10 Lessons from Israeli Start-Ups
As part of my job as a creative video director at Goldfish Marketing, I have had the privilege to be behind the scenes for numerous interviews, meeting CEOs and founders of successful Israeli start-ups to hear what made them successful.
So what makes a successful start-up?
Here are 10 things I learned from my favorite interviews with ARISE:
- There is opportunity in every industry. You can innovate in every industry, even something so revolutionary as the wheel. Galileo Wheel has literally reinvented the wheel, creating a new type of tire that improves farming and vehicles in every industry.
- It starts with a problem. Did you know that in Southeast Asia, more people die of lack of clean drinking water after a flood than those who perished in the flood itself? That’s a problem, and Rami Aflalo with GALMOBILE is solving it with their water purification vehicle. He found a problem, and created a solution.
- Not every start-up is ‘sexy’. When you think ‘cool start-up’, helping the elderly with healthcare doesn’t come to mind. Yet Bio-T and its solution of making remote healthcare more accessible, quality, smarter user friendly. It doesn’t have to be “cool”.
- They play to their strengths. Jeff Gabbay founded Agraman Tech before the pandemic. He created his company by combining his skills as a doctor and an expert in fabrics, creating a fabric that not only prevents the COVID virus but kills it, a revolutionary innovation, one of a kind. And it all came about by combining two skills to solve a problem, making his product a true unicorn solution.
- Teamwork makes the dream work. If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. Sivan Ya’ari founded Innovation Africa, partnering with African villages and organizations to bring clean water and energy to remote locations, empowering villages by working together with the local population to invest in education for their next generation.
- Success isn’t linear, but exponential. Jon Medved, the founder of OurCrowd, has created an organization that gets behind Israel’s unicorns, bringing in investors and experts that together create a powerhouse to boost Israel’s brightest innovators. Supporting over 50 successful IPOs, OurCrowd has stood behind unicorn companies like ‘Beyond Meat’ and ‘Lemonade’.
- Failures aren’t lasting. When Hargol FoodTech when into business they had to face a giant obstacle, ‘the yuck factor’, because most of the world doesn’t eat locusts, or isn’t ready to yet. Dror, the founder of Hargol, looks at the locust’s trend like the sushi trend looked like 20 years ago, a hurdle to be overcome. Just like sushi, which wasn’t popular in the West 20 years ago, Dror has faced hardships normalizing the consumption of locusts, making it more acceptable with time.
- They don’t have it all figured out at the beginning. Hananya Naftali was a soldier in the IDF tank unit, regularly entering Gaza with his unit under strict order never to harm civilians, only to return home to see social media bombarded with fake news about ‘war crimes against Palestinians’. Hananya decided to speak out, posting his experience on social media. Today Hananya is one of the leading voices on Israel on social media and services as the social media manager to Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Timing is key, and there’s no better way to prove that concept than looking at Aura Air, a smart air filtration technology that has created a solution that cleans bacteria and viruses in the air through a portable device. As most would have it, it wasn’t a solution that had a wider implication — that’s until COVID hit, and all of a sudden protecting yourself from a virus became as essential as food and housing.
- They probably aren’t the first, so they aim to be unique. Rafi Fischer at Orcam, a company assisting the blind in reading and navigation through their a smart, miniature camera, said that “Orcam is one of the top 8 companies in Israel that are working on developing similar technology”. You’ll always find competition no matter what you offer, so make sure to be different, to be unique.
- Branding wins every time (bonus point*). Apple, Coca-Cola, and every other household brand win because they have created an approachable identity for their company. Branding, turning our company into a feeling, an experience, and an attachable identity, is key to being unique, no matter what industry you’re in.