Call Us: +972-73-2554000 - Mail info@Brooks- keret.co.il

Are you part of the 1%?

On average, a VC reviews 400-600 companies for ”A-round” investments each year and selects 4-6 (1%) of them.
Large angel investors review 100-200 companies for ”A-round” investments every year, and also choose only 1-2 (1%) of them.

What about the remaining 99%? Are they all simply “not fundable”? Definitely not! In many cases founders simply fail to convey their business message. They are speaking in the language of technology, but investors are listening for business terminology. Unfortunately, they don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Most startups are focused on their product and technology, which is normal in early stages. Those who have reached proof of concept stage start developing their go-to-market strategies and invest in sales and marketing channels, yet the third corner of the business triangle – finance – hasn’t received its due attention.

“In A-round, you need to act like a company. You are expected to be professional in all aspects. “It’s not a seed game anymore … We expect them to understand their company, not only from the product perspective but from a market and business one” (VC partner quote).
Marketing
The 3 fundamentals that your company needs to demonstrate are the success factors of every business:

1. Make It. Showcase a superior product or service that presents relative advantages over any existing alternatives and a significant barrier against present and future competition. Your solution should answer a clear pain or need in a way that the technology or product can successfully cope with.

2. Sell It. Define, understand, master and measure your addressable market, both in the present and the future. Be aware of the market’s growth potential and take into account scalable mythologies to penetrate into it.

3.  Make Money or ‘Buy low Sell high’. This is how you generate profit rather than only revenue. It involves generating a long term profitable model while aware of its limitations, ensuring its sustainability and alignment with the company’s milestones to set as many ‘valuation tipping points’ as possible.

The ability to address each of these aspects is typically found in different sides of the individual brain, making it difficult for most people to succeed at all three areas alone. To present these factors in the most coherent, simple and concise manner you need to be well prepared and supported by other individuals with complementary strengths. Planning ahead with your own team and professional experts will help you to connect the dots, build a comprehensive business-oriented narrative and be fully primed for the journey.

While nothing can guarantee funding success, fully developing each of the three corners of the fundability triangle significantly increases funding probability to help you become one of the 1%.

The article was written by Ran Matoki, Founder of Matoki Strategic Finance Ltd. Visit us at: www.matoki-sf.com

Additional Tax Credits Points for Parents starting in 2017

 

On May 28, 2017, the Israeli Tax Authority published a notice regarding the Income Tax Law (Increase of Credit Points for Parents) (hereinafter: “the Notice”).

According to the Notice, tax credit points for fathers and mothers for their children up to the age of five were increased in years 2017 – 2018 only.

At the year of birth – 1.5 credits points, between the ages of one and five (a child under the age of six) – 2.5 credits points.

In addition, in the notice, A woman who gave birth in one of the two tax years (2017 or 2018) is given the option to transfer one credit point (out of 1.5 credit points due to her) from the year of birth to the following year.

Please note that there is no change in the number of credits for children aged 6 and over.

The notice shall apply retroactively from January 1, 2017.

Link to the notice (Hebrew) : https://taxes.gov.il/incometax/documents/hanhayotmaasikim/maasikim_280517_acc.pdf

How Angel Investors Can Assess and Neutralize Risks?

 For an angel investor, especially a serial one, it is not always easy to understand all the nuances of a project except when the project centers on his/her core competencies. However, even in this concatenation of circumstances, it is necessary to be greatly aware of all current trends, adjacent markets, hidden and evident competitors and other important things
Any wrong evaluation can lead to a need to “re-invent the wheel”, or to underestimate the necessary resources

 How can we correctly evaluate technological prospects, implementation opportunities and corresponding project risks? Let’s take a closer look:

 The project, which is offered to the angel investors for investment, can position itself as a unique and highly competitive start-up. However, this competitor-analysis may turn out to be incomplete by mistake – or even by intention. The competitive advantages indicated by the entrepreneur may not contain any real benefit to the end user. The angel needs to be knowledgeable of the project area of expertise and have a general insight of its industry; the angel also needs to consider timing, patents and other limitations. An incorrect approach to the evaluation can lead to a technological non-realization of the project, unnecessary extended deadlines for entering the market or for making an exit, financial problems, patent disputes or the unsuitability of the technology itself.

Unsuccessful project example: A service for teaching students (elective course).

It has a unique methodology and great user reviews. One would think that its attractiveness is practically assured, but during the course of the detailed analysis, it turns out that the vending of licenses to schools can hardly pay for itself because there are many legislative restrictions presented, and, all in all, this process can prove to be barely cost-effective. Thus, even when the project becomes profitable, it is still extremely difficult to scale.

Successful project example: A service that can find a professional for swift legal assistance.

The service has a small user base, but also a sufficient number of professionals that provide their services, and a stable demand from the market. The project is at the point of break-even; its positive economic situation shows that investing in the expansion of the client base can allow scaling a profitable project.

How to choose a good project for investment?

It is important to understand the basics. If you are not experienced investor or not experienced in tech and startups investments, you should consult with an expert or invest together with other Angel investors or professional body.

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The writer is Igor Ryabenky, Managing Partner of AltaIR Capital

AltaIR Capital has founded AltaClub  a co-investment platform designed to allow any accredited investor to search through carefully selected startup ventures invested in by AltaIR.

 

 

Your Brand Story Counts

Whether you own a start up with two women in a garage or 10 folks in an accelerator, it’s critical that you get your brand story straight – right from the start.
What is brand story?  Well, it’s part of your brand.  What’s a brand?  Is it a logo, a name, a graphic symbol?

Your brand is all of that and more.  It’s who your company is, what you stand for, what your goals and responsibilities include and how you expect to get there.  It’s your mission, vision and aspirations all rolled into one.

And it’s crucial to the success of your venture.

I work with a lot of startups and small businesses in order to help them focus on building a brand story.  Why is it so important from the get go?  Because it will help determine your path as you move forward.  It will influence your investor pitch deck, your one pagers, your presentation and the way people perceive your company.

More importantly, it means that you, your partners and team agree on the company’s  and product’s direction.
Because the last thing you need when you are starting off is to be running in 3-4 different directions, which will result in frustration, a waste of precious resources and even giving up.

How do you create a brand story?

Even before create a logo for the cool name you have come up, your founding partners and team players need to answer 4 questions:

  1. Who are we?
  2. What do we do?
  3. What problem do we solve?
  4. Why is our solution better?

The questions seem simple, and they are… until you ask everyone to answer them separately.  That’s when the hard work begins.  Because together, you need to come up with a single answer for each question agreed upon by the people who matter most. Once you do that, you can funnel your energy into a single direction with a focused set of answers.

Yes, you will have to make changes along the way. Yes, the market may force you to go in different directions. But as long as management and the team agree on these questions, change will be easier and smoother.

Now you can start on your brand story. The next step is to incorporate these messages into deliverables you will need to create.  The benefit is that  when you meet investors, they will be impressed by a team that is confident and agrees on the big ideas – giving them the confidence they need to help you move ahead.

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To find out more about Brand Stories, and marketing communications, contact gerry.yampolsky@gmail.com . Gerry is the former VP Global Corporate Communications for NDS and a Director at Cisco.
He is a consultant and is proud to be working with Brooks-Keret Financial Management

Start-Ups! Is LinkedIn better for you?

 

While meeting with potential customers, my first questions “What do you want to achieve? What are your goals?”

The answers vary, and split among the types of services:

Some customers want a simple site while others want a flashy image site. Some are working towards B2C, and it is appropriate for them to promote themselves through Google and Facebook and there are those whose target audiences are businesses (B2B) and the natural recommendation is to work through LinkedIn.

The business network, LinkedIn, has 500 million members worldwide with close to 1.5 million people in Israel. This includes CEOs, VPs, senior managers and decision makers in tens of thousands of leading organizations throughout Israel.

Surveys show that LinkedIn has become an effective source of leads, marketing and sales, and recruiting employees, especially those operating in the B2B arena.

The business benefits of LinkedIn are enormous and include:

  •          Locating new customers around the world in a focused manner.
  •          Maintaining and expanding the network of professional connections in a rapid manner.
  •          Branding the organization and services that the company offers.
  •          Building personal and professional branding.
  •          Identifying business partners, suppliers and investors.

However, the real value is in groups. Groups with the people who are connected to you and not necessarily following the company page or on the CEO profile.

The value in LinkedIn is divided into two:

  1. Establishing the infrastructure and positioning the company as a subject matter expert
  2. Creating personal relationships with potential clients to coordinate meetings.

First part: The process to achieve this:

  1. Upgrade Profile CEO / VP.
  2. Update Company Page.
  3. Publishing content in the profile, company page and groups.

Content is usually the “Achilles’ heel” among the customers, and here comes to play the experience of companies that specialize in the subject and “help” the customer to find information that exists but has not been used:

  •          Original articles
  •          Articles in the field are relevant
  •          Photos from events
  •          Photos with customers
  •          Customer Stories
  •          Customer Testimonials
  •          Video Clips (e.g. YouTube)

After upgrading the profile and company page, people can easily identify you while you post or join groups make people identify you as an expert in the field and a wave of company requests begins, and at the same time we turn to people who we marked before as potential and ask them for membership. Each approved membership request opens up dozens or hundreds of potential new contacts.

These actions increase the circle of contacts and actually bring us to the second part of work in LinkedIn.

The second part is a personal request to the people you want to meet with.

Now you’ll understand how it looks on the other side: Customers / Investors / Partners / Distributors have been receiving from you articles and information as mentioned above.

If there is a need, and you contact them with a request to meet, the door will open easily.

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You are welcome to contact Ronen@sivan-kidum.com to build together your marketing suite.

The article was written by Ronen Sivan, Founder & CEO of www.sivan-kidum.com

Tel: + 972-526-121-999

 

A Unique Delegation of High-Tech Investors and Startup Entrepreneurs are Jetting off to Mauritius !

Brooks-Keret Financial Management, in partnership with Asa Extreme travels, is flying its first group of trailblazers out to the idyllic island in the Indian Ocean in September 2017.

The program includes:

  • Business meetings
  • Engaging professional lectures
  • Meetings with local investors, business figures, potential customers and more!

Together with lots of fun!

  • Beginners’ and advanced kite-surfing classes with qualified instructors
  • Luxury all-inclusive hotel by the beach
  • Cruises and swimming with dolphins
  • Trips to the jungle
  • Stand-up paddle surfing and much more…

MAURITIUS

 

Print

 

Lighthouse – Through The Eyes of an Elastic Entrepreneur

By Shahar Larry, Tinker at Lighthouse Community for Entrepreneurs

Lighthouse was a huge surprise. It may sound melodramatic, but I think it was one of the biggest surprises in my professional life.

I’m serious.

I met the Lighthouse team almost a year ago, around May of 2016. I thought they were a bit crazy. These guys, had a hunch and like good entrepreneurs they simply built it. They showed me around 1500 sq/m spread over two floors of offices and workspace and hardwood floors. The space was empty – lots of chairs and no one to sit on them.

They had an idea. A concept. Raw and naïve. They wanted to “do something for entrepreneurs so that they can really succeed”. This is what they said to me, verbatim. They wanted it to be a place that really cares, that gives something more than just a desk, a chair and a kitchen. A place in which they can share their learning and experience and significantly improve the success potential of startups.

I try not to be cynical. I asked, with googly eyes: “guys, everyone says that…how is Lighthouse different?” We were trying to put into words what the founders of Lighthouse – entrepreneurs themselves – felt in their gut was so badly needed.

And then we found it.

We realized that Lighthouse wasn’t about the space, it wasn’t about the facilities, the tables, chairs of ping-pong table. Lighthouse wasn’t about the services it provided, the mentors, the support or the access to funders.

Lighthouse was about me – us – you. It was about the entrepreneur and their changing needs. It was about listening – for the first god-damn time – instead of pushing programs and tips and advices and lectures down our throat. That was it. A simple concept executed brilliantly.

Over the past year, I have been working from Lighthouse and I have seen its magic. The Lighthouse team was smart to cherry-pick the startups that joined – ensuring the place had a strong common culture of…well…entrepreneuring… week by week the place filled up and the combination of tailored services, of support that listens first and talks later, created an atmosphere I have never seen or experienced before.

I think in the future all startup growth platforms will look like Lighthouse – flexible and turned on their head – putting the entrepreneurs in the center and adapting to their changing needs and circumstances. Makes sense.

