A Growth VC Investor & an Author, and How Does It All Relate?

Daniel Shinar
Tech Investor, Board Member, Author, CEO of Claltech

After serving 6 years in the army, Daniel is released and flies to South America -

"Back then we didn't travel with mobile phones yet, so I left my parents exact instructions on how to enroll me in studies: first priority was history, second priority was business administration and third priority was law."

He enrolled in law school and soon realized that he couldn't find himself. So he started working as an analyst while studying, and from there, as he describes, reality led him.

Becoming a Growth Investor

When Daniel wanted to embark on a new path, with the support of Avi Fisher, Director of Clal Industries, and Len Blavatnik, owner of Access Industries, they thought together about the relative advantage they could have in relation to others that could set them apart in the market, and realized that there were almost no VCs dealing with the growth phase.

When I asked him what makes this stage unique, he explained that the main difference is that a Growth investor does not take technological risk. Instead, he enters the picture at a stage when the idea works. They create profit during the execution phase itself, for which the market must be large enough to create a place of transportation.

Alongside this, he clarifies:

"I'm not an operator and I don't know how to tell the CEO what's better. My job is to choose the best CEOs in the best companies, to bet right, to disturb them as little as possible and if they want, also to help."

We can think of many scenarios and derivatives of every possible decision, and make many predictions for the company's potential, and still part of the charm and fear in this world of venture capital investments is that you never know what will happen, when the boiling point will come that will tip the scale to success or loss, Or as Daniel summarizes with a smile:

"The road is paved with heart attacks."

He shares that the realization of his place within the ecosystem hit him at the Exit party of Dynamic Yield, a company he had invested in, when after years of hard work, pressure and effort, the purchase did not eventually come through their VC -

"I stand in the corner of the stage and think, how fun it is for Liad Agmon (the CEO) to stand there on the stage to experience that feeling, but it did give me a very clear sense about my little place in this world - I'm the satellite revolving around the entrepreneur who is the sun, and that's fine, that's the game."

Daniel shares a significant insight he learned from Iron Source's founder Tomer Bar Zeev, when he heard him say to someone:

"You don't generate enough a sense of urgency."

He understood that everywhere in life, and especially in the world of entrepreneurship, the ability of a manager to create a sense of agency is what makes the difference whether something happens or not.

Another lesson in entrepreneurship that he learned from his partner at Claltech, Tomer Babai, is a resemblance of who are the kind of people he wants to work with -

"In our joint work, if there is some kind of deal that I cannot be involved in, I can trust him 100% and know that, as if by telepathy, I know how he is thinking, and that I can leave it and it will just happen - that's the kind of people you want to look for; the combination of people you can trust and who can create a sense of agency."

To be a writer

"Writing a book is a lonely process. My eldest son was born close to midlife crises and I decided that I was going to follow this dream of publishing a book so that I would also have something to tell him."

I sympathized with Daniel, that during the process of writing the book (since I am currently invested in writing my own book), the choice of what to include in the book and what to leave out is very preoccupying to us. The purpose of writing a book is to reveal your truth and your story. This is whether everything is accurate or whether part is the results of your inner imagination, and the thought also comes - what will happen when those close to me read it?

This thought is also relevant to entrepreneurs in times of complex decision-making. There are 3 questions I like to ask them and they help choose the right way to act:

  • How will you feel tonight when you go to sleep if you choose this thing?
  • How would you feel if they wrote this about you in the newspaper? How will you feel when you read this?
  • How would you feel if your child asked you about this thing?

After two excellent books that were very successful ('Red Skies', 'The Pagoda House', published by Yediot Books) and a series based on the first book that will premiere soon on 'Reshet 13', Daniel still sees himself first and foremost as an investor. He explains that he looks at writing as a significant hobby, and realizes that these two points also touch and create a larger whole:

"Every story you have to tell makes you more interesting to the other side."

The series can deceive and appear to be an overnight success, but beyond the three years of work on the series itself, it is important to remember that the first step of writing the book began back in 2004, and reached full maturity after 20 years of work, investment and patience.

Daniel shares:

"I still don't feel like I'm sitting here and it's a success story. There are many things that didn't happen that I'd like to happen. Even when the series premieres, I'll probably be busy with people I didn't invite and be offended, or the sound isn't working... you need someone in the trenches to remind you to celebrate success."

It is important that we also develop the ability to cherish our achievements, even the smallest ones, and live our everyday lives that way. The way is the process, and being truly present in all moments - this is what establishes success.

In the end, when Daniel thought about what makes him get up for work every morning, he concluded -

"In the end, I enjoy working with the entrepreneurs. The technical side of investing repeats itself - the exciting part of this profession is the people."

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