One of the many perks of doing what I do, (What do I do anyway?) is that I am fortunate to meet people every day from whom I learn and gain expertise in what it means to be a great entrepreneur.
If you haven’t heard by now, Israeli tech is kinda epic. Israel pretty much dominates all sectors of tech from cyber, to automotive, to enterprise, to drones, the list goes on and on.
More on that in this video:
What is interesting to me, and was one of the reasons I started my daily vlog, is that while everyone has heard of Waze, Viber, Mobileye, Wix, and Fiverr, not one person I spoke to over the years, besides those who are deep in the Israeli tech ecosystem, could name the founder of any of those companies. Think about it. Who founded Viber? Don’t know? Strange, no?
Everyone knows who founded Facebook and Twitter, but despite using Waze, not many people outside of Israel have heard of Uri Levine and Noam Bardin, the founders of Waze.
Bottom line is, these people are building world leading tech and deserve more recognition than they receive. So I started the vlog, in which I interview the people behind Israeli tech.
That same phenomenon of people not knowing the names behind the tech is what led me to write this post. Also, I don’t write on this blog nearly enough due to the fact that I am writing weekly posts on Inc and The Jerusalem Post.
That is a long intro to say, here are 20 amazing Israeli entrepreneurs that impress me on a daily basis and what I have learned from them:
Where do I begin with Ilya? The man with contagious energy! Incredibly fortunate to be working with Ilya on Powtoon’s growth and marketing. The man is a visionary if I ever saw one. Full of creative juices and the ability to bring those ideas to fruition. I guess that’s why Powtoon has 25 million users and growing, including some of the world’s leading enterprises who are in love with the platform.
It has now been well over two years since Toby and I connected accidentally in a Hertzliya parking lot. I have been incredibly blessed to work with Toby, Alexey, Liel, and the whole prooV team and most importantly, to learn from some of the best in the biz. Anything I know about enterprise tech and the the way CIOs think, I have learned from the prooV team.
What can I say about Kira? Perhaps the smartest person I know? Someone I have been trying to get a meeting with for years? A super humble and brilliant entrepreneur? I can continue. Kira is Chief Scientist (IL) & Director of Data Science at eBay, but that is just her official title. She is undoubtedly one of the most impressive minds in the entire country.
Dana is CRO & Co-Founder at Intelligo Group, a company I have been working closely for over a year. Dana makes the magic happen, and she does it with a smile on her face. This company, and Dana’s co-founders, Shlomo, Nadav, and Ran, is in the business of trust. Really big fan of Intelligo and the company’s vision to make the work environment a safer place.
The man you won’t find anything about online but is building what I believe will be a serious rocket ship in the world of agriculture tech. Israel is CEO of SeeTree, a company using cutting edge tech like drones and machine learning to help farmers yield better results from their crop. I am fortunate to be working with this superb team including Barak and Farhana who make the magic happen.
When Avishai Abrahami, the CEO of Wix tells me to meet a startup he is working with as an advisory board member, I ask “Where and when?” I met Michal and her husband and Co-Founder Gil a few times now and was very impressed by their passion and vision to fix the way people ask questions and get answers in the digital age. Superfy is their product, and while it is in very early stages, it is showing promising signs of product market fit.
Is it weird to say I have a man crush on Amir? Ok. Well, I met Amir last year in his Netanya HQ, that is how badly I wanted to hear about the company. Amir is Chief Commercial Officer at SparkBeyond, and remember Kira Radinsky who I said is one of the smartest people in the country? Yea, well, her husband Sergey Davidovich is Co-Founder & CEO of SparkBeyond. This company is Microsoft’s baby and they have formed a very deep relationship. SparkBeyond also powers some of the most impressive solutions in the business world and the company also has some insanely impressive investors backing them. Amir is a whole new level of impressive.
Eyal, who I actually only met for the first time last week is somewhat of a god in the intersection of healthcare and tech. Zebra Medical, the company he founded is closing some insane deals on a daily basis including their latest, the biggest hospital in India who will now be using their tech. Of course, as I told Eyal when we met, there is something seriously wild going on in the genes of that family. Eyal’s brother, Ron is SVP Product at Wework, previously product director at Ebay.
If you work anywhere near the web development or WordPress world, you have surely heard of Miriam Schwab. We have been connected for over a decade and I am fortunate to have made our relationship official as of late when I joined Miriam’s startup, Strattic, as a strategic advisor. Strattic is aiming to make the web more secure and a whole lot faster and Miriam, as the CEO, along with her co-founder Josh Lawrence, are building some seriously cool tech that have thousands of websites lining up to register.