Click here to learn more about the personalized startup platform of Lighthouse

Contact Lighthouse ravit@lighthouse-il.com

Enel & Brooks-Keret Financial Management Sign Start-Up Scouting MoU

Rome, Tel Aviv, February  2017 – Enel and Brooks-Keret Financial Management have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two companies work together to scout high-tech and start-up businesses working in Israel’s Silicon Wadi that will have the chance to work with Enel to develop their technologies while being supported by one of the country’s leading financial management company.

The MoU enables Enel to tap Brooks-Keret’s stable of over 300 high-tech companies and start-ups, expanding the pool of tech businesses available to bring into the Group’s universe. Enel will search for companies working on technologies relevant to its strategic priorities and help them to develop their solutions, potentially recruiting them subsequently as suppliers. Brooks-Keret meanwhile will have the chance to provide their tailored financial solutions to the start-ups Enel is already working with or will work with in the future.

Brooks-Keret has been a leading financial management company in Israel for over two decades, providing outsourced CFO services and customised financial solutions to hundreds of hi-tech and start-up companies from a broad range of sectors that include telecoms and networking, information and cyber security, and cloud computing. It helps fledgling companies with both overall financial management strategy and specific activities like bookkeeping, payroll and US accounting.
Israel is a focal point for tech innovation, and the MoU signed by Enel and Brooks-Keret comes after the launch in July of the Group’s first Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv. Each year the Tel Aviv Enel Innovation Hub aims to scout up to around 20 high-potential Israeli start-ups and offer them a dedicated scale up support program, as well as holding 8-10 bootcamps for which Enel delegations travel to Israel for two-three days to meet up to 25 selected start-ups.
The Tel Aviv Enel Innovation Hub has introduced the 50 most relevant, innovative and interesting start-ups to representatives from each of Enel’s Business Lines and Countries, already established its first partnership since setting up six months ago, with cybersecurity developer Aperio Systems operating at the Hub since December. Four other bootcamps, focusing on agritech, renewable energy, electric mobility and blockchain technologies, are scheduled for between now and April.

Why do I need a Founders Agreement? I know my Co-Founders

When you kick-off your new venture you should not forget to formalize your relationship with your co-founders.  It is important to make sure that you and your partners understands each other’s expectations, as “good fences make good neighbors”.  It is also important to deal with some important legal aspects of the venture, that must be dealt with as early as possible.

Setting Expectations.  Generally, each founder brings to the new venture a set of skills (technical, business, managerial and so on), expectations, a specific financial/personal situation and an ego.  The Founders Agreement creates the arena in which the co-founders must discuss these issues –

  • Who gets what percentage of the startup?
  • What will be the role to be performed by each of the founders (CEO, CTO, VP BizDev, etc.) so as to ensure success of the startup (ignoring personal aspirations and ego considerations is probably the best recipe for success);
  • What is the time contribution expected of each of the Founders until salaries can be paid? What to do if despite the commitment a founder cannot perform the way he promised – is reverse-vesting the right answer?
  • What if the founders discover that they cannot work as a teams – is the right solution to buy a founder out? Or maybe give all the right to continue separately?
  • How will the startup be financed in its early stages?

 

Legal Aspects.  The main legal aspects that should find their way into your Founders Agreement are:

  • Provisions relating to the future establishment of a limited liability company that will operate the venture and various matters such as board composition, convening of various meetings, preemptive rights, first refusal rights and so on;
  • Assignment of all intellectual property and know-how to the new company once it is incorporated so as to ensure that none of the founders has a personal claim to the intellectual property  and know-how of the venture.  Another benefit of a timely assignment is that future investors will be happy to find out that your venture is being run in an orderly manner and an important milestone has been taken care of early in the life of your venture.

 

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The article was written by Amir M. Gruber, Attorneys @ Law in cooperation with Gissin & Co., Advocates

Tel: +972-72-2223111, Visit us at: www.amglaw.co.il

 

Do you need to travel the globe for work?

 

If the answer is yes, then we are sure that you have gone thru the same procedure almost everyone else goes through. Call up your travel agent, get a few flight & hotel options to choose from, end up closing the flight tickets with the agent but go online to close the hotels due to price. Imagine a service that can provide you with the same service and flexibility as an agency as well as competitive online pricing, all under one roof…

Brooks-Keret and BII Travels are cooperating together to offer exactly that with corporate travel services; Hotels, Flights & car rentals, directly offered to Brooks-Keret’s wide range of customers. Whether you are a large organization or small start-up, we have the right travel solution for you!

BII Travels is offering SMBs & non-corporate companies, a complete end-to-end corporate travel solution including Flights, hotels and car rentals. This service and platform is designed to work specifically with companies that travel often and currently use either online solutions, travel agencies or direct hotel bookings.

Our goal is to constantly provide you with the best competitive pricing so to keep your travel expense at its lowest. Not only will you receive the best competitive price when booking, but with your hotel bookings, we will continue to monitor and optimise the price, and if we find it cheaper, we will re-book it and save you even more…

Connected to 60 global wholesalers serving more than 850,000 Hotel properties

  • One system that manages all bookings & vouchers for your employees
  • Monthly reporting and invoicing so no need for CC on bookings or payment per hotel
  • Hotel rebooking technology for additional savings
  • No commitments, no cost to use, no min fees

To give us a try, all you need to do is send your travel plans (destination, dates, budget and service you are interested in) to: book@biitravels.com, and we will do the rest…

 

 

Are you having a hard time finding the funding or talent for your business needs?

 

People are everything, and as a startup you must move fast and bring the best talent you can to outperform your competition. Yet the best people do cost accordingly.
As a serial entrepreneur, in most of my companies we were targeting customers in the US. I found it very challenging to find good sales / BizDev experts that can actually deliver. Adding that to the high cost of such a professional, is almost impossible to do with only seed investment money. When trying to combine it with equity compensation I faced huge legal costs and tax complexity.

After facing this challenge of finding the best experts, service providers and advisors over and over again, we solved it once and for all by building EquityX.

EquityX gives you access to the world’s best experts marketplace, with a plethora of talents you can’t afford or can’t compensate with cash. The EquityX marketplace allows startups to open a pool-based USD that will be converted to stock options at the next funding round (like a convertible loan, but for expert services). It then allows you to use the pool money to buy services in micro transactions.

Expert services without draining precious cash resources – With a USD worth pool serving as an extra funding, you can now buy services from the experts you like in our marketplace or bring your own.

A one-time setup of system and approval of pool by board – The board needs to approve the pool once and the startups lawyer needs to review the agreement with EquityX once. After this is done, the startup can use EquityX to find and engage with as many different high quality experts on the marketplace.

Talent You Can’t Find Anywhere Else – Our top notch experts work for equity rather than cash, which makes them much more committed to your company’s success.

EquityX is a marketplace for quality startups and experts to find each other and make equity compensation fair, accurate, safe and simple to use. We welcome startups that have raised seed money and more, to join our marketplace.

_________________________________________

Ran Oz, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman at EquityX

How to Easily Manage your US Startup from Tel-Aviv?

If you’re ready for your next step and decided to hit the US market, here are some tips for a smooth start:

  • Create your circle of trust – you’re about to get into a whole new world of regulatory requirements and you need the best advisors to walk you through it.
  • You need Israeli and US CPA’s as your Israeli one won’t always be aware of the different tax requirements.
  • Same goes for attorneys. Most likely your Israeli business attorney won’t be able to help with US employment agreements etc.
  • Get familiar with the different taxes – federal, state and local corporate taxes, sales and use tax, franchise tax and many others. Make sure your business structure and intercompany relationships are structured correctly or the best of your business requirements. On the other hand, don’t be discouraged over tax issues and don’t let it affect your business expenditure.
  • Incorporating in Delaware doesn’t mean you don’t need to register in other states. Ask your US CPA or attorney about nexus laws. There are different nexus laws – corporate tax nexus could differ from sales tax nexus, so make sure you’re in compliance.
  • Meet the deadlines. US authorities are very strict when it comes to late filing penalties, make sure you avoid them. Late filing a federal tax return of a US company with foreign ownership relations automatically calls for a $10,000 penalty. File an amended return if need be, but meet the deadline.
  • HR in the US is completely different from Israel. Enroll with a payroll service provider that offers a full HR service package. They will make sure you’re in compliance with all labor laws and regulations and will set up and administer all benefit plans for you.
  • Have you been doing business in the US via your Israeli company? Ask your US CPA about protective filing. It won’t put you under the IRS’s radar but it will help you lower your risk of potential US tax liabilities.
  • Were you able to secure your first order? Congratulations! Have your US CPA prepare a sales tax matrix for you demonstrating sales tax liability in all applicable states. Ask them if any click-through laws apply to you.
  • Make sure you’re properly covered insurance-wise. Your umbrella coverage via the Israeli company may not always cover your US business insurance needs.
  • Open your mail. The majority of the notices you get from the different authorities require immediate attention.

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The article was written by Ayelet Shtaub , US Department Manager at Brooks-Keret Financial Management .
The US department provides an extensive range of solutions for start-up companies operating in the US. We make it easier for our customers to manage their business processes in the US by providing: american bookkeeping services on a relevant financial software, enabling better cash flow management, handling payroll management and working together with the company’s CPA to ensure legal and financial compliance.

 

 

How Branding Can Help Start Ups?

The time men spend in trying to impress others they could spend in doing the things by which others would be impressed

At what stage should startup companies begin to contemplate branding?

From our experience, startup entrepreneurs almost always apply to a branding company in the last or final stages of product development, a mere second before the launch stage.

Why?

Most growth hackers that lead startup companies are fantastic technologists who tend to rely (excessively) on digital swiftness and optimal utilization of social, marketing and interactive platforms at their disposal.

However, in the real and sometimes cruel world, of the startup industry and the race for financing or recognition, clearly forming correct branding strategy tells the story and provides added value to company executives as well as its customers.

Why do startup companies still refrain from early branding processes? Because…

*             They believe the process is too expensive

*             They rely on their social-digital capabilities (“if the worst comes to the worst” they employ a social media manager by outsourcing).

*             They fear time and energy guzzling thought processes.

*             They believe branding processes are irrelevant at the initial stages.

*             Since they come from the world of precise science, startup company executives want measurable results of the type branding processes are unable to provide in initial stages. Etcetera.

So when should one really consider branding?

“The truth is that startup companies need branding from the moment they begin to search for financing sources for their idea, as creative or unrealistic as it may be,” says Eric Pinkert, CEO of branding company BrandCulture in LA. “Everyone is aware,” he adds, “that a fantastic application or awesome product is not enough to give the world the tidings.”

Thus for example, Pinkert advises startup companies regarding early branding, and first of all the company staff: name, job, hobbies, interesting anecdotes etc. With a photograph, naturally (preferably smiling, with the family dog or in the gym).

These things appeal to the investor population that looks for trust components in young companies and of course – personal connection. And when the above are properly presented – the road to whipping out the wallet is fast and easy.

Startup branding – how should it be done?

Either early or later branding – the way to winning branding is full of good intentions and horrible mistakes. A lot has been said about how branding is beyond a logo and how much it plays a significant and critical part in a brand’s success. How do we cross the river of opportunities safely?

* You have a story, the world should hear it

Since the company has a product and since the world has to hear of it – the branding strategy concentrates all operations in structured order and provides the “unimpeachable source” of all marketing processes to come from now to eternity.

This strategy includes description of the company, product, its properties, affects, objectives and measures and all the ways required to realize them.

 * Where do you live?

 This is the time to roll up one’s sleeves and study – the competition, target audience, preferences, wishes, alternatives at its disposal, pluses and minuses, strengths and drawbacks, business opportunities and the things one must avoid at any price.

 There is no price on information and no limit to the great value quality market study can provide.

 * Elucidate, be precise, repeat your actions

 If you cannot convey a sharp message containing benefits, as well as differentiation from other products – why should they choose you?

 Correct branding identifies the unique benefit you are offering, will “lock down” on it and spread the word. This will be done by conveying a sharp, precise message, noise free, free of copycats and forgeries.

 * And now we can go to the logo (and several other things)

 Think of the APPLE icon, perhaps even the Orange innocent orange rectangle – is there a more venerable objective than a familiar, catchy, and well identifiable logo? Your visual presence is significant.

 Selection of the color palate, font, business cards, graphics – they all play a role. When the latter are linked with your unique style of transmitting verbal messages, the road to transmitting the brand to customers who have never heard of it will be particularly efficient.

