My name: Zvi Guterman
My company: CloudShare Inc.
My title: CEO
My location: San Francisco, California
Best business advice I ever received: Early in my career I reported to Guy Sella, who today is the founder and CEO at SolarEdge. He told me that when you are leading your own company, you should put your focus on the right people. This includes:
- Your co-founders, because no one else has as much personally invested in the company as you and your partners;
- Your investors, because they’re not only your bosses but they’re also the ones providing your company with the fuel it needs to grow early on; and
- Your executive team members, because they’re the core of the company—building the product, selling and marketing it to customers, and ensuring that customers are happy. Nothing is more important.
Most daring personal career move: In 2014 I raised more than $26 million in venture capital funding for CloudShare. When a deal to sell the company fell through and we faced an immediate need for more capital to fuel continued growth, the board decided to shut the company down.
I disagreed. In my opinion, the cloud was just beginning to take off. CloudShare had a solution that enabled information technology (IT) to set up very complex environments in the cloud in minutes, and then replicate these environments as needed. We provided a compelling solution for huge problems, including training.
I negotiated hard and bought the company back from them that very same week. I had to make some difficult and painful decisions, but just one quarter later CloudShare was profitable and we were able to keep all of our customers.
CloudShare is still profitable, and we have nearly quadrupled our headcount. We operate data centers in Asia, Europe, and North America. Since I bought the company back in 2014, revenues have grown 150 percent—into the double-digit millions.
What I’m most proud of: I’m most proud of the thousands of users who enjoy our service daily. Our customers come from more than 100 countries, in all possible time zones. I am proud of the fact that we make it easy to spin up a complex environment in minutes, including replicas of an existing, on-premises architecture, with minimal IT support. Our built-in analytics with ready-made dashboards let management examine performance data to help refine and improve training offerings. And through deep integrations with LMS partners, we can provide a turnkey training solution that removes geographical and technological barriers to training growth.
Current workplace challenge: Our team is located in different time zones. We’ve overcome these challenges through the use of video conferencing and other collaboration tools, and of course we travel a lot. When hiring we pay close attention to how collaborative candidates appear to be, and how well they might work with dispersed team members. But it’s still an ongoing challenge.
Something people don’t know about me: I love cooking. I don’t get to do it enough, but when I have the opportunity to spend a quiet evening with my family I enjoy cooking for my wife and kids. Many times it will be as simple as salad and making our own pizza. But my favorite dish is biryani rice. This is an Indian dish, but I make a Middle Eastern variant of it that’s inspired by a small restaurant in Jerusalem. My wife and I would go there often for dinner when we were PhD students. Our variant is dairy-free, and the ground beef or chicken is more dominant than it is in the traditional dish.