Idan Hershko

Idan Hershko

Idan Hershko Startup Camel founder, an enthusiastic entrepreneur, a mean guitar player and a self employed Firefighter. Idan is doing all the online marketing, promoting and company hunting and of course, conducting all the interviews.

Mar 062016
 

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Soomla

The mobile games industry is a growing market, but it has a fundamental problem – only a small portion of the users is actually interested in paying for them. Many of them are so used to getting games for free, that making money in this industry has become a major challenge for developers. However, there are some who tend to spend a lot of money on mobile games. In the industry they are referred to as “whales” and just like in the 18 hundreds, those who wish to succeed in this world should get the right spear.

Soomla is helping companies and developers in this market succeed, by allowing them to share data about those whales and their behavior. Sharing this information helps those companies locate those players and make offers to attract them to the game. This is what the people of Soomla are referring to as God Mode Analytics. This is all possible because of the analytics platform developed by the company which enables its users to track their performance while at the same time allows them to collaborate with other developers in tracking paying users.

Yaniv Nizan is the co founder which we talked to in this episode of Startup Camel. Yaniv has a vast experience in the tech industry and he already built 2 successful companies before: EyeView and IntentClick.

Jan 162016
 

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Webydo

Shmulik Grizim and his company Webydo are going to break another wall for non developers: they built a SaaS tool, which allows designers and web design professionals to build an awesome website without having to write any code in the process.

Shmulik has vast experience in this field, as prior to starting Webydo, along with his cofounder Tzvika Steinmetz, he built and sold two previous companies in the web design world. Shmulik believes that working with designers for so many years has made it easier for him to understand the problems designers face, and how to solve them. Since designers hate being totally dependent on the developers in order to do their work, they crave a solution which will unshackle them from the chains of coding.

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Webydo’s story is also very interesting since it’s different from many companies we’ve met so for on our show. Their team has been working on the software engine for two years before finalizing a product which they could actually share with someone. This is very interesting because most Israeli companies we met were very focused on “getting something out there as soon as possible”. Shmulik’s explanation for this is that since he has such a detailed knowledge of the market he’s working in, he knew what the solution should be and how to design it.

Webydo is now growing and is looking for sales people, web developers and a UX expert, so go ahead and send your resumes to ella@webydo.com

Nov 212015
 

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Lior Herman started Estateya after working in the American real estate market for several years. He realized that something was missing in the market – a tool which will allow unexperienced real estate investors make smart decisions about their investments. After meeting an old friend and discussing this idea, they decided to build that tool together.
So far, this story reminded me many other stories about startups. But what I really liked about this story, was that after building the product for 6 months, Lior and his team decided to throw it all away build it again from scratch. He quoted Naftali Bennett, an Israeli politician in the present and a successful startup founder in the past, for saying the average startup company takes about 7 cycles of the product to reach success. So, since the founders of Estatya noticed that the product they were working on did not match their expectations, they decided to bin it, and build another one instead.
This is a perfect example of what we heard so many times before from so many Israeli entrepreneurs: you should fall in love with the product, not the solution.

Oct 062015
 

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Arnon Zamir, who is going to be one of the speakers next week in the Tel Aviv TedX event, is also leading Tom – a project which is all about using the power of 3D printing for the sake of a better world.

Background

Arnon has been programming from a very young age, and he likes to think about the way things work and operate. He spent 10 years of his life working for tech companies as a developer, and even ran a business of his own. However, he always felt he is not using his talent for making a better world for everyone, and that the impact of his actions is way too small… So, he started this fantastic project called Tom.

Tom

Tom is a Hackathon of 72 hours, in which the participants are divided into designated teams in order to build 3D printed solutions for people with disabilities and special needs. The name Tom, by the way, stands for “Fixing the world” which roughly translates to “Makers of a better world”.
Tom is growing rapidly, achieving much support from companies around the world. It even got Google.org to join them in making this possible and getting resources from Google for the benefit of some of the events.

If you happen to be in Israel in the next few days, Arnon will be speaking at the TedX event on October 12th, 2015 and that’s one Ted talk you don’t want to miss.

Sep 172015
 

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Guy Franklin has been working with Israeli startups for over 10 years now. 3 years ago, Guy moved to New York City working for Ernst and Young. He quickly noticed that as an Israeli who wanted to get in touch with Israeli startup companies operating from New York, he couldn’t find any simple way to do that. So he came up with the idea of creating a map of all of the Israeli startup companies to help other Israelis.

When Guy started, the list was short – only 60 companies. Today, he has over 250 companies on the map, and he is adding almost 10 new companies every month.

Guy says that The main focus is technology video, ad tech, mobile and social. It seems that most of the startups moving to New York are moving there after they have completed a round A or even more than that.

The first tip Guy would like to give Israeli startups who are interested in starting operations in New York City is that the first person matters the most. That person needs to hit the ground running and to be super talented in creating connections with the locals. This person, usually a local or one of the founders of the company can have a very serious impact on how successful the company is going to be in New York.

