Ofir Almagor and David Mazvovsky are the co-founders of PicSell an online service that makes selling your unwanted stuff as easy as taking a picture. The company was founded almost a year ago, after they met through FounderDating. After 10 years in the business and finance field Ofir was looking for a technical partner to start his own tech company; on the other hand, David while working for an ecommerce company, was looking to realize his entrepreneurial dream. Thanks to FounderDating, they came together on PicSell. David moved from Israel to New York and joined Ofir for DreamIt Ventures Accelerator Program. We spoke with them about their journey, finding a fit and working remotely.
Tell us about yourselves.
Ofir: I’m originally from Israel. I spent 10 years in Business nd Finance before deciding I had to start my own company. After moving back to NYC from France, I decided to start something that I was very passionate about. After several iterations, PicSell was born.
David: I have a degree in Physics from the Technion. I have 8 years experience in software development. While working at Sears Israel I gained a ton of experience in ecommerce. But I knew I wanted to start something and be more entrepreneurial. This is my first startup, but since the age of 10 I was fascinated by the startup environment. Some kids want to become a fireman or an astronaut. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Why did you join FounderDating?
Ofir: Looking for the right co-founder, is very important. You can go to networking events like Meetups where you meet very interesting people, but you have no idea who is willing to start something or if they are any good – the process is very time consuming. You need to attend different events and you have a huge number of choices from which you need to narrow it down to have one relevant connection. Being part of the co-founder network on FounderDating was like entering a boutique: FD helps you zoom in on few candidates right away and get to the point. FounderDating cuts the pain because everyone in the Cofounder Network is open to having “the conversation.” Everyone is looking for someone to join a project or jump into one and the caliber of people is high.
David: I was looking to work on a startup project, so I signed up. After I joined, I was (pleasantly) surprised how quickly people we’re getting in touch with me – and it was really high quality people. I had great conversations with other members of the network, but after Ofir contacted me, I couldn’t resist.
What was your ‘dating’ process like?
Ofir: I messaged David. I sent a two sentence message to David and then we hopped on Skype. We started talking more and working together almost right away. After a couple of weeks David was just obviously the right fit.
David: I didn’t want to message anyone as I didn’t have THE idea, so I let others reach out to me. The first call on Skype with Ofir was pretty much talking about the idea and moving very fast to a discussion about the product and the technical side of building it. It was just very natural. We continued to have regular calls from there, but we moved quickly and had several calls about finalizing terms.
What does PicSell do in one sentence?
Ofir: PicSell makes selling stuff online as simple as taking a picture. Whether it’s a new tablet, an old musical instrument, or that camera you’ve never liked, PicSell can help you get rid of it. Simply take 3 pictures of the item, accept the price PicSell can get you for it, ship it, and get paid. It’s that simple.
How do you know it’s working?
Ofir: We’re fully incorporated and the product is live. We just graduated from DreamIt Ventures. Right now we are in the middle of the raise of seed round and it’s going really well. We are positive that we’ll close this round very soon. Most importantly, people are using the service and loving it.
You’re in different locations most of the time – how do you manage working with a remote team?
David: I work remotely from Israel, but we were together for three months in NYC for the DreamIt program. We manage the time difference – I wake up very late (around noon) and finish my work at 3am. I tend to be online on the NY time. It’s not for everyone but it works for me.
Ofir: For me it’s very important the communication part. We schedule daily meetings and we talk on Skype or Whatsapp everyday. It’s possible we talk more than cofounders that are in the same city.
Would you recommend having a remote co-founding team?
Ofir: I do. You need to work with people that have the same values as you. Mentality and culture are very important assets of a company, especially in a startup. If you can’t find people that get work done in close proximity, you need to look somewhere else. That’s more important than proximity.
David: From my experience, as long as you click with the team and jump on the right project and are excited about it, location is not important. Working remotely is not a threat for a startup as long as communication and time management are at the top.
Any other advice for people who want to start their own business?
Ofir: Just get the work done, quickly and well. Don’t hesitate, get started now!
David: Jump on a project you’re really interested in. It starts there.