Can Israel construct big, sustainable companies?

57
Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 2:48 PM

How to connect the network The Israeli start-up ecosystem is a well-oiled investment machine that's been turning out companies for the better portion of two decades.

Can Israel construct big, sustainable companies?

Zach Abramowitz is the co-founder and CEO of ReplyAll.

How to connect the network

The Israeli start-up ecosystem is a well-oiled investment machine that's been turning out companies for the better portion of two decades.

The country has its own homegrown angels love Gigi Levy-Weiss and Eilon Tirosh, venture capital firms love Carmel, JVP, Pitango and Canaan, equity crowdfunding firms love OurCrowd and iAngels, and Silicon Valley firms with offices on the ground like Battery Ventures and Sequoia (that’s not to mention the new wave of Asian investors betting on Israeli start-ups).

But, for all the “Start-up Nation” fanfare, Google’s acquisition of Waze – Israel’s highest profile start-up exit to date – was valued at just $1.1B. And, while Israel officially has two Unicorn companies on the CrunchBase list (more if you count companies love Taboola and WeWork), only a handful of Israeli companies have actually exited in the billion dollar range. This is, at minimum in part, by design.

Yossi Vardi, one of Israel’s most successful angel investors, has advised Israeli entrepreneurs to build grand products that can, like his portfolio company ICQ (which sold to AOL), be acquired by bigger companies in Silicon Valley.

Eden Shochat certainly knows something about early exits. Facial recognition company Face. com, which he co-founded, sold to Facebook for a reported $60M after raising just $5 million in investment. But now, as a founding partner at Aleph, a $150 million early stage VC in Tel Aviv, his goal is to fund Israeli entrepreneurs who wish to construct global businesses. Some of his portfolio companies comprise Meerkat, FreightOS and Lemonade.

Recently, I sat down with Eden at WeWork (one of his portfolio companies) in Tel Aviv where he shared with me his vision for what he and others refer to as the “Scale-up Nation,” an Israeli ecosystem made of companies that are built to last, rather than Vardi’s vision of products that are built to exit. After our meeting, we exchanged notes about the feasibility of building Google sized companies out of Israel, the impact of regional violence and how, if at all, Aleph really differs from the older guard of Israeli investors.

READ ALSO
Horoscopes for Sunday, April ten, two thousand sixteen

Horoscopes for Sunday, April ten, two thousand sixteen

Maybe you're physically separated right presently and you wish they were around, or maybe you're experiencing an emotional gulf between you. Whatever is wrong, attempt not to create it worse than it already is by dwelling on it too much, feeling sorry for yourself...

57
Manny Pacquiao beats Bradley, hints at retiring

Manny Pacquiao beats Bradley, hints at retiring

in Las Vegas on Saturday, vowing to hang up his gloves after besting the American for the second time in three meetings. Following the bout, Manny repeated the fight was his last, saying he made a promise to his family that he'd spend more time with them, according...

60
Prosecutors: Grouping That Hit Brussels Planned France Attack

Prosecutors: Grouping That Hit Brussels Planned France Attack

But the perpetrators were "surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation" and decided to rush an attack on Brussels instead, the office said in a statement.

71