell, because particularly, the number one seller for any startups is the CEO. You got to sell something that no one else was using the buyer should really have crazy costing you. And he doesn't want with the VP said that comes with a slick tie whatever, quote, giving his speech, he wants to be the CEO. He wants to look at the CEO, the eyes, if the CEO won't be able to convince him because he's not the right character. It's an issue. And then comes something which is even more important. And this is a an AQ stands for
Steve Statler 13:52
adversity, adversity. Okay. Yes. You know, when you
Dov Moran 13:56
when you build your startup, you are going to go through tough times, everybody, I don't I didn't see a single company that didn't go through tough times. This, you know, maybe, maybe Google didn't go through tough times. I think that Google didn't really go through, they're going up, how they will go in the future. But every company has tough times. You know, every CEO will have many disappointments. You go to waste money. You will get many many nose affair people investor that would tell you not and they and every time you get to know it's like clip, slept slept on your face. Because you went with the full excitement. You are so excited. You have to be better if you don't go excited, don't go. So you go really excited. And you make many populations and you tell your friends guys and I know this he will invest in it. You sit with him when he gives you 30 minutes and say I don't think it's going to work or some stupid answer, which you know, it's stupid. And you have to go back and say they asked you, you guys, how was the meeting? Not so bad. He wanted to see the beginning of this soul device working before invest. He just hate the loss and doesn't want to steal face anymore. So you have to play this game. Again, I talked about this the song this before. To the left of you? Yeah. So you know, we take people in sometimes you are disappointed of the people, because sometimes they meet fit to specific stage, but to fit the next stage, what do you do with that. And sometimes, you know, you go to a customer, and you have really the best product. And then you find that the customer keeps buying IBM, they say, I always tell the guys at IBM, but they have such a great product. They're IBM. And it's so, so confusing, and so disappointing, and so tough. And you walk like crazy, crazy hours, and you have a wife at home that is probably unhappy of your activity and your children and you don't say enough and feel guilt for that. It is difficult to be an successful intrapreneur. And not everybody is touched to it. And that's what we're trying to see when we meet people and understand how they are. And yeah, it takes time. Very interesting. But that's a way that's very interesting. But anyway,
Steve Statler 16:33
so you knew, go ahead. No, no, go ahead. Well, you knew Willie, or indirectly, I guess you didn't know tal but you you there was someone in your firm that you knew? of Tal and Juran and Alon. And so you had that. And I, you know, I joined relatively early in wilts history. And I was just amazed, they closed their initial investment round, basically, within days of the start of the year of the they were founded. And I think that was partially because of that that was a lot to do with you. And I have to say, you know, I'm now focused on marketing. In the early days, I was washing the dishes doing the sales and your growth. We're an amazing partner and investor, you made so many introductions gave such great advice. I just want to acknowledge that it was, you know, you were just wonderful. As an investor, I, we've only got a few minutes left, I do want to ask you what your view is the market that we're in now, IoT, and the potential for what we're now calling ambient IoT, you know, in my mind, ambient IoT is, is computing and sensing and communication that surrounds us. And I know you've always been enthusiastic about it, but I've never really heard your thoughts on how far this could go what the potential is. So I'd love to hear from you.
Dov Moran 18:12
I do I'm sure that all the Willett employees are highly believers, I would say that excluding with employees, I'm the highest believer and worldwide for this concept and idea, you know, generally in life in technology, you develop a platform, and then the applications that can use this platform, and over time, this application leads more power or more storage or more speed, and then you go back to the platform of code and could use to develop that. And then it goes back to the applications. And it's a cycle that constantly goes on and on. In my eyes, what we look at is developing is a core technology. It's a core technology that has will have many, many applications. Currently, we don't see yet, we will begin to see we chose the market specific myeloma how much I can talk about the market in the customers. But we chose the market and we do have their amazing, great customers. And I do believe that was in a year or nearby here, we will begin to see this kind of stuff really change the logistics, the specific market, and the numbers are huge. But it's only only the beginning of exploiting the capabilities. And once we will be there at this market showing how we practically improve logistics significant improve quality, improve, actually issues like health, food, if I can mention that. Yes, it this will open the eyes to many, many, many others who say I can use it for this. I can use it for this and I do have many of those examples because I totally agree with you. So some of my ideas maybe are stupid, but it opens the door to many ideas. Sometimes I feel that I need to, and I do it, I need to stop telling tell what kind of ideas I have, because I don't want to drag him out of the focus where he is now, which is very, very important. But as you know, probably I'm one of the big believers in the fact in the fact that we need to develop a platform that would allow many developers easily import the device I bought this software, actually I don't look at it will have access at all, as a silicon company. I look at it as a data company. It's a company that deals with data, the using data generated by these small chips. But practically, it's amazing. Hopefully, that would change the world in many, many aspects I can talk about, about the car market, I can talk about medical devices, I can talk about construction, amazing eight years ago and equal struction. And a lot of other stuff in this is actually something that I feel very, very well with, I identify myself with it, because this is part of creating values making this world a bit better.
