Closing a Chapter: Vintage’s Journey with Earnix by Amit Frenkel

June, 2024

Amit Frenkel
General Partner

Many of you who know me are aware that I typically refrain from public communication, maybe I’m aging, but I feel this is a special occasion. After over 16 years, I stepped down from Earnix BoD. The journey began in 2008 under the leadership of David Schapiro, who never gives up, and founder Sammy Krikler the only person I know who can sell solutions to insurance actuaries. Along with co-founder Yoni Cheifetz, Shai Beilis, and Haim Kopans, and with the venture funding of Ruthi (Simha ) Furman (I told you we would repay the loan 😊), David and his team navigated the stormy weather of the 2008 financial crisis.

Earnix was one of the first companies I worked with that transformed its business from a classic licensing to a recurring revenue model. Given its cash constraints, it operated in a profitable growth mode, which essentially means, “you can only make expenses from the resources you generate.” While this model is quite healthy, it also imposed significant limitations on growth, and the company could have lost its technological edge. However, we did not have many choices as no one wanted to back a tiny insurtech venture at that time. After crossing the $10M revenue bar, Raffi Kesten and I felt it was time to shift gears. Under the leadership of Udi Ziv, Earnix transitioned from “defense and survival mode” to “offense mode.” Together with Haim Shani and later on with Fiona Darmon 🎗️, Udi and his team transformed Earnix from a product to a platform play, strengthened the management team, brought in the most competent CFO I know, Ronit Maor, penetrated the U.S. market, and raised a significant round of financing to fuel its growth plans.

A year and a half ago, Earnix experienced another major management change, with Robin Gilthorpe assuming the CEO position to accelerate its growth and market penetration. As one might imagine, the company faced many ups and downs and hit numerous bumps along the way. However, thanks to the great competencies of the skilled executive teams, Earnix reached critical mass and became a profitable category leader in the insurance price management space.

Now, it is a good time for my firm to part ways (yes, GPs need to practice the full cycle and return capital to LPs—try it, it’s lots of fun). However, I am confident that Robin and his team, together with Erel N. Margalit, Gadi Porat, and Jonathan Rosenbaum, will take Earnix to its next summits. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing about its next great achievements and am confident Earnix will become a world-class, successful company that all of us in the Israeli high-tech sector can be proud of.

So what did I learn? There are many lessons, but if I need to emphasize a few, it would be these: It all starts with conviction, determination, and resiliency. The road is not always clear in the venture lifecycle, and you will encounter multiple difficulties and challenges. There are times to slow down, agility is a must, changes are required, and there are times to move aggressively fast. More importantly, if you have a strong conviction in the venture’s potential and its leadership, just ignore the noise and difficulties and continue fighting and executing the plan. Also, if you want to build a stand-alone company, you need to define a category and transform technology enablers, whether they are analytics, optimization, or something else, into a platform that solves strategic business problems that brings significant value to the users, and align your long-term vision with your customers’ must have needs. Lastly, if you want to succeed, you need an assembly of great leadership and executive teams backed by a harmonized, supportive, and humble Board of Directors. Towards that end, I cannot stress enough how fortunate I feel to have collaborated with so many gifted people. David, Udi, and Robin, it was a true pleasure to work with you and your teams, and I am endlessly grateful for the journey.

Lastly, I want to thank my partners at Vintage Investment Partners, my dearest friends Alan Feld , Abe Finkelstein, and Asaf Horesh, who supported me all the way, even when the destiny of Earnix was not that rosy and clear. Venture investing is a long-term play that requires team effort, and guys, I promise to cut down the duration of my bets from 16 years. Seriously, without your backing, our outcome might have been diminished.

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