Yan-David Erlich, Founder and CEO
Company: Wearable Intelligence
I have selected the company Wearable Intelligence (WI) and its CEO, Yan-David Erlich, as the subject of this profile report. He is one of three founders that are presently part of the corporation’s management team. The for-profit venture produces a product called “WI Director” a “collaborative toolkit that improves your team’s workflow”. This suite has content authoring, a procedure editor, data collection, knowledge management, and an electronic performance support system for use by technicians, operators, and managers in an industrial work setting. The toolkit is intended to increase operational efficiencies, increase human effectiveness and mitigate risk related to the performing of on the job tasks.
Although the website for WI did not contain bios of their management team, Yan-David Erlich has a publically available profile via Linkedin. His credentials and experience clearly illustrate that he is a well-seasoned entrepreneur. His strengths appear to be in product incubation and accelerating upstarts. He has been the founder and CEO of four software development ventures that are somewhat adjacent to the products offered by WI; specifically, mobile support agents, business productivity, and sharing and messaging, showing that he is familiar with similar product domains. He has been able to successfully obtain funding for his own ventures by attracting investment groups and opportunities agencies such as Google Ventures and First Round Capital; and, he advises and invests in ventures other than his own; many of which have been acquired by other companies. During his previous upstarts, Yan-David Erlich was able to recruit teams and mobilize senior engineers from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Two of his ventures were acquired by other companies, most notably, “ChoiceVendor” that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2010.
With WI, Yan-David Erlich appears to have gathered the talent needed to launch and position this latest venture. The founding members of this company appear to have formed a strategic partnership to draw from each other’s extensive resources, knowledge and experience. As an example, the VP of Business development is an entrepreneur as well as a medical doctor with a masters in finance and operations management. This will surely help increase customer confidence when positioning and selling products to the health care industry, which is clearly one of WI’s target markets for its products. The other three members of the management team (UX, Engineering, Operations) appear to all be very qualified for their roles.
Yan-David Erlich’s entrepreneurial talent is stood on top of experience and education in software engineering and business administration. He has an undergrad in CompSci and an MBA, and has worked for such companies as Google and Microsoft in both software engineering and product management. Yan-David Erlich appears driven by innovation and committed to research, as shown through his various patents and publications, as well as through the ingenuity that is evident in his ventures and his commitment to entrepreneurship by providing business development opportunities through a start-up accelerator. If history is an indicator, Yan-David Erlich is likely to favor the pursuit of new venture opportunities rather than stay with the organization once it reaches a state of normal or if it is acquired by another organization.
Yan-David Erlich creditability as an entrepreneur is not only supported by his experience and education, but also by his Linkedin recommendations from his peers who post testimonials of his capabilities and identifying his top three skills as Start-ups, Entrepreneurship, and Strategy.
It would appear to me that Yan-David Erlich and Wearable Intelligence’s triad of founders are bound for success. The founders proven track records, the management teams collective experience and the company’s support from other investing customers will go a long way in decreasing risk and improving the venture’s chances for success. The focus on the user experience is key for the adoption of the technology in the emerging markets of knowledge management and electronic performance support. I do; however, wonder if there is a missing educational component to their business. Perhaps a curriculum manager or educational technologist could add benefit by providing pedagogy and learning perspectives for this type of system that may not be immediately apparent through an engineer’s scope of human computer interaction.
Reflecting on these very accomplished and motivated individuals and their present venture opportunity really allowed me to set my compass on the type of venture that I would participate in and the role that I might play to provide the most value to that venture. Although the role of a CEO at first appears attractive and may provide the highest financial gains, I am far to risk adverse and focused on the product and the customer to feel comfortable in that role. I guess I would rather work with hammers and chisels than to deal with the exchange of copper.