If you’re a smart investor or just tech savvy, you are probably curious about the Israeli startup scene. There is no doubt that the startup ecosystem in Israel is amongst the most successful in the world, so if you are interested in either investing, or just learning more about what’s going on here, keep reading!
It’s not every day that I get an opportunity to connect with a high powered and influential woman such as Shelly Hod Moyal. In between running an incredibly innovative and successful investment company and taking care of her kids at home, she made the time to answer some questions for Puzzle Israel about herself,iAngels and the Israeli startup scene, and the budding partnership forming between Puzzle Israel and iAngels.
A bit about Shelly, her partner, and how they got started
Shelly’s background is financial, spending years on Wall Street, working as a wealth management associate at UBS, then at a hedge fund as a research analyst, and finally as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Since graduating college, Shelly has been involved in analyzing investment opportunities for individuals, institutions and companies. Her main interest, though, remains creating a vehicle that helps angel investors evaluate opportunities and build a responsible and manageable portfolio through co-investing with top performing investors and maintaining hands on involvement to improve performance of investments.
Shelly met Mor Assia, the co-founder of iAngels, about seven years ago while Mor was getting her MBA at Columbia, and they instantly became great friends. Mor and Shelly both married “serial entrepreneurs”, as Shelly put it. Mor’s Husband is Yoni Assia, the Founder and CEO of eToro, the world’s leading social trading networkץ Yoni’s father, also the chairman of iAngels, is David Assia, is a serial entrepreneur as well and one of the leading and most prominent angel investors in Israel. Shelly’s husband, Kfir Moyal is one of the founders of Matomy and is the general partner of a micro VC, Cyhawk Ventures, which invests in early stages of new media and advertising technology.
How iAngels all began
One of Israel’s nicknames is “The Startup Nation”, because more and more entrepreneurs and innovations with fantastic investment opportunities are popping up every day. In light of Shelly and Mor’s connections with investors and companies abroad, they realized that there is a major disconnect between the startup ecosystem in Israel and investors abroad who want to actively invest in early stage companies in Israel but don’t have an efficient way of doing so. They got to thinking, and knew that there had to be a way to spearhead this process. As industry insiders – they have the global perspective, analytics, and connections. They had done the research, they had a comprehensive list of successful investors and investments, and they realized that starting iAngels was well within reach. At that point, the main goal was bringing investors into the Israeli startup landscape, which is constantly growing and succeeding.
Israel: the “Startup Nation”
In Israel, for every one million people there are 375 tech startups. The country in second place is the US, with about 180 startups per one million people. That means that Israel has more than twice the amount of startups per one million people than the USA. From instant messaging to Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, thousands of startup ideas have come out of Israel. There’s a reason the term “startup nation” was coined about Israel. About 8% of the total population works in high tech, a percentage that is virtually unprecedented in any other country. So why is it that so many successful ideas come out of this small country? According to Shelly, the first factor that brings about the entrepreneurs is the Israeli “hutzpa”, or direct, risk driven “go-getter” personalities. The risk disposition has other drivers. For example, in Israel the standard talented engineers are recruited straight out of the most elite IDF intelligence unit, arriving to the high tech field young and motivated with five years of top class training and experience behind them. A nation willing to take a risk is a nation bound for success, making Israel the perfect platform for high risk high profit endeavours.
iAngels and Puzzle Israel
Puzzle Israel is dedicated to showing tourists the real Israel, the textural and colorful cultures and subcultures of society, and the real people behind the faces seen in the media. One of the most prominent cultures in Israel, as we can understand from Shelly, Mor, and iAngels, is the startup culture, and Puzzle Israel is ready and proud to show travellers this part of the real Israel. In keeping with the goal of experiencing all the culture that Israel has to offer, meeting two strong and significant Israeli figures such as Shelly and Mor provides a sneak peak into the people behind the culture that is the startup nation.