8 million users and no revenue. What do you do? Find out from Zur Feldman.
Sramana Mitra: Zur, let’s start with your personal story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of circumstances?
Zur Feldman: I’m originally from Israel. I spent all my youth in Israel. I ended up spending 26 years in different places in the US. Through different paths, which I can later talk about, I ended up studying in New York. My first degree is in Photojournalism and Television. I then went to Los Angeles and joined UCLA. I studied Business Administration and spent a big part of my time there – nine years. I made a switch from the diplomatic core into high-tech industry in 1986. Then, I moved my company to Sacramento after the 1994 earthquake. At that time, I also joined the Stanford Executive Program at the MBA School of Business. I founded several companies but one company was on the east coast. So, I moved back to Washington for about seven years where I built a satellite company.
After I had a family – I have four kids – I decided to go back to Israel. I participated in the largest venture capital in Israel called Pitango. I worked there on many different portfolios but fell in love with one particular idea that was , I would say, almost a dream. That’s the company that I am the CEO and Chairman of. It’s called wefi. Then, I left the venture capital to lead this company, which at that time was just an idea that three entrepreneurs had. I wanted to make it a reality. I moved back to Israel about six and a half years ago. That’s where I am today. It’s a very long journey to circle back to where I was born.
Sramana Mitra: I imagine you want to focus the discussion today on wefi.
Zur Feldman: Yes, we can talk about wefi a little bit. There are a lot of things that led me to wefi which are probably as exciting in terms of how I started at a multi-billion dollar company called Packard Bell, which everyone in the US probably remembers. I was employee number sixteen there. For 13 years, I was in this company. In the end, I was in charge of all the operations of the company – like a COO. The company was sold to NEC. That was my starting point in the high-tech world. It helped me to shape my passion and my excitement with new technology and things that were never done before.