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3 Decades In Silicon Valley

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Etohum.

Magdalena Yesil is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author, and board member at many of the world’s top technology companies. She was one of the speakers at Etohum San Francisco 2017, she tells her tale of how she went from industrial engineer to successful venture capitalist in 3 decades.

Magdalena Yesil tells a story of her journey coming from Turkey to the United States, pursuing an education and building a career, she studied Electrical Engineering in Stanford University North California, after which she got her masters degree. From being a semiconductor design engineer, Magdalena picked interest in computer systems and became the product manager for the first Unix operating system desktop machine, after which she started writing software and also got into concepts like online services and consulting.

Magdelena became an entrepreneur in the 1990s out of necessity because she could not find a job, her first startup was in the area of internet access, working for two and a half years with no financial rewards whatsoever. Magdalena’s startup was not able to raise any funds from venture capital, she ended up merging her startup with another company offering similar services, this yielded very positive results as the merger went public in 1994. Magdelena went on to establish another startup, this time being an E-commerce startup called Cybercash, Cybercash delivered credit card encryption and delivery from banks to consumers, using merchant banks as merchants, she mentioned working with Amazon as a merchant and went on to write a book where she predicted success for Amazon. Magdelena later went on to exit from Cybercash in 1996 after the startup went public.

Magdelena built her third startup immediately after leaving Cybercash in 1996, this time it was a software company dealt in point of sale machines. In the entrepreneurship world, it’s very easy to fail in your attempts, Magdelena claims that she was very lucky with the string of events that occurred through her journey into entrepreneurship. She became a venture capitalist as she spent eight years as a general partner at the venture capital firm US Venture Partners (USVP), making investments in a broad spectrum of technology startups.

She has been an early investor in over 30 companies including theRealReal, PicsArt, Zuora, Socialcast which was acquired by VMWare, Catch was acquired by Apple, Freshplum acquired by TellApart and Twitter, Dotomi which was acquired by ValueClick, 3Ware was acquired by AMCC, WebAction, Valicert (IPO), 128Technology, Securify which was acquired by Kroll, iEscrow acquired by eBay, and many others.

Magdelena built her third startup immediately after leaving Cybercash in 1996, this time it was a software company dealt in point of sale machines. In the entrepreneurship world, it’s very easy to fail in your attempts, Magdelena claims that she was very lucky with the string of events that occurred through her journey into entrepreneurship. She became a venture capitalist as she spent eight years as a general partner at the venture capital firm US Venture Partners (USVP), making investments in a broad spectrum of technology startups. She has been an early investor in over 30 companies including theRealReal, PicsArt, Zuora, Socialcast which was acquired by VMWare, Catch was acquired by Apple, Freshplum acquired by TellApart and Twitter, Dotomi which was acquired by ValueClick, 3Ware was acquired by AMCC, WebAction, Valicert (IPO), 128Technology, Securify which was acquired by Kroll, iEscrow acquired by eBay, and many others.

Magdelena’s most successful investment, “Salesforce”`, was turned down by the venture capitalists she worked with three times, Salesforce was also turned down by all other venture capitalists they approached. Currently, Salesforce employs over 25,000 personnel with zero funds from venture capital, she uses this to describe the unpredictability of the entrepreneurship world, saying that none of the venture capitalists could see the potential success in Salesforce but it was still able to succeed. Magdelenas journey into entrepreneurship came out of the necessity to do something, and her story inspires us to learn that in as much as there are many reasons to fail, there are even more reasons to succeed.

14 June 2019

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