Being a founder, not to mention a CEO, can be a very lonely place, carrying loads of stress and required to constantly be at peak performance. This often makes it hard to find balance between one's professional and personal life. Maintaining strong relationships with the co-founders and investors, is also not an easy task, where clarity and empathy are not always present. As one of my entrepreneurs says: “It’s not the technological challenge we deal with, it’s the mental one”.
"Throughout my +15 years as a professional, I've always been attracted to the intersection of business and psychology through entrepreneurship - What makes people tick? How do people think and act? And what motivates people in business? What drives me is being there for the amazing entrepreneurs, who are under constant pressure, so that they can make our world a better place. That’s what I’m here for, and this is my podcast – The Human Founder."
Ron Gura, CEO & co-founder at Empathy
Ron is a serial tech entrepreneur who has brought his love for developing empowering products to startups and major international corporations alike. Ron’s family is intertwined into his entrepreneurial journey in various ways; He speaks admirably about his mom, and shares about his brother Eyal Gura -- his life-long role model. Eyal’s character, wisdom & friendship are all a strong foundation for Ron’s path.
He remembers in a very vivid way when Eyal closed his 1st startup. He then understood that as an entrepreneur - there are uncomfortable parts you just have to embrace and push through, take care of your people and move on. They crafted a beautiful dynamic between them, where each one's success drives the other forward.
Selling the 1st startup to eBay
“The Gift Project” was a pretty smooth ride. Ron describes it as a “rare thing of luck & timing”. His biggest win - was an amazing team of talented and wonderful people - who are nowadays leading founders in the tech arena. He was led by naivety & curiosity, asking himself “who are the smartest people we can bring along?”. An acquisition after only 18 months - he describes the eBay experience as ‘finesse’. eBay was an amazing school - all the processes, methods, learning from the inside how corporations work. Ron also remembers clearly how an interaction with his Marketing Director - put a spotlight on how important it is to manage the relationships with your colleagues and keep a transparent and open communication channel in order to avoid the slippery slope when relationships clash - and what a lesson it was about leadership.
EIR in a VC
Leaving eBay, Ron joined Eden Shochat & Michael Eizenberg at Aleph VC, a $550M early-stage venture capital fund. It was a very meaningful and transformational year in his journey. He learned the VC processes inside-out, saw the Board interactions first hand, hung out with amazing startups, listened to them and helped build a community of promising founders and companies. “Different is better than better” - his listening muscle grew stronger, and his eyes got wide open. Those days were the days when some of the most successful founders in the startups scene met each other and kicked off their ventures - Shai Wininger & Daniel Schreiber from Lemondae, Eran Shier who later on founded Nexar and others.
From startup to scale-up
WeWork was one of the companies Ron fell in love with during those days at Aleph, when they still were a young startup. From a few people to thousands of employees worldwide - Ron led the global R&D center of 250 team members, and was responsible for the tools and systems that helped the company scale operationally. Once again - he gathered around him an amazing team of talented people. Ron keeps his people close - his future co-founder at Empathy - Yon Bergman - worked with him at WeWork. They built an organization together.
The decision to leave was hard but needed. The company changed its approach to more of a real estate company than leading the future of work, and Ron had to learn to let go. Many great people have left, and he did whatever he could to help them outside of WeWork. He felt first hand the ride of a rapidly growing startup.
Disrupting the way families navigate loss
Fear of death is something most of us experience, but loss doesn’t skip anyone. Death is untouched. Yon & Ron wanted to offer “the friend you wish you had when you lose a loved one”, as confronting death involves overwhelming emotional stress & grief together with logistics. That's what drove them to Empathy.
Talking about Empathy made Ron open up and share about his own personal loss of his beloved brother. Amir’s death was very present in his life. It raised lot’s of questions as a young boy that came back again later on in his life.
He once again gathered a group of amazing and talented people who share his mission to offer empathy and comfort for people dealing with grief. I find it beautiful and touching when we build a company that helps us heal our very own wounds.