Dr. Rabenou is Founder and President of Startup Nation Ventures (SUNV); a global, equity crowdfunding investment vehicle that funds early-stage Israeli tech and emerging market companies. Dr. Rabenou’s experience spans 20+ years of taking companies through the entire life cycle, from inception to sustainability, profitability, and ultimately, an IPO. Last week, she provided background on SUNV and the Israeli start-up environment. This week, Dr. Rabenou continues to expand on the challenges and successes startups from Israel.
What are a few areas that people are the most surprised about when you discuss Israel as a beacon for Innovation ?
This is a very interesting question. I am surprised time after time with how little people know about technology they are using on a daily basis. Most people don’t know that the USB memory stick was invented in Israel. The Sandy Bridge, Core 2 Duo, and Centrino computer chips were developed in Israel. Texting on phones was developed in Israel. Rooftop solar panels for hot water was developed in Israel. Israel’s contributions impact almost EVERY aspect of our life.
Today, new cars are equipped with MobilEye Accident Avoidance technology, an Israeli invention. Intel’s all autonomous driving division was relocated to Jerusalem Israel after Intel acquired Mobileye. Israel offers technology and innovation across sectors- from agriculture to cybersecurity to medical to Internet of Things. For example, cherry tomatoes were invented in Israel as well as GE C.T. scans and no one knows about it or, to be more accurate, very few know about the power of innovation coming from Israel.
What are the difference between startups in Israel and startups in the US? Startups in Florida?
Florida is at its infancy when it comes to high-tech and bio-tech. Someone told me that in Israel everyone speaks about technology and innovation starting from the immigration officer at Ben Gurion Airport through taxi driver and all the way up to the Israeli government. If in the past a Jewish mom would wish for her child to become a Doctor or a lawyer, today the Jewish mother wants her kids to be innovative and launch their own startup. This is the culture in Israel and it is very different than the ecosystem and the culture as I came to know it in Florida.
Israeli founders will invest everything they have, every resource: money, time, everything to be successful. They will work 24/7 and impossible is not an existing stage of mind. The state of mind is that everything is possible.
The other differentiator is that in Israel FAILURE is not a bad word. Actually, it is a complement. It is better to start a startup and fail then not to. So entrepreneurs are appreciated regardless of their success. They are appreciated for the simple fact that they have tried and, if they failed, they will re-start taking all the experience learned and do it again…and again…
What are the challenges of Israeli tech startups coming to the U.S.?
I categorize the challenges into 3 classes:
- Funding and capital raising
- Build the right management team
- Product Market Fit
- Access to market place
- Strategic Partners
- Customer acquisition and sales conversion
Relocation & Logistic:
- Office Space
- Incorporation, Bank, CPA
- HR and staffing
Culture & Language Barriers
- Business practices and acumen
The mission of Startup Nation Ventures is to invest and partner with our portfolio companies providing them with ingredients needed to succeed in the USA.