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Joseph “Yossi” Vardi is an Israeli entrepreneur and investor. He is one of Israel’s first high-tech entrepreneurs and for over 50 years, he has founded and helped build over 100 high tech companies in various fields.

In 1996, he became the founding investor of Mirabilis, the creators of ICQ which was the first instant messaging application that was released to the web; AOL eventually bought it for $400 million. Yossi has invested in or helped companies which have either gone public or has since been sold. These companies include, Gteko, Airlink, Tivella, Scopus, Foxytunes, Tucows, and many more.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Yossi Vardi shares how much his parents has influenced him and what he learned from them
  • Yossi talks about his first startup in 1969 and what he learned from it
  • The secret behind the success of ICQ
  • Yossi talks about the power of user experience and the role that curiosity place in it
  • Yossi reveals what he talked about with the CIO of Zoom
  • The role Yossi’s son played in ICQ
  • Yossi’s big investment misses
  • What Yossi looks for in a company before he invests
  • Yossi shares what it was like running companies during a war
  • Yossi explains the value that he sees in the negotiation of peace agreements

In this episode…

The secret to creating a software that succeeds and breaks records is simple: create a tremendous user experience and not just a product. According to the lifetime investor and founder of multiple software companies, Yossi Vardi, a software product is about satisfying people’s curiosity for a new experience before solving their problems.

And that’s one of the three things that Yossi looks out for in a company that he might potentially invest in. Want to know what the other two are and how you can get to your first 100 million users?

Listen to this episode of Inspired Insider as Dr. Jeremy Weisz talks with serial investor and entrepreneur, Yossi Vardi, about his journey as a long-standing investor in software companies. Yossi shares with Dr. Weisz the things that he learned could help bring a company to 100 million users, and he also reveals some big exits he missed investing in, the lessons he has learned along the way, and more. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of InspiredInsider.Com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Some founders, you’ve heard of some you’ve never heard of you should check out past interviews, Mobileye, if you haven’t heard of Mobileye, they ended up being acquired by Intel for $13.2 billion. And Yossi what I love about the stories. They talk about the journey and the journey is up, but it’s also down and so Mois talked about how he had to go back to his family, his wife and kids and basically tell them, we’re pulling you out of all extracurricular activities because the pay was cut after a period of time and the founder of checkout the founder of Atari Nolan Bushnell, who is Steve Jobs, his mentoring talks about how he turned down and you’ll see you can relate to this he turned down, Steve Jobs offered him $50,000 for 33% of Apple, and why he turned it down at the time. Okay, that and many more check out InspiredInsider. com This episode is brought to you by Rise25, which I co founded with my business partner, John Corcoran, and we help b2b businesses connect to their dream 100 partnerships and clients and we help you run your podcast and for me, Yossi the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I always look at how can I give to my best relationships in a podcast is a platform I can use to get other people’s thought leadership out there to the world. So if you have questions, you can go to and it was actually inspired by my grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor and there is an interview that lives on about page about his he was interviewed by the Holocaust Foundation. And so it’s not just business, but I feel like it’s leaving a legacy for people beyond you know, beyond their years. So check out and I’m gonna introduce you to today’s guest And a big thank you to Uri Adoni the author of The Unstoppable Startup: Mastering Israel’s Secret Rules of Hutzpah for telling me, you know, Yossi is a must person out of everyone in Israel, you know, Israel or business world in general, not just Israel is a must. And if you don’t know Yossi Vardi is an Israeli entrepreneur and investor. He’s one of Israel’s first high tech entrepreneurs. And for over 50 years, he’s founded and helped to build over 100 high tech companies in a variety of fields. In 1996, he became the founding investor of MirabillisMirabilis, the creator of IC Q, which was a first instant messaging application that was released to the web that AOL eventually bought for, I believe, a presumed $400 million. Among the companies he’s invested in or helped our they went public Airlink which sold to Sierra Wireless to Vela sold the Cisco, Scopus which went public Foxy Tune sold the Yahoo to cows went public, and many more. And but really, Yossi the only reason I had you on is because you tell good Jew, great Jewish joke. So thanks for joining me.

