From Military Intelligence to Venture Capital: Ori Barzilay's Journey on the Relationship Edge Podcast

Last Updated:
July 9, 2024

In the latest episode of the Relationship Edge Podcast, we had the pleasure of hosting Ori Barzilay, a Principal at Team8 Capital, which specializes in cybersecurity and enterprise infrastructure investments.

Hosted by Ablorde Ashigbi, CEO of 4Degrees, this episode dives into Ori's unique journey from his early days in the Israeli Intelligence Service to his current role in venture capital. You can listen to the full episode here.

From Military Intelligence to Venture Capital

Ori Barzilay's career trajectory is nothing short of remarkable. Starting as a team leader and product manager in the Israeli Intelligence Service's special forces unit, Ori developed and managed technology projects aimed at solving complex operational problems. This experience laid a solid foundation for his future roles in the startup world, particularly in product management.

Reflecting on his military experience, Ori shared, "I gained a lot of experience developing new projects and products on the innovation side. This translated very well into the startup world, where I took on product roles. Although I didn't have the business perspective initially, my background provided a strong foundation."

The Transition to Product Management and Investing

Before joining Team8, Ori held several product management positions. At Adaptive Shield, a leader in SaaS cybersecurity, he led product development and strategy, managed strategic partnerships, and handled market positioning.

In the podcast, Ori elaborated on how his product management roles prepared him for early-stage investing. "As a product manager, you're responsible for achieving product-market fit. You build the right product, deliver it to the right market at the right time, and develop the right go-to-market strategy. This experience is invaluable in early-stage investing, where predicting product-market fit without historical data is crucial."

Building and Maintaining Relationships

Ori emphasized that meaningful relationships are built through genuine curiosity and humility. He explained, "One of the best ways I learn is through conversations with people. When you approach every interaction with curiosity and a willingness to learn, it creates unique relationships. People appreciate being listened to and asked questions."

Ori also discussed his approach to maintaining relationships. He shared a practical tip: "I manage a personal CRM where I keep track of my network, both professional and personal. This system helps me stay organized and maintain relationships over time."

Leveraging Relationships for Success

Ori recounted a recent investment sourced through long-term relationships. "Our latest investment in the DevOps space involved maintaining relationships with the founding team for over a year and a half. This proactive approach gave us a relationship advantage when the deal became competitive."

Ori's philosophy of being proactive and opportunistic in deal sourcing highlights the importance of relationships in venture capital. "Good opportunities need to be sought out. Being proactive and creating opportunities is key, but it's also essential to recognize and seize unique opportunities when they arise."

Lessons in Investing and Relationship Management

In closing, Ori shared valuable insights into investing and relationship management. He emphasized the need for discipline amidst the hype-driven cycles of the VC world. "Being disciplined with our strategy, investment thesis, and pricing is crucial. Balancing opportunism with discipline is a significant lesson I've learned."

This episode offers a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in the private markets, product management, or venture capital. Ori Barzilay's journey underscores the power of relationships and the importance of a proactive approach in the ever-evolving world of early-stage investing.

To learn more about Ori Barzilay and Team8 Capital, connect with Ori on LinkedIn.

Listen to the full episode below.

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