 

At the beginning of the road or further down – this is the way to create a winning brand >

 ___________________________

You are welcome to contact us and think together how to leverage your brand, at: michal@titan.co.il

http://www.titan.co.il/

3 Minutes to Midnight

The clock is ticking, what are you going to do about it?

On January 2016, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have set the doomsday clock – a metaphor of how close humanity is to destroying the planet (and ultimately itself) – to 3 minutes to midnight, which is the closets it has been to midnight since the cold war days of 1984.  The scientists have taken under consideration energy landscape, climate change, and emerging technologies and have concluded that “the probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon”.

Realizing the devastating effect global risks may entail on all of us, consumers are exceedingly pressuring corporations to implement sustainable and responsible conduct and to assume a leading role in delivering change.

Not at all oblivious to those demands, corporations are spending trillions of US dollars on their Corporate Social Responsibility programs, hoping to advance their brand (71%), retain employees (65%) and at the same time impact society (45%) (pwc). However, despite their enormous contribution, “Traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is failing to deliver, for both companies and society. Executives need a new approach to engaging the external environment” (Mckinsey, 2013).

Indeed, corporations are failing to leverage CSR programs and transfer them from pet projects into a real strategic growth engine that holds shared value for both society and the business. That failure can be demonstrated in the way the majority of corporations are still Implementing CSR, which is by transferring funds to NGOs and reporting it in their CSR annual report. With a neglectable number of consumers reading these reports (5%), and only a small margin of them believing what’s there (35%), corporations totally miss the opportunity of branding.

In this era of high connectivity, social media and shared economy businesses can and should use technology to collaborate with the community directly and create high visibility to their efforts, thus gaining brand engagement and retention of consumers and employees alike.

_______________________________________

To learn more about how forCauz can help you do just that Check us out in forCauz.com and join us in revolutionizing the way social responsibility is carried out.

* The writers are Mendelovich Rachel and Li-Mor Navon, co-founders at forCauz

SALES – Why is it so important to follow up on leads and customers?

You might be reading the headline and thinking: “daaaahhh, because it’s important!”, yet many salespeople – fail to do so.

Sales is a wide world; it’s exciting, challenging, energizing and: demanding.  You must be “on top of things” all the time. You must be contacting new leads, warming them nicely and consistently closing deals. All- The- Time !!!!

There are so many skills you must have and develop: Engaging a new lead, prospecting, pitching, providing value, handling objections, dealing with competition, negotiating, closing the deal (yesssss!), making sure your customers are being taken care of by their account managers, upgrading.. and more, that the oh-so-important follow up is sometimes neglected.
When we speak to a new potential customer, it’s important that we have a good conversation with him, a good connection, give our stellar pitch and WOW him.

And then what?

If we don’t follow up, keep the ball rolling, warm up the relationship and become closer with our lead – we jeopardize the closing of the deal.
The question is: how frequently should I contact the lead for a follow up?  Obviously there’s a fine line between being persistent and escalating the relationship and the borderline harassment.

Use your intuition; don’t cross the line and bug your leads.
When you’re on the first call or meeting, set the next steps together with your potential customer, set a task for yourself to follow up, and include ALL the details of the call or meeting in your notes.

The second important question, which is not always asked, should be: what should I say when I contact the lead for a follow up?
When you speak the next time, whether on a cold call or a scheduled call, make sure to provide your leads with value; offer them a demo, a trial account, assistance with setting up the account, share relevant news from the industry, share future plans and product road map with them, in order to get them to be more involved. Always give something new and establish your reputation as a go-to-person, a knowledgeable consultant who’s on the customer’s side, his success is your success and you’re heading that way together, step by step.

MANAGE your leads, lead the sales process!

Finally, create a system to automate your follow up, and don’t let anything slip away.

Follow up and follow through.

Happy selling!

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Written by Danna Zakai, Professional Sales Trainer, specializes in B2B Inside Sales.
www.fine-sales.com 

CONSIDERING ADDING A PARTNER TO YOUR START-UP? 3 TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU DO IT RIGHT

You’ve got an idea and the technology to establish your own start-up, you’ve begun working, but have discovered fairly quickly that…oops, something isn’t quite right yet in the wonderful plan you’ve been dreaming of for so long and are on your way to making happen.  Something significant seems to be missing to complete the puzzle.  You need a top-notch key-star that will help you launch your start-up and make it a winner!

Is the missing key-star that will make your company a winner in the technological field?  Or perhaps the marketing field, one that will lead you to the start-up’s winning “go to market”?

Here are 3 professional tips that will help you add the ideal partner to your venture.

1.  Add a business partner with added value, who can lead your venture forward

It is very important to thoroughly evaluate who you introduce as a partner.  The partner should be someone with value who can contribute to the rise of the company, someone with experience and stature.  In addition to their contribution to the leveraging of the company, investors receive executive summaries, and one of the first things they examine is the venture’s partnership composition.  Sometimes the addition of a valuable partner to the venture will raise company value.  In these cases, whereas a potential investor will examine the start-up company, his name is also worth money.  When adding partners to your start-up, you should take this into consideration, even if the partner demands higher payments / options.

 

2.  Examine the partner’s potential commitment to the company.

After you have understood the importance of adding a top-notch partner and after you have determined which function is critical for leading the companies’ activities, you should check your potential partner’s commitment to the company.  For instance, it is important that you agree with the potential partners on the time they are willing to invest, so that you can correctly divide up the percentages of the company.
Think about it in advance and not after you have already included them legally as partners.

Some more insights to think about: when allocating partners in the initial stage of launching a start-up, there is common opinion that the company’s percentages should be divided equally among all company partners.

According to Gil Keret, CEO and Founder at Brooks-Keret:  “If your potential partners wish to contribute their experience and contacts, but only for a few hours a week, they should not be considered as founders.  However, if they are interested in joining the company and committing themselves completely to the venture, they are as valuable as an original founder.  At this stage, try to simplify the process and divide the company percentages in a logical manner that will increase motivation to all sides.”

3.  Conduct negotiations and formulate a binding agreement.

You’ve decided on your partner – congratulations! Now comes the stage of negotiation with the partner regarding the company’s management, including: role, options, percentages, terms, vision, etc.  This comprises the beginning of the mutual business relationship, so it is important to do it right.  When conducting a negotiation, it is of critical importance to do 3 things: Determine the degree of seriousness of the involved parties; Prepare a plan of actions to continue the dialogue that will lead you eventually to a binding agreement among the parties; Focus on shared interests while making an in-depth study that will enable you reaching the common ground.

“The central idea is to explore the potential partner’s real contribution to the company.  If you think there will be a dramatic change with their addition to the team, take them on and seek a way to enable them to contribute as optimally as possible.”

_____________________________________________________

Written by Gil Keret – Co-Founder & CEO at Brooks-Keret Financial Management

www.brooks-keret.co.il 

Investors, Clients and Your Brand

You have a great idea. You do your research, develop a concept, a prototype and finally a working product. You’re good to go, right?!

Well… mentoring startups at various stages I often see founders putting the majority (and in some cases all) of their focus on product and technology, relying on it alone for their success and not realizing that neglecting to invest in quality marketing is like going to a networking event in their pajamas. This approach is the Achilles’ heel of many young companies as they try to raise funds and acquire new customers.
While relying on product alone could work in a world made of purely technical people, in the real world we have to sell and prove ourselves as worthy to different types of decision makers (investors, managers, CEOs and others) who not only look at the technical/product aspect but also give serious consideration to the impression they have of the company and team as business professionals.

In my experience working with investors and companies who seek attractive opportunities, I see how attention to details, communication, order and documentation are critical components that influence the decision making process. They consider them indicators of the level of professionalism, maturity and also how easy it will be to work with your company.

The components I mentioned are often reflected in the first impression of your company, way before you get your first face to face meeting – in your website, marketing and presentation material.

Being a young, developing company where every cent counts shouldn’t prevent you from doing this right. It is not necessary to keep a full time in-house marketing professional but instead’ you could take advantage of the booming freelance market hosting ample of experienced professionals who can take you to the next level in a reasonable time and budget and without the long term financial commitment.

Yes, for some this may feel foreign, off track and unnecessary. But when asking investors and customers to trust you with their money, making the right impression can make it or break it. Good luck!

_____________________________________________________________________________

Written by Ori Aldubi – Managing Director at Clearview Partners, startups mentor and entrepreneur.

www.clearviewp.com

 

 

“Soft Landing in the U.S.”

Interview with Isaac Elkah, founder and CEO of Preferred Depot.

Preferred Depot’s founder, Isaac Elkah, a veteran of the Israeli high-tech industry, brings more than 20 years of experience in operations and customer service and was twice relocated to the U.S. by Israeli companies (CMT/Thales, Syneron-Candela). After more than a decade in executive positions in the U.S., Mr. Elkah recognized the need to provide Israeli companies with a soft landing in the U.S. by significantly reducing the costs and risks traditionally associated with the significant strategic step of entering the U.S. market. 

What are you offering?

In the last few years, I have been asked several times, “How can we make the process of entering the U.S. more efficient while minimizing the risks for companies that are not familiar with the market and are unsure of whether their products are ready for launch?” Until now, Israeli companies interested in expanding their operations to the U.S. have generally been faced with two options.  The first has been to work with a distributor (that will cut a big portion from their revenue and, unfortunately, will keep their supplier’s customer database close to their vest).  The second has been to establish an office, which requires a substantial upfront investment and poses additional financial risks at a critical time when a company is trying to maintain a positive cash flow.

Today, we are offering a new path that is affordable and tailored to our clients’ evolving business needs, field of operation and stage of activities. We enable Israeli companies to establish their operations almost immediately. Our comprehensive services include complete back-office operations — from providing a local address and phone number to office space, importation and storage, processing client orders, shipping and technical support to legal and business development. In addition, we assist entrepreneurs in finding potential business partners and creating an initial basis for further business relationships.

Our solution allows entrepreneurs to continue to invest in the core business of their companies, R&D, sales and marketing, while we take care of the rest.  As a result, I believe that there is no need to begin relocating employees and their families nor to incur the direct expenses associated with leasing building space, furnishing offices, or hiring staff.

What are your specialties and what makes you different from other companies in the U.S. that are offering similar solutions?

I would say our entrepreneurial spirit and our familiarity with both the U.S and Israeli markets.

Preferred Depot is owned by Israeli and American partners and our management team has significant experience establishing operations in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Key members of our team are Israeli, which eliminates both language and cultural barriers.  

The team that will be assigned to work for your company provides full transparency for all of the activities carried out in the U.S. This includes reports and regular meetings with the peer team in Israel.  Simply put, our team works for your company but not on your payroll.

Location

Our offices are located near both major air and seaports (Los Angeles and Long Beach), offering strategic logistical and trade capability between Asia and the U.S. We are also able to provide after-hours support to East Coast companies and the fact that the weather in California is almost never an issue gives us further advantages. In the last few years, Orange County has become an incubator for high-tech companies in general and for Israeli companies in particular.

Quality

Our company became certified ISO 9001:2015 early on.  When you are providing a variety of services to different companies, you must be able to understand their requirements and you have to follow policies and procedures to make sure that the results are consistent. It is for these reasons that we chose to pursue this certification.

What is your vision?

To be able to see each of our clients grow from a small business into a very, very large one. We aspire to be the leading and premier outsourcing provider to Israeli companies, the preferred long-term partner to our clients, and a contributor to responsible and sustainable growth.

How are you assisting companies to expand in the U.S.?

Preferred Depot is dedicated to the development of local and international companies in North America. Our mission is to provide clients with a low-risk, cost-effective and flexible alternative for operating a business. Entrepreneurs and business owners can focus on what really matters – building their brand and improving their sales performance.

Preferred Depot has the people, space and systems in place to provide your company with an ideal operating environment and the flexibility to adjust to meet your changing needs.  You can enjoy seamless transitions between market ups and downs and you’ll have the ability to utilize more space and resources when needed.

What happens when companies decide that the attempt was successful and they want to expand their operations and move to the U.S.?

Helping companies to grow by minimizing their risk is our main goal. We will continue to assist these companies in finding a place, recruiting local staff and to help with a smooth transition. I believe that successful collaborations will generate additional business in the future as we can still be their sub-contractor.

