“If I had a time machine, my past self wouldn’t listen to future self. Certain things you just have to experience.”
When is comes to blockchain technologies, Tom Teman is a true visionary. We sat down with Tom, who just celebrated his first year as Co-Founder and CEO of Portis. Portis is a company that wants to make sure any person in the world can use decentralized applications just as easily as they can use “regular” apps.
Tom is no stranger to the language arts, having served as a translation officer in the Intelligence Corps Foreign Relations Unit in the Israel Defense Forces. With charm, insight and honesty, he tells us about the journey, challenges and triumphs of being a founder in the startup world.
A bonafide techie with an unflagging passion for making blockchain universally available, Tom has had the entrepreneurial spirit since elementary school. From selling his own homemade bracelets to organizing Magic: The Gathering events on a domestic level, he has always been in motion. He tells us that managing a team of nine people during his mandatory military service had a big impact on his ability to manage a team today. Tom later studied Computer Science at Tel Aviv University, completed an MBA at IDC Herzliya, and gained work experience as a web developer and team lead where he met Portis co-founder Itay Radotzki. And the rest, one might say, is history in the making.
Tom tells us about his life working around the clock to keep up with the US market and overall determination to get his revolutionary product out there. With many exciting projects on the horizon for Portis, we took a moment to reflect on the path that led to his current position. “If I had a time machine, my past self wouldn’t listen to future self. Certain things you just have to experience.” Nonetheless, here are his key takeaways and advice from the first year as a founder:
The “A-ha” moment is finding your co-founder
Find your co-founder, ideas can pivot.
Embrace the uncertainty
Be highly prepared for the uncertainty and embrace it, uncertainty is a two-way street. Something great might happen that you never even expected would.
Letting go is key
If you’re a control freak, I wouldn’t recommend being a founder. There’s just stuff you can’t control, like your competitors, the market, other platforms. For example, you can’t control if your lead developer decides to move to India to find themselves. Your ability to control stuff only goes so far.
Be ready to bear responsibility
You’re accountable for everything, including the well-being of other people. You have people that get paychecks from you, so it can become an added stress. It’s not only about me, suddenly you have other people that are relying on you.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your competitors
From my experience, it only helps. You learn a lot and you never know which collaborations might come of it. And I think it also sends a good message to them — don’t sell yourself short. If you’re afraid to talk to your competitors, it means you’re not confident about the product you are selling.
The startup journey is a rollercoaster. Enjoy the ride.
One day you feel like you’re on top of the world, a new collaboration is happening, great PR and the next day a competitor comes up with a product or you find a terrible bug. The key is to keep the bigger picture in perspective. At the end of the day, be very mindful if this is something you should curl up in a ball and cry about, or is it just that reality doesn’t work the way you want it to. We would only consider very extreme situations as having an impact on us.
F2 Capital is a specialized, seed-stage venture capital fund backing Israeli deep technology companies at the junction of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Connectivity. Founded by Jonathan Saacks and Barak Rabinowitz, F2 Capital invests before others are ready and partners with leading international venture capital funds in future rounds. As value-add investors, F2 also operates The Junction, Israel’s leading pre-seed investment program to back game changing founders from the ground up.