The following profile of Endeavor Entrepreneur Yossi Hasson is reprinted with permission from TechCentral (original article here). Yossi cofounded Synaq, one of South Africa’s leaders in hosted email and internet security services, with fellow Endeavor Entrepreneur David Jacobson.
Yossi Hasson, MD of open-source software specialist Synaq, is tall, dark, handsome and gifted. Which means my first instinct is to dislike him. However, Hasson proves to be as friendly as he is talented when I meet with him on a cold weekday afternoon in a Sandton coffee shop.
“From a very young age I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur or a business owner,” Hasson says when I ask how he got started in the technology industry. “I thought that was the best thing you could do — never mind being a doctor or a firemen or anything else.”
Hasson says he taught himself how to sell stuff when he was young. His father was self-employed, and Hasson saw entrepreneurship as the best way “to control my destiny and make money.”
When he was 11, Hasson started washing cars for money and doing other odd jobs. From there, he roped in his sister and her friends to make key rings for sale in Plettenberg Bay during school holidays. By 15, he was selling medical sports equipment to schools.
“I got my first computer when I was 14, a red Stallion XT. I fell in love with computers and the tech world and the infinite possibilities they presented. I took the machine apart the day I got it, and couldn’t put it back together, but eventually I learnt how to. I got entrenched in technology from there.”
In his matric year in 2000, Hasson launched a social network for matriculants to post pictures and message one another. At its peak, Matric 2000 had almost 3 000 users. Hasson says that was the turning point for him and he decided that, rather than study, he wanted to get involved in the business world immediately.
Hasson’s business partner, David Jacobson, was a hacker who managed to get his computer confiscated by the police when he was 17, and found himself banned from being online for a year. “I saw him as a guy I needed to get involved with because I wanted the best people. We started chatting after school, but at first nothing came of it.”