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Yair Benyamini Of Lendai On 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business - An Interview With Ken Babcock for Authority Magazine

Yair Benyamini Of Lendai On 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business - An Interview With Ken Babcock for Authority Magazine, Lendai

Growing your business obviously assumes that you will sell more and your sales structure must be adapted and in place in order to generate more sales. Ensure you have a sufficient lead flow to generate the desired number of leads. Generating leads is the most time-consuming work that we do at Lendai, and this became the area of greatest change as we scaled up and as we continue to do so.

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Startups usually start with a small cohort of close colleagues. But what happens when you add a bunch of new people into this close cohort? How do you maintain the company culture? In addition, what is needed to successfully scale a business to increase market share or to increase offerings? How can a small startup grow successfully to a midsize and then large company? To address these questions, we are talking to successful business leaders who can share stories and insights from their experiences about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business”.

As a part of this series, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Yair Benyamini, Co-founder and CEO of Lendai.

Yair worked as a lawyer in the Commercial and International Law Department of one of Israel’s leading law firms, establishing and leading the Business Development Department. Yair has more than 10 years of experience leading large-scale operations in various industries and organizations. He is also on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations in the Social and Educational fields.

Lendai’s goal is to level the play field for foreign investors who want to invest in the US real estate market. They enable their customers to achieve financial freedom through digital solutions that create a simple, fast, and efficient online financing process. Lendai’s unique AI algorithms and online platform are transforming the way foreign investors access US financing. Their mission is to change an outdated trillion-dollar market by utilizing technology to level the playing field for global investors in the US residential real estate market.

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Thank you for joining us in this interview series. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

In the past, I worked as a lawyer in Commercial and International Law. I established and led the BizDev Department of the law firm. I have had more than 10 years’ experience leading large scale operations in various industries and organizations. However, I decided to leave my law career when my friend Boaz Levitan (who became my Lendai Co-Founder) and I discovered that foreign investors wanting to invest in US real estate faced a myriad of unreasonable financial hurdles with no reasonable solution. We gathered a team together in the aim of creating that solution. We wanted to enable global investors to benefit from cost-effective and straightforward US financing for the first time. After years of leading large scale projects for various industries and for others organizations, beginning my own company was a natural stepping stone that I was ready for and excited about. I am still excited about what our future will hold and the work we will continue doing in the FinTech and proptech industries.

You’ve had a remarkable career journey. Can you highlight a key decision in your career that helped you get to where you are today?

Deciding to actually leave my law career behind and pursue a path that I knew I would find much more fulfilling despite the risks. I remember I went to a fintech conference the day I made that decision. Back then, we only had an idea and a couple of friends who believed in it. We heard these amazing speakers on stage lecturing the crowd about their impressive start-ups. A couple of months ago, I was one of the main speakers at that same conference. The decision to take the leap and not give up, even when all we had was an idea and plenty of uncertainty, was undoubtedly a key career decision.

What’s the most impactful initiative you’ve led that you’re particularly proud of?

Leading the company through a seed round ($35 Million USD), which turned out to be one of the largest in the fintech space over the past half a year. It’s one thing to build something with a team that’s equally committed to a vision or to sell to a market where the problem and benefit of implementing your solution are often clear. To sell that same vision to investors who are a degree away from the problem, meet with many startups, and are looking not just for success but a unicorn, is much more difficult.

Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a mistake you’ve made and the lesson you took away from it?

I used to really believe in the old saying “if you want something to be done right, you must do it yourself”. In a former position, I managed my work and my team according to this belief in a very centric way. In fact, it worked great for as long as we were working on a small scale. However, as soon as our operations scaled up and became more complex, this method eventually led to the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had been keeping all the crucial tasks to myself and I became overloaded with work, becoming the bottleneck for many processes. This belief prevented us from moving to the next level. It was a crucial lesson for me in how to build a strong and large company: you must, first and foremost, build your management team, giving them the responsibility that they deserve, letting them be accountable for their actions. They will help you build a strong organization of independent self-starters, thus creating a company that is built to scale.

How has mentorship played a role in your career, whether receiving mentorship or offering it to others?

I’m a big believer in good karma: if you behave well to others and are good to them, good will come to you also. I had really great mentors guiding me to where I am now. I am lucky to always have around me people who have more experience and more knowledge than I do. They teach me and mentor me throughout my career journey. For instance, one of my mentors, who is also an investor in Lendai, introduced me to the world of Short Term Rentals and the obstacles faced by foreign investors in the short-term rental market. As a result, Lendai has taken on this problem, creating an opportunity to provide solutions for investors in this area. I believe that mentorship is essential and I want to give others the same opportunities of mentorship that I have had. To this end, I try to meet with young entrepreneurs once or twice a week.

Developing your leadership style takes time and practice. Who do you model your leadership style after? What are some key character traits you try to emulate?

My leadership style is largely shaped by my experience growing up in Israel. The culture there is built around a level of blunt honesty and unending questioning to eventually get to the right solution. I believe in leading by example in the workplace also, never asking employees to do something that I would not be willing to do myself. That is at the core of my leadership style. My past has so significantly shaped my leadership style, and I think it’s essential that a company has an open culture with honest feedback and questioning in order to solve problems quickly or build a product that avoids problems in the first place. And that reality requires honesty, openness, and durability.

Thank you for sharing that with us. Let’s talk about scaling a business from a small startup to a midsize and then large company. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business”? Please give a story or example for each.

Lendai, the FinTech lender for foreign investors in US property, is a quickly scaling company, whose success is partly due to our data-driven approach to scaling. We began the company after being told there was a problem for foreign property investors in the US. “Problems are opportunities that should be taken” and this is an ideology that I implement in every department at Lendai. Know when to jump and start trying to solve something.