Another thing Guy says is that today, more and more American and Chinese VCs and also many American angels see the potential in Israeli companies and he thinks Israeli entrepreneurs should pay attention to that. However, Investors in New York prefer companies which are located in the US, preferably close to them. So when approaching those investors one should take this into consideration.

Guy also mentioned that many entrepreneurs in Israel tend to ignore Tax issues when they start the company. While working for Ernest and Young, he saw that many companies are built in a structure which exposes the Entrepreneurs and the company to the taxes they wouldn’t have to pay if only planed the process correctly. Guy thinks it’s important to pay attention to this issue in the beginning, as can damage the company and even cause delays of an IPO.

Guy recently launched an app for Mapped in New York. You can get push notifications about Israeli Tech news (in NY) and even chat with other Israeli entrepreneurs in New York.

You can also use the app to find your next job – a special button in the app allows you so see which of the Israeli companies in New York are now looking for new employees. This is great for Israelis and others who are looking for opportunities in New York.

Aug 212015
 

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Background

As the COO and president of Wix, Nir Zohar is leading one of the unicorns of the Israeli Startup scene. The company was founded in 2006, when founders Aavishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kapla, wanted to build a website for their startup. They noticed that it was a long, costly process, and that most existing tools in the market were designed for developers. So they decided to build a product with a drag and drop functionality, which will make website building simple enough so that everyone who knows how to use a computer could build their own website.

Today, Wix is one of the largest startups in Israel and they are still growing rapidly. The company even had its own super bowl ad recently and is considered to be one of the best places to work for in Tel Aviv.

The Interview

Nir talked to us about his job as COO, which he describes as “getting shit done” no matter which obstacles he has to deal with. He mentioned his army service – like many of our interviewees before him, he served in the Israeli army on a missile ship. He also mentioned the resemblance he finds between building a startup and keeping a battle ship floating. In his words “It’s a small boat, if it sinks, everyone will drown”.

He believes that the best way to build a great culture for the company is to get people drunk, together. So, every once in a while, the people of Wix use to go to a bar together, open a tap and allow everyone to order whatever they like.

His vision for Wix is to take over the world, and to be more specific – to build more and more services for people who are using the Wix service, because once you’ve built your website you still have many other complimentary services you need, such as an eCommerce tools, billing tools and more.

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Aug 112015
 

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Sergio Gonzales has an awesome job: he is the one making sure that Ebay keeps innovating despite the fact that it doesn’t have the agility of a small start up. He is currently managing the different innovation programs at Ebay, keeping the ecosystem right for innovation.

Sergio has been working on Ebay for 12 years and did many, many roles in the company, so if there’s someone who really knows ebay – he is the one. He is also a cofounder in 2 nonprofit startups focused on education and social value. He believes that the way to cope with the highs and lows of entrepreneurship is to have a deep connection to the thing you’re working on.

So how do you create the right culture for innovation?

Well, the short version is:

1. Building a culture of permission: making employees feel like they can constantly challenge the system and the way things are done in the company. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change things all the time accordingly, but employees must feel they can make suggestions and that their ideas are heard.

2. Building an environment which is tolerant of mistakes: as every entrepreneur knows, it’s all about making as many mistakes as possible, for the lowest cost. So it’s important to let employees experiment and make mistakes, but on the other hand, it’s also important to make sure they are not making big mistakes which will make it harder to try again (because of the damage they caused the company).

The long version of this along with many other insights from Sergio, in this episode of Startup Camel.

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Nov 152014
 

Download the interview, or listen here:

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HelpAround – A Safety Net of People Like You

This week, we had an interview with HelpAround, a company which has harnessed the power of the internet and mobile phones for the benefit of those suffering chronic diseases.
HA_logoIt all began when Yishai Knobel and Shlomi Aflalo met randomly, after not seeing each other for several years. They knew each other from their joint service in one the top technological units in the Israeli army. Yishai has just returned from a long stay in the US, where he attended the MIT Sloan business school. They started a conversation about some ideas they had, and found that they basically had a similar direction on their minds. At that point, the idea was to create a network of people who can help each other, when in need. However, as they soon learned, people are not so keen on helping each other, just for the heck of it. Apparently, people need a really good reason to help a stranger, or as Yishai puts it, people need to feel “camaraderie” – a struggle against a common enemy. This is something they learned over a long period of trial and error. Though they asked their friends and families to join the HelpAround network, on the day of the launch, nobody seemed to care. This was a major disappointment for the two, but they didn’t give up. They know that eventually, they will find a model that works.

Lev Kerzhner (SC), Shlomi Aflalo (HA), Yishai Knobel (HA), Idan Hershko (SC)

Lev Kerzhner (SC), Shlomi Aflalo (HA), Yishai Knobel (HA), Idan Hershko (SC)

The light at the end of that tunnel came from one of their investors, who had a diabetic child. He told them a story about taking his kid to a football game. When they arrived, they discovered they were out of test strips, which is used for the process of measuring the amount of sugar in the blood. They didn’t want to go back home to get the test strip, but had no choice as they had to get it. However, since today there are many people dealing with diabetes, the chances are that someone around them could have helped solve this situation quickly and that would save them a lot of trouble.
This story helped Yishai and Shlomi understand when exactly people would be willing to join their network – when they feel strongly connected to the person they are helping. So they decided to focus on people suffering from illness, as those people have a very clear goal – beating their illness. And so, they turned their previously “general” network for helping people around, to a very focused network, aimed to help diabetic people get what they need, when they need it, to deal with situations like the one their investor told them about.

