Jun 082015
 

Eden Shochat interview


Top 5 insights in this episode

  • How being different beats being better
  • Why you shouldn’t go looking for mentors
  • Traits VC’s tend to look for in an investment
  • Out-of-the-box hacks to get VC’s to notice you
  • What NOT to do if you want to get funded

About Eden Shochat

Eden Shochat’s Linkedin profile describes his official position as “finder of needles in haystack” at the Aleph VC, but that’s just him being extremely modest. The truth is, Eden is one of the most renowned and successful entrepreneurs/investors in Israel.

Eden Shochat Aleph

As an entrepreneur, Shochat was the driving force behind Aternity, which now has over 150 employees and has raised over $25M. In addition, Shochat helped create Face.com, which sold to another small start-up called Facebook for $55M in 2012.

He also formed Israel’s first ever accelerator for early stage stat-ups called The Junction, and is a faculty member of the prestigious Zell entrepreneurship program at the IDC. There, he helped the country’s brightest startups like like PicScout (now GettyImages) and Gifts Project (now eBay) get their start and help guide them to success.
His work at Aleph allows him to actually invest in the most disruptive promising startups he believes in, so make sure to listen to our interview to learn know how to grab his attention.

Related Content: Aleph’s Ron Gura shares how to increase chances for an early investment  

About Aleph

One of the largest VC funds in Israel, Aleph is a Tel Aviv based venture capital fund focused on finding and scaling game-changing companies out of Israel. The firm has quickly become one of Israel’s most influential VC’s and specializes in Series A investments that over time continuously helps Israeli entrepreneurs build very large-scale global businesses out of Israel.

Aleph on Startup Camel

Among the firm’s portfolio companies are:

5 useful links mentioned in this episode

  1. Aleph’s homepage
  2. Getting things done, Eden’s secret for being productive
  3. Aternity, one of Eden’s previous startups
  4. The Junction, the startup accelerator Eden created
  5. The IDC Zell program where Eden teaches

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Jun 012015
 

Hola-Social-01

Top 5 insights in this episode

  • Why you don’t have to spend a dime on marketing 05:24
  • The best way to know if a candidate is right for your startup 16:16
  • How to manage employees without meetings 17:20
  • Why bigger isn’t always better 20:17
  • What you can learn from nature about building a successful startup 23:59

About Ofer Vilenski

We’ve interviewed a lot of entrepreneurs here at The Startup Camel, but only one that can claim to be a fighter pilot, professionally trained actor, and made two successful exits worth more than $100M all in the same sentence. That entrepreneur is the amazingly versatile Ofer Vilenski, a man of many proven success and even more hidden talents.

Hola

In true entrepreneur tradition, Ofer co-founded his first startup, a software tool company, in his basement, only to sell it the next year for a sizable profit. He used that money to co-found Jungo, an OS for routers and several years later, Jungo was acquired by NDS for a staggering $107M.

These days, Vilenski’s mission statement is to make the internet a much better place. One that is free of censorship, region limitations, and speed limits. If his previous efforts are any indication, he’s going to add some pretty impressive achievements to his CV in the near future.

Related Content: Wibbitz is changing the way we consume content online 

About Hola

Hola is the first community powered VPN, meaning each one of its 47 million users are automatically helping each other to access region-restricted sites like Netflix and Pandora. Basicly Hola is making the world wide web – worldwide again.

Currently the startup is growing at a monstrous rate of 100,000 new users per day, but that wasn’t always the case. Until January 23rd 2013, after being around for two months, and only 80 downloads a day, Hola shot up to 40,000 downloads overnight.

Hola Offices

How did they do it? If you ask Ofer, he’ll tell you it was because they were always focused on constantly improving their product, and the major spike in user came organically when the product was, in his words, “good enough.” You can hear his fascinating and unusual work methods in this weeks interview.

So what does the futue hold for this trail-blazing startup? “We’re trying to make a better Internet”, Vilenski explains, “We’ve made it more open for millions of users. Now we want to make it faster”. Whatever they end up doing, we know it’s going to set the tone for how the internet is consumed in the future.

4 useful links mentioned in this episode

  1. Make the Internet a better place with Hola
  2. If you’re not using Google Docs already, now’s the time to start
  3. Mobileye, the company Ofer admires the most
  4. JoyTunes, another startup mentioned in this episode

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May 242015
 

Yuval Kaminka

Top 3 insights in this episode

  • How to transform your employees into ninjas 06:09
  • How dating can help you raise capital 08:56
  • How to succeed against all odds as an entrepreneur 15:54

About Yuval Kaminka

As the co-founder and CEO of JoyTunes, Yuval Kaminka is responsible for the musical education of more than four million future musicians. If that wasn’t impressive enough, wait until you realize how he pulled this off without any musical background.

