I love Israel, and have a strong passion for it. I’ve always felt that Israelis have that extra something, an extra gezunt that gives them a competitive edge. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Lyron Bentovim, a NYC-based President and CEO, originally from Israel. Bentovim believes that being Israeli helps him run his company in New York.
Lyron Bentovim is President and CEO of The Glimpse Group, an augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) company with eight subsidiaries that utilize AR and VR in various spaces. Through The Glimpse Group, subsidiaries can find an ecosystem of likeminded entrepreneurs, with mentors to guide them. The Glimpse Group’s first company joined about a year ago. Since then, four out of eight are already generating revenue, and two more are expected to generate revenue in the next couple of months. Being Israeli has played a pivotal role in shaping Bentovim, and ultimately drove him to start his own company; his “Israeli DNA,” and army service have guided him through this journey.
“Israeli DNA is about being creative, thinking out of the box, and knowing that every problem has a solution. That’s the concept behind The Glimpse Group’s model. The Glimpse Group is a unique concept. It’s my unique way of solving the problems that startups generally face, like financing, and how to build an idea into a technology. Another driving force behind The Glimpse Group is the leadership required during army service. These are key influential aspects of who I am.”
AR/VR is becoming more affordable, accessible and consumer-friendly every year. In September, Apple released the final version of iOS 11, of which a big feature is ARKit, a software that allows developers to build AR apps for iPads and iPhones. AR/VR is already starting to see early adopters, and has been used in popular consumer apps like Pokémon Go, which took the world by storm last year. Slowly but surely, the technology will become more mainstream, as it always does. The virtual reality industry is expected to reach $30 billion by 2020, and augmented reality is expected to hit $120 billion.
That being said, the AR/VR space still faces challenges. According to Bentovim, the biggest challenge to the tech industry is technology itself, and being ahead of the curve. VR/AR companies always have to look at what’s available right now, and develop something that consumers could afford. Even if you have a vision, if you can’t figure out how to use it with current technology, you’re too early. In the tech space, being early is almost like being wrong. If you have the best idea out there without the proper technology, you will see failure not because it’s a bad idea, but because you’re too early. You have to be strategic.
Israel is a hub of technological innovation. But once Bentovim moved to New York, he found an AR/VR market there, and took advantage of it. Some of The Glimpse Group’s notable subsidiaries include KabaQ, an application for interactive model displays of a restaurant’s menu items, and Immersive Sanctuary, a AR/VR “escape” from the office for mental and physical wellness to corporate settings. CEOs of several of The Glimpse Group’s subsidiaries also spoke at the NYVR (New York Virtual Reality) Expo, the premiere VR/AR Event on the East Coast, which ran October 26-28 at the Javits Center. After being President and CEO of The Glimpse Group for a year, Bentovim has learned a few secrets about running a business, tech or otherwise, in New York or anywhere else.
“Once you have a sure way of working together, you’re set. Our team brings different experiences to the table. We work very well as a team. Each person brings a different skill set. In a startup, there’s no such thing as ‘I can’t do it.’ You work together. Sometimes someone can do in ten minutes what takes you a week to solve. It’s very rewarding when people work together.”
After speaking with Bentovim, perhaps that extra something that Israelis bring to the table is chutzpah, and the kind of confidence it takes to make a business successful.
“When they ask you what company you associate with VR/AR, I want people to say The Glimpse Group, like how people associate Facebook with social media. It’s not an easy goal, but it’s where I’m driven.”