If you happen to see the July issue of Esquire magazine, check out the photo gallery of New York’s next generation of "Web Heavies" modeling "the suit, version 3.0." In it, you will find recent Wharton EMBA alumnus Ron Yekutiel, the co-founder and CEO of the video company Kaltura, looking sharp in a Prada suit.
Yekutiel is earning quite a bit of attention these days for Kaltura, which CNET.com calls the "media darling" that is a blend of YouTube and Wikipedia. The company was featured on CNET.com after receiving a significant second round of funding from .406 Ventures where fellow Wharton EMBA alumnus Greg Dracon is a principal.
We recently asked Yekutiel and Dracon for an update on their activities as well as more details about their business connection. This was their reply:
"What are two years of hard labor, sweat, tears, and a severed love life compared to the lifetime value of the education and priceless network of classmates? That’s the mantra that kept us plowing during the hardest of EMBA times. Well, that plus a lot of beer and one really crazy trip to China.
"Whether you’re considering the program, recently started, or are about half-way through, we thought you might appreciate some encouragement in the form of a real-life example that supports this mantra and is now paying great dividends for us.
"The two of us are 2005 WEMBA East graduates who have just bought a real life option by investing in each other – both literally and figuratively. Now seeing that we are proud Wharton grads, we’ll demonstrate how our option price is indeed lower because of Wharton.
"The first underlying asset is my (Ron’s) NYC based Internet startup Kaltura, a pioneer provider of open-source video management tools, empowering web publishers to seamlessly and cost-effectively integrate customized interactive and collaborative rich-media functionalities into their Web sites, including searching, uploading, importing, editing, remixing, and sharing.
"The second underlying asset is my (Greg’s) Boston-based venture capital firm .406 Ventures, an early-stage, operationally-focused venture fund that invests in innovative technology companies.
"And now for the serious part: For both of us, the mutual professional respect and friendship forged by having gone through Wharton’s EMBA program together increased our expectancy of each other and dramatically decreased our perceived risk/volatility in doing business together. Moreover, the due diligence time required to close the deal (and hence the opportunity cost) was reduced. As a consequence, the price of the option we each bought was lower and the expected rate of return therefore higher. We rest our case.
"Though we do not recommend using this intuitive approach in any Finance finals, it does indeed demonstrate how life exists after Wharton and how the Wharton ROI keeps on accumulating over the years. So go ahead, use the mantra, but don’t skip on the beer."
Thanks Ron and Greg for an enlightening update! Good luck to both of you in your ventures. We’ll also be on the lookout in case Ron shows up in any more fashion magazines!