Yuval Kaminka on Startup Camel

Instead, Kaminka relied on his vast experience in mathematical research (including s a 3 year stint as a researcher at the prestigious Weizmann institute), and his gift for spotting human insights. These traits would soon pay off as he transformed an idea he had while observing his nephew, into a product that forever changed the way people of all ages learn to play music.

With his company’s rapid success, Yuval has quickly become a sought out guest speaker and mentor in the start up world.

Related Content: JamStar is ‘Guitar Hero’ for people who really want to learn to play the guitar 

About JoyTunes

Four and a half million worldwide users, over 2,000 teachable songs, and the number one tool used by piano teachers in the USA are just a few of the milestones JoyTunes has achieved in their quest to turn music lessons into, well… a joy.

It all started when the startup’s co-founder, Yuval Kaminka watched his nephew refuse to practice piano but was more than excited to spend hours playing his game console. It was at that moment Yuval’s idea to fuse the gaming and music worlds together was born.

JoyTunes currently focuses on gamification apps for teaching and practicing piano, and has recently launched a professional metronome app compatible with the Apple Watch. The company has raised $7 million from angel investors and prominent VCs, and is advised by industry giants than Eran Egozy, CTO of Harmonix Music Systems (known as the original developers of Guitar Hero).

5 useful links mentioned in this episode

  1. Learn how to play the piano the fun way with JoyTunes
  2. Find out who read you mail with Yesware, Yuval’s favorite tool at work
  3. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, Yuval’s current favorite book for entrepreneurs 
  4. Air (the company behind Meerkat), the startup Yuval recommends to keep an eye on
  5. Aleph, the VC that took a smart gamble on JoyTunes

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May 182015
 

Wibbitz on Startup Camel


Top 5 insights in this episode

  • The best starting point for a successful entrepreneur  03:00
  • The one-pager you need to have by your side  06:04
  • Why getting funded isn’t the only reason to go to VC’s 11:49
  • Why product/market fit is the most important stage in a startup’s journey to success   13:28
  • How to actually get tasks done  14:31

About Yotam Cohen

Wibbitz’s co-founder, Yotam Cohen, is a man of of many talents, yet he considers his main specialty to be “getting things done”.

This “actions over words” attitude helped him make the jump from an IDF battleship commander to managing one of Israel’s most promising startups.

Yotam

Like many other prominent Israeli entrepreneurs, Cohen’s startup journey started at the Zell entrepreneurship program at the IDC institution. Being a student required a lot of reading, so he wished for way to turn all that tiresome text into video.

Well, some people wish while others make their wish happen, because shortly after Cohen was taking action and pitching that idea to his mentors in the Zell program.

Six years later, Wibbitz is revolutionizing the way content sites across the glove work. Now that’s what we call “getting things done”.

Related Content: How Outbrain’s Ori Lahav built a startup that broke the internet 

About Wibbitz

What made huge content sites like Forbes, Daily Mirror and Telegraph want to work with an Israeli startup? Apparently it’s because a video is worth a lot more than 1,000 words.

According to leading research firm ComScore, visitors who view videos on websites stay an average of 2 minutes longer than those who don’t view videos.

Knowing that, it comes as no surprise that content sites try to attach a video to as many articles as they can these days, but not all of them have the time, budget, or skills to do so.

Enter Wibbitz, an amazing solution that sounds like it’s straight out of sci-fi: An algorithm that transforms any text into a high quality video in minutes. How does it work? The stratup’s tech analyses text and turns it into a script from a combination of licensed videos and materials from the relevant site.

In the last stage, the publisher only needs to choose between an instant automated voiceover for the video, or a professionally narrated one in under 10 minutes.

Looking at Wibbitz’s aforementioned impressive list of publishers is enough to say:  video didn’t just kill the radio star, it also revived the content one.

