Moshit Yaffe: bringing stock-market style transparency to startups

What if a startups valuation didn't seem so--random? "The crowd is much wiser than any single analyst." This is what Moshit Yaffe discovered when she decided to fix the broken process of rating investments. She designed Zirra to rationalize valuation...

header-logo What inspired you to start Zirra?

Multiple things have inspired me to start Zirra. I had the good fortune of serving as a CEO of a public company. Then, having my own boutique investment banking practice and having raised over $100M for companies, I couldn’t escape the thought of how broken this process was. Deal flow and due diligence was too often based on “friends telling friends” and not on professionalism, modern science, and the best techniques. VCs tend to trust themselves and expert analysts to evaluate companies, but we all knew they were not seeing the whole picture. This meant missing out on great companies, investing in wrong companies, and making all sorts of errors. I decided to “scratch my own itch”: this was the main driver for the foundation of Zirra. Once we got started, our research proved that the crowd is much wiser than any single analyst. This now serves as the core narrative of our rating system.

Where do you want Zirra to go?

In my vision Zirra will become the rating platform everyone appreciates and trusts. Our commitment is therefore always to keep it professional, unbiased, and independent. Our algorithms utilize crowd wisdom and predictive analytics in order to produce deeper insights than investors have ever had in the past and on a greater scale than traditional consulting firms can produce. If we build Zirra the way we plan, investors, entrepreneurs, and journalists will find Zirra extremely helpful no matter what reason they have to review a company. This will mean Zirra will become an inherent part of not only deal flow processes, but also of other rating-derived needs which surround private companies.

How can we help your business?

Very simply. We need to spread out our message to investors, entrepreneurs, and journalists. They all need to know they do have the option of getting great intelligence that they didn’t necessarily know existed or know how to use. We encourage investors to submit investment candidates for a Zirra review at whatever level of discretion they choose. We also encourage entrepreneurs to submit to be covered on Zirra. They can gain exposure to our investor community and matched efficiently with the most relevant investors. From my experience, this saves tons of time, mistakes, and frustration.

Family time -2So what was breakfast today?

I drink vegetable juice and eat 2 bananas.

And your workout?

I jog. More than I want to, and less than I should :).

ScreenshotWhat’s on your phone home screen?

My family! I know it’s a cliche!

What do you love about being an entrepreneur?

I love waking up every day to a new challenge. I love the fact I can create my own work DNA. I love the ability to build a team that can get well together, and I love the fact I have nobody to blame for anything but myself!

Why do you do and why does it matter to you?

I’ve seen how good entrepreneurs can be hurt by the wrong investors and I’ve seen how good investors can be hurt by the wrong entrepreneurs. Helping good investors and good entrepreneurs work together means other people like me will find it easier to succeed.

What’s your “entrepreneurial superpower?”

I see things for what they are. I’m not scared of the facts, I deal with them as I see them. I have a good read on people and I know who to work with and who isn’t a good fit for me.

Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now?

My co-founder, Aner Ravon.

Why Aner?

His vision and drive are infectious and propel Zirra and me forward. Building a successful startup requires a multidisciplinary skill set and Aner can do it all—marketing, technology, business development, and team building. He is also a fascinating human being, with vast knowledge in an endless list of subjects. His intelligence, tenacity, and diligence are essential to Zirra’s success, and I am very lucky to have him as a partner.

What’s the best and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur while also being female?

For better and for worse, it’s harder for female entrepreneurs to get venture capital. You need to be successful at an earlier stage and find a solid business model at a much earlier stage. Truthfully, this is a great challenge, and I am leveraging it to build a clear path to high revenues.

Do you think male entrepreneurs are “different” from female entrepreneurs?

Not sure. If I had to point out differences, I would say men are more “analytical” but that often comes at the expense of market understanding and sometimes being out of touch with reality and their market.

Zirra at Collision conference Las Vegas 2015What the best advice you ever got, and from whom?

My mother always told me, “We are the choices we make.” This taught me that I am in control of my life and to make decisions wisely.


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