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From Tel Aviv's Silicon Wadi to Silicon Valley
ByMEREDITH PRICE LEVITT
October 2, 2008 15:26
By harnessing power of Web aggregation, fixya.com offers access to millions of other users' tech advice.
From Tel Aviv's Silicon Wadi to Silicon Valley

(photo credit:Courtesy)

It's hard to argue with numbers. When nine million visitors come to your Web site every month, there's no doubt that you're doing something right. Fixya.com, founded by veteran entrepreneur Yaniv Bensadon, provides fast, reliable solutions on-line to technical problems with a wide range of products. "Most of the time you don't need an actual person to come and fix something," says Bensadon. "The vast majority of problems are not because a product is actually broken but because it's very advanced technology that may be tough to understand if you're not an expert." By harnessing the power of aggregation on the Internet in a similar way as Trip Advisor does in the travel industry, fixya.com offers access to millions of other users' technical advice at no cost. "The best person to help with a technical problem is usually someone who had the same problem and worked it out," he says. And with more and more companies reducing technical support because it costs money without generating revenue, the need for assistance today is even greater. "Fixya helps solve service provider pain in the market today. When you need help and call technical support, you often get put on hold forever and then end up speaking to a representative in India who has no real knowledge about how to help you," Bensadon points out. Although hundreds of Web sites collect information on-line to help consumers find the best price for an item, the concept of aggregating information after an item has already been purchased is fixya's true innovation. "Our core proposition and the thing that makes us unique is that we provide anything people need after they buy - whether it's advice, manuals, accessories or anything else," he says. "We encourage the average user to participate and collaborate to find solutions." Before branching out on his own to start fixya.com, Bensadon worked with several successful on-line ventures in Israel and has been in the field since 1999, when his original plans to have a career in diplomacy and public affairs took a vastly different turn. "The day after I left the IDF, where I served as an officer in the air force for six years just out of high school, I flew to the United States," Bensadon explains. He completed a degree in finance at Florida Atlantic on a scholarship program for Israelis but remained actively connected to Israel. "I was so frustrated by what I saw happening at home in Israel with the terrorist attacks that I decided to give a speech," he says. A member of the Israeli consulate happened to be in the audience and subsequently hired Bensadon to help with public relations, giving speeches around the country to various groups and facilitating debates and discussions between Palestinians and Israelis. In 1999, he returned for a one-week vacation with the intention to go back to the US and complete an MA in public affairs at Georgetown University. "I had all of my stuff in storage in Miami and I had already been accepted into the program, but when I came home, I got sucked into the dot com bubble and never pursued that degree." Within a year after launching the beta in 2006, fixya.com was welcoming half a million visitors a month. "We came to Silicon Valley on a road tour with 10 other Israeli companies to meet potential investors and I was overwhelmed by the amount of interest we got. Within a few days, the Mayfield venture capital fund had a term sheet to us and wired money into the account. It was very aggressive about the opportunity it saw for building this business." Upon his return to Tel Aviv, the Pitango VCs were upset that they had been left out and insisted on participating. "They are a bit bullish about increasing their ownership, but I have good relationships with both partners and they realize that I know what I'm doing and they are letting me execute it," Bensadon says. In 2007, Bensadon moved from Silicon Wadi in Tel Aviv to Silicon Valley in San Mateo, California, to run the business. "Instead of reading about everything in blogs, I get to experience it now. It's amazing how much you can accomplish here." It's also amazing how many different solutions to technical problems you can find on fixya. Forget spending hours on hold for nothing the next time your wireless printer cannot find your Internet connection. Try fixya first. After all, since the basic service is free, you have absolutely nothing to lose. www.fixya.com

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