Eclipse Ventures Founder Lior Susan on Investing in Old-Line Industries post-COVID
There are few experiences more loaded with lore and mystique in the western world than the Israeli kibbutz and being a soldier in the special forces. Our guest today is Lior Susan, Founding Partner at Eclipse Ventures, and he has lived both of those lives, as well as, being a successful founder and operator, and a non-consensus venture investor. Eclipse invests in founders who want to bring the full-stack approach to legacy industries and build digital bridges to the physical world. They have $2.6B in AUM. Lior’s investments include Bright Machines, Augury, Cheetah, Owlet Baby Care, June Life, Insidepacket, and Lucira Health.
About Lior Susan:
Prior to launching Eclipse in 2015, Lior was Founder and General Partner at LabIX, the hardware investment platform of Flextronics where he led investments in companies across energy storage, wireless/infrastructure, 3-D optics, additive manufacturing, and robotics.
Lior also co-founded Farm 2050, an AgTech Collective, with Innovation Endeavors to address the global food challenge. Prior to LabIX, he was part of the founding team of Elementum, the Flex proprietary SaaS platform, which was later spun out. Before moving to Silicon Valley, Lior was a serial entrepreneur in Tel Aviv, where he helped build Intucell, which was sold to Cisco in 2012. Lior is a reservist of an elite Special Forces unit in the Israel Defense Force.
In this episode we discuss:
01:47 How Lior’s experience growing up in a kibutz shaped his worldview
05:47 What being in the military and special ops taught him
07:06 How he and his brother were able to turn a $5M investment in their startup into a $475M exit to Cisco in two years
10:10 Why he joined an established company after his startup experience
12:29 What he learned about supply chain management and why he started thinking about founding Eclipse
16:02 Why Lior wanted to back founders looking to disrupt old-line industries and the early LPs that believed in him
18:07 How Lior overcame his lack of track record as an investor when he first started Eclipse
19:55 Eclipse’s track record before and after Covid
21:28 Timing signals on when to invest in disruptive technologies
26:29 Is updating the supply line just about automation and replacing workforce?
28:54 How Covid is refocusing supplychains away from global suppliers
32:08 Advice for founders looking to disrupt and sell into legacy industries
33:35 Why he recommends to his founders to go after larger players first instead of SMB
35:02 The importance of finding a design partner
36:30 What Lior is telling his companies about how deal with inflation
38:59 Why founders should avoid exclusivity
40:40 The strategy around Eclipse’s two newest funds
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