My five tips include:

UNDERSTAND THE MARKET AND THE INDUSTRY

Understanding and anticipating consumer needs in your industry is crucial as you grow: What’s missing? What’s needed? What will the future look like with your company scaling up in the industry? For Lendai this means being disruptive and innovative in the fast-growing FinTech industry. There are more and more technological solutions in the financial industry every month, so carving out our place took a lot of research and time to understand what the industry needs, not only from our personal experiences but from a wide range of customers: investors in US real estate.

BE READY FOR INCREASED SALES

Growing your business obviously assumes that you will sell more and your sales structure must be adapted and in place in order to generate more sales. Ensure you have a sufficient lead flow to generate the desired number of leads. Generating leads is the most time-consuming work that we do at Lendai, and this became the area of greatest change as we scaled up and as we continue to do so.

HIRING A CHIEF DATA SCIENTIST

Elevating data decisions early to the highest level of an organization’s decision-making process will significantly benefit a business by rooting decisions in quantifiable results that can help grow a company more reliably. If data scientists are hired at the management level, it ensures that reliable data-driven decisions are at the helm of business growth. Lendai’s data-driven process is only possible with dedicated guidance and the strong field expertise that a Chief Data Scientist can provide.

INVEST IN DATA INFRASTRUCTURE EARLY ON

Investing in data warehousing will eliminate the back and forth between DevOps and backend engineering departments, creating an easily extractable single source of truth. 92% of companies are reporting that their investments in data and AI projects are increasing at a far higher pace than other projects, and the statistics consequently follow to show that data-driven companies ate 23x more likely to win customers and 19x more likely to be profitable. Therefore, it is clear that in order to scale a business with greater success, it is important to invest in data infrastructure early on.

DON’T COMPROMISE ON QUALITY OR CONSISTENCY

Both quality and consistency will ensure your start-up maintains its initial success. Expect to make some mistakes but learn from them in order to ensure you can improve quality and breadth of services and products. Lendai is now expanding its reach, beginning and nurturing partnerships with a wide variety of platforms and realtors. These partnerships help us to grow, help us to better understand our customers, improve and expand our product range, and better disrupt an industry that is thirsty for change.

Can you share a few of the mistakes that companies make when they try to scale a business? What would you suggest to address those errors?

There is no foolproof plan when it comes to scaling; Problems will arise, and pivots may be necessary, but each industry requires a different set of solutions. Only half of startups make it past the first five years, and only 1 in 200 becomes a scale-up.

Lendai believes that implementing data-driven processes lets you base decisions on facts from the beginning and can support pivots that are often necessary. This can increase the likelihood of successfully scaling your business.

Scaling includes bringing new people into the organization. How can a company preserve its company culture and ethos when new people are brought in?

Stay true to who you are, but don’t resist change. If you are scaling up your business, change is inevitable, and resisting that will be detrimental to your goals. Maintaining company culture means keeping company values and goals clear through all business operations.

Not a single full-time employee has left Lendai since we began several years ago. We invested in our interns at the early stages of the company. We gave them a window into the high-tech industry, providing them a chance to mark their place in this industry. This in itself was valuable to employees and implementing company culture and it is often very difficult for young people to obtain entry-level jobs in this sector. They will be our future and we want to give our generation at Lendai a boost, guiding them in their careers. Showing our employees how much they are worth to us has helped us maintain high levels of employee satisfaction.

In my work, I focus on helping companies to simplify the process of creating documentation of their workflow, so I am particularly passionate about this question. Many times, a key aspect of scaling your business is scaling your team’s knowledge and internal procedures. What tools or techniques have helped your teams be successful at scaling internally?

What worked for us at Lendai was going through a Lean process. I am a little embarrassed to say that it took me a while to agree to it, but the results are amazing. Now, I am a strong believer and advocate for lean processes! We did workshops for the entire company, we opened up our scaling process to every employee, making sure they were involved at every stage. Following the workshops, we implemented scaling changes and adjusted business operations at every step as needed, making the process as lean as possible. We are enabling the company to grow while constantly learning and improving.

What software or tools do you recommend to help onboard new hires?

At Lendai we use a customized ClickUp dashboard that hosts all of our onboarding assignments. The click up includes everything from operational and logistics tasks (computer setup, phone, etc.) to tasks by the specific department manager. Throughout the process, if we see that something needs to be improved, we change it so it’s ready for the next onboarding.

Because of your role, you are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, what would that be? You never know what your ideas can trigger.

As I mentioned, I am a big believer in good karma. If you treat others like you would like to be treated and are good to others, then good things will come your way. I’ve seen it proved again and again in my life. I would love to inspire others to do the same. I hope I do so in my work, through my mentorships, and in my personal life too. This means taking action yourself, doing the good thing rather than waiting for it to happen.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can follow our work online by signing up to our newsletter, visiting our website https://www.lendai.us, or by following us on social media: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lendai/ and here: https://mobile.twitter.com/lendai_tech

This was truly meaningful! Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your expertise!

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About the interviewer. Ken Babcock is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tango. Prior to his mission of celebrating how work is executed, Ken spent over 4 years at Uber riding the rollercoaster of a generational company. After gaining hands-on experience with entrepreneurship at Atomic VC, Ken went on to HBS. It was at HBS that Ken met his Co-Founders, Dan Giovacchini and Brian Shultz and they founded Tango.

Article published in Authority Magazine: https://medium.com/authority-magazine/yair-benyamini-of-lendai-on-5-things-you-need-to-know-to-successfully-scale-your-business-9439b2aaeb94