Wibbitz

 

5 things you can use that were mentioned in this episode

  1. Turn any story into a video with Wibbitz
  2. Trello, Yotam’s favorite tool at work
  3. “The lean startup”, Yotam’s recommended book for entrepreneurs 
  4. Air, another startup mentioned in this episode 
  5. The Zell entrepreneurship program that gave birth to Wibbitz and many others

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May 032015
 

Ishay Green on startup camel

Top 3 insights in this episode

  • The “missile strategy” for successful pivots 08:08
  • The only thing that matters for a successful entrepreneur  21:50
  • How to hire an amazing programmer instead of just a good one  26:23

About Ishay Green

For most entrepreneurs, making an ‘exit’ is a once in a lifetime achievement. For Spot.IM’s founder, Ishay Green, it’s just another Monday. Green, 37, has no less than three successful exits on his resume, two of which are from startups he personally founded: Onigma and Soluto.

Starting as  a teenage whiz, Green has been working in the startup scene since he was 15, and is now one of Israel’s most influential entrepreneurs (and in the startup-nation, that’s saying something). His personal brand of enthusiasm has bought him as much fans as his top notch  programming skills, and  if our interview is any indication, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

Related Content: Israeli startup Oktopost lets you measure how much your ‘likes’ are really worth 

 

About Spot.IM

Social Media is here to stay, no argument about that, but the companies who are reaping its benefits are about to change thanks to Spot.IM. Right now, social channels like Facebook and Twitter monetize content they didn’t create in the first place, thus taking a generous piece of the original publishers’ pie.

But what if those content sites could create their own social network that would keep their readers inside their site? That’s exactly what Spot.IM does. The Startup’s tech easily transforms any comments section into a living social network, where readers who are already engaged (remember, they scrolled down to the comments for a reason) can discuss said content with other readers and form a community.

Spot.IM pages from around the web garner half a billion (!) monthly views, so watch out Zuckerberg, the startup-nation’s hottest new product is just around the corner.

5 things you can use that were mentioned in this episode

  1.  Turn your site into a social network with Spot.IM 
  2. The Israeli company  you should invest in according to Ishay: WIX 
  3. Dapulse: the online tool that helped Ishay become the R&D manager he is today 
  4. A free collection of Freud’s writings, recommended by Ishay 
  5. Soluto, Ishay’s previous startup that was mentioned in this episode 

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Apr 262015
 

SpaceIL on Startup Camel

Top 5 insights in this episode

  • Why an entrepreneur can’t really fail    10:30
  • The secret to building a team that can beat every challenge 14:45
  • How to tell an unforgettable startup story 19:18 
  • How to avoid the common misconception about finding inspiration  25:35
  • A simple piece of advice you have to follow before becoming an entrepreneur  32:40

About Kfir Damari

Kfir Damari’s is on the verge of putting “changing history” on his resume. The SpaceIL co-founder is helping to land the first ever Israeli spacecraft on the moon.

As a graduate of Israel’s highly regraded 8200 intelligence army unit, Damari’s dreams were literally as high as the stars, and he was about to make them come true.

When recounting his entrepreneurial journey, he doesn’t describe himself as a “lemonade stand” kid, but his knack for innovation goes way back. While most of his friends played with their transformers and G.I. Joes, 6-year-old Damari was already programming on his first computer (he would go on to lecture on computer science in various academic institutions).

Idan Hershko with Itamar Zur and Kfir Damari

Aside from his vast contributions to SpaceIL, Damri is also the co-founder of Meatpacker, a cloud based security solution for enterprises.

Related Content: PR and communication guru Alan Weinkrantz shares his secrets for captivating startup storytelling

About SpaceIL

Don’t let SpaceIL’s exciting mission to land the first Israei spacecraft on the moon fool you, this startup’s goals are as much about making a change back here on earth as they are about space.

What started out as a Facebook post in late 2010 turned into one of Israel’s top non-profit startups, with over 200 volunteers and donations from the likes of Morris Kahn, Sheldon Adelson and Lynn Schusterman.

SpaceIL was Originally founded to win Google’s Lunar X competition by landing a privately funded robot on the moon. What serves as an inspiration to us all is how they plan to spend the $30 million prize money.

SpaceIL

By using its exhilarating space race story and tech, SpaceIL strives to inspire the next generation of Israeli and Jewish kids from the around the world to become scientists and engineers.

The startup has already ignited tens of thousands of little imaginations in their Israeli classrooms, and has also started reaching out to the Jewish educational system in the US, bridging between Jewish kids abroad and the startup nation.

