David GussarskyPartner. Israel. Enterprise.
The startup industry is a marathon, not a sprint. By hard, consistent, rigorous, dedicated work we can and do improve our chances to succeed, but still a little bit of luck is extremely important in this business.
When David took his first job in venture—at BRM Capital, an Israeli firm where he led investments in infrastructure companies—he planned to spend only a year or two in the industry.
“I thought it would enable me to find the right startup to join,” he says. “But that was 18 years ago. I fell in love with this profession.”
At that point, he’d held a variety of jobs: CEO at Paspar2, an Internet application service provider; corporate attorney at Rosensweig & Co., a leading Israeli commercial law firm; head of software development teams for the Israel Defense Forces; and programming manager for the software-products team at Edunetics.
But it was venture that he found most engaging. After spending eight years at BRM, he joined Lightspeed in 2008. Working alongside Yoni Cheifetz and Tal Morgenstern in the Lightspeed Israel office, David focuses on IT infrastructure investments with a specific interest in cloud, enterprise applications, storage, cyber security, analytics, and big data.
He approaches his work from the unique perspective of a long-distance runner. David not only keeps up with industry trends while on the move, listening to technology podcasts on early-morning runs, but also compares the company-building process to running a marathon.
“Both require dedication, preparation, and a never-give-up attitude,” he says. “I have a theory that marathoners are better entrepreneurs.”
He brings these qualities to his work, too. “I don’t give up until I’ve understood everything there is to understand about a company, business, technology, or market,” he says. “I’m relentless.”
For proof of David’s perseverance, look no further than his long-suffering commitment to the local soccer club in the desert town of Beer Sheva, the capital city of the Negev, where he grew up. “They brought us no joy since winning the league title in 1975—until finally winning in the 2015 and 2016 seasons!”