Benjy Feinberg - Co-founder and CEO of Behalf

I like to think about technology as fueling today’s move toward disintermediation — removing the middleman from the supply chain process. As new technologies develop, the masses can access more information directly. Ultimately, this trend makes life cheaper and more convenient for individuals and for businesses.

Benjy Feinberg, co-founder and CEO of Behalf, grew up in South Africa. He studied law in Israel and earned an MBA in France before working on Wall Street. During his career in New York, Benjy was involved in financing and buying out several multimillion-dollar companies and preparing companies for their IPOs.

Benjy then returned to Israel, where he worked in technology investments and was responsible for the purchase and sale of majority stakes in various publicly traded technology companies. In parallel, he managed a portfolio of high-tech and biotech businesses and served on the board of directors for several technology companies. Subsequently, he established a triple-play telecommunications business in Eastern Europe.

Seeing the need and opportunity, Benjy took his financing experience and love of supporting growing companies to found Behalf. Backed by big names such as Sequoia Capital and Spark Capital, Behalf offers financing to small businesses in the USA through simple online applications. Through the power of building relationships between vendors and small businesses, Behalf is able to offer financing options that meet small businesses’ needs.

Where did the idea for Behalf come from?

Jeremy Esekow, a co-founder, identified a funding gap in the market — there were no third-party solutions for the financing of small-dollar purchases. Together with our other co-founder, Shai Feinberg, we immediately realized that we could bridge this funding gap by applying new technology.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

There is no typical day. I run around putting out the biggest fires first. I make my day productive by trying to deal with or delegate tasks right away. Otherwise, things pile up, and it becomes overwhelming.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By building a team of smart people and then moving forward one steady step after another until the damn thing is built!

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I like to think about technology as fueling today’s move toward disintermediation — removing the middleman from the supply chain process. As new technologies develop, the masses can access more information directly. Ultimately, this trend makes life cheaper and more convenient for individuals and for businesses.

For example, in the finance space, small business owners and entrepreneurs can now access capital online and take control of their cash flow without banks or other financial institutions. This means small businesses have more power to manage growth.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Loose ends bother me, so I’m constantly looking to finish tasks.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

While working in a large organization, I learned that different people have different needs. I need to work in an unstructured, small organization to flourish. I have attempted to build a team of like-minded, entrepreneurial individuals, and I believe that one of our biggest challenges in the future will be maintaining the culture of a small organization even as the company scales and becomes more structured.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would follow my heart and not my brain. I’d do what I enjoy and not take a job just because society deems it a good job. If you do what you enjoy, you are likely to be much happier and more successful.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep a sense of perspective, and always focus on what is really important.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Always be honest and fair. That way, when the hard times come (and they will come), everybody will buckle down and see it through — not because they need to, but because they want to.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One of my many weaknesses is my quick temper. I try to keep it in check by not responding when I’m angry. I consciously restrain myself until I calm down. I usually regret responses that I make when I’m angry, so I’m better off waiting until after the storm settles.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I wish it were so simple. In my opinion, there is really no such thing as a good business idea. Rather, it’s a question of starting with a sound premise and executing over time with a great team. Everybody has good ideas, but great companies are built from great teams executing well.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I am a huge cricket fan and support South Africa, which, incidentally, is currently the best team in the world.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Some of our favorites at Behalf include Slack and Asana. I love anything that makes my life more efficient and productive with minimum overhead.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand puts life into perspective. The book shows what a human being can achieve through sheer determination. It’s extremely motivating.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Sir Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United, built three different championship-winning soccer teams from 1986 to 2013. There is so much to be learned from his amazing management, determination, and motivational ability because he achieved such remarkable success over this period of time.

Connect:

https://www.behalf.com/
Behalf’s Blog: http://blog.behalf.com/
Benjy Feinberg on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/benjy-feinberg/25/ba3/97
Behalf on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/behalf
Behalf on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BehalfInc
Behalf on Twitter: @BehalfInc