Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Working to protect people and our shared planet.

Iron Nation: Emergency Impact to Save Israeli Start Ups & Solutions

Iron Nation is enabling Israeli start-ups, including women-led climate company Algaeing whose colors are shown here, to thrive. Royalty free photo, credit Tammy Bar-Shay.
Iron Nation is enabling Israeli start-ups, including women-led climate company Algaeing whose colors are shown here, to thrive. Royalty free photo, credit Tammy Bar-Shay.

Israel is famous for being the “Start Up Nation.” It has some of the most talented scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs in the world. However, with a war underway, a lot of the top Israeli talent has been pulled away from their companies to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces’ reserves.

Making matters worse, the challenges of war, world opinion, and reduced flights into Israel has made it harder for Israeli companies to access the vital capitol they need to thrive. Thus, there are several leaders and groups working to ensure the future of these companies and their breakthrough solutions for climate, health, tech and other sectors. One of them is Iron Nation, an emergency impact fund for Israeli start up companies.

Iron Nation was founded by Chen Linchevski, Gil Friedlander and Jason Wolf — all seasoned Israeli entrepreneurs who have recruited some of Israel’s most experienced, skilled, and creative hi-tech professionals and investors. Thus, I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with one of their extremely impressive co-founders, Chen Linchevski.

Iron Nation co-founder Chen Linchevski. Royalty free. Photo credit Nitzan Zohar.

What is the specific problem that your fund is trying to solve?

Imagine this: You’re building a revolutionary tech product in Israel, on the verge of a major breakthrough. Then, conflict erupts. Suddenly, key team members are called up for reserves, investors get cold feet, and your runway to success shrinks dramatically.

That’s the exact challenge Iron Nation was created to tackle.

We’re a team of passionate serial entrepreneurs who stepped in after the October Hamas attack to help promising early-stage startups stay afloat. With a significant portion of the tech workforce on reserve duty and investors cautious, many of these startups face an existential risk.

How do you solve it?

We knew time was critical. That’s why Iron Nation assembled a dream team of investors including Chemi Peres of Pitango, Moshe Lichtman of IGP, Danny Cohen of Viola Ventures, Aaron Applebaum of Mizzma, Calanit Valfer of Elah Fund, Charlie Federman of SliverTech Ventures, and others to evaluate startups and guide our mission.

To move fast, we partnered with amazing organizations like Meitar Law, EY, ServVC and Mixer Work Lounges. These incredible partners understood our cause and offered pro bono services, allowing Iron Nation to rapidly raise and deploy capital to support promising startups. This included legal guidance from Meitar, financial expertise from EY, and flexible workspace solutions from Mixer. This freed up valuable resources for founders to focus on what matters most – developing groundbreaking ideas.

But funding was just one piece of the puzzle. Startups also needed a support network. We established programs with Israel Growth Partners, IN Ventures, and others to provide access to critical resources like IT assistance, legal guidance, HR support, and most importantly, target market expertise and connections.

This is Iron Nation’s approach: a combination of emergency funding and a comprehensive support network, ensuring promising startups can weather the storm and reach their full potential.

Why is solving this problem important to you? Why should others care?

Imagine Israel’s tech industry as a powerful startup. It’s young, innovative, and brimming with potential.

Now, picture this startup facing a major setback. Key employees are called to reserve duty, investors get cautious, and the entire ecosystem feels the strain. This is the exact scenario Iron Nation was created to address, because early-stage startups are the lifeblood of Israel’s economic engine.

Growth Powerhouse: The tech sector in Israel punches well above its weight. It contributes a staggering 20% of GDP – that’s a much higher share compared to developed economies like the US and the EU.

Innovation Hub: Early-stage startups are where groundbreaking ideas take root. By nurturing them, we foster a constant stream of innovation that keeps Israel at the forefront of the global tech scene.

Job Creators: These startups are job magnets. They attract top talent, create high-paying positions, and fuel economic growth across various sectors.

When early-stage startups falter, the ripple effect is significant. It hinders economic growth, weakens Israel’s position as a tech leader, and impacts the livelihoods of countless individuals. Iron Nation exists to ensure these future giants weather the storm and reach their full potential. By supporting them, we’re not just helping individual companies; we’re investing in a stronger, more innovative Israel, one that continues to be a beacon of progress on the world stage.

Tell me about your deal flow and Investment process.

