5 min learn
On this ongoing series, we’re sharing recommendation, suggestions and insights from real entrepreneurs who’re on the market doing business battle each day. (Solutions have been edited and condensed for readability.)
Who’re you and what’s your corporation?
I’m Jim Szafranski, CEO of Prezi, which makes a digital presentation software program app that’s the most partaking method to share info with distant audiences. Our anchor product Prezi Video helps you to deliver any content material onto the video display with you throughout a video convention or recorded video, like a newscaster or climate particular person. We plug into Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Google Meet and Slack, and are being utilized by greater than 20,000 firms, 100+ of the Fortune 500 and the vast majority of US faculty districts.
What impressed you to create this product? What was your “aha second”?
Prezi’s first investor was TED Conferences, so we’ve been used continuously through the years by TED presenters, and our “aha” second got here when a presenter wanted to “beam himself and his content material” from Stanford to the primary stage of the TED Convention in Vancouver. We developed an AR prototype and his presentation content material appeared on stage in a really lifelike means (nearly like Star Trek).
From there, we targeted on constructing one thing that may let you will have a presence amongst your content material in order that you can work together with the content material and convey the viewers in deeper. We launched Prezi Video in November of 2019 and had no thought how quickly the world would go full digital simply months later.
What recommendation would you give entrepreneurs in search of funding?
Look as near your community as attainable. Your credibility and fervour are so vital, so something to enhance the possibilities of you coming throughout as credible and a recognized amount will assist.
Search for investor groups who’ve a ardour on your space. They’ve a greater likelihood of intrinsically understanding your thought, which reduces uncertainty — the important thing friction that retains individuals from investing.
The holy grail is along with your early clients. Getting them to fund the seed stage places you in an important place to lift institutional cash and at higher phrases as a result of you will have de-risked the concept.
Any recommendation for making ready for a pitch?
The VC isn’t trying to simply provide you with cash. They need to accomplice with you and spend quite a lot of time working collectively on fixing issues and making key selections. So, your pitch is an efficient alternative to discover that connection collectively. Don’t simply current the logic and the chance. Additionally, work to create an emotional reference to the concept. Relate the product and repair to their lives. Imagery, interactivity or a novel conversational expertise, helps.
What has been your greatest problem in the course of the pandemic and the way did you pivot to beat it?
Staying in reference to the crew, specifically in Europe (8 time zones other than my location). A part of my resolution was mechanical – I shifted my workday earlier and engaged in additional proactive communications — posting updates weekly on our inner wiki, elevated our all-hands frequency from bi-weekly to weekly. General, I needed to exchange all the data and hallway conversations by deliberate follow.
The massive epiphany has been asynchronous video, i.e. sending recorded movies that don’t require coordinating a reside assembly. It cuts down on time spent in reside video calls, lets extra introverted crew members contribute on their very own timeline, and general encourages individuals to personal their schedules whereas nonetheless empowering them to provide full digital displays at any time. We nonetheless do video requires brainstorms, all arms and planning conferences, however we maintain conferences async the place it’s simply giving updates or sharing suggestions.
What does the phrase “entrepreneur” imply to you?
Somebody who so badly desires to deliver their thought to the market and enhance the lives of their clients, that they push in opposition to all the percentages and immense challenges to really do it.
Is there a selected quote or saying that you just use as private motivation?
My motivation is essentially intrinsic and primarily based on my appreciation for my dad and mom and their dad and mom and all of the exhausting work and sacrifices that everybody earlier than me has made to make sure that I’ve wonderful alternatives in life. I need to take advantage of this chance. The place I most frequently search for inspiration is in learn how to act. One actually easy saying, that I realized 17 years in the past from a supervisor, that has helped me act is the concept of “seven alternative ways, seven totally different occasions”. It’s often known as the 7×7 Rule for communications. Reminding me that I have to share my messages seven alternative ways and 7 totally different occasions to make sure that I’m doing job speaking, giving my meant viewers an opportunity to grasp and join with me. I believe as entrepreneurs that all of us can profit from this reminder and take braveness from it to share our concepts broadly and sometimes to assist deliver in regards to the change we search.
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