Entrepreneurs and investors think that an Israeli company in the United States cannot succeed without relocating people to the U.S. What do you think?

There is no doubt that having a presence in the U.S. is important. However, relocation is just one option available to companies. There are pros and cons. More and more Israeli companies are turning to recruiting agencies to find Israeli employees who live in the United States and do not need work permits in order to save the moving costs (can be thousands of dollars) and start running their operations immediately.

Establishment of a U.S. operation generally will cost more than what the company predicted because of the complexity of the distribution and the size of the U.S market.

Since Preferred Depot allocates American and Israeli employees who work directly with our customers and also provides full transparency on the activity in the US, there is no need to relocate employees from Israel to the U.S. in the very early stages, especially when the budget for startup companies is limited.

Who are the companies that are approaching you?

We are collaborating with start-up incubators and investors as well as finance management companies.  Companies are approaching from almost every industry – medical companies, electronics manufacturers, online retailers, toy companies, and even an Israeli winery.  Interestingly, we are often approached by individuals that sell through Amazon and are disappointed with the changing rates and warehouse locations.

What are the costs?

Costs vary from company to company and depend on the type of services we are providing. We are flexible on our rates, especially for long-term contracts.  You pay monthly for the specific package that we have tailored to fit your company’s needs. We match the price to the volume of activity at each stage (allowing the company to maintain a higher cash flow). We are very flexible with our prices, agreements are normally month to month and no long-term commitment is necessary (unless there is a large initial investment required on our part).

__________________________________________________

About Preferred Depot

Based in Orange County, California, Preferred Depot is a full-service solutions provider offering Israeli companies in virtually every industry sector a “soft landing” in the U.S. by significantly reducing the costs and minimizing the risks associated with entering the U.S. market. In addition, companies who are seeking to expand their presence in the States can now enjoy from the advantages the West Coast offers to mature companies.

Preferred Depot offers a one-stop shop solution, from a full range of back office services to call center and technical support, from order fulfillment to business development.  All at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself.

 

Using Old School Marketing Methods in a Modern World

As the world moved forward into the age of internet and social media, businesses had to adapt and change their marketing methods in order to keep up. While the main strategies remained the same, channels changed and sales letters and print ads were replaced with landing pages, banners, and social media strategies.

As advertising and marketing strategies evolves to comply with the way today’s target audiences access information, are the “old” ways being been pushed aside into redundancy?

The short answer is no, not by a long shot.

Outbound Marketing is Still “In”

It seems everyone is all about inbound marketing these days, bringing the customers to you. This is done through ad campaigns, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.
The process is a long one and involves defining your target audience as accurately as you can so that you can reach the right demographic. In the end, they have to see your ad or content, be interested, click, reach your landing page, and sign up so that you can contact them.

Outbound marketing is a more selective way of bringing in your leads. What if you could create a specific wish list of clients that you would love to have for your business? That list would include names of companies that you think would be interested in your product or service and can benefit your business.

That’s where outbound calling comes in.

Using Outbound Calls to Fill Your Sales Pipeline with Leads

Defining your target audience is always the first step, followed by creating a list of companies and personnel within each company that might evolve into real prospects.

Through research and a smart calling strategy, you can reach out to each person on your wish list and schedule a meeting to pitch your product. It’s more personal than mass advertising, and the results vs. the resources are significantly higher.

That’s what we do at D|Rolls. We understand each client’s needs and do the research to help create the ultimate wish list of leads. Our outbound call strategy includes putting together the relevant content and pitch to get each of these leads interested in meeting with our clients.

__________________________________________________

For more information about D|Rolls and how you can use cold calling to reach out to top leads, send me an email at dafna@dafnarolls.com.

Inter-Company Forex Loans – The Hidden Exposure

Intercompany loans are often a source of exposure to financial risk. We encounter cases where affiliate companies provide loans from one to the other, believing that “it cancels out in the consolidated report”. This isn’t always the case, especially when the loan is denominated in a currency other than the functional currency of one of the parties. The exchange rate differences will be reflected as revenue/expenses in the consolidated report. These loans are not visible in the consolidated balance sheet as the mutual balances eliminate each other, but the exchange rate differences reflect genuine economic risk and may result in undesirable fluctuations in in the P&L report.

Take for example a parent company whose functional currency is the Israeli Shekel, giving a loan in US Dollars to a subsidiary whose functional currency is the USD. When consolidating the reports of the companies, financial expenses in the parent company’s solo report are included, and are not offset. This problem may be handled by one of the following solutions:

  • Cross Currency Swap: This solution is best suited for hedging this exposure, if reimbursements from the subsidiary are likely.
  • A series of forward transactions, and / or currency options: in case the loan is expected to be repaid, but in an uncertain time.
  • Receiving Dollar credit: If the subsidiary is expected to repay the loan, but start only in a few years, the parent can make use of a Dollar credit to hedge.
  • Accounting treatment: Classifying the loan as “net investment in foreign activity”. This action does not eliminate the financial exposure, but reduces undesired fluctuations in the financing section in the P&L statement.

This is only a general description. In practice, it is highly important to analyze each case individually and match specific solutions to a company, according to its perception of risk, accounting needs, financial capabilities and other technical.

________________________________________

Written by Moran Shtainberg, Economist, Ofakim Group.

 Moran@ofakim-group.co.il

 

Is Your Post-Money Value Relevant?

Most investors and founders in start-up companies rely on post-money value for purposes to determine the impact of a new round of financing or a grant of stock options. This is misguided. Why?

A company’s post-money value is typically based on a simplified version of its cap table. It ignores differences in share classes, including the liquidation preferences and participation rights of preferred shares. As a result, the post- money value of a company calculated this way does not reflect the true economic value of the shares.

It’s just an example of how AlgoValue, a comprehensive online valuation and cap table analysis platform, can help you better valuate your startup and track your cap table.

Let’s Look at an Example:

A private company is currently raising $1 million in a Series A round.

Step 1: The parties negotiate the percentage to be given to the new investors in exchange for $1 million invested in the company. For this example, we will assume that they agree on a 33% stake. A term sheet is being negotiated.

Step 2: The new cap table is created based on: $1 million divided by a 33% equity stake in the company on a fully diluted basis, resulting in a post-money value of $3 million ($1 million/33%). This reflects the ownership structure, but does not consider actual economic returns.

What’s the Problem? This overly simplistic calculation of the post-money value of the company assumes that all share classes have the same financial terms. It ignores the economic impact of the liquidation preferences of the preferred share classes.

What then is the true economic post-money value of the company, based on the Series A round?

Let’s take a look at the cap table and liquidation preferences:

table

 

 

 

 

 

The true economic post-money value of the company is much lower than $3 million due to the economic rights associated with the preferred shares.

Furthermore, if there were a $3 million exit tomorrow, based on the above cap table provided by the company’s advisor, the common shareholders (founders) would expect to receive a payout of $2 million (66.67% of $3 million). In reality, they will receive a payout of only $1.33 million ($3 million, less $1 million of liquidation preferences invested in Series A, multiplied by 66.67%). This equates to a difference of almost $700,000!

Over time, the difference between the overly simplistic calculation and the true calculation of the company’s value will only grow. The gap between the expected future payouts for the founders and each share class vs. the reality will be significantly larger, and by the time an exit or other liquidity event takes place, the cap table may become even more complex.

Conclusion:

  • In a majority of cases, founders, investors and shareholders sign terms sheets with economic rights that they do not always fully understand.
  • Valuation decisions are made by either guessing or using simple Excel models. They are often times wrong.

Unfortunate Result: loss of money for the founders and shareholders.

_______________________

Written by Raphael Meyara, Co-Founder and CEO of AlgoValue.com 

raphael@algovalue.com

The Rise Of Collaborative Consumption and The Crowdfunding Evolution

Money makes money

We all know the expression “you need money to make money”. This could explain why the past decade has witnessed a large increase in the number of everyday investors – those who earmark part of their disposable funds for investment in various channels that may yield profits. Correspondingly, the public’s financial assets portfolio has been steadily increasing, and as of the start of 2016 is estimated at 3.4T NIS.

Until recently, the prime investment channels available to the public were mostly bonds, stocks, trust funds, foreign currency, pension savings and real-estate, with each of these channels having its own characteristics regarding the method of investment, degree of risk and potential for profit.

If Israel is the start-up nation, why couldn’t we invest in start-up companies until now? 

Viber, Waze and Wix are just part of the Israeli high tech industry success story. In the last decade alone, over 960 Israeli start-up companies have been sold, earning their investors over 55 billion dollars in profits. In 2014, the M&A return on equity ratio reached an exceptional average of 6.22, meaning that over 6 dollars were earned for every dollar invested, (IVC, 2014).

However, until now the option of investing in the most worthwhile and potentially profitable start-ups was not available to the everyday investor, due to four main reasons:

  1. High minimal investment sums.
  2. Complex contracts.
  3. Non liquid shares.
  4. A long and pricy negotiation process with the companies in order to ensure a good deal.

All these factors created a reality in which only a select group of professional investors benefited from the start-up nation.

The rise of collaborative consumption

The economic crisis, high living expenses, technological advances and social media have all contributed to the rise of worldwide collaborative consumption.

The term “collaborative consumption” refers to a new economic method, which allows the optimization of resources through direct trade between sellers and buyers, without the use of mediators.

This method innovates traditional markets by opening them up to new crowds and increasing the supply of buyers, sellers and business deals.

Over the last decade many collaborative platforms have appeared, revolutionizing our consumption habits and improving our lives.

One excellent example is the Airbnb platform. This company very successfully uses the collaborative consumption method by enabling the owner of an unused resource – a temporarily empty apartment (let’s say, during the owner’s vacation) – to generate extra income by subletting the residence for a short period of time, whilst providing tourists with a considerably less expensive and possibly more convenient alternative to a hotel.

Another example is UBER, which allows anyone to be a part-time taxi driver and increase their monthly income by offering transportation services at competitive prices.

The Israeli company Fiverr is a global trade arena which has successfully bettered our lives by creating a global community of consumers and providers of various services, from design to legal counsel, for the low starting price of only $5.

Collaborative consumption is creating a real revolution in our consumption habits, exposing us to new ideas and saving us a lot of money.

Collaborative consumption reaches the investment world

Crowd funding is a method of raising money from the general public through an Internet platform, the basic idea being to receive small sums from a large number of people. The use of crowd funding began in the late 1990′s as a means of funding art projects. Today it is used as a common means of fundraising for artists, politicians, humanitarian assistance, environmental causes and, recently, small businesses and start-up companies.

In 2008, Kickstarter succeeded in spreading the concept of crowd funding worldwide and created a large community of people who support and help fund innovative ideas. To date, over 99 thousand campaigns have been successfully financed through Kickstarter, over 2 billion dollars have been raised, and the number of supporters (investors) currently exceeds 10 million.

But while Kickstarter is clearly a great success, it does not offer investors the chance to be actual shareholding partners in the projects they invest in. Consequently, if a project becomes a global success, all you are left with is a thank you card or, at best, the product you helped fund (as in the case of Oculus).

Investing in start-ups: The era of the new investors

The passing of the new “jobs act” legislation in the USA in 2012 ushered in the era of the new investors. This legislation paved the way for equity-based crowd funding, allowing start-up companies to raise funds from the general public via Internet platforms, in exchange for company shares. Other countries, such as Britain, have joined this trend and, as a result, new online fund-raising platforms have emerged, allowing new investors to commit relatively small sums in start-up companies in exchange for shares.

The opportunity to invest in promising start-up companies was once available only to a small and exclusive group of investors. That opportunity is now open and accessible to the everyday investor, who has so far been able to navigate only through traditional investment channels. These new investors can now allocate part of their disposable income to start-up companies, which offer a potentially high return, and to be involved, to the degree of their choice, in projects that interest them.

_________________________________

Written by Nir Meital, CFO at Exitvalley.

www.exitvalley.com

Nir@exitvalley.com

A very promising startup: VocalZoom

How many times you wondered what it’s like if you had a “Knight Rider” car which you could talk to and just tell it what to do. This car identify you when you come, just as if it was your human assistant, and perform simple tasks at your request. How many times you had to operate a device while your hands are full, simple tasks, like answer a call  while holding a baby, or turn ON the light while carrying a heavy box.

