Seeding the Success at Kovrr
Yakir Golan, Co-Founder & CEO at Kovrr
For Yakir Golan, there was always a spark to become a founder, and a compelling business proposition which eventually manifested in the work he does at Kovrr, a data security software provider which quantifies cyber risk, based in Tel Aviv, Israel. In a recent episode of Tech Salescraft, Yakir sat down with James Hounslow, to tell the story of his journey as a founder.
It starts with finding the right inner circles and business partners and, like a ripple on the surface of a lake, has grown into a successful firm, giving Yakir many years of great experience over recent years in not only starting out, but surviving challenging economic times and coming out as a continually operational business.
The Inner Circle
Like many Israeli men, Yakir spent time as a young man performing military service before leaving after 13 years to pursue his ambition of becoming a founder. Starting from Day Zero, Yakir recalls the days of couch surfing, rattling out ideas and lacking any funding.
From small beginnings, Yakir formed a solid inner circle of business partners with whom, in time, he managed to build a business which now serves some of the largest insurance carriers and enterprises worldwide. Kovrr’s CPO, Shalom, was a key figure in the formative years of Kovrr.
Yakir would brainstorm ideas with people he worked with, building up experience with people who he was considering going into business with. Shalom was the primary person who ultimately followed Yakir through the journey which led to Kovrr’s founding in 2017. What started as sessions throwing ideas at one another over lunch once a week ultimately helped form what became Kovrr’s inner circle.
“Advice from from many people, from all around…anyone that went through this process. Saw it and experienced it with their own hands, I went to talk to them. It’s an ongoing process; even now, a couple of years in, I’m still improving that.”
The Seeds of Funding
The time soon came to seek that injection of cash from willing investors, but this was Yakir’s first experience of seeking funding. He sought advice from all quarters: friends, family, colleagues. This gave him a diversity of opinion on how to proceed, but when asked whether how he would advise a founder-to-be in the same shoes as his former self, Yakir gives the following words.
Before approaching a VC for funding, Yakir suggests that aspiring founders should seek a partner or co-founder who has specific knowledge of the domain they’re building a business in.
A business plan must be fine-tuned – no room for doubt or don’t knows – and a slide deck which is well-polished, ready to present to VCs, once a few enterprises are already showing willing to chip in, once a product is actually read, maybe at least past its beta phase.
Launching a Winning Solution
That’s all very well, but how do you know when to launch the product? Yakir recalls how the initial idea for the product he had in mind was originally for insurance purposes, but subsequently went through an evolution, before coming to rest in the data security mould.
For those wondering when to present a product for consideration, Yakir says founders should refrain from approaching potential investors with nothing to show. After all, people won’t be willing to invest in something that’s invisible or unknowable. So long as a clear use case exists and the idea is well-defined early disclosure can work.
If there was one thing Yakir could change about the process he underwent with his own new offering, he would pay greater attention to market validation and ensure better testing before the development phase.
Adapting as CEO
Before long, Yakir was a CEO to a successful new venture, but adapting to the role takes time. Yakir takes the approach that adaptation is essential in order to thrive.
He feels that if he isn’t learning something new, even as CEO, something is wrong. To ensure that his time as CEO has been a continual learning process, Yakir has sought advice from all around during each and every phase of Kovrr’s ascent, to ensure continual improvement with that much-needed bird’s-eye view from an outsider.
Another piece of advice Yakir gives as a founder is regarding first adopters. He suggests being more aggressive on the proposition with these people, and also pushing to expand business networks with industry influencers, seeking brutally honest feedback in the early days of a new offering.
In his view, this approach helps fine-tune a product to become its best possible self as soon as possible, so the general public can approach the product in a more defined form.
Want to hear more about Yakir’s journey as a founder at Kovrr?
Watch the full episode of Tech Salescraft on YouTube, or across all major podcast streaming platforms.