Steve Statler 21:29
Absolutely, I totally agreed of and, you know, we have to focus on a few applications to break through. But this is a very, very broad platform that can change the way people make things, distribute them, sell them, use them, reuse them, recycle them, completely new business models. So we wouldn't be here if it weren't for for the amazing work you did. And I just want to thank you as an amazing investor. And thanks for sharing some time. With us here. We had another half of this conversation that people will come here next where we talk a bit about music and how that relates to entrepreneurship. Well, I do have one question. Another question, which was, which we'll get to later, which is what's your favorite? Thumb Drive? But before we before we get to that? Are there three songs? You're a musical person, you were just showing me the the bongos that you have, which is beautiful. You're a drummer, which I had no idea.
Dov Moran 22:34
We saw the fungus. Bogus is not. The sound is very different. This is Congress. Much more professional. Okay.
Steve Statler 22:44
I stand corrected. And I know what you mean, that sound is beautiful for those things. How often do you play?
Dov Moran 22:54
Well, I began to play Actually, only three years ago. Before I love music. All my life. I remember myself as the person saying to myself, I'm so lucky that I loved music. It's like getting to heaven while you're still alive. And, and I listened a lot to music. But I didn't play. Hey, why didn't I play? When I was the age of 16? This was a time that everybody bought a guitar, which is not what you're seeing today. Today people are buying but it's not so popular. My time. Yeah. Oh, internet, no games. Nowhere. No Tiktok nowhere. So people want to play football together. Old guitars play together guitar. And by the way, that caused the situation that the best ones became really very good musicians today. Somebody can be born with amazing capabilities. But he doesn't write any does partisan, he doesn't exhibit these. That's one of the reasons of the level of music that was generated 50 years ago, and he's generated today. But But anyway, I didn't play. I bought a guitar. I actually bought a guitar. And just something didn't feel well, you know, my fingers. And somebody that came to one of my friends came and say, you make a mistake, you have to hold it open. Because practically I'm lifted. But then you have to you have to change all the strings. They have to be another older so you do not see you there you know, somewhere that would my wall. And a month later somebody comes Hey, that's a guitar. Why do you play this? I didn't have to switch the strings. I said how much it cost us 820 shekels I said, Okay, I'll buy it for you. That's normal. Until three years ago, and sales ago, about about three years ago and a couple of months. We had the performance we had actually and LPA LP meeting. And we took a decision that
Steve Statler 25:04
is a limited part limited partners meeting just to explain what these are the people, these are your bosses, I guess the people, I always think of VCs don't have a boss, but everyone has a boss, who have the limited partners,
Dov Moran 25:18
even bother. Even the big boss is the boss, you don't know who he is. But he's, of course, he's the boss. So, you know, LPA, our LPS that are coming, we want to make it as a we have a dinner before we have, we want to have music. And we invited to play at the dinner, a group called salsa, it's a very nice Israeli guys, Israeli people that are there. Each one has his own capabilities. When the singer is blind, the drummer has some his own problems, everybody's there, but have amazing, it's amazing, amazing go query. And I want to play with that. Because I want to because I do believe that everybody in the world has its own limitations. I'm one of the guys with the limitations. I'm playing with these guys. So my my, my pet, my people call the band manager and said, Hey, now we're managing, but I want to play with you. The owner, the manager of this team said, Hey, can't just come in play, he has to I have to test you know, can you play in there? So I went and he bought me some dumb, small drum. And I passed the test. I am okay, I have a good day, I have a good bit tempo. And there is a day to come parties, you have to come and party at least couple of times because you can't come just come there. And without practicing. I went, I truly enjoyed so much that after this performance, I said I have to I have to do something and I went to buy some drums because I want and in the store asked Do you have any band that is that looks to for Damir. You know, these kind of talks. Because actually, they say actually we do have a group playing and you can join an AI that's been led. So I'm playing with the same band sleeves. We play every week, we practice. We do have amazing performance performances. In the performance, we sink in between one sock to the other. They talk about enterpreneurship. And it's amazing how many folks are so well related to that. And the study that they don't is the whole story of startups and hookbaits is so similar, by the way, what happened to them? How do they progress? How everybody likes to build his own differentiation? Yeah. And we became very popular. We are very popular. We actually we are booked ahead of time.