I first met Boaz when him and his co-founder Ido Engel were building Wisdo (It was actually called Medicope back then.) back at the Microsoft accelerator. Boaz is living proof that you can do well by doing good. The company him and Ido are building, Wisdo, is helping people navigate through life experiences by finding people who have been there and can offer support and guidance. The company is funded by some of the most outrageous investors and scaling rapidly. Big fan of these guys and have been since way before they were a big deal.
If this list was in order of importance, Ziv might be number one. Put simply, I would not be working in tech if it wasn’t for Ziv. He recruited me to my first tech job at his company, Inneractive, now Fyber (they were acquired, and no, I didn’t buy my options.), which he started with his partner Offer Yehudai, the man with the Tesla and the best hair in tech. I have learned infinite amounts from Ziv and Offer as business leaders, but much more importantly, the two of them, despite all their success, never stop hustling and never let anything go to their heads. Special people, very special people.
Orit Strauss Raz
I only recently connected with Orit after her Co-Founder, Gigi Levy-Weiss introduced us. They are building a company called GivingWay, which basically streamlines the volunteering process on a global scale. But forget the company, Orit is one of the more impressive people I have met in a while with a true passion to do good and a real appreciation for what needs to go into building a large successful business. I am sure we will do great things together for many years to come.
Find me one person who meets Benny and doesn’t leave the meeting blown away by this dude. Extreme sports and incredible parenting aside, Benny built one of the most impressive companies around, Fitness22. 60 million downloads of his apps and zero dollars and cents spent on marketing. Beyond his business success, Benny is a good friend and just an all around amazing human being. The best part? He doesn’t even know how legendary he is.
I have been following Iris for a very long time and she never ceases to amaze and impress me. In depth analytical thinking about entrepreneurship, zero fluff, zero BS, and her accomplishments reflect that. Iris is CEO of Oribi and previously built some of the most impressive companies around. She is widely regarded as one of the top data-driven entrepreneurs in the country. I am still waiting for my cup of coffee, but I’ll be patient.
Yaron Ben Shaul
Yaron is someone I learn from on a weekly basis. I have been truly fortunate to be working with him and his Co-Founder Miriam who built and scaled Hometalk.com, the leading community for the DIY world. Yaron is humble, maybe too humble, but working on that, and is all execution. Not your typical CEO in any way, but one who doesn’t talk, just delivers. I hope to continue working together for a long time.
If I told you what Orit is building, you might not believe me. Brayola is a platform for women to buy bras. Orit is one of the most fired up entrepreneurs I have ever seen, she is fuelled by her internal passion and the company is scaling accordingly. Orit is often recognized as a leading female entrepreneur, but as far as I’m concerned, she is just a leading entrepreneur, period. Following Orit’s personal and professional journey is incredibly inspiring.
Liat Mordechay Hertnou
Liat and I have been connected for a very long time, and while we don’t meet nearly often enough, I am watching her and her co-founder/husband as their company, 24me is featured by Apple every other day and recognized for the great product that it is. Liat is truly self made and all the success they have achieved is thanks to their hard work and resourcefulness, no shortcuts. Liat and Gilad are a serious power couple in the local and global tech scene.
Yasmin is something else, and cannot be compared to anyone else I know. Well, we are supposed to meet next week for the first time, but I think this meeting is the most rescheduled meeting in history, so we shall see. Here is the bottom line about Yasmin, she is a real powerhouse. Yasmis is Executive Director at ICON, a company that bridges Israel and Silicon Valley. Yasmin’s network and relationships are literally unparalleled and the best part is that she uses that network to help entrepreneurs win. I will report back after we finally meet but from what I have heard, Yasmin is a true business legend.
Yael is a machine. I can just stop right there, but I won’t. She is building Zeekit, a company that offers retailers a next generation dressing room. You can literally try on clothing from the comfort of your home using advanced machine learning and augmented reality. Yael is signing deals with the world’s biggest names faster than I can say “Do you have that in an XL?” We have only met once or twice, but I am trying to fix that. I assume that by the time Yael finds an hour to meet, she will already have closed several deals worth tens of millions of dollars, if not more.
As they say, save the best for last. Yonatan, yet another incredible entrepreneur I have never met, but working on it, is building Healthy.io, a company revolutionizing, wait for it, urine tests. Basically, take the test at home, dip in the stick, then take a picture of it, and you have your results. The tech behind this magic is a whole lot harder to explain, but think of any buzz word and Yonatan is using it in his platform. One of the busiest and most impressive entrepreneurs in the country, and who has some truly astounding investors behind him. We will meet one day.
That’s all folks. This post basically wrote itself since this people are all truly incredible. The hard part? Choosing only 20. There are hundreds more. Maybe a follow up post one day. Follow these people and their journeys. You won’t be disappointed.