HelpAround is located in the “SOSA” hub for startups in Tel Aviv. They are growing rapidly, and believe that they can change connect the web into the physical world so not only diabetic people can live better, but also all types of people suffering from chronic diseases.

Nov 012014
 

Download the interview, or listen here:

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Bringg – Because Customers Love Tracking Their Deliveries

Lior Sion / Co-Founder, CTO at Bringg

Lior Sion / Co-Founder, CTO at Bringg

Bringg is an Israeli startup, which sets to revolutionize the way we get service from companies. It’s also a great example of how entrepreneurship is a perpetual process of evolution, where everybody can learn from everybody.

Back in 2010, Uber made a huge impact as it completely changed the on demand transportation market with its black car service. The company based its service on a mobile app, which was user-friendly and fun to use. One of the most outstanding features in that mobile app, was that it allowed users to learn about the location of the service provider while waiting for him. This made customers feel like they are no longer waiting in the dark, as they use to in the days before Uber.

Raanan Cohen / Co-Founder, CEO at Bringg

Raanan Cohen / Co-Founder, CEO at Bringg

Simultaneously, Lior worked as the CTO of GetTaxi, an Israeli competitor of Uber, after a long career as an entrepreneur and also an R&D manager at IBM. While working at GetTaxi, Lior found that Taxi drivers are not the only service providers customers find themselves waiting for. He noticed this on several occasions – ordering pizza at work, waiting on the cable guy to show up and when his mother had to call a tow truck after she had a car crush. Another thing he noticed was that many businesses tried to provide something similar to what was done in Uber and in Gettaxi, but failed. The reason for that was probably because developing apps was not their core business, or in other words, they had no idea about building apps that actually turn customers happy.

At this point Lior decided that this issue needs a solution and that he is the right man for the job. Armed with the knowledge he accumulated in GetTaxi, along with his running mate Raanan Cohen, he started building a SAAS solution for businesses, to enable them to show customers the process of the order and the location of the service provider.

​Lior gave the following advice to first time entrepreneurs out there; always follow the footsteps of others. Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, someone must have done something similar in the past.

​Bringg is very focused about company values. For the founders, those values are extremely important. They keep a healthy diet and order vegetable and fruits to the office daily, encourage employees to go to the gym (which is subsidized by the company) and they don’t have an espresso machine (because they want a working people mentality).

If you hire the right people and give them the space, good things happen, but you really have to let go.

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Oct 082014
 

Download the interview, or listen here:

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Optimove – Entice Your Customers

Optimove is a retention marketing service, which is using data mining to get better marketing results for its customers. Their aim is to make customers come back and use a services time and time again by adjusting the right campaigns to each customer.

Pini Yakuel / Co-Founder, CEO at Optimove

Pini Yakuel / Co-Founder, CEO at Optimove

Pini studied industrial engineering and whilst working on his masters degree, he met his co – founder which was working on his PHD at the time. Another friend which was helping Pini to code his masters project (as Pini is not a developer) became the third side of this entrepreneurial triangle. They decided to start working in the world of data mining, which was the only thing they felt they could actually start building a company in.
Pini found that the world of entrepreneurship contains entrepreneurs on a spectrum – analytic entrepreneurs and passion entrepreneurs. The analytic entrepreneur always tries to calculate every risk and predict every possible situation to the point of being too afraid of actually making a move. The passionate entrepreneur tends to be in love with an idea, sometimes to the point of losing the grip of reality. One must always be careful not to get too close to the ends of this spectrum, as this turns the job of building a business into an impossible task, or a very risky adventure.

Pini gave us some important tips about building a business:
1. The first is a productivity rule – keep the 2 minute rule. If you have something to do which should take 2 minutes or less, try to get it done immediately.
Optimove-Offices-3002. Build a “kit” of things you do when working on a specific type of task. For example, if you’re making coffee, have “washing the spoon” as a part of the task. This is how you avoid having lots of dishes in the sink…
3. Be obsessed about your business. Pini talks to people to arrange his thoughts and get feedbacks all the time. He also got scenarios running in his head while he walks his dog or takes a shower. This is why he feels many times he is ahead of other people he talks to or negotiates with.
4. Talk to a lot of people, learn as much as you can from others, everybody you talk to may contribute a new insight or a point of view.
5. Get at least one strong sales person on the team. Without one, it’s going to be very difficult to build something great, because you always need someone to explain the idea, no matter how great it is.

Optimove is currently located in Tel Aviv, Israel, has over 40 team members and as they are growing rapidly, they are looking for marketing people, sales people and technical people.

Optimove Team

Optimove Team

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