Many applications and technologies try to address those needs today as well as Virtual assistant applications such as Siri(Apple) and Cortana(Microsoft). These applications fail to reach what we call the “usability threshold”. In the world of User interface (UI) and User experience (UX), if a device like a mouse, keyboard or touch screen has even a small error probability, the user gets frustrated and stop using it. By the way, it doesn’t matter if it’s a complex task to operate this device. Take for example keyboard. This is still the interface of choice for typing. Even in smartphones. Keyboard is an extremely complicated task to learn. But users are willing to go for it, because once you master this, it’s convenient and seamless to use. Gestures using touch screen, experts for Laughed at Apple when first lunched, saying this is not a natural way to communicate. Today we all use it.

In parallel to these un-natural-UI devices, new technologies like voice control and eye tracking evolved. These are considered much more natural interfaces for humans, but no one uses it. Why? Because it’s still suffer from robustness issues and errors. It’s easier to master, but the fact that we need to repeat words, even if it’s once every 10 words, or that we need to move our eyes again and again when the light conditions are bad for the camera, creates the feeling we have no control of the device. Or, as Steve Jobs said, the device should feel like an amplification of ourselves, an extension of our body, which we have full control of.

VocalZoom has developed a multi-functional Human-Machine-Communication (HMC) device, which enable accurate voice control and voice authentication. This super small and low cost sensor, has the ability to measure micro-meter vibrations on a human face and extract the voice out of these vibrations. The human face vibrate only because of the human voice and is not affected by background noise and the voice of other speakers. This way the sensor can listen to the speaker in front of the sensor. Using VocalZoom, Voice control software such as google voice, Siri and Cortana, can perform in a very accurate way and exceed the usability threshold.

Another important usage of the sensor is for voice authentication. The sensor not only improve the accuracy by having a cleaner signal, it also guarantee the voice comes from the speaker in front of the sensor. This is an advantage over conventional microphones which hear the voice from all directions and can detect other people speaking in the background. The market for these applications become larger as online payments become common as well as self-service kiosks such as ATMs.

The ability to measure very small movements and accurate distance, enable many additional applications such as replacing the need for buttons, vibrations measurement in machines to detect failures, proximity sensing and 3D imaging applications. Also battery operated devices require accurate indication for speech to turn the device ON just when required (Smart phones, BT headsets etc.).

VocalZoom today partner with lead customers in the consumer electronics and the automotive, and first products, which use the VocalZoom technology, expected in the market before end of 2016.

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Written by: Tal Bakish, CEO at VocalZoom. Mail: tal@vocalzoom.com

 

 

 

 

Look at the new skin cancer screening platform- Dermacompare

 

DermaCompare is a revolutionary skin cancer screening platform that enables physicians to identify and monitor changes in their patients’ skin characteristics. DermaCompare was developed by Emerald Medical Applications, a digital health startup. Emerald’s technology utilizes the knowledge of military image processing and big data analytics to improve the analysis of medical images for the benefit of patients and the medical community alike.

Melanoma (skin cancer) is very aggressive cancer. The only way to save lives is early detection. 60% of melanoma cases caused by new moles, and 40% cause by changed moles.

Who’s in high risk ? people with personal or family history of melanoma, have more than 50 moles over their body, have light skin, expand many hours to the sun.

We follow our 3T model Take – Track – Treat: Take a photo of your skin, Track it by sharing with your doctor, and get the relevant treatment on time.

The doctor can’t remember our skin over time, and neither do us. Total body photography (TBP) is our “skin memory” on the pixel level. Only few minutes of your time, to take photos at the clinic or at home, and that’s it.

We developed 2 products: DermaCompare system for the dermatologist, and Mobile App for the crowd. The photos that are taken with the mobile App will be sent to the dermatologist. The dermatologist will review the photos, and the system will show him the differences over time. A change like mole’s border or color for example, is a notification for the dermatologist to pay more attention.

Brooks – Keret invited us to a TBP day in their site. This is part of taking care of the workers welfare, and increasing the awareness to early detection of melanoma. Every participant got CD with his own photos, for further tracking.

We invite everyone to come and take Total Body Photography – regular camera, no screening, pregnant woman can participate, 18 years old and up, wearing underwear/swimming suite

Send us name, email and cell number to set an appointment at info@dermacompare.com

You can download our mobile App: DermaCompare for self tracking at home.

 Adi Zamir

VP Product & Operation

Emerald Medical Applications

Mobile:  +972-54-4861247
Email :  adi@DermaCompare.com

**** All pictures were taken by: Orly Yancovich- the photographer of DermaCompare   ****

DermaCompare …. saving life by finding the tiny differences, to make a BIG difference !!!

TEDx Berlin : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBVzcVixN5I
DKV Hamburg : http://youtu.be/mfvl-w7mDEk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5f633Tpe-0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8g6y9wz5S8

 

How to Manage a Cap-Table for Your Business?

 

A cap table (aka capitalization table) represents a breakdown of your shareholders’ holdings. When a company first starts out – everything is quite simple – there is usually one or two classes of shares and few shareholders. But quickly enough (let us hope), things get more complex: the company seeks to raise a seed round, and needs to calculate its pre-money and post-money valuations, in order to make a sensible offer to investors

Cap tables play a crucial role in creating wealth for entrepreneurs. You can build a great company worth millions, but if your cap table is a mess, you might encounter problems and disappointments when it’s time to cash out. Of course, as your company matures, the capitalization will increase in complexity with the addition of various preferred and convertible securities. If you don’t know how these instruments work, you might wake up one day and realize you are only entitled to 2% of the cash even though you own 10% of the company.

No Excel sheet has ever been able to capture all of your commitments, obligations, employment agreements and compensation packages as cap table does. Automatically updating your cap tables on an ongoing basis, it allows you to get an accurate snapshot of your company’s current holdings and do all the number crunching you need in order to make the most informed decisions.

Cap tables may seem like a simple document, but they are not. They are significant evidence of the company’s DNA, management style, and ultimately, its history and success rate. Cap tables document every transaction ever made with regard to stocks, options and other capital compensation components. Your cap table gives you a real snapshot of the decisions you have made along the way and your options management. It reflects the cost of those decisions and their outcome. Therefore, keeping real track of them is priceless.

This is where Cap.TAble comes in- an Equity Management Software of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Cap.TAble automates and streamlines the entire tracking and updating process, producing up-to-date, clear and concise cap tables. This software as a service (SaaS) application is a state-of-the-art answer to the old ways of doing things. It automates option management from granting to vesting, and enables users to generate, share and circulate up-to-date automatically-generated cap tables in real time. TASE’s Cap.TAble also enables users to calculate distributions at any given date, run investment scenarios, compare term sheets, receive an accurate snapshot of their option pools, grant and sign options seamlessly – all at the push of a button, and understand the real meaning of any exit offer and scenario.

In short, in today’s fast paced capital market environment, Cap.TAble allows you to keep track of your company’s holdings in a seamless, highly reliable way. It thus frees you up to focus on what really counts and make the right informed decisions regarding financing, exits, and option plans; allowing you to take optimum care of your company, shareholders, employees and yourself.

Yes, you can now grant options automatically and calculate vesting dates easily. We hope yours will vest soon.

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Written by: Lior Navon, Product Manager at TASE For Private Companies – Cap.TAble.

 

 

3 INTERESTING ISRAELI MUSIC APPS

Our smartphones became our primary media player. Today, there’s a huge community of developers that create apps that can better the experience on our phones.

This time I chose to focus on 3 Israeli Music Apps that make this experience much better.

Fusic “takes the selfie to the next step” according to its app store listing. The app lets people film videos of themselves singing, lip-syncing or dancing to their favorite songs, with that footage then being integrated with the song’s original video, for sharing.

This Israeli app lets users integrate their version of a song with the one sung by their favorite singer.

Fusic features about 200 songs from licensing agreements with a number of “second-tier music distributors,” said Sade-Sternberg the CEO, but she expects to land a licensing agreement with one of the world’s largest distributors in the coming months, substantially increasing the app’s library. Most of the music videos on the site now are from the pop charts, which Fusic’s core audience, teens and young adults up to age 25, like the most, with a smattering of other genres, such as 80’s rock, disco and show tunes

SoundBetter is a “music creation marketplace” that helps musicians “finish your song” by connecting them with studios, mixing and mastering engineers, producers and session musicians. Artists can post a brief, and then get quotes from these various professionals for how much their services will cost.

Recording is only the first step of the process, and every song that is recorded needs to be mixed, mastered and produced by skilled professionals. That’s millions of songs every year.

SoundBetter is disrupting a $15B/year inefficient music-production services market by connecting musicians with vetted professional mixing & mastering engineers, producers, singers and other production pros who get musicians to a great sounding finished product. SoundBetter is democratizing the last mile that musicians needed democratizing.

 

YOKEE allows users to have an entirely private karaoke experience on their smartphone. Founded in 2013, by Gil Selka and Ariel Yaloz, the application has an impressive 30 million users who have come to appreciate the opportunity to partake in their very own “empty orchestra”.

In Japanese, the word ‘karaoke’ literally means “empty orchestra,” which may be the most accurate description of the interactive sing-along activity that entertains the masses. But until now, in order to enjoy an evening of karaoke, you had to head out to a crowded karaoke bar or befriend someone with a home karaoke machine.

Yokee presents its users with an extensive library of licensed songs from US publishers in some twenty languages, as well as access to YouTube’s database of sing-along videos. Everything from classical opera to pop, rock and country genres are represented on the platform so that users can really test out their range. Yokee simultaneously records and saves a song, so that your harmonies don’t go to waste.

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Written by: Carmit Oron, VP Marketing, Brooks-Keret Financial Management.

carmit@brooks-keret.co.il

How to Properly Pitch to a Venture Capitalist

When it comes to pitching to a venture capitalist who may be interested in the products or services that you provide, it is still primarily an art form that combines facts, potential and persuasion. However, there are still effective guidelines that you can follow which will maximize your chances to impress and get the financial support of someone who might change your business for the better.

The first step is preparing your pitch so that it is short and gets straight to the point. In fact, many successful pitches to venture capitalists have been made in 15 minutes or less. You will need to tighten your pitch so that it gets straight to the heart of why the venture capitalist should invest. With that in mind, here are a few ways to spice up your pitch to maximize its effectiveness.

Big Possibilities

There are good ideas and then there are ideas that produce substantial results. You will want to emphasize the potential of what you are presenting so that the capitalist can see what the end goal will be for their investment. Every good venture capitalist understands that risks are involved, so the potential must be substantial for them to go forward. Asking them to invest for twice in return is hardly worth their attention, but ten times their return will peak their interest.

Change the Game

Basically, a venture capitalist understands that ideas which change the market are the ones to invest. A product or service that makes people look at an industry in an entirely new way is the ultimate goal. A company like PayPal for example changed the way people think about banks. So too must your idea be large enough that it will cause customers and then competitors to follow.

Big Market Potential

This is a basic guideline, but the bigger the market potential, the more interest your idea will generate. So, you will want to be talking about something that millions of people may have an interest in buying or using for a venture capitalist to really see the potential. This is because they understand that the results may only be a fraction of the potential. So, the bigger the potential, the bigger the profits will be.

Problem Solving, Target Market, & Uniqueness

Most of the questions that venture capitalist will ask revolve around the problem that your idea will solve, the size and nature of the target market and the unique nature of your product as compared to the competition. You must be prepared to address each of these questions in your presentation. Otherwise, you might have the capitalist walk out of your meeting unimpressed.

Of the three, solving the problem is going to be the most powerful and persuasive part. So, you’ll need to emphasize the size of the quandary and how many people are affected and then how your product or service will address it. That approach will definitely impress the venture capitalist to listen and if they see the problem the same way you do, the battle is mostly won.

The more you can prepare, the better your pitch will be. Remember to keep it short, simple to understand and emphasize the potential which is your main goal.

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The writer is Carmit Oron, VP Marketing at Brooks- Keret Financial Management , www.brooks-keret.co.il .

Mail: carmit@brooks-keret.co.il

Fundraising for Startups

Fundraising for startups can be a daunting prospect and often the success or failure of your pitch comes down to your own personal performance and credibility as an entrepreneur.

If you’ve identified investors there are four key areas you need to know inside out in order to impress and really showcase your talent and ability; in short they are absolutely key to entrepreneurial performance.  Let’s examine them.

Impetus

You have to be able to demonstrate that your venture has impetus. This could be in the form of pipelined sales, user numbers, existing business partners etc.  Investors want to see traction; not the finished article, but enough potential to invest.

