Again and again, as you can read from the recaps of our previous events in Tel Aviv – we are impressed by the quality of startups coming out of Israel. This year, we’ve been especially surprised by the high quality of consumer focused startups, their understanding of their customers, and the global approach to big markets.
We spent the day at the Afeka College of Engineering, who were kind enough to host us for a second time after 2010. With the support of Alon and his team and the additional help from our sponsors (Rosen Law and the ESOP trust company in particular) and Yaron at the thecoils. After the company pitches in the morning, we had a great panel on UX and Design, and how traditional development work is changing towards a more user centred approach.
Noa Bichovsky (Brioid), Ishay Green (Soluto), Yaniv Golan (lool.vc), Giora Kaplan (Wix), and Ron Gura (the Gifts Projects) discussed the particularities of companies coming from Israel, and how they can and should build world class products that can compete on a global level. Some interesting tidbits were shared on hiring new product managers and designers: besides letting hires design a new features, the panel agreed on two simple tests to get a first impression: “look at the shoes and the business cards – these two things tell you more than a phone interview”.
From an organisational perspective, topics like design thinking and other more academic structures seem to be creeping into the work place. Some participants even shared that their companies had up to a third of the whole workforce focused on UX and Design of new products – an interesting metric to look at.
Our selection of mentors for the afternoon sessions ranged from experienced super star entrepreneurs to the best private and institutional investors in Israel. The turn out was impressive, and after the mentoring sessions kicked off, it was almost impossible to stop the discussions between teams and mentors. We reconvened in the evening to wrap up the day, gather feedback, and announce the next item on the Agenda: a special edition of Tech Aviv, focused on the current state of early stage investing in Israel.
The get-together was basically an overview of the top active early stage investors in Israel, and the panel discussion was incredibly open and honest. If you have time, go here to see a video of Jeremie Berrebi (Kima Ventures), Saul Klein (Index/Seedcamp), Eden Shochat (The Junction), Yair Goldfinger (Angel Investor), Yaniv Golan (lool VC), and Guy Gamzu (Angel Investor) sharing their views on the Israeli market, their own experience, and some interesting deals.
In the closing session of Seedcamp Tel Aviv, we have asked the audience to help us identify the most liked start-ups of the day, by popular vote. The top five teams as selected by mentors and fellows were:
- AllWeSea from Tel Aviv, Israel – Global sailing smart-phone application and destination website.
- CelluDrive from Haifa, Israel – Innovative smartphone-based sw service that grants peace-of-mind to the parents when their kids are on the road.
- Fireplace from Ramat-Gan, Israel – Social blogging platform for people who are tired of their old, abandoned blogs and want their friends to be their audience.
- Jifiti from Modiin, Israel – Gift giving platform that enhances the gift giving experience, while returning the selling power to local stores.
- Wibbitz from Tel Aviv, Israel – Turn existing static web content into interactive visual experiences.