A Conversation with Lior Susan, Founding Partner, Eclipse Ventures – Part II
From the desk of Justine Crosby, Brand Director, Bright Machines
March 27, 2019
Last week we published Part I of my conversation with Lior Susan, in part II he gives us insights into localized manufacturing, what makes a good CEO and provides a bit of advice for budding entrepreneurs.
- What needs to happen to truly move from globalized manufacturing to a more regional approach?
Geo-politics and tariffs will accelerate the need for onshoring or localized manufacturing. We’re also seeing compressed product innovation cycles, so you don’t actually have enough time to go between different countries. Onshoring is the natural solution. Finally, with the evolution from mass production to customization, onshoring is the better option. In the next few decades, I believe we’ll see significant growth in localized manufacturing to support innovation and customization.
- How will the supply chain need to change?
That’s the trillion-dollar question! The advantage that Asia, particularly China, has is that their supply chain is well established. Manufacturing without a supply chain can’t exist. I don’t have the silver bullet answer, but I’m curious and Eclipse is heavily investing in different companies trying to innovate on the supply chain side of manufacturing. In order to achieve localized manufacturing, we’ll need to figure out how to bring the production of components onshore. It will take time to support this transition.
- What’s the most exciting thing about manufacturing that you know about/believe that other people don’t know about or believe?
We’re [Eclipse] extremely bullish on the industrial sectors, we think technology is finally penetrating industrial markets. Manufacturing, construction, oil and gas, aviation, and automotive were not part of the Silicon Valley game before, but now software is making its way into these physical markets and we are doubling down on everything in this space.
- As a lifelong entrepreneur, what’s your advice to others who want to take this path?
I grew up in the military and the first thing you learn is that the body can take more than the brain tells you. Entrepreneurship is the same. You bump your head against the wall five or ten times a day. So, the people who win in this market are the ones who don’t give up. It’s an illogical, irrational type of business and you need to believe in the mission that you’re pursuing. If you can do this, you can build a successful company. It’s about not giving up, even when it gets really, really difficult. And it will get difficult.
- As a managing partner at Eclipse, what’s your advice to founders once they receive funding?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Different personalities should do different types of things. But my best advice is to always hire better people than you. Don’t forget as the CEO, your main job is to sell – to investors, to customer, to employees. Finally, it doesn’t matter how many millions of dollars you’ve raised, at the end of the day, you’re still running a business and you need to be able deliver real value to your investors. It’s not enough to just raise a lot of money, the hard part is converting the vision into a viable business.
In 2015, Lior founded Eclipse Ventures to meet the needs of entrepreneurs building full-stack startups: companies integrating multiple types of technology including hardware with software and data. He’s a member of Bright Machines Board of Directors and previously founded LabIX and co-founded Farm 2050. 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. Add to his list of achievements, he’s a member of an elite Special Forces unit in the Israel Defense Force.