Yossi Vardi

Nice to be here. Um,

Jeremy Weisz

I wanted to talk about there’s so much to talk about, but I figured a big influence for you was your parents and your mom and the talk about the business they were in and what you learned from them?

Yossi Vardi

Yeah. Okay. That’s a that’s a good question. My As you may know, 1948 were the Independence War. My father went to the wall like many people at his age, I think at that time, he was 38 and practically disappeared for a period from our life and my mother had to provide for me and my grandmother. So she opened this small restaurant with only six tables table and this was kind of a neighborhood restaurant which served what she knew very well to cook and this is a Jewish East European food. Now, if you are not familiar with that Jewish cuisine is because actually there is no such thing like Jewish cuisine Jewish cuisine is you take what what remains you know, and then you cook it and I learned many of of the business principle at a restaurant where I spent when I spent time first of all she used to ever recast if cooking what is recursive cooking. So She used today the remaining of yesterday and the remaining of yesterday she cooked the remaining from the web the day before yesterday and so on and so on and so on and my brother and me still are pondering when he bought the original products excuse the remaining you know so this was one lessons also she was one or this is not known one of the founders of biotechnology in Israel in spite of the fact that she finished maybe eight years of study before she came through is well she she dealt with biotechnology in the way where she was able because it was the early days of the country and there was no product it was an austerity time. She knew how to turn every organic substance into chopped liver whether it was fingers of paper etc. Or she used to convert it to two chopped liver and I learned some very important things from error maybe last example. When I met with my bankers, I always used to pinch them pinch this is called pinch. What do you call this movement? poke, poke, poke, Poke, Poke Poke, I used to poke them on the on the cheek and they always resented the 10 they asked me why you do it. And I told them, I landed for my mother because when she went to the market to buy fish, she always poked the fish to see if it’s fresh, you know if it will be fresh, if it stayed with be pressed, then she know the fridge stinks. And I need to know the situation’s of my bankers etc, etc, etc. Maybe maybe the last thing that I I will mention you say that the parents have strong influence on their siblings and it’s definitely the case in Israel. You know, I’m being asked time and again why we have this phenomena of startups you know that every kid in Israel want to create a startup and this is definitely because of the Jewish mother every kid in Israel as a Jewish mother and she drives him crazy you know from the age of six she fell in after all, what we have done for you Is it too much to ask you to bring on one Nobel Prize You know, one Nobel Prize relief all met at the first of the center the first of September when we are six years old, go to the school and we know that we go to fight our way. For this one, one man Nobel Prize and the and the map may be another thing I will mention that the Jewish mother is now on their way out to push her son towards this goal she used she manipulated him with with a combination of guilt freely feelings and and panic, she always told me why all my sisters and brothers not me her sister rather serve sons and, or geniuses and she’s the only one whoever an idiot is a son. And she explained to me that they are smart, and I’m an idiot, because they are not contaminated with the genes of my father. So this gives you kind of the background in a nutshell but for where I for where I came in. You know, my son’s the pressure she put on me I put on my sons because I am their Jewish mother because to be Jewish mother is not a matter of gender. And it’s not a matter of ethnicity. It’s a state of mind. It’s some kind of, of brain disorder, you know, brain disorder, and it’s not a matter of, of gender or ethnicity. So I’m the Jewish mother of my kids.

Jeremy Weisz

Yossi Jewish guilt is strong.

Yossi Vardi

Jewish guilt is very strong. You know the story about the the mother of Goddess on two ties, one, one blue and one red. Then he came on Saturday to please with the red one. She looked at him and she said to him, ah, you don’t like the blue one. So next after they scan with the blue one, she looked at him and she said, Ah you don’t like The red one. So next Saturday come with the blue one and on top of it the red one and the extended the door and look at his mother. And she doesn’t know what to say for five seconds. And then she told me I told you, your wife will drive you crazy.


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