Ari Roisman – Glide

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glide

Ari Roisman is Co-Founder and CEO of Jerusalem-based Glide, a service that allows users to send and receive private video messages that can be watched live or at the recipients’ convenience.

Motivation

Entrepreneurship, like life in general, is all about the journey. So it’s a good idea to be working on something you love.

Hack

At launch we introduced the ‘Glidebot, a real-life chatbot who taught new users how to use the app and responded to user’s questions. Never underestimate the magic of human warmth.

Genesis

Before I worked on Glide I was working on smaller projects. I’ve only worked on startups, so its the only work environment I’m familiar with. I took a break from full-time startup life for a couple years to get married, start building a family and focus on acquiring a skill-set that was important to me personally: Talmudic analytical thinking. The transition back to a startup-focused lifestyle was relatively smooth, but once I’m fully immersed in a venture, and I take a moment to take a deep breath and look around, I do find myself thinking “Whoa, I don’t really do anything else but work on this venture.”

Funding

Fail fast. Get your product into the market quickly, but be willing to turn on a dime and do things differently when things don’t go as planned. At the same time, take what all the trendy startup evangelists preach with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, each venture is unique and requires its own ever-evolving playbook.

We raised about $2M in angel rounds, mostly from private investors. I had never raised funds before Glide and I guess I learned how to do so on the job. I have found fundraising success directly correlates with passion. I never really rehearsed before investor meetings. To me, it was never about pitching. It was always about sharing what we were doing and why.

Traction

We soft-launched our iOS product in Israel, a small yet highly connected mobile market, and acquired our very first users through tapping friends and families – the most patient and forgiving users there are.

Demand

Fortunately, it seems as if introduction of our product has been well timed. Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference in the world. Plus, Glide is unique – there aren’t any other apps that do what it does (‘live or later’ video messaging). We identified that people want to be in touch on their terms without having schedule in advance.

Culture

Pretty laid back and very collaborative. We try to involve all teams in product development without making everything into a committee. Each day before lunch we have a company-wide stand-up meeting for 5-minutes so everyone knows what’s going on. Then we play Mario Kart.

Grind

Typical bag of CEO responsibilities – product stewardship, investor relations, finance, operations, and watching the market like a hawk. I multitasked like crazy at first, but then learned the importance of delegating and trusting others. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance everything. Its particularly challenging, because the scope of responsibilities only continues to grow, and it seems like everything is always in a state of flux.

Network

I’m passionate to be part of the young and vibrant ecosystem in Israel, which has provided the company with some phenomenal networking and business opportunities. I’ve found that as long as I’m building or even just thinking about something interesting, its been relatively easy to get in touch with good people who want to help.

Etc.

We went on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield with a hipster hasid and a beatboxing girl in a robot costume.

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