• Kurt Schmidt

lessons from entrepreneurs on starting your own business, Part 11

Ignore competitors and focus on value

Amos Haggiag, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Optibus

I grew up with public transit as a major presence in my life because of my father’s work as the CFO of a mass transit company. He explained that fundamental decisions, like how many buses and drivers to allocate, were being made very manually, and he challenged me to use my math and computer science skills to solve the problem with technology. I met my co-founder, Eitan Yanovsky, at university, and we founded Optibus, which develops a high-tech mobility platform to improve mass transportation in cities, in 2014. We developed a working prototype in my basement on weekends and evenings. After we sold it to several major transportation operators, we acquired more funding and began expanding.

What I learned was that bootstrapping can work really well by reducing the risk and enabling you to come to the market much more prepared – as long as you recognize it will take time and you are able to put your efforts into building super-strong technology, without being afraid of how hard the problem is. After all, the harder it is, the lower the chance that someone else will solve it the same way. You have to ignore a lot of the noise, like how big your competitor’s booth is at a trade show. Focus on creating the best product and bringing genuine value to the people who will use it, and customers will follow.

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