Steve Statler 27:57
Amazing. And what sort of venues Do you play?
Dov Moran 28:02
To leave your lover and we play you someone golf and kill staff we play? I've never stopped basically about two more. Yeah.
Steve Statler 28:16
It's very, very inspiring.
Dov Moran 28:18
It does a great job, you fail and fail and fail. You need a good input. This
Steve Statler 28:24
is fascinating. This correlation between the startup dynamic and the band dynamic. I never really thought about it before but you have questions of leadership and saluted harnessing creativity and what are the other parallels in your mind?
Dov Moran 28:44
By the way, one of the songs we are singing is stuck in the middle with you. You know, just to the left a few clumps to left you I am stuck in the middle with you. Exactly. This skips off the start of you begin to start. Because you take the most the smartest guy from the university and you take the guy which was due to military service that ever everybody say said about him. He knows how to sell ice to it today to Eskimos. Yeah. And then after a year, you find that the guy from university is great solving problems, but he doesn't know how to manage the team. And the this amazing guy from the Eskimos probably he knows how to sell ice to Eskimos. He doesn't have to fail product to them. And it's ready for use.
Steve Statler 29:40
So we have this tradition on the show. We ask our guests for three songs that have meaning to them. Do you have three songs that you can share with us? Wow,
Dov Moran 29:51
this is such a difficult question. I really didn't didn't come prepared. I would say that I love about it. We played today so we We've been together for a couple of hours and everybody brings his own music and we try stuff and of course we do a hell stuff as well. Amazing. It's really active with no nicety but clearly Stairway to Heaven. It's a you know, it's a stairway to heaven nothing is close to that. And then if I have Yes, we still be will be many I can see if a quote two if a state only two. I know that they had well it is that how could I forget this? But yes, yes,
Steve Statler 30:28
I mean, I think the thing that sometimes helps people is if they think about a particular occasion or a moment in their life that is linked to a song because then you know there are a few songs maybe that reminds you of childhood or romance or I don't know
Dov Moran 30:47
that's so clearly there are many many songs in Hebrew which I love I like a lot in but you know, every time I like something else and I'm crazy body song and you know it's there is no something stable today of today we listen to King Crimson and not to you know, but we are King Crimson
Steve Statler 31:04
I do I have a King Crimson record in my vinyl collection back there.
Dov Moran 31:09
The first one I remember which one it is the court of the crimson kings this was it's the whole music the whole record just the way I can describe it differently so I do have to now and I would I would think for Moody Blues or Simon Gulf girl what are the rules white of white of a night of white
Steve Statler 31:34
shade of satin yes to fight
Dov Moran 31:38
it. And my first big love my wife before my wife was the lady that I got to know the song actually it was roughly about the song is a very interesting song because I'm not you know, it's it has a story very historic. It went to the to the public it came is number one on the playlist in America. Every song it's began to you know, people get bold and it without of the infections later, five years later, no one understands why it went back into the first place. It's the only song ever that went it's such a difference of time to the first place. And the reason I know this is why it's a great song. And you know now I will say this was when I was a student at the Technion and I was in love with a lady which was actually older than me by three years which was bigger these days. I was a relatively poor family not not a huge fan. She was one of the richest families in Islam. And they we didn't really synchronize I was in love I think that she wasn't so much in love. And she she really I do have other friends as well. And this America going to somebody else is going to come to me and I would just go in and sneak into the the the yard nearby or to the suite looking at the window do they turn off the light? Go because it was love really crazy in a crazy way? Yeah. So that's next time
Steve Statler 33:21
amazing. Well thank you for for that that's that's great. i There's so much I want to ask you about we have limited time but it would be great to hear about how you got from your early life and it seems like you didn't kind of start your life knowing that you wanted to invent the memories thumb drive how did you end up coming up with these ideas and building a company around it? I mean this your your name is on a lot of patents that relate to this you weren't a bystander you are at the center of this you know as a as a kid did you ever think that you would be creating a technology that would you leave a mark on the world?
