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PEVCtech Tech Stack: Litan Yahav Family Office

We’re proud to share the next in PEVCtech’s periodic series on the tech and analytics stack of investment management firms. We’re fortunate to interview Litan Yahav, founder, Vyzer.

David Teten: Please give us an overview of your background and your entrepreneurial journey. 

I’m Litan Yahav, 41, married with three young boys (8,7,2). Born in the US and moved to Israel with my family when I was a kid. I served as a Naval Officer in the Israel Defense Forces  for 6yrs, after which I went to school to study law and business while working as a sailing instructor. During the final year of studies, I got accepted into the Sam Zell entrepreneurship program, where we established and successfully sold “Segoma”, a revolutionary diamond display technology that disrupted the global diamond industry. 

We built the company over 6 years into a firm with more than 250 employees across 6 global locations, imaging and processing nearly all globally produced polished diamonds. In 2015 Segoma was acquired by R2NET, the largest diamond engagement ecommerce operator in the US.

David Teten: What prompted you to found Vyzer?

Following the exit, I became a passive investor in real estate/private equity, with a complex & diverse investment portfolio consisting of more than 30 private investments and even more public holdings, across 20 investment platforms and financial institutions.

During the years my portfolio grew, and became more complex, mainly because of many private investments with ongoing cash flow and document flow coming in and out. We managed it all on our own because we didn’t want the cost and loss of control of hiring a full-time team. I only used my bank for basic financial services, not financial planning. 

That’s why we built Vyzer – to serve as our financial back office with an end goal to become our Virtual Family Office. What began as a platform for our own personal use, turned into something much bigger, serving families and individuals in similar situations – Automating the tracking and management of their public and private investments. 

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Today, Vyzer has more than a thousand clients across various backgrounds and industries tracking more than $4bn assets.

David Teten: Who are Vyzer’s peers/competitors, and how do you differ?

Our main competitor is a personal assistant and spreadsheets.

Indirect competition: 

  1. Up-market vendors such as Addepar, Black Diamond, and Maestro which are tools for multifamily offices and large teams to manage wealth, whereas Vyzer is focused on empowering the families and individuals themselves. 
  2. Lower end tools are companies like Kubera, Copilot Money, Nerdwallet, Monarch, Rocket Money, Credit Karma, TillerHQ and Empower, which are focused on the mass market.  For clients who have more complex finances, they don’t cut it. Specifically, they lack such features as document analysis, private investor portal integrations, cash flow projections, bank transaction reconciliation, and much more.
  3. Tactical tools like Arch Labs and Canoe, which focus on document aggregation and analysis

The segment we are serving are stuck with sub-par solutions and wasting money and time.

David Teten:  What’s your background? How and why are you in your role today?

I have a business/operational background and a passion for technology, finance and organizing data. More importantly, we built Vyzer for us to streamline our own wealth. This combination enabled us to build and provide service focused on people like us.

David Teten: What are the tools you used historically for managing your personal assets? What are the strengths and weaknesses of these providers?

Before Vyzer, I leaned heavily on several tools, each addressing distinct facets of financial management:

Function: Budgeting – Mint [now replaced by Credit Karma] was my primary lens for budget oversight. The platform allowed me to craft, track, and stick to a monthly budget effectively.

Function: Asset Allocation and Net Worth Tracking – Personal Capita (Empower)l: For a bird’s-eye view of my overall financial health. It visualized my asset allocation, shedding light on areas that needed rebalancing

Function: Document Storage and Organization – Dropbox. With the digital influx of financial documents, from statements to tax forms, Dropbox served as my organized digital vault.

Function: Private Investment Performance Tracking – Excel/Google Sheets. When it came to tracking the performance of private investments, I trusted the granularity of spreadsheets. Spreadsheets allowed me to dive deep into data, tracking the nuances of each investment, from IRRs to capital calls and distributions.

Function: Email Management and Information Retrieval – Personal Assistant: Last but not least, a personal assistant helped sift through countless emails to cherry-pick relevant financial updates or diving into various investor portals to extract the latest reports.

David Teten: What technologies/databases have you found helpful in winning clients for Vyzer?  (I wrote about this in Why Isn’t Sales As Efficient As Online Dating and Fundraising hacks for VC and private equity funds.

We “win” clients by providing true value to a very specific audience. We engage with this audience within offline and online investor communities, through partnerships and direct marketing efforts. We have built a database of these investor communities. Winning clients is more than just “acquiring them”; it’s also winning them over again and again while they are with us.  We highly believe in ongoing communication with our clients, providing white glove, live support through various methods such as intercom, zoom, email, phone etc.

David Teten: A huge amount of valuable data flows through your pipes.  What are you doing to capture that data and mine it? Can you share any patterns you have identified?

One of the core pillars of Vyzer is providing transparent, unbiased insights. One of the way we achieve this is by shedding light onto where other Vyzer users are investing, which funds they are investing in, and more unprecedented data that will help people make better financial decisions. We are already seeing investment trends, funds that are underperforming, and more around allocation and performance.

David Teten: Do you see any room to use AI to exploit your dataset? If so, what are you doing to move that forward? 

We can definitely use AI to leverage our dataset, and have begun doing so during the past few months. The validity of the data is the most important aspect for this to succeed, so moving forward that will be our main focus. Additionally, we are training our models to analyze investment documents we receive to be more efficient and automate the back office side of things. For example, we tend to receive similar statements and updates for specific investment platforms. Each time these documents are fed through our system, the processing time improves and better data extraction is conducted. 

David Teten: What are your unmet technology needs?  Places in your firm where you’re seeking a solution and haven’t found an appropriate one? These may indicate room for Versatile VC to build or invest in a startup addressing that need.

As odd as this may sound, the most prominent need in our world is reliable connectivity to financial institutions. We have yet to find a proper solution for this, which is an industry wide issue. We have worked with some of the major vendors such as Plaid, SaltEdge, Stripe and others. None have managed to deliver fully reliable solutions for syncing the financial institutions they claim to seamlessly sync with. 

What tools have you used to build Vyzer? 

During the building process of Vyzer (which is constantly ongoing) we’ve leveraged many off the shelf tools to push forward. Dev tools (AWS, Datadog, Github, Shortcut etc.), product and marketing tools (Intercom, Hubspot, Canva, Mixpanel, Notion etc.) and of course AI tools (ChatGPT, Midjourney, Jasper etc.). But we couldn’t find tools to solve our core business challenges, such as financial algorithms for performance monitoring, expense categorization and cash transaction reconciliation, financial document analysis, investor portal aggregation, cash flow projection algorithms and many more requirements which we had to build on our own.

David Teten: What processes are you focused on improving?

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, we are focusing hard on improving our financial institution connectivity. 

David Teten: How do you protect your client’s privacy?

This is probably the most important question of all – We use bank-grade security and top-notch encryption technologies to make sure our data is private and secure and all documents submitted to our “Magic Box” are anonymized, encrypted and securely stored.

This might sound like a cliche, but we are a company led by ex-military personnel – security and privacy are our highest priorities at Vyzer.

David Teten: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you how has the Hamas-Israel War impacted Vyzer? What are you doing to make sure the firm is robust to a volatile political environment?

Our Israeli team was split up, but we’re strong: Some were called into serve, I was in the US for conferences and decided to stay and push Vyzer forward, and the rest remained with their heads down working hard to make sure we come out of this war strong, hitting the ground running. 

It’s important to mention that we also have a US team, providing ongoing support to our clients and another offshore team for development requirements. Overall, Vyzer will not be affected by the war.

Disclosures: David Teten is an investor in Addepar via a prior VC fund.

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