behind the shadows

this post is written in response to guy grimland’s article in the marker on VC responses to emails with an investment proposition

i would like to share with you my perspective:

  • what i thought
  • what i did
  • and why

first the facts:

here is the email i got:

From: shadowscale shadowscale []
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4:43 PM
To: Adi Pundak-Mintz
Subject: Meeting with Gemni

Dear Adi

My name is Yinon Tzuk. I’m the co-founding CEO of Shadowscale, a startup focused on automatic optimization and scaling for enterprise and consumer web applications.
Our founding team is an organic team that left Checkpoint 2 years ago, after spending 3 years together building scaling, cloud based security products.

Since then we’ve spent the last 2 years developing a unique solution for enterprise/consumer web applications experiencing rapid growth.
These applications often suffer from accelerating infrastructure and operational costs, coupled with significant learning curves resulting in downtime, poor user experience, and revenue loss.

With our service customers can continue developing their applications on a SINGLE virtual web server and a SINGLE database, with simple real time data manipulation.
Instead of worrying about load balancing, caching, security, CDNs, code acceleration, backup and deployments – Shadowscale does the heavy lifting in the background.

The customer controls the application’s SLA, availability, security and speed/cost ratios via a dashboard and can implement any state of the art scaling module on demand.
With the ability to see performance data, bottlenecks and solutions customers can make meaningful choices about their infrastructure cost decisions and optimization without any actual learning curves, development and operational costs.

During October 2009 we deployed the first version of Shadowscale supporting automatic scaling for databases with a top tier US based enterprise beta partner, with excellent results – more deployments are planned to follow during Q1 2010.

I’d love to set up a meeting to tell you more about Shadowscale in person.

Yinon Tzuk

here is my response


thanks for your nice note

someone from the team will be in touch by phone to get more details and see if there is room for a meeting

sounds like you are at an exciting phase, and congrats on the great work up till now

do you have a presentation

take a look at the link below to my VC related blog posts

looking forward



here is gemini’s response once guy called to ask for comments after disclosing ‘the hoax’ (more of which are to come)? and complaining that only one partner responded

Dear guy

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me while you are with your son

Here is gemini’s team response:

We try to reply to every opportunity within 48 hours

We try to research and discuss the opportunity as a group and call the entrepreneur or set a meeting within a week most of the time, and some times 2 weeks

It is our belief that in order to have a clear and synchronized process it is best that only the partner and associate from the relevant sector will lead the interaction with the entrepreneur. Therefore multiple responses are not productive. We believe this is a professional method for dealing with opportunities that come thru email our desire for professional conduct is borne from respect to the entrepreneur and a view of ‘treat others as you would be willing to be treated’

The success of israeli high tech, is lead by entrepreneurs, not VCs, and we try to remember this every day

i will try to add some thoughts:

this letter looked unusual, (there is no Yinon Tzuk on linked in), Gemini is misspelled, the email address, some essential material was missing, and this is not the right way to approach a VC. i still believe that people deserve a response. i am not even good enough on this topic most of the time. this includes my wife, my friends, CEOs of my companies. so i have a long way to go to improve

guy from my experience is

  • intelligent
  • motivated
  • thinks out side of the box

i think this article is sad.

if you take one thing away from this episode it should be this

do not approach VCs via email

take the time to talk with people, find people who know the VCs and believe in you and in your idea and will introduce you and guide you through the first meeting and hopefully start a process. you can read more about my thoughts how to approach a VC, here.

you will get far more from the interaction (which, at times, is not enough)

i think this article is sad. why?

becuase we as a high tech industry and the VCs financing early stage entrepreneurship have far greater problems which should be addressed in depth and not through a yellow prism

for israeli VC s these may include:

  • lack of belief in the vc model
  • lack of belief in their ability to help
  • lack of desire to work really hard. and boy, to be a good VC you need to either be really lucky or work really hard

most of these issues could be cleaned up by a more equitable and reasonable compensation structures.

for isreali entrepreneurs the issues to discuss may include:

  • build a reasonable plan and execute against it
  • optimize long term, not short term. (can VCs help here? are they part of the problem?)
  • build a team and keep it together

but, don’t forget to wear sunscreen

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One Response to “behind the shadows”

  1. Ran Arad Says:

    As we all know, journalists look for “a story” and not necessarily for “the truth”. The article was quite populistic, and does not (and cannot) describe exactly the behavior of the VC-entrepreneur ecosystem. That is quite a complex and intricate system, and deserves a much more thorough analysis.

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