Dov Moran 34:14
Clearly I wanted Yeah, I had a grandfather that was a really amazing intrapreneur he was like Elon Musk of the of the 100 years ago it I cannot I can tell you horror story of an hour about human decency deed and how we took his my father and succeed to save same debt because of bellicose all the stories are killer. But my my grandfather, we lived in the same room with we had a small department and he gave me a lot of things that I guarantee now the one of them is money's not important. I really do believe so. You should have enough but it's not a it's not hey, I want to have to be more richer and more One more and so others, I don't have it. And, and the other thing I seen it, it was like, don't pick up, don't, don't, don't leave, don't, don't get it don't leave it, I do have memory for my really young age where I'm doing some job for him, he just created jobs for me, then there was a very every piece that I'm going to do. And he's he had no legs of equal. And he's telling the below me, say, Don't talk it don't drop. And I do have this in my mind, like, you know, you had to stick with it in. So I'm intrapreneur in my DNA said here to DNA for enterpreneurship. If I say something about myself, and I don't feel comfortable talking about I'm great. And we thought that I'm very innovative, I always was very lucky. You know, I did, I was innovative in the sense that I was younger reporter on a slowly use newspaper, I was, in the end my painting where my teacher for Beatty, was in love in my painting, she sent it to an exhibition. And on the other side, it was very, very good in maths and physics. So it's a combination sort of copulation. Now, I have to tell the audience something which is very, very critical for me to say, being innovative. It's not just positive, there are bad sides to it. If you if I look. So it's you know, it's like a scratch. It's yet it's gives us the benefit of power on one side, or the other side. Very organized, I'm very, you know, I tend to move from one thing to the other very fast, it's very difficult for me to do only one staff, which is big deficiency. And in many times in my life, I failed females, just because they didn't focus in wanting to lead distinction continue with that. So that's, you know,
Steve Statler 37:00
that how do you so so I have to ask you, how do you you're very self aware of the strength and that weakness? How do you manage the weakness what's when you deal with it, if
Dov Moran 37:14
I were to be solely on me, I need you actually, I was eight and a half years, I was the head of the Israeli microprocessors. But anyway, it was a great time for me, I really enjoyed so much. Because practically I was managing 23 projects, my department was a big department, many people, I felt very comfortable to go from one project to another these days lasting, you know, the staff. Yes. And then when I started, when I left the Navy, I established M systems, and the company built with flesh data storage, and the company was growing and you know, moving slowly improving itself. In 2001, we reached revenues of $45 million, and which is still not big revenues. But I did something we just see was very important, I built into the conclusion that I should not manage the day to day life of the company. I bought Volga actually fully set a company. And I divided the company to four divisions. And I default divisions were totally, totally independent in a way that every division has a manager is has a vice president's conduct associate, vice presidents had their own HR, the head on the head, somebody in the division, which had did all the economics, the finance, they had their own sales, they had their own creations. And that's crazy. I divided the operations to four different operations, actually see the two of them together. I divided this I had in the States, three, three sets offices actually located in different places. And you may say, Hey, Tom, it's totally inefficient. On the other side, I give a lot of power to the managers and the idea was a guy so you're going to do well, you division going to be compensated very, very last very nicely. For the success of the division, it's in our new head. And we kept the small cooperated that's with with stuff that was really supposed to collect all the rest of the data by flash memory. This was this was related to all of the visuals. I establish another group which did some crazy stuff, although, but the idea was to bring the people the politically complimented me in my weaknesses and in this work very, very well. And they seem to disappear. Absolutely key.
Steve Statler 39:56
Absolutely key. We've sort of skipped over The thing where you basically came up with this invention that changed to change the world I, I have one of these in my car, this is my favorite flash drive, it's got the two interfaces, the USB C and USB. And when you know your your company invented this, and it's it's part of the furniture How did it happen
Dov Moran 40:29
when there is a story, but you know, I think that the story is boring. Okay, first when we invented it, we already dealt with Flash renew what is flash, when you have to take flash and make it appear like how this but not in the USB. Now, this was the way I'll try to shorten it, I went to a conference in New York. Now my living in Israel Tel Aviv, there is a flight 001 Wave to do. Now, I do it until today, when I give presentation, I need to look at it to go over it before the so in the flight, very late at night, I take my computer, I go over the presentation, close it or believe I close it to the back into the into my my case, my back my backpack and put it below my legs and I go to sleep. What I didn't forgot is that the computer didn't really shut down it it really it just opened by itself like that. Later on, I did test to understand what really happened. So when I left to New York, the battery was totally empty. Now this is 1998 24 years ago, I go to the conference don't tight. Of course before my turn I come out on the stage I put my computer, I hooked the cables. I think yes. Now we are a public company. What do you what do you stick without? Presentation? You can't a lot of numbers you should