Israeli startups out in force at tech event

Entrepreneurs court executives, investors at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in hope to return home with some funding for their projects

VIDEO – Jewish entrepreneurs were out in force at one of the most hotly-anticipated technology conferences of the year: TechCrunch Disrupt SF.


Disrupt hosts the industry's premium startup competition, where fledgling tech firms must present their products to a panel of high-profile judges – such as Yahoo!'s Marissa Meyer – to win a 50,000 dollar cash prize.


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It's the ideal time to grab user and press attention. That's why these entrepreneurs have travelled all the way from Israel to attend.


Itai Friedman, CEO and co-founder of EventWith, explains: "We're basically launching now the product, especially the iOS app, and it was a good opportunity for us to come over and showcase our company, more so because we've had a focus on the US market to begin with, so it's all combined."


EventWith is an event planning application that runs on Apple devices. It lets you allocate who brings what to an event – food, drink, blankets… You can also vote on where and when it's held, making planning collaborative. The social dimension is key to another Israeli startup: Numbeez.


"What a user gets in Numbeez is a platform that enables him to share and talk and follow numbers," says CEO Yotam Aharonson.


All kinds of statistics, from sports scores to stock prices, can be collated on a user's board.


And here's a fascinating figure: 3,500 – The number of startups in Israel, second only to Silicon Valley.


"Israel is a great, great place for startups, considered to be the startup nation," says Aharonson. "You get to hear and meet a lot of people who've been there, who've done that, and hear very, very smart things they have to say."


'Israel home to some of world's best startups'

One Jewish entrepreneur who's been there and done that is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He talked to attendees about the social network's controversial IPO.


"Having gone through what I think most people would characterize as an extremely turbulent first year as a public company, I can tell you I actually don't think it's that bad," Zuckerberg said.


Many early stage projects bid for funding from angel investors or venture capitalists, like Roi Carthy, who invests in Israeli and Brazilian startups.


"We look for disruptive technology, we look for a concrete business model, but most importantly – a solid team," he says.


Roi says Israeli startups typically get early stage funding locally.


"There's a spectrum of investors such as myself. But when they move on to later stages, the round Bs and Cs, they go abroad, and that's part of that ecosystem."


He also says the tiny country is home to some of the best startups in the world.


"I think Jews on their DNA level are entrepreneurial. Then of course there's the geographical issue where we have to out-think our resources, so startups seem to be the logical conclusion to that."


No matter where they're from, San Francisco remains a Mecca for entrepreneurs. Israeli startups here have been courting both executives and investors in the hope they'll return home with some funding for their projects.



פרסום ראשון: 10.01.13, 08:07
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