Initially, we figured 100-150 startups would apply for funding. We were blown away by over 800 applications, most with just a few months of runway! Thanks to our amazing local ecosystem and volunteer army from VCs and corporations, we sifted through this innovation wave. Our all-star Investment Committee reviewed applications, and we’ve already approved 14 impactful investments with 10 more on deck!

Can you give me a couple of examples of Climate Tech companies your fund invested in?

So far Iron Nation invested in a few Climate Tech companies, for example GreenEye who dramatically reduce Herbicides usage while increasing productivity and profitability for farmers and Algaeing who reduce environmental impact of the textile industry while meeting the growing demand for eco-friendly fabric solutions and scalable manufacturing.

Renana Krebs, co-founder and CEO of Algaeing. Photo credit Tammy Bar Shay.

Algaeing Sounds interesting, lets dive deeper into their solution: Product validation, existing customers, expansion and growth trajectories

Renana Krebs, co-founder and CEO of Algaeing honed her craft at elite design houses, witnessing firsthand the industry’s environmental toll. But instead of perpetuating the problem, she embarked on a mission to become a changemaker.

Fueled by this passion, Renana leveraged her fashion design background with a master’s degree in sustainability. This shift wasn’t a lonely one – she joined forces with Dr. Oded Krebs, a renowned biologist, botanist, and agronomist with over 40 years of experience (and also happens to be her father!). Together, they founded Algaeing in 2016.

Algaeing revolutionary solution produces clean, vibrant colors from algae. Today, these colors aren’t just a dream; they’re a reality for both major manufacturers and everyday consumers. Algaeing empowers leading brands and offers its own line of consumer products, working to make the textile industry healthier for everyone.

With any start up, there are times when you hit brick wall. Can you give us an example of that and how Algaeing managed to overcome it?

Algaeing’s journey in the textile industry hasn’t been a straight shot. While potential clients initially loved the company’s innovative, algae-based color solutions, their response often landed with a hesitant “not yet.” This presented a unique challenge: changing mindsets within a very traditional manufacturing environment.

The team at Algaeing understood the need for practicality. They shifted their focus to making their patented technology seamless for manufacturers to implement. This meant a rapid transition from proof-of-concept (POC) to a large-scale, readily available product.

Today, Algaeing’s success speaks for itself. Their products boast impressive performance, easy implementation, and a positive environmental impact – all at a competitive price point. This combination has turned those initial “not yets” into resounding “yes’s” from major players in the textile industry.

What is your advice for other people who are just getting their start on climate issues?

Algaeing approach is particularly noteworthy for its emphasis on client adoption. By minimizing disruption – focusing on drop-in solutions that require minimal capital expenditure (Capex) and avoid steep learning curves – Algaeing makes it easy for manufacturers to transition to cleaner practices. This strategy exemplifies a key principle for tackling climate change: every step, big or small, contributes to a more sustainable future. Algaeing’s dedication to continuous growth in impact ensures their solutions continue to make a significant difference.

As you move ahead, are you looking for partners? Where and how others can help?

In less than 9 months, we went through Ideation, establishment, fund raising and deployment. We have surpassed our initial $20 million goal, funded 14 incredible startups, and have 10 more on the horizon. But the mission isn’t over.

Conflict and rising tensions in the region continue to cast a shadow on Israel’s tech scene. Funding is far from the levels needed, threatening to stall these promising startups, hindering their possibility to become the future tech giants of tomorrow. We envisioned a quick solution back in October 2023, but the reality is, our work is far from finished.

Iron Nation thrived because of YOU! Individuals and communities across North America stepped up, showing their trust in Israel and our shared future.

If folks want to know more about your company, how and where can they find information or connect?

Iron Nation invites individual investors, foundations and organizations, to join us for an opportunity of doing well while doing good, by investing in highly promising Israeli startups and through that also securing the future of the Israeli economy and strengthening the connection with Israel. Visit our website to learn more at

About the Author
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the co-founder/director of the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund (a DAF). She has worked directly with presidents, prime ministers, 48 governors, 85 Ambassadors, and leaders at all levels to successfully educate and advocate on key issues. In July, 2023 Mizrahi was appointed to serve as representative of philanthropy on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. She has a certificate in Climate Change Policy, Economics and Politics from Harvard. Her work has won numerous awards and been profiled in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Inside Philanthropy, PBS NewsHour, Washington Post, Jerusalem Post, Jewish Sages of Today, and numerous other outlets. Mizrahi has published more than 300 articles on politics, public policy, disability issues, climate and innovations. The views in her columns are her own, and do not reflect those of any organization.
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