The Team

Your management team is key to securing any investment.  Any investor is going to need to be personally impressed by you as an individual or your management team.  If you have a team member whose talents lie in different areas to presentation or outward credibility, leave them at home!  Harsh but true; think what’s best for your business.

Know your Market

You need to know your market inside out; where you fit currently, where the growth potential is, how you intend to get there, etc.  Knowing the national spend in your field is not knowing your market; investors want to see that you are well-researched and fully immersed in your market.  Metrics are important; use them and get them right.

Money

The vast majority of investors will want you to be able to demonstrate that you can put a large enough amount of money to work and will want a significant percentage of the business to justify their scrutiny.  You need to be prepared for the fact that you are likely to be giving away somewhere in the region of 20 – 25% of your company as a minimum; 15% is a rarity and anyone looking to invest at 8% may not be serious or will be looking for a bigger cut further down the line.

Help is at Hand

At Brooks-Keret we have been developing and cultivating entrepreneurs for over five years.  Our aim is to support aspiring entrepreneurs in gaining better exposure to investors and garner helpful feedback on their ventures and their approach to gaining investment.

Our specialist panels come together once every month where startup companies from all sectors can come to pitch their ideas and tap into our wealth of experience.  We are interested to hear about what your startup’s goals are and you get the opportunity to convey these via a one hour presentation.  Our expert panel will they have questions for you; questions that every entrepreneur looking for investment should know!  The best thing is if you don’t know the answer, think of our panel as a dry run; you’ll be better prepared to wow potential investors next time.

 

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The writer is Gil Keret , CEO at Brooks- Keret Financial Management , www.brooks-keret.co.il .

Would you like to be held responsible for the shrinking of your company’s net earnings?

By Ofakim Group Team

In January 2015, Alan Lafley, the chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble stated that the strong dollar would shrink the company’s fiscal 2015 sales by 5% and its net earnings by 12% or about $1.4 billion after taxes.

Such damage to the net earnings can be minimized using a long term foreign exchange hedging methodology. Furthermore, in industries where the profit margin is low, a systematic hedging methodology can increase the company’s competitive advantage.

Shortly summarizing the cost of short term hedging tools vs. a long term strategy:

  1. Exposing your company to the chasing of the market’s ups and downs, on a daily basis, vs. a long term model that addresses the market volatility in a systematic manner.
  2. Exposing your company to the risks that are associated with short-term hedging tools vs. the pre-planning of decreasing hedging amounts overtime, as the year goes by.
  3. Exposing your company’s net earnings to calculations that are solely based on the pre-set budget rate vs. a model that is dynamically hedging your exposure when the market spot requires it.

One could argue that a long term and systematic hedging model isn’t worth the hassle. As mentioned above, Alan Lafley, the CEO of P&G would not agree with you and if that isn’t enough, a quick look at the 13.5% decrease of the Eur/ILS rate in just the last few months may rest the case on such a risky claim.

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Ofakim Group is Israel’s leading company in the ­field of ­financial risk management, with extensive experience in ­financial consulting for more than 1000 customers, in Israel and world wide, in the ­fields of foreign exchange, interest, inflation and commodity risk. Ofakim group also operates the largest non-banking trading room, pricing and executing a wide variety of hedging transactions, option trades, advanced strategy implementation and currency conversions.

:For more details

Hedging@ofakim-group.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooks-Keret is celebrating 20 years in business

20 years passed from our very first customer in 1995 who believed in our ability to create value through our financial services, to become the growing financial management services company we are today, with approximately 300 clients and thousand along the journey.

This year marks a major milestone for Brooks Keret as we celebrate our 20th anniversary. What began in 1995 as an idea sketched on a placemat has grown into a leading company of 100 employees who are committed to building a model company focused on your success.

We owe this achievement to the dedication of our employees, the strength of our partnerships, and the success of our customers.

We thank all of our customers and partners for helping make our vision a reality.

Brooks-Keret celebrating 20th anniversary- you are invited to watch this video.

How to Pitch to Angel Investors

For entrepreneurs that are making a presentation to an angel investors, you will need to avoid the common mistakes that can cost you their support.
A presentation for angel investor does not need to be a pure sales pitch nor a droning rundown of data and obscure information. You will need to find the right tone in order to create a bond with them.

Here are a few tips that will help you sharpen your pitch so that you can land the services of an angel investor.

Connect with a Personal Story

Stories are by their nature simple, powerful ways to connect emotionally with this type of investor. How you started out your journey and the sacrifices made will help paint a positive picture of why you need their assistance. You don’t have to be overly dramatic, just tell your story in positive way so that you can make the connection.

Present your Story Visually

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and using images can reinforce your presentation for angle investor. When you consider that we think in images, presenting just a few photos will help engrain your story into the investor’s mind. It is a known fact that images are far more likely to be retained than just words, so find a few appropriate photos to really make your story sell.

Use Charts, Graphs and Tables for the Details

You will naturally need to present the little details, percentages and other minutia that is part of your pitch. So, use interesting graphs, tables and charts that the investor can see instead of having to hear it all from you. Of course, you can point out the different percentages and other detailed information, but presenting the information visually can really get to the point of your presentation.

Be Passionate

Your presentation will have to include your passion to help you succeed. In order for anyone to fully succeed with their business, they need the drive to accomplish their goals. An angel investor will want to see that in you. You do not have to be demonstrable in your presentation about how passionate you are, but you will need to show something beyond just saying how you feel.

Show How Your Efforts Address a Need

This is how you should wrap up your presentation by demonstrating the need for what you are trying to accomplish. All businesses, projects and endeavors have a goal which not only propels the owner and investor to success, but also how it helps others in what they are doing. This will broaden the emotional impact of your presentation for angel investor and humanize your endeavor.

Overall, if you hit the right notes then you will maximize your chances of impressing the angel investor to the point of having them push your project forward. Remember to keep it to the important points and be as succinct as possible without skimping on the important details. If you can do that, then you just may have an angel investor at your side.

Online Product or Mobile App – Which One is Better?

2014 marked a change in internet usage trends. Cellular phones replaced the PC as a gateway to the internet. This change in usage trends affects the way we use and design online products from the ground up.

To adapt products to several screen sizes we can create a responsive platform, develop a mobile application or provide both. How will we know which is best? The answer, as always, depends on what you are developing.

The difference between a responsive or mobile adapted product and a mobile application is simple. If a product required access to the mobile’s inherent capabilities (camera, GPS etc.) than a mobile applications needs to be considered. If the product’s design and functionality is straight forward, for example a content based product (Newspapers, Blogs etc.) or even regular commercial sites with simple management requirements; you should create a responsive product.

Contrary to responsive products, when taking the application route the following needs to be taken into account:

  1. An application is a piece of software. To use it, a user must download it to his/ her device. As such, it is not exposed to indexes of traditional online search engines.
  2. An application needs to be adapted to each device type and/or operating system.
  3. An application might encounter performance issues as its performance is device related. If the owner of the mobile phone uses many applications it might affect the reaction of your application.
  4. An application’s design is completely different than a responsive design. Since most users open a profile when logging into an app, the application can provide a user biased experience. Moreover, with Push notifications, you have a direct access to the user. For example, when we receive a message on Facebook, the device alerts us of the message by raising a small circle with the sender’s image. In addition, the app can save usage habits such as credit card information, preferences, etc., which helps users get to their destination faster, and so on.

To understand what is the correct option for you, you need to take into considerations all of the above points. They will help you choose wisely.

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The writer is Ayelet Geva,  , Expert Product Manager, www.pmod.co.il.

Mail: ayelet@pmod.co.il

 

A Closer Look at Entrepreneur: Lior Tal – CEO RepnUp

What gave you the idea to create RepnUp?

Today, many meaningful events in person’s life such as getting into college, getting a job, keeping a job and finding a life partner, are dependent on what they “look” like on social media. The idea to build Rep’nUp came from reading articles about college admission officers that review applicants’ social media profiles before extending admissions offers. The articles explained what types of content will lead students to get eliminated from the applicant pool. We thought that we can develop a service that will help applicants by detecting this types of content and allow them to deal with that before applying. When we solicit feedback from friends, they indicated that there are two bigger addressable markets for such service, such as users who are looking for jobs and people who engage in online dating.

What advice would you give someone who wants to make a social networking website?

Try to work from day one with multiple social media networks and not only one.

What do you spend all of your hard earned cash on?

We spend most of our budget on two fronts – R&D and M&S.

Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?

Most of my professional life I spent in startups. I co-founded two that were acquired by IBM and McAfee so I think it is in my blood.

Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on?

I look up to people like Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of AirBNB.com a company that created a market that was not there before and build a fast growing business around it.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Execution trump everything else. Eventually you’ll get a product that works more or less as you thought it would but it is all about getting to the market and succeeding in getting sales/users/partners.

What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

First, get a strong team around you. Investors invest mostly in teams and they are looking for an experienced and capable members.

What are your plans for the future?

We are growing at a fast rate and we need to make sure we continue to grow.

 

Find out more about RepnUp.

Transfer Pricing (TP)

One of the most common methods of reducing the overall tax burden of multinational entities (MNEs) is by entering into international transactions between the companies comprising the group. Through such transactions, the MNE shifts the group’s profits from countries with high tax rates to jurisdictions where tax rates are lower. Google, for once, is diverting most of its profits to Ireland. To overcome the problem of profit shifting, many countries enacted a series of laws and regulations that require maintaining transfer pricing documentation and applying market conditions on such transactions.

What is Transfer Pricing?

Transfer Pricing (TP) is the term used to describe all aspects of transactions between related parties (a definition which differs from one jurisdiction to another). Most commonly, those inter-company transactions include:

  • the sale (transfer) of tangible property – for example for distribution purposes;
  • the utilization/transfer of intangible assets – such as for manufacturing or assembling purposes (but clients lists, for instance, are also an intangible asset for this purpose, as well as IP used for further R&D purposes by a different entity in the group);
  • the provision of services (management, marketing, R&D, tech. support, assembly/manufacturing etc.);
  • financial transactions (loans, capital notes, ESOP, guarantees, credits, etc.).

 

All inter-company transactions must be regulated in accordance with local TP rules, which mostly require: (1) a TP study, which demonstrates the arm’s length results (market price) of the tested inter-company transaction (and upon which, each relevant entity must pay its taxes); (2) an inter-company agreement based upon the outcome of the study; (3) actual implementation of the results of the study; and (4) if applicable – a TP policy (required mostly for groups of no less than 3-4 subsidiaries).

 

What is the “Right” TP Model a Company Should Implement?

The answer is complex and depends on the circumstances of each company and the different characteristics of each transaction. For each type of transaction, the local TP regulations determine a different TP method. It should be specifically noted, that the too common use of the “cost plus” model is more often than not incorrect, either in terms of the applicable TP method (which should have been different due to the characteristics of the transaction) or in terms of the “cost” and “plus” determined by the parties. For example, should options granted by the Company to employees of its subsidiaries be calculated as part of the “cost”? The answer depends on the TP model adopted and on the relationship between the parties.

Another example would be in intercompany financing matters, where not only the “arm’s length” interest rate and the loan terms need to be taken under consideration, but also the company’s capital structure. Each company has a different supply chain, IP ownership structure, functions and risks allocation among its group companies, etc. and thus the “right model” has to be carefully considered in order to abide by applicable rules.

What Are the Critical Issues When Implementing the TP Model?

The bottom line is that in order to really implement the TP model, the daily business routine between the relevant companies has to reflect every aspect of it. The financial statements have to be separated in a way that enables to trace each intercompany transaction. All inter-company transactions have to be backed-up with proper agreements and documentation, which will demonstrate to the tax authorities that the inter-company pricing is similar to (or in the range of) non-related third party transactions; or explain why it’s not.

Our experience shows that many MNEs see themselves as an unseparated unit, which can create difficulties in implementation and significant exposures.

 

What are the consequences for not implementing TP?

The main exposures are to double taxation, fines, interest, linkage, and adjustments to the group’s financials (roll back period). It should be noted that TP legislation overcomes any treaties and even allows tax authorities to re-open previously closed tax assessments. Aggressive audits and heavy fines are some of the measures tax authorities worldwide are using nowadays, and it seems they have no intention of stopping there. Additionally, wrong TP models (or the lack thereof) also bear implications on VAT and customs exposures.

