5 min learn
In this ongoing series, we’re sharing recommendation, suggestions and insights from real entrepreneurs who’re on the market doing business battle on a each day foundation. (Answers have been edited and condensed for readability.)
Who are you and what’s your enterprise?
I’m Jim Szafranski, CEO of Prezi, which makes a digital presentation software program app that’s the most partaking method to share information with distant audiences. Our anchor product Prezi Video permits you to convey 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 majority of US faculty districts.
What impressed you to create this product? What was your “aha moment”?
Prezi’s first investor was TED Conferences, so we’ve been used ceaselessly over the years by TED presenters, and our “aha” second got here when a presenter wanted to “beam himself and his content” from Stanford to the primary stage of the TED Conference in Vancouver. We developed an AR prototype and his presentation content material appeared on stage in a very lifelike method (virtually like Star Trek).
From there, we centered on constructing one thing that may let you might have a presence amongst your content material in order that you could possibly work together with the content material and produce the viewers in deeper. We launched Prezi Video in November of 2019 and had no concept how quickly the world would go full digital simply months later.
What recommendation would you give entrepreneurs searching for funding?
Look as shut to your community as potential. Your credibility and fervour are so vital, so something to enhance the possibilities of you coming throughout as credible and a identified amount will assist.
Look for investor groups who’ve a ardour to your space. They have a higher probability of intrinsically understanding your concept, which reduces uncertainty — the key friction that retains folks from investing.
The holy grail is along with your early clients. Getting them to fund the seed stage places you in a nice place to increase institutional cash and at higher phrases as a result of you might 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 are trying to associate with you and spend a lot of time working collectively on fixing issues and making key selections. So, your pitch is a good alternative to discover that connection collectively. Don’t simply current the logic and the alternative. Also, work to create an emotional reference to the concept. Relate the product and repair to their lives. Imagery, interactivity or a distinctive conversational expertise, helps.
What has been your greatest problem throughout the pandemic and the way did you pivot to overcome it?
Staying in reference to the staff, specifically in Europe (8 time zones other than my location). Part of my resolution was mechanical – I shifted my workday earlier and engaged in additional proactive communications — posting updates weekly on our inside wiki, elevated our all-hands frequency from bi-weekly to weekly. Overall, I had to exchange all the information and hallway conversations via deliberate apply.
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 staff members contribute on their very own timeline, and total encourages folks to personal their schedules whereas nonetheless empowering them to give full digital shows at any time. We nonetheless do video requires brainstorms, all fingers 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?
Someone who so badly needs to convey their concept to the market and enhance the lives of their clients, that they push in opposition to all the odds and immense challenges to really do it.
Is there a specific quote or saying that you just use as private motivation?
My motivation is essentially intrinsic and based mostly on my appreciation for my dad and mom and their dad and mom and all the onerous work and sacrifices that everybody earlier than me has made to be certain that I’ve wonderful alternatives in life. I would like to make the most of this chance. Where I most frequently search for inspiration is in 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 different ways, seven different times”. It’s referred to as the 7×7 Rule for communications. Reminding me that I want to share my messages seven other ways and 7 totally different instances to be certain that I’m doing a good job speaking, giving my meant viewers a probability to perceive 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 result in the change we search.