Mobileye's challenge: Keeping 90% market share


Mobileye CEO Ziv Aviram: In 16 years, no one has caught up with us.

EY global chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger interviewed Mobileye(NYSE: MBLY) president and CEO Ziv Aviram, one of the company founders, who won an Ernst & Young entrepreneurship competition. The first question Weinberger asked was how the company had become so successful. "The main part of Mobileye is the technology. In 16 years, no one has caught up with us. The business infrastructure is also very special, though," Aviram says.

"We had to raise more money and hire more people. It was a very tough strategy, but we succeeded in it. I can't imagine an auto manufacturer that will take two systems from different companies, only a company that will produce one system, and that's our advantage. The solution we're developing now - an automatic car that runs by itself without a driver - is also a very strategic move for us. It's not a profitable business, at least not in the next few years, but it will give us all of the rest of the market, because we're providing several services, instead of just one," Aviram explains.

Weinberger: You had the most successful IPO in the history of Israeli technology. How did that happen?

Aviram: "We're proud to have made Israel's biggest IPO. It was hard work, but it was fun. We prepared the market before the offering. We did a road show and the hype was there already. We did a road show twice. We did 10 rounds before the IPO. You don't make a business decision at the first meeting. You have to get past the first layer, and then only if the investor gets excited will he pass the decision on, and then a second meeting is scheduled. When we began the road show, we had 10 meetings a day. 10 meetings a day is very hard. The market knew what we were looking for, we had with us the decision makers we had met, and we had very high demand."

How painful was it to go from an idea to a real public company?

"The biggest challenge is how to keep our 90% market share. One of the advantages is the long time it takes to penetrate - 10 years. We have 300 agreements from which the revenue will come in the next 7-10 years. Another challenge is more complex: how to preserve the philosophy of a startup in a large company. It's tricky. If you ask the employees, I hope they'll tell you that we're still a startup. Startup is a philosophy, not the size of the company. It's being paranoid, responding quickly, being worried about your place, making fast decisions, a very relaxed management structure, and people feeling that it's our company. We have an advantage: almost no people have left the company since it was founded. That gives us the strength to go on."

What advice can you give a company developing an idea and planning to get its message across, make sales, and reach its market?

"Persistence. Persistence is one of the things that a startup must have. You can start a company when you've got it - when you're still young, inexperienced, and naive. When you know what's coming, you might not want to go ahead. I started 16 years ago. I was fairly young, but very naive."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on October 15, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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