Eisaiah (pronounced Isaiah – the ‘E’ is silent) Engel is an entrepreneur who found his niche in marketing. In the early part of his career, he founded three companies in the digital advertising space, one of which started with an initial investment of $25,000 and went on to generate over $1 million per year.
His curiosity about how large organizations worked led him to divest his startups and move into consulting, which eventually led to a position as a marketing leader at a Fortune 10 telecommunications firm.
As a Cuban American with a rich, cultural heritage, Engel is passionate about building systems that unlock specialized knowledge and opportunities for diverse communities. He is also an author, further sharing his insights on business, marketing, and product development through his writing.
Engel’s latest book, Innovation Casino, was inspired by his struggles to innovate in startups and companies with billions of dollars in revenue. Having experienced many organizational roadblocks while trying to implement new ideas, he began to study digital ecosystems – an emerging model that could help large firms overcome innovation bottlenecks. He discovered that digital ecosystems could also ease funding challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur, Engel had his fair share of funding struggles. Investors pushed his startup to become a “unicorn” when it was really a “zebra.” Unlike their unicorn cousins, zebra startups focus on niche markets and grow profitably. As a result, zebras enjoy higher odds of success. Engel aspires to one day finish the job of being a zebra entrepreneur.
To help other entrepreneurs avoid his early missteps, Engel coauthored Founder Friendly Standard. This standard, downloaded in over 100 countries, helps founders retain control of their startups while rewarding investors with generous portions of equity.
In Innovation Casino, Engel explains how the Founder Friendly Standard can be used by corporate venture capital to build powerful digital ecosystems. Engel coined the term ecosystem innovation fund, or EIF, to describe a funding approach where a large firm invests in 2,000 startups in its digital ecosystem with the goal of recouping principal after 15 years.
Meanwhile, the sheer quantity of 2,000 startups in a firm’s digital ecosystem promotes network effects, boosting the firm’s market share and profitability. With over 18 charts and tables, Engel quantifies venture capital’s odds of success and demonstrates how an EIF can navigate these odds like the “house” in a casino.
Engel lives in the downtown of Dallas, Texas with his wife, Katie, and his dog, Maci. He enjoys games of strategy, authentic Cuban food, and long walks with Katie and Maci. While away from the keyboard, you can find him fumbling with his espresso machine or playing tug-of-war with Maci. Engel enjoys answering questions using the chat feature of this website.
Click the button on the bottom of this website to chat about EIFs, digital marketing, or if you can share tips about brewing at-home espresso!