Additionally, in certain countries the company’s CFO has to sign a unique form (or tick the box), stating the company is acting in accordance with the TP regulations (i.e. holding a study and acting thereby). In Israel, the obligatory form 1385 requires the description and detailed pricing of each inter-company transaction performed with related parties.

Bar Zvi & Ben Dov is a boutique law firm specializing inter alia in transfer pricing. The firm has been active since 2006, and has filed over 500 studies worldwide, with 100% success rate in tax audits worldwide. The firm is recommended by the Legal 500 international guide in the fields of Tax and High-Tech, has offices in Tel-Aviv and NYC, and is a partner of Transfer Pricing Associates, the world’s largest independent group of international experts in transfer pricing, providing local sign-offs in more than 60 counties.

How To Build A Better Budget For Your Company? Brook’s Keret Top 10 Rules.

We are opening a new year , those who have not built a budget for 2014 , now is an excellent time to do so!

Here are our top ten rules of Brooks Keret to build a better budget :

1. It is desirable to build a monthly budget based on a quarterly period between one and three years of activity.

2. If you are building your company budget in Shekels, it is best to convert them by the average rate for the period prior to the construction budget to avoid a situation in which a change in the volatility of the exchange rate doesn’t have an impact on the extent of  your expenses.

3 . We recommend that you classify the expenses and attribute them according to the company’s operating departments, which include all relevant costs for the  departments’ activities.

4. While building the operating expenses , you must take into account all the expenses and distribute them according to categories, such as : insurance, professional expenses, travel, communications and more.

5 . When calculating salary costs , you should consider the overall employer costs, gross wages and social benefits, plus a certain percentage With respect to provisions for vacation and recreation .

6. You must take into account increases of investments in fixed assets, such as: moving offices, office improvements , electronic equipment, laboratory equipment , etc. All the above are on a cash basis.

7 . It is important to plan at least 5 % of operating expenses as unexpected expenses .

8. Assuming that this activity is distributed over several companies / projects, this should be addressed to the overall budget of the group.

9. It is customary to budget funds relative to the  number of employees in the company, such as leasing expenses, welfare expenses, work stations, gifts for employees, salary related expenses and the like.

10. When you are building a budget it is important to take into account the opening balance of net cash operating costs, reserves, and capital costs .

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The writer is Carmit Oron, VP of  Brooks  Keret.

E news by Dafna Rolls

I am often asked if cold calling really works or when to bring cold calling in-house.

Business owners can get meetings with potential clients through a variety of sources and many channels such as introductions from business partners and customers, using social media and LinkedIn. When I speak with business owners I always confirm to them that all of these strategies and avenues are great and that cold calling enhances and ensures that you approach your whole target market in a systematic way. A systematic way needs to cover all bases: getting all of the personal introductions that you can, working on your social media sourced opportunities, and at the same time, creating the list of all of your target market and starting to qualify good leads. When you create such a system you can make sure that your pipeline is always full with warm qualified leads.

How do you get started on cold calling? Start by finding and hiring the right inside sales people and creating the right bonus plan for them to achieve results (always pay a base salary plus commission so that your calling team can feel secure and meet goals). In addition, you will need to create the right tool box with all the information that needs to be sent out when a potential target shows interest. Successful cold calling relies on a strong database list, managed on a well-defined CRM program. Verify that you periodically provide your cold calling team with good updates and that you keep adding to the lead list as needed. Tracking and using a large list of well targeted leads including all recent contact with each of them is the key.

To make good of use of your time and effort you will need to understand who is the right person and the appropriate decision maker, in the target organizations that you are calling. Use this focus to structure a cold calling system and define a protocol, spend the time and generate your own training doc info. This should include:

• Phone scripts

• Typical Q&A

• Competitive data

• Email to be sent after the call

• Marketing info to attach to emails

• Qualifications – What will make a good meeting (you don’t want to waste the sales team’s time and energy on improper opportunities)

As calling starts, be sure not to send emails from a non-company email and to leave phone messages only after many attempts to reach the potential target. Always respect leads and nurture a relationship with the executive assistant.

 

How to choose the right outsourcing company for your cold calling:

• Make sure that you are the owner of the data base and that all notes taken during calling and nurturing leads have been updated.

• Speak with the callers that will represent your company and not just with the company owner.

• Can they provide you flexibility of number of meetings more/ less meetings?

• How do they work with your team?

• If they hire new person to work on your account do you need to train that person?

• Ask to speak with their costumers and ask the right questions.

 

When is it right to have our cold calling team in house or to outsource?

For every company the answer will be different but the first question is whether you will be able to manage the inside sales team? Have you done it in the past? What will be your ROI doing it in-house versus outsourcing?

There are no short cuts for getting meetings with your target market but when it is done in the right way, you will meet your target market and your costumers will be ones that you choose not just the ones that choose you. All you will need after this stage is a strong sales person that will know how to convert those meeting into sales… and this will be discussed in a different article

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This article written by Dafna Rolls Owner/founder Leads2deal

dafna@dafnarolls.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Marketing Strategies to Corporate Value


It is well known that corporate value mostly determined by factor that creates the biggest value, in common corporate valuations, the flow of income is the most influential parameter, much more than the cost of capital: WACC, much more than the financial structure: ratios of external debt and equity, and much more critical than the growth rate itself. The actual income is the most important factor in any valuation of a corporation.

This cash flow due to regular operations is so strongly influencing on corporate value that it is the core parameter of reliably and accurately of a valuation. Not the historical and current income, but actually the future forecasted incomes. Value of assets is not a cash generator but as more as a source for stable financial structure that could enable regular operations.

In order to evaluate accurately future incomes we must look at the companies market position, it’s marketing strategies that sustain a market share, a market share that grows and a marketing strategy that successfully competes with it’s rivals, either with current existing competing corporation or with future rival enterprises that could rise due to target market demands, change of customers purchase preferences and change in customer behavior.

Of course any marketing strategy starts after a solid business model is obtained, but as we all know from practice, a good business model is first of all defined according to marketing targets and secondly by the corporate’s operations capabilities that include it’s financial limitations, although a smart corporation always knows how to adapt itself either internally or by purchasing external business units, thus minimizing it’s lack of flexibility to it’s target market. A good business model will enable the corporation to crystallize smart Marketing Strategies.

A corporation that relies solely on it’s capital structure or financial sources could loose the market to sleek rivals with a better understanding of the market needs and expectations. No fix asset purchase nor financial restructure, nor bettering operating efficiencies, could retain the market share, the sole source for the corporate’s operational cash flow: Sales. Sales, is the only real value that sustained and grows due to smart Marketing Strategy.

Corporate valuation always looks on the future prospect of the corporation in it’s competing market, almost there are no monopolies nor intangible assets like patents that could prevent efficiently from a rising corporation that will offer a substitute product. Where there is source for revenue, there will be always rivaling competitors, regardless of even the most efficient barriers to entry. For example, inner unique knowledge and operational capabilities, is a very efficient barrier to market entry, it’s a production process that comprises of many mutual dependable supply chain participants: like in a car industry or in the medical or biotechnology industries. In these sectors, it’s very hard and expensive for a rival competitor to enter and slice a share from the market. But, still, any rival competitor can simply purchase business units or employ critical employees and still penetrate with substitute products. In this instances, smart Marketing Strategies are a vital protection on the Corporate Value.

Marketing Strategy starts with determination of the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These are obtained utilizing the relative competing advantage sources. It could be based on the holistic approach where Recourse Based View (RBV) together with financial structure optimization will generate the 4 P’s. After this determination, a flexible marketing strategy should be applied. This could be a mixture of:

  1. Differentiation Strategy: to be different, could be always developing new products by R&D.
  2. Price Leadership:  it should be noted that price is a perceptual concept, price leadership does not always means low prices, but, it could be the most valuable price to the customer, taking into account the perceptual value that the customer believes, or calculates, from his point of view.
  3. Rivalry Competing Strategy: these are a number of “military battle” strategies taken from real known military strategies:  Offensive Marketing, Deterrence Strategies, Pre-emptive Strike, Frontal Attack, Flanking Attack, Sequential Strategies, Alliance Strategies, Position Defense, Mobile defense, Encirclement Strategy , Cumulative Strategies ,  Counter-Offensive, Strategic Withdrawal, Flank Positioning, Leapfrog Strategy (bypassing enemy), Deception Strategy (the legal ones..)

This mixture of strategies should prevent, efficiently, rivalry competition in a well managed and expected market arena.

For corporate valuation purposes, business assessing models could be used to asses inherent marketing strategies that are not described in the official public financial reports (as expected from a competing corporation: not to expose all it’s card publicly..). These could be the famous SWOT and  PESTLE business models. By combining to them other Market Share Analysis, we can extract corporate’s Market Position, Growth and Competing Ability.

Corporate valuation must be after accessing the Marketing Strategies, thus enabling accurate forecast of future incomes: The most influential values.

 Thank you very much !

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

This article is originally written by: Mr. Albert Kristal  (BA, MBA) Certified Corporate Valuator.

Web Site: www.corp-valuation.com, Contact at: albert@corp-valuation.com or: Kristal_albert@walla.co.il

All Right Reserve to Albert Kristal 2013©, A special authorization is granted to

BROOKS-KERET for internal circulation and publishing.

                                   

Employee Options Valuation Albert Kristal

 

Employee Options Valuation

Valuation of inner corporate options is a way of quantifying according to acceptable accounting and other relevant financial standards, the current, understandable, relevant, reliable and comparable value of options that enable an employee or other service provider, to purchase corporate stocks in the future. Thus, this method enables to attract these certain individuals to invest efforts and time toward corporate operational and business goals.

This is called “Share-Based Payment” in the common mandatory international accounting standard: IFRS-2. Or referred as “Stock-Based Compensation” in the US FAS-123R, or as “Employee Benefits” in IAS-19 as amended and accepted by the EU commission based on EFRAG (European Financial Reporting Advisory Group). Called “Incentive Share Plans” in the Chinese CAS (Chinese Accounting Standards), “Employee Share Option(s)” in the Japanese accounting standards ASBJ-11, and as “Stock-Based Compensation” in the Canadian accounting standard (CICA section 3870). In Israel this referred in the Israeli accounting standard 24 as “Payment Based on Stocks”.

As an adequate practicable guidance of Options Valuations, the first steps would be to establish the frame and boundaries by which the valuation process will take place. These could be done according to general valuation standards like the IVS (International Valuation Standards), EVS (European Valuations Standards) or SSVS by AICPA (USA) and PCAOB (SOX) quality guidance. These general guidance are the “valuation industry” guidelines, protecting and governing all sides of the valuation process to be adequate and professional. These standards, in the context of Options Pricing, direct to select relevant accounting standards and provide a comprehensive valuation framework that could include common practice of assumptions and techniques of mathematical and statistical models.

Since the valuation scope in this article deals only with the quantifying portion from the full financial reporting, here we will perform the specific actions needed for option pricing and not all the accounting process that is requested fully in the above mentioned standards. The full accounting actions should be taken and performed by an accredited accountant and reviewed before adding these models of calculations to the corporate official financial reports.

It should be noted that our way of valuation with direct and written reference to standards, create a very high quality and reliable valuation report. A report that could be safely and reliably adopted by the financial accounting and senior management.

The kind of options we are referring are not traded in capital trade arenas, but rather usually kept by the receiver or reserved for him, whom we mentioned, an employee or service provider to a certain corporation. Usually these options include vesting (conditions for maturation).

There are two main ways that can be selected when pricing options for employees or service providers (excluding business combinations, nor future contract):

  1. Inner option value (intrinsic value).
  2. Option’s Fair Value (price as exchanged, between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm’s length transaction).

 

Usually these are Call type options, enabling the owner to purchase corporate stocks in a certain expected point of time in the future.

Since the scope of this article is limited, we will describe the basics of Employee Options Valuation process of three types of corporations:

  1. 1.    Start-Ups (SU) with no revenues yet. Future is very risky.
  2. Small Company (SC) with a short history but is already profits. Future is medium risky.
  3. Big Corporation (BC), with more then 5 years of history. Future is sustainable.

Valuation will be done after the valuator will determine the following:

-       Purpose of valuation.

-       Scope of valuation.

-       Users of the valuations.

-       Structure of the valuation.

-       Methods of valuation.

-       Quality control.

-       Metadata about all input data received from the corporation during the process of valuation (could be included in the quality control of the valuation).

-       Adequate disclosure.

