April 19, 1968 |
|Residence||Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel|
|Education||Technion, BA, 1990|
|Occupation||Founder of Better Place|
Shai Agassi (Hebrew: שי אגסי, born April 19, 1968) is an Israeli entrepreneur. He was the founder and former CEO of Better Place, which had developed a model and infrastructure for employing electric cars as an alternative to fossil fuel technology and which declared bankruptcy in May 2013 after expending USD $850 million in capital.
Agassi was President of the Products and Technology Group (PTG) at SAP AG. In 2003, at the age of 36, Agassi was named one of the top 20 'Global Influentials for 2003' by CNN-Time magazine. In 2009, Agassi was included in TIME magazine's 100 most influential people list. In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine included Agassi on its annual list of the 100 most influential global thinkers.
After graduating from Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Agassi set out as a software entrepreneur. He founded TopTier Software (originally called Quicksoft Development) in Israel in 1992 and later moved the company's headquarters to California. Agassi served the company in various capacities including chairman, chief technology officer, and then CEO. He was directly involved in all critical phases of the company's development, including its strategic plan, technical direction and financing, management of two acquisitions, and negotiation of OEM agreements with companies such as SAP, Baan, and Microsoft. TopTier was a leading enterprise portal vendor when SAP acquired the company in April 2001 at a price of $400 million USD.
In addition to TopTier Software, Agassi co-founded several other companies with his father, Reuven Agassi, including Quicksoft Ltd., a leading multimedia software localization and distribution company in the Israeli market; TopManage, a developer of small business software that was also acquired by SAP in April 2002 (which became SAP Business One, the small business offering by SAP); and Quicksoft Media, a multimedia production company that ceased operations in 1995.
He was next in line for the position of CEO of SAP after Henning Kagermann vacated that space in 2007. However, Mr. Kagermann's contract as CEO was extended until 2009 by the supervisory board. This led Agassi to resign.
At SAP he was responsible for SAP's overall technology strategy and execution. In this leadership position, he oversaw the development of the integration and application platform SAP NetWeaver, SAP xApps packaged composite applications, SAP SRM, and SAP Business One. Before his appointment to the SAP Executive Board, Agassi was CEO of SAP Portals and later of the combined company SAP Markets and SAP Portals, which previously operated as a fully owned subsidiary of SAP AG. He was appointed to the SAP Executive Board in 2002. Together with the head of the Application Platform & Architecture (AP&A) group, Peter Zencke, Agassi co-led the Suite Architecture Team, which aligns the software architecture across all SAP solutions.
In January 2008, the Israeli government announced its support for a broad effort to promote the use of electric cars, embracing a joint venture between Better Place, Renault and its partner, Nissan Motor Company. Renault and Better Place were to work on the development of electric cars which could be powered by exchangeable batteries.
Agassi initially raised $200MM for this project, one of the largest and fastest seed rounds in history. Investors include VantagePoint Venture Partners, Israel Corporation, Israel Cleantech Ventures, Morgan Stanley, and private investors led by Michael Granoff of Maniv Energy Capital. In 2009 he raised an additional $135 million for Better Place Denmark, including an investment from DONG Energy, the leading utility in Denmark. Following the announcement in Israel, Better Place had launched its network in Denmark, Australia and in two US locations - Hawaii and Northern California. The company said it was in talks with more than 25 countries around the world. In early 2010, Better Place raised its Series-B round at an amount of $350MM led by new investors from HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Lazard, as well as all previous investors. In November 2011, the company raised its third equity financing round of $200 million from a group of investors including GE, UBS bank and others. The last round's valuation of $2.25B was one of the highest valuations for pre-revenue companies in history.
In April 2008, Deutsche Bank analysts reportedly concluded that the company's approach could be a "paradigm shift" that caused "massive disruption" to the auto industry, and which had "the potential to eliminate the gasoline engine altogether." On 1 December 2010, American television talk show host Charlie Rose interviewed Agassi about his plans.
Agassi resigned his position as CEO of Better Place in October 2012, as a result of rumored differences of opinion with Israel Corp, the largest shareholder in Better Place.
On 26 May 2013, Better Place filed for bankruptcy in the Israeli courts.
- Economy of Israel
- Israeli inventions and discoveries
- Science and technology in Israel
- Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle
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- "Agassi, Shai". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 1–5. ISBN 9780824211134.
- New York Times (2013-05-26). "Israeli Electric Car Company Files for Liquidation". The New York Times.
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- "Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- Agassi, Shai. (2007-03-28) "New Challenges & Farewell", SAP Community Network
- "SAP Realigns Executive Board Responsibilities". SAP. 28 March 2007.
- Erlanger, Steven (2008-01-21). "Israel Is Set to Promote the Use of Electric Cars". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "Renault-Nissan and Project Better Place prepare for first mass produced electric vehicles". 2008-01-21. Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "Michael Granoff, leading cleantech investor, interviewed by Ynet". Cleantech Investing in Israel. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- Better Place Inc. (2010-05-07). "SEC Form D, 2010-05-07". SEC Form D, 2010-05-07, Better Place Inc., CIK 0001426900. United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Deutsche Bank: Project Better Place has "the potential to eliminate the gasoline engine"". Cleantech Investing in Israel. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- "Guests: Shai Agassi". charlierose.com. Retrieved 2013-05-2013.
- Rabinovitch, Ari (2013-05-27). "Better Place pulls the plug". The Age. Retrieved 2013-05-27.