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Start-ups should be a national source of inspiration

To the Israelis planning their 'exits' from Start-Up Nation - take a second look around you and reconsider

Looking For The Exit…

In Israel there are two kinds of young “exit-seeking people”. There those who are looking how to run away from Israel, seeking jobs at deserted malls around the world and there are those seeking to be innovative, and engage in entrepreneurship. Thank god we have the ones who are constantly looking how to build something new — it leads to a whole different kind of exit, a better one for them, and for all of us.

Here is a question I heard a lot in my short lifetime “Why do many young Israeli people look for jobs all around the world and not close to home?” Sometimes I hear answers like this “they want to save money”, I don’t agree with that answer. The sad fact is that most if the time they usually look for work abroad, just so they can save money for another totally different trip somewhere else. In short, this just means that the majority just wants to run away to relax from the “pressure” here.

So why are they running away and from what? I hear so many people saying that it is “hard to live here” and that “you can’t make it big”. I don’t really agree with any answer. In my opinion (and you won’t convince me otherwise) “yes” it is hard to live here, but “no” there is no rationality behind the answer “in other places it’s easier”. I believe that in most scenarios, leaving everything you know to find your luck somewhere else you have never been before, is hard as hell, and it sounds like the “easy way out”. Many youngsters who think constantly about leaving Israel, easily forget that there is a “harder way in” just around the corner.

I personally admire the ones that stay and against all odds, those who try to build start-up companies and small local businesses. In my opinion it is better than looking for an OK pay check in some mini mall in Finland or Thailand. Some young startups I have encountered are making real waves, and I hope to bring some of them to the spotlight in future posts. Maybe with some successful, “unheard” examples one person will be inspired to start something. Maybe not. In any case it will be worth a try.

Here are 3 short examples from different startups from completely different niches that are not as famous as Microsoft, Google, Amazon or Apple, but still they can pride themselves as successful businesses:

  1. Wix (Relatively Known) – Who thought the Israeli website builder would conquer the hearts of many small business owners all around the world? Wix was built for people that just wanted to build their own website without any technical skills. Now Wix is one of the most loved platforms in the world, and it just keeps on getting better. It used to be a small startup, now they are one of our nation’s crown jewels.
  2. Checkmarx (Less Known) – This is an international company that is led by CEO Emmanuel Benzaquen, who first found the need that his company solves while serving in the IDF many years ago. Years later he took action and built a company that just secured 8M in funding in late 2013.
  3. JoyTunes (Fresh) – Fairly new example, JoyTunes raised 2M to develop educational apps, now their game Piano Mania is conquering the app stores worldwide. Best of luck to JoyTunes in the future. I would keep my eye one these guys, they are making some news.

All 3 start-ups are different, all 3 start-ups have secured funding and clients (Wix even made an IPO on the Nasdaq). There are at least 1,000 more examples, and from that number I am sure we will find some CEO’s that would be glad to tell their story about how they launched, and inspire people with those stories.

I sadly have encountered countless times sentences like “there is only one Teva” and that Waze “was lucky”. Don’t you think we should have a TV program, about how small, relativity “anonymous” Israeli startups made 100K to 900K in seed funding? It will be much better than watching on TV at 19:30 and 23:00 the “50 different ways we are losing money” and “how we are paying for everything much more”.

It doesn’t necessary have to be something on TV, stories can be told through a monthly free newspaper sponsored by one of the big publications. Another option is that more school programs can teach young students about small companies, and stop with the generic fairy tales related to “Apple” or “Intel”. With a different mindset we might inspire more people to act instead of complain.

There are about 5,000 Israeli startups and I assure you we will never run out of content that can inspire those who are looking for an exit — any kind of exit.

Thanks for reading my post. If you really like startups and you want to try to get inspired, then you should check out the new Start-up Israel section by David Shamah. The content is amazing and you are bound to learn something new. In case you read my older posts you might have figured out by now that I am a start-up freak. I even have my own small start-up blog that I built in order to give out tips and tools for newbie entrepreneurs. Don’t be surprised if the next post is going to be all about start-ups, after all, we are the Start-up Nation.

Reminder: The ideas and suggestions in this article are subjective. Feel free to agree or debate with me in the comments section below.

Read Start-Up Israel to keep your finger on the pulse of Israeli high-tech and innovation!

About the Author
Originally from NYC, finished my Masters degree in Organizational Consulting at the IDC RRIS in Herzliya. I am the Marketing VP at imonomy and the owner of Go Social a social media marketing firm.
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