4 things you can use that were mentioned in this episode

  1. Join the space race with SpaceIL!
  2. “Start With Why”, the TED talk Kfir highly recommends 
  3. Any.DO, another Israeli startup mentioned in this episode
  4. OneTab, the browser add-on that will dramatically reduce your tab clutter 

 

 

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Apr 182015
 

Oktopost on Startup Camel

Top 5 insights in this episode

  • How Oktopost found a void in the current social media market 02:32
  • Why marketing and sales are getting closer to one another than ever before 08:17
  • How necessity is the mother of entrepreneurship 09:18
  • The “one KPI” rule you should follow 14:40
  • Why constant measurement can save your startup 24:50

About Daniel Kushner

For Daniel Kushner, Oktopost’s CEO and co-founder, necessity was truly the mother of invention. After moving to NYC with his wife and not finding the perfect job, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He used his vast techy background to start the first PHP user group, which brought the Israeli programming language to American shores (Note: Although PHP was created by the Greenlandic Rasmus Lerdorf, Israeli Startup Zend, which Kushner worked in, was the one that evolved it to its current form).

Soon enough, giants like Google started sending employees his way for PHP training, simply because Daniel managed to fill a void no one else filled in the American software market. It was that unique ability to identify voids, along with his superior tech skills, that brought upon the birth of Oktopost.

Related Content: How Playbuzz became the most viral social content platform in the world

About Oktopost

Fill a room with B2B marketers and ask them to raise their hands if they are actively posting on social media. Chances are, all hands will be raised. Now, ask them if they completely know and understand the ROI those social media posts are bringing to their business, and watch those hands drop.

Enter Oktopost, the first social media managing tool designed specifically for B2B marketers. It enables B2B users to focus on what matters to them: quality social lead generation, as opposed to the “brand awareness” that B2C marketers are usually concerned with.

Social media conversions

 

By constantly measuring the clicks and conversions that social posts produce, a built-in integration with popular third party platforms like SalesForce, and providing a powerful scheduling tool for all social channels, Oktopost is the go to destination for B2B marketers seeking to truly harness the power of social media. Just ask Toshiba, Panasonic and Nice, since they’re already using it.

Oktopost team

 

4 things you can use that were mentioned in this episode

  1. Get a job at Oktopost 
  2. Fake it till you make it, an amazing TED lecture you should watch before your next presentation 
  3. Daniel’s “bible”, the SaaStr blog 
  4. Get inspired by the great insights of Avishai from Imonomy, also mentioned in this episode 

 

Inspirational Quote

Daniel-Kushner-quote

 

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Apr 122015
 

COLU on Startup Camel

Top 4 insights in this episode

  • Why COLU’s tech has an impact on both consumers and governments 03:32
  • The most important thing an up and coming entrepreneur needs to have  13:29
  • Finding a VC that sees your full potential 18:29
  • The 2 MUST HAVES for getting star players on your team 24:56

About Amos Meiri

Amos is COLU’s CEO and founder, and as such is one of the most influential players in the global Bitcoin community.

The finance whiz  (Meiri was eToro’s head of dealing) turned entrepreneur is one of the men behind Bitcoin’s revolutionary “colored coins” concept. A concept that eventually evolved into COLU’s mission statement: using Bitcoin tech behind the scenes to secure and improve the lives of online shoppers and much more.

At one point in his life, Amos wanted to become a professional drummer. Now, it seems like the world is about ready  to follow the beat of his drum, as he transforms the way we transfer and own digital assets.

Related Content: How BillGuard got its users to understand they need them

About COLU

Over the last couple of years, Bitcoin has made quite the jump from a buzzword to an accepted form of payment. These days, you can practically use the digital currency to buy a cup of coffee, or a condo.

Bitcoin

One of the factors that establish Bitcoin as a secure method of transferring funds is the “blockchain”. In a nutshell, the blockchain is an online ledger that records all bitcoin transactions across the world, and then verifies them with the computing power of other bitcoin users called “miners”.

But what if you could use the secure blockchain platform to transfer and authenticate other goods?  That’s where COLU comes into play.

COLU supplies its users with unprecedented proof that they are indeed the owners (or sellers) of a variety of digital tokens: show tickets, art pieces, even digital keys meant to unlock services or devices like hotel doors. Since COLU users have the Bitcoin blockchain methodology “backing” their purchase, they can showcase it, use it or transfer it, with no fear of fraud.

COLU team

COLU was founded in 2014, and has recently raised an impressive $2.5 million in seed funding from Aleph and Spark Capital among others. Clearly, in an “internet of things” world, the ability to transfer digital goods in a secure manner is worth a fortune.

3 things you can use that were mentioned in this episode

  1. Work at COLU! 
  2. Captio, the recommended tool of the week  
  3. Amos’ startup to look out for: Yevvo

 

 

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