Uri Levine at the Grand Finale: “The role of passion in successful startups”

Aprile 23, 2015


During the Grand Finale at InnovAction Lab 2015 we will have the chance to listen to Uri Levine, co-founder at Waze and Feex, serial entrepreneur and Business Angel. After selling Waze to Google for more than a billion dollars in 2013, Uri decided to step aside the project he had launched in 2007 in order to focus on another big problem: the one of hidden commissions in financial services, especially those relating to investments and pension trusts. This is the issue he wants to solve with Feex, the Robin Hood of fees, as the tagline says.

Nowadays, Uri is busy not only at Feex, but he is also an investor and mentor for several startups. His passion is the inefficiency of large markets, in which there are “lots of money left on the table”.

At the Grand Finale Uri will talk about his adventure at Waze and the key role of passion in the life of every startup, sharing some key aspects that have determined the success of some of the projects he has taken part in.

“Fall in love with the problem, not the solution” Uri said on several occasions, underlining how the success of Waze was linked not only to the team’s skills to be perfectly focused on the addressed problem. If you know by heart the pain that your users feel, all the rest will come accordingly. We are all stuck in traffic without knowing which way to turn, looking at other people leaving the main road to go on secondary roads that lead who know where. Either you know your way or you use Waze.

The adventure in the world of technology for Uri started as a developer for the Defense Force service for the Israeli government. When he founded Waze, the aim was to create the biggest social network for drivers in the world. An exit was not an option, at least at the beginning, even if before Google there had been some acquisition attempts by Facebook and Apple. Uri and the other co-founders “just” wanted to be successful.

On the other hand, Feex was born out of the consideration that common investors pay excessive commissions and interests to those who manage their savings. Tens of thousands of dollars in the course of a lifetime; on the average, a third of the Americans’ pensions is gone with the interests. In an interview with BNBC last November, Levine paraphrased Einstein. “One percent a year sounds small, right? But when you take into consideration the compound effect of that, Einstein used to say that compound interest is the eighth force of the universe.”

“Those that are understanding that are earning it, and those that don’t are paying it. And we, most of the people, are simply paying it”.

Feex has already collected 9,5 million dollars to help people reduce such costs. It may seem a lot, but it’s way less than the 65 million dollars invested in Waze. “To revolutionize a market, you need a lot of investments, but if you have a good product you are always going to find the money” Uri explained in an interview with Venturevillage.

Here is the talk Uri Levine gave at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in London in 2014, in which he gave precious advices to those who are starting their startups and that we would like to remind all the guys who are getting ready for this last stage of InnovAction Lab.

The main advice from Uri is: stay focused on the problem and on who has that problem. You have to solve their problem! If you’re persistent and constant in fixing this problem, success will come to you.