High Tech on the Low hosted by Jordan Kastrinsky, is on a mission to make high tech accessible to the world. In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship and more! With society turning ever more towards technological solutions to make processes more efficient and secure, it is important, now more than ever, that we unite the high-tech sector's collective resources under one roof to reap the benefits of this knowledge-sharing. There is so much opportunity out there to grow within the industry that we must provide the tools through which to do so.
There’s no doubt that even with warnings of a global recession - Israeli tech is still a powerhouse, regionally and globally. When we consider the incredible and unprecedented records set in 2021, we see an ecosystem that is ripe with innovation and new opportunities. Yet, how can young entrepreneurs and student founders position themselves to join this blossoming industry?
“Close to a unicorn a week was being announced at high valuations - we are changing from the startup nation to the scale-up nation, where people are less rushing to sell,” says Adv. Dan Fisher, partner at Gornitzky & Co. law firm who heads the high-tech team there while helping to promote student-led ventures. At the end of the day, Dan sees the development that we are witnessing in the industry as a maturation of sorts. Ideally, this process will help to welcome the new generation of tech entrepreneurs.
The Momentum Startup Accelerator helps facilitate the growth of new entrepreneurs. Based out of Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel, the accelerator led a startup gala competition, hosted at the Gornitzky & Co. offices, showcasing some of the leading student ventures in their program. Judged by a panel of esteemed judges including investors, tech experts, and legal advisors, the ventures competed to be named the ‘Startup of the Night’ and receive a prize that included useful resources and tools for early-stage founders. “It’s really cool to see all the students here and see all these young up-and-coming startups,” adds Dan “because what we see now is 3 guys or girls in a booth could 2 or 3 years be a 100-million-dollar venture - it’s exciting.”
As the focus on the new generation of startup founders grows, it is evident that the focus on developing young founders actually works and provides great value to the overall ecosystem. Michael Lavie Salomon, once a student in the Momentum program, can attest to the strength of programs like Momentum, as he today serves as the VP of Innovation and Business Development at Arieli Capital, a leader in promoting innovative tech ventures. “I joined Momentum with a venture, did all the validation process using Momentum, met mentors, and the best lesson as an entrepreneur we learned as a team was to find people who can help you understand what you are doing wrong as soon as possible.”
Though his venture did not take off as he had hoped, Michael says Momentum, and programs like it, gave him, and others, the tools to understand the process of building a startup. Soon after his time at the program, he ended up joining the management team of the Momentum Startup Accelerator where he was able to develop his passion for helping young entrepreneurs. “This was my first real step in helping startups and I saw everyone really needed help.” Fast forward to today, and now Michael manages “the innovation and operations internally in Arieli Capital to bring value and deal flow to our startups in Arieli as well.” What is Michael’s main takeaway then when it comes to students and starting startups? “Go for it, today is your opportunity!”
Beyond professionals like Michael and Dan, we were introduced to One Zero, the first digital bank, based in Israel and their Lead Product Manager Or Levy who is working on a novel financial solution that helps people manage their finances and business, 100% digitally. “For students, as they enter the workforce and start their own ventures, they need a place to conveniently manage their finances - investment portfolio, savings, salary, crypto, whatever,” remarks Or, “and we are here to provide them a novel digital solution that concentrates it all under one roof.” Businesses like One Zero, though they are also for the public-at-large, can be incredible tools for young entrepreneurs as they start out. Not only are solutions like this helpful to manage business processes, but they often are student-friendly and provide additional resources for help.
Look out for the next installment on some of the student-led ventures we met at the Momentum Startup Accelerator Gala Competition!