-       Limitation of liability by the valuator.

-       Precautions and Warnings to the Users of the valuation (usage limits, list of risks).

For example, valuation will be performed on SU, SC and BC as follows:

1.Purpose of valuation: To Valuate the current price of employee options, for financial reporting and for employment terms negotiations by the corporate management with employees or candidates.

2. Scope of Valuation: Calculating a single common option value according to standards.

3. Users of valuation: Inner corporate use and as part of regulatory financial reporting.

4. Structure of valuation: Based on the following standards: IVS Framework, IVS101,IVS102, IVS103, IVS250, IVS300, AICPA SSVS, EVS2 par.5 (Special Value), EVS3 par.3 (Qualified Valuator).

5. Methods of Valuation: According to the following standards: IFRS-2 Appendix B, FAS123(R), AICPA-VPHCE (Particle Aid in Valuation of Privately held Company Equity Securities issued as Compensation-2011: par. I-13 and chapter 8.

In SU:

Will be calculated as Intrinsic Value

 (Call Price = N*(S-E

 

 

S= Current Stock Value= Current Equity/number of stocks.

E=Exercise price=Future Equity/Number of stocks.

N= Number of Options = Value of benefits as agreed with the employee / Call

Call Price = {(S-E)*Value of benefits}^1/2

Thus:

Call Price = {(S-E)*Value of benefits}^1/2

 On the other hand, in Small Comp. and Big Comp.:

Will be calculated as Fair Value, using Black & Scholes module:

C(S,T)= Call option value

Ѳ(d1)= NORMSDIST{}

Ѳ(d2)= NORMSDIST{ }

K= E=Exercise price=Future Equity/Number of stocks.

T= Time estimated for vesting, usually it’s shorter then the listed vesting time. Employees tend to exercise the options before end of vesting periods.

δ ={1/10*∑t=5, t=-4(growth rate – mean growth rate)^2}^1/2

δ= Volatility, calculated using variances of NAV (Net Assets Value) growth rate, or variances of NCF (Net Cash Flow) growth rate. In the model of Comin and Mulani, in periods of T-4 to T=5:

6. Quality Control: Recommended to perform an accountant audit on this report according to PCAOB AT Section 301: Financial Forecast and Projections. Par.: 51-56: Appling agreed upon procedures to prospective financial statements.

7. Metadata: All information received as part of the valuation process will listed and filed in secured software system. Conclusions could be made later on if any person will need to track back this process of valuation.

8.  Adequate disclosure:  The valuator nor any first side related family have non of any holdings or investments in the valuated corporation. The results of this valuation o not depend the level of payment to the valuator.

9. Limitation of liability by the valuator:  The Valuator is not responsible to any business outcome and/or any result, due to exposure to this valuation report.

 10. Precautions and Warnings to the Users of the valuation (usage limits, list of risks):

ΔCall=Delat* ΔS+Gamma(ΔS)^2+Vega*Δδ

The usage of any information in this report is forbidden in any investment capital stock markets, unless this report was publically published according to SEC or ISA regulations. Risks of non accuracy and non foreseen adverse events could undermine this valuation. The risks could be quantified as follows: VaR of the call option as calculated is subject to option’s sensitivity to changes in stock’s value (delta), rate of value of change (gamma), stock’s change in volatility (vega), this enables us to calculate the change of call option according to the following foemula:

VaR Call Option in Big Companies:

ΔCall=Delat* ΔS+Gamma(ΔS)^2+Vega*Δδ

Delta=

Gamma=   

Vega=

.e = Euler’s number (2.718…)

.r = Risk free rate.

S= Stock Price.

K(=E) = Exercise Price.

.δ = Volatility.

.q = Annual Dividend Yield (Usually according to IFRS-2 this value is 0).

-       These risks should be reviewed and registered by the SOX or quality control personal.

 

These will conclude our brief article about Options Pricing. I hope this give you a broader look at this complex processes of valuations. I will gladly help in any question you wish to ask me.

Feel Free to contact me, in any time.

 

Thank you very much !

This article is originally written by:

Mr. Albert Kristal (BA, MBA) Certified Corporate Valuator.

Web Site: www.corp-valuation.com,

Contact at: albert@corp-valuation.com  or: Kristal_albert@walla.co.il

 

All Right Reserve to Albert Kristal 2013©, A special authorization is granted to

BROOKS-KERET for internal circulation and publishing.

 

Global Branding: How Translation Can Make or Break Successful Branding

It is a scenario every global marketing professional can relate to.

There you are, glowing with success.

You successfully pitched to your directors and were granted a workable budget. You interviewed and chose an impressive branding company and spent countless hours (even a sleepless night) defining a winning marketing strategy and identifying key competitive advantages and differentiators. The final result is brilliant.

And then…. the nightmare starts.

There is a problem with the international implementation and the phone calls and emails start pouring in from around the world.

Your German distributor does not like the turquoise in your logo and instead prefers deep blue. He says that it is a more serious color adapted to the local culture.

Your sales manager in South Africa wants to continue to use the old messaging. Why would you waste energy and money in changing something that was already great, she asks?

Your pre-sales team in China created a new campaign just two weeks ago, and they would prefer to not use the new branding. Anyway, the new slogan sounds bad in Mandarin.

Your global implementation plan has become catastrophic with technical non-senses, glaring mistakes and each local team is using a different logo. You spend an enormous amount of time and resources to try and reduce the damage.

This entire incident could have been avoided, and it is not too late to repair the damage and get your branding back on track.

Click here to read 5 tips on how to do it the right way.

70global provides expert, tailor-made translation and localization services for companies in rapidly growing technological industries. We take an active partnership approach to our work and provide our clients with comprehensive and timely results. 

Use LinkedIn B2B social media when you really mean business

One of the frustrations of doing B2B social media marketing is using broad channels like Twitter and Facebook. They’re so clogged with B2C and personal communications that you’re not sure if your B2B messaging is really getting through. Sometimes it feels like you’re navigating a cruise ship through a harbor filled with pleasure craft.

By contrast, the LinkedIn platform gives you the chance do B2B marketing in a true business-only environment. LinkedIn has been slow to innovate, but the services it now offers — Groups and Company Pages — set high standards for quality. The busy professionals who use LinkedIn demand substantive communications and genuine value.

More than 175 million people are registered on LinkedIn and well over 1 million LinkedIn groups, all moderated by group “owners,” exist. In addition to requiring group moderators, LinkedIn limits the number of groups any individual can join to 50, thus increasing the likelihood that members of a group are actually listening to the discussions. As a result of this vigilance, LinkedIn has become the social media channel most likely to be consulted as part of a business purchase process. One social media expert, comparing LinkedIn to Facebook, reports that LinkedIn is “four times better for B2B leads and almost three times more effective generating new business leads.”

It’s likely that folks on your marketing and sales teams are already active on LinkedIn. But have you created and starting using a LinkedIn company page? Using LinkedIn’s step-by-step guidance, you can set one up in an hour or two.

1. Get started with a company Overview. This where you can communicate your brand, your company history, and your approach to doing business. Don’t forget to add the company logo.

2. Make the Products and Services section the heart of your LinkedIn presence. Astonishingly, many companies neglect to take advantage of this valuable feature of the Company Page. This is where you can can describe each product or service you offer — you can even list white papers people can download from your website. Remember to include in the product descriptions not just brand names but also any generic keywords prospects would use to search for your products and services. You can add a photo, a contact person, and even a YouTube video for each product. Once you’ve listed a product, visitors (your brand advocates) will be able to leave recommendations for it.

3. Put your employees’ social media reputations to work in the Careers section. Use the Careers section to list all your employees who are on LinkedIn — at the very least, make sure you list the people responsible for sales, marketing, and media relations. Include senior technical staff who speak at conferences and publish journal articles as well. You can also use the Careers section to post job openings.

4. Now, make the Company Page part of your social media strategy. Add LinkedIn page updates to your social marketing calendar. Make sure the Company page is updated regularly and encourage employees who maintain individual LinkedIn accounts to join groups and participate in group discussions.

5. Finally, evaluate the effectiveness of your LinkedIn social media efforts. This is easy, because as the administrator of your company’s LinkedIn page, you have access to an Analytics page. You can see who your followers are and what they’re doing when they visit your page. As with any other type of B2B social media marketing, you can revise your approach and track your progress.

 

BIO:

Daniel Kushner is the Co-Founder of Oktopost, a marketing expert and social media guru. As the former VP of Marketing at innovative high-tech company Nolio, Daniel grew sales with double-digit growth year over year. Daniel has been in the field for more than a decade and has successfully led the online marketing departments of various global organizations.

Email: daniel@oktopost.com

Website: http://www.oktopost.com

Twitter: @oktopost

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oktopost

LinkedIn: http://il.linkedin.com/in/dkushner

 

 

How to Create a Company Culture That People Will Be Excited to Join

Posted on February 18, 2013 | article by: Nichole Spaight

Start-up companies must attract skilled and motivated employees in order to succeed. Ideal candidate will be flexible, will demonstrate risk tolerance and will have the ability to roll up his sleeves to get the job done. The challenge is not just to attract those employees but to get them sign and choose your company and not another one.

Competitive salary and benefits are major factors in the employee’s decision but not enough. There are few more factors that can help to attract top candidates:

• Work-life balance (e.g. working from home, short days before the weekend, etc.)

• Give back to community – find a right cause and let your employees getting involved.

• Be accessible – interact with your employees in eye level. Have lunch with them on a regular basis or meet them on a one on one basis.

• Provide a training program where employees can advance their career.

• Give your employees a “part of the cake” – options plan or a profit sharing plan.

• Conduct a “recognition plan” – for “best employee”, best innovation, etc.

Read More

10 things entrepreneurs should do in the first 100 days of getting funding

Posted on November 10, 2012 2:21 PM | article by: Matt Fates

Congratulations, you just sealed the deal on fresh capital for your startup. You’ve also just raised the bar on expectations and increased the pressure to perform.

Are you ready?

Most CEOs and founders already know how this new capital will be used, and assuming they have a high degree of confidence that the funding will close, they can get started on putting it to work ahead of time.

Here are some other high-level action items that should be on every to-do list in those crucial first three months:

1. Celebrate victories: Not in an expensive way, but in a team-building way. Share the news with your employees. Explain the potential and also share the credit, ensuring everyone is aligned and pulling 100 percent toward the same goals. This is a great way to reward and recognize the hard work of your team and to excite them at a time when everyone needs step up.

2. Show gratitude: Not just to your new investors. Thank any customers or partners who were helpful during due diligence, and make sure they are up to date on your expanded plans and potential. The people you leaned on to get to this point most likely will be valuable resources going forward.

3. Integrate: On-board your new investors and board members thoughtfully. Consider hosting a reception to better connect them to other board members and your management team. This gets the relationship off to a good start and will quicken productive communications between all parties.

4. Communicate: Don’t rely on board meetings alone. Get the most out of your new investors by setting up regular interactions, be they weekly or monthly breakfasts, parties, beers, or other gatherings.

5. Move Fast: Be the first to announce your own news. Don’t let it leak out via SEC filings, which reporters and bloggers regularly mine for stories. Make sure you get the most out of your announcement and consult with public relations specialists if you don’t have any on your team.

6. Reconnect: You have likely been distracted by the intense fund-raising effort. Make sure you take the time to sync back up with all your key team members and business partners.

7. Build: Hire the best people you can find. Many startups are tech-driven, but in truth it comes down to people who really make it happen. Always be in recruiting mode, but particularly when you have fresh capital and buzz to leverage and plans to achieve. Ask board members and investors for staff recommendations — they likely have good connections, have a vested interest in your success, and can introduce you to promising candidates.

8. Leverage: Consider adding to your ‘war chest’ with some venture debt. Debt does not make sense in all scenarios, but the easiest time to get a lender to provide capital is when you have just closed a round of equity.

9. Stay Lean: Remember this is expensive capital. Make it last. Spend what you have to, when you have to, and no sooner.

10. Perform: Meet or beat your near-term goals, be they in sales, development, or recruiting. Don’t make the new investors question their decision right out of the gate. Be clear with your backers about what the first 100 days will look like and then deliver. This is always important, but particularly right after funding.

Add these all up on top of running your company, and you clearly have a tall order. But your team and your new investors have faith in you. So get going!

This article ,10 things entrepreneurs should do in the first 100 days of getting funding  , was re-published from VentureBeat.