talk about you can make mistakes in the numbers. And I what what in my mind, I am going to go back to Tel Aviv to tell my people that I actually went and did Nasik. And these are these are these are picture how do you picture the picture goes like that? You know that? Yes, this is spiral sweat off my back. I feel the sweat of being appearing such an idiot in front of my guy saying hey, I flew to New York computer didn't roll because he probably started correctly. And I flew back. So when I do that one of the my friends in the first row, which was supposed to talk after me say I take my computer, they say but how can I transfer my files from my computer? A whole dialogue? There's no way and and then the computer wake woke up that something because it connected to the power. These days it it was about you had to hit three minutes of power on before the battery was good enough to really, to really begin. So I did a presentation I do have this moment of, of discovery. This was when I finished and took off all my cables. I had. Yeah, okay. And then I say to itself, never again, I will go to the US presentation without having a copy. That's all the rest is connecting dots. And I was very, very lucky, by the way, just a matter of being smart or anything else. Lucky. They didn't know that USB is coming in, I did know what's out the trash could connect. My luck here was that there was a committee of quite happily to define the USB standard. And the committee the basic job very, very smart guys, all of them. Yeah, I met few of them, by the way later on. But they didn't they didn't define that you can connect memory into the USB into the USB port. So we could file actually. And once you file a button, this is power. But it is important. When you deal with technology and bringing new stuff to the market. You need to file patents visa disclosure, and this patent allowed us to we allow other to do to do it. We go through the whole world. But we could actually reach agreements with the flesh manufacturers and tell them listen if you actually have to have a license with us to sell to the others. And we were very very we had a very nice concept we don't we won't overcharge you money for any USB flash drive. But just give us part of the flesh that you're manufacturing at a lower price. So, you know, they didn't seem like a big throttle. For us. It was the ability to when everybody asked for advice. It is very Which crucial. Yeah,
Steve Statler 45:01
that is amazing. I thought you were going to tell me that you got a percentage on every drive everyone sold. But you didn't need to do that
Dov Moran 45:12
there were hundreds of manufacturers, not within Pettaway. And of course, it gives us the ability to sell to all the all the large waves, actually, we sold to Dell, HP, IBM, a memo x with a big team, many others. The nice story about it was that when you went to Best Buy these days, people used to go to Best Buy to buy stuff like that. And you stood in front of the shelf of the USB stick USB flash drives. All of them were ours, doesn't matter which one you bought. Kingston was a great, great partner, people. By the way. I am a good fan tip today with the CEO of Kingston they data and music person.
Steve Statler 45:58
Yeah, amazing. So it is interesting. It's a little it is like being a rock star that you think you're you're something that you've done is part of everyone's lives. And I always joke about the fact that it was new scientists are frustrated rockstars.
Dov Moran 46:20
First of all, it's past, it's gone. It's today, everything goes to the cloud. And that's the way it should be done. And you'll be face to face, any technology will disappear. And that's the nature of technology. It's good for several years. And that comes something which is much better, much more correct. We always fight hate, how could its technology, that's what's great about technology practically improves our life constantly, in a way that we cannot actually predict, but it does the job. And I didn't feel like you're actually when I was at M systems. I was working so hard that I I do funny story. When I established a company. And I asked myself, what's your target? What where do we get to within $1 billion says it's going to be messy company. Of course we reached the one we will go to our it's a totally complex project to the 10 million do not actually cooperate. And we will do it because the model is $100 billion. This is it is like this. That's a large crop of Israel. But it's with these days, it was very, very large company not too many complaints about the over revenues over $100 million. We just crossed the 100 million dollars. And we went to the billion dollar without noticing, actually from $45 million dollar revenues in 2001. We jumped we move to over $1 billion sales in 2006. If we don't complete the year, five years. It's ready for X sales in five years. Not too many companies in the war with this kind of sharp increase. And I was so busy with what was what we were doing that the last thing that they thought about a folkstyle what they would call what was I was flying these days until I saw them systems in coach. Yeah. And when they give me an unfinished business, I used to go to where people find with me and say they will do exchange tickets with me. They say no white, because I want to sit with the guys. I don't want to sit alone in the business. It's not fun.
Steve Statler 48:32
That's amazing. That's amazing. Well done. Thank you so much for this personal look at some of your experiences. It's really been fascinating.
Dov Moran 48:42
Thank you very much was pleasure to service.
Steve Statler 48:48
So that was my conversation with Doug Moran, remarkable entrepreneur, investor, inventor, innovator, and a musician. So do check out his book. I've just bought my copy of 100 doors and introduction to entrepreneurship. It's available on Amazon. And we thank you for sticking with us listening to the end of this podcast. Please do all the normal things that you're asked to do or do as podcast listener. Like us recommend us write a review. But most importantly listen to us next time we write an episode we should be in about two weeks time. All the best