As we kick off the Jewish Holiday season, there is no better time to appreciate family. In the Israeli high-tech scene, many companies were founded and run by family members. Of course, running a business isn’t easy, but building a business with your family can be even more challenging. Just as there can be ups and downs in the home, things are no different when running a company. But let’s review some of the Israeli family-run startups and companies that have defied the odds and made it big.
Commit is a leading global tech services company focused on custom software, cloud, and IoT solutions. Based in Israel, the company has delivered more than 1,200 unique and innovative technology and software projects for its customers over the past two decades. Commit is led by the two brothers, Arik and Idan Faingold. Commit has over 600 multi-disciplinary innovation experts who serve a broad range of companies, from small startups to large enterprises in multiple business sectors.
“The idea of starting a company together came from our father," said Arik Faingold, Chairman & President of Commit. "During one of our family's weekly Friday night meals, he tossed out the idea of us working together. Each of us had our own entrepreneurial project back then, but we decided to jump in and merge our two businesses. We have a great deal of mutual trust in each other. At the same time, our professional worlds were and are quite different." Each brother has his distinct area of expertise and managerial domains. Arik oversees software and the North American division, while Idan is responsible for the ICT, cloud, and managed services. Yet, they have the same purpose: to keep the company successful and growing. This is an advantage that helps Commit reach new heights.
"We have several family members working with us too. Our father, David Faingold, who originally thought of us collaborating, oversees special operations projects. Our sister and two brothers-in-law used to work with us for years, and we hope young family members will join soon," added Arik. "We try to avoid discussing work at family dinners," continued Idan Faingold, CEO of Commit. "I think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in our case. We have the privilege to work with a partner we trust – an essential privilege while managing a company. As a CEO, you often feel lonely and face challenging decisions and risks. Arik and I are, first and foremost, best friends. We strive to maintain the balance - one is the CEO, the other is the Chairman & President, but neither is the ‘boss’. In practice, we run the company together."
"The DNA of Commit is founded on an open-door approach, flexibility, creativity, warmth, and a family vibe. The fact that Commit is an integral part of our home and family helps us inspire a familial feeling across the company and inspires every one of our great employees to feel at home," added Idan.
Echo3D, an intel ignite alumni company, is a cloud platform for 3D/AR/VR content management and distribution that provides tools and network infrastructure to help developers and companies quickly build and deploy 3D apps, games, and content. The company serves over 20,000 developers using their SDKs to create real-time 3D experiences for gaming, entertainment, retail, healthcare, training, and more.
Echo3D was founded by Alon and Koren Grinshpoon, twin brothers who founded the company together in New York City in 2018. Nowadays, the company has 13 employees, many in Israel. During their time at Columbia University and observing many development 3D/AR/VR projects, they noticed that developers struggle to create scalable and dynamic 3D/AR/VR apps. Today’s 3D/AR/VR apps are single-user experiences with static and hard-to-update content. It isn’t easy to update 3D content across different platforms, which often have platform-specific specifications. Developers struggle to onboard users since any change in the app results in continuous re-development and re-deployment cycles. To scale the development of frontend-heavy experiences like 3D/AR/VR apps, a cross-platform backend infrastructure is needed: the "AWS of 3D/AR/VR”. The two brothers interviewed developers who validated that essential development tools were missing and decided to build them.
Alon and Koren are no strangers to working together side-by-side. From high-school science fairs to award-winning pitches at international events, they have been working together. But echo3D is their first commercial venture combining their engineering and business experiences.
"We make a conscious effort to separate work time from downtime and, while not always successful, definitely try to avoid talking shop when going jogging together after a long day's work (jogging with a twin is highly recommended since they easily match your speed and rhythm!)" says Alon. "We also try to take at least one vacation together to bond over things that are not work-related and remind ourselves that we're close not because we work together but rather that we work together because we're so close," he adds.
"Our tip for success in working together," says Koren, "is topic-specific calendar invites are your best friend –after your twin brother of course. Create a workflow that respects the other person's time, priorities, and responsibilities and considers that the person you're meeting is your brother. There are so many things you'd rather talk about than work. Use these topic-specific calendar invites to ensure you're allocating time to go over certain topics and sync up while not deviating from the call's subject to discuss the newest Marvel movie.”
"Also,” continues Alon, “take advantage of the high level of trust you share with your brother/ family co-founder. Much stress can be taken off your shoulders when you have a partner you know and trust. Like the Swiss flag, this is a huge plus."
R.me accompanies hundreds of real estate investors (multi-family) in the U.S. with complete transparency and personal attention to generate quality investments through an additional income stream that does not depend on time. The company was founded by Arye and Miriam Schory, a happily married couple. “By investing properly and responsibly, investors and their families can enjoy a better quality of life and financial situation. Our life's mission is to serve our amazing community of investors – service members, retirees, entrepreneurs, and private individuals," says Arye.
"During our time in the army, our mutual love for the country led us to one other," tells Miriam. "When Arye retired from his army service, after 23 years of serving as a Paratrooper commander and a general in the Kfir Brigade, we started thinking about our next steps and future. This is a dream come true. After physically living apart for 23 years, we decided to create something together– our new thing. After we had four sweet children, a new baby was born – our company that we believed so much in."
"Honestly, this is our life's mission – as IDF retirees, we went through a process of supervision on a personal and financial level," adds Arye. "This led us to come up with the idea to safely retire by investing in the future of tomorrow today. We learned that proper preparation is the key to embarking on a new path that will benefit the retiree and his or her family in terms of financial and professional benefits. We lead a community of 250 investors, pensioners, and employees, and we've helped them achieve abundance and financial stability through investing in yielding real estate in the U.S."
"We were blessed with four wonderful children who feel at home at the company we built and are always happy to participate. As parents, we gave them a part to play: For example, when we had days with investors visiting, the girls were the hostesses and gave out gifts, and our older son was in charge of distributing the refreshments. The goal is to let them be an actual part of what we built, and it works wonderfully," says Miriam. "On top of that, my little brother, Omer Tal, is also the operations and customer relations director. Omer is responsible for managing the direct relationships and delivering regular, monthly, and quarterly updates to the investors. He is also responsible for organizing various company events (face-to-face and online meetings)," she sums up.
When reflecting on her own experience and how she makes it work, Miriam explains that "Every relationship requires joint work and constant investment. When a company with a real vision, values, and responsibility for hundreds of investors is added to a relationship – the maintenance of the partnership and the shared infrastructure is even more important. Our tips are to define the roles and always support and encourage each other. It is equally important to take proactive breaks and fill ourselves with what makes us feel good together, remember the goal and vision, and never forget to complement each other on small and big successes."
"For us, Shabbat [the Jewish Sabbath] is a necessary break– time to recharge with what matters: quality family time, without distractions from emails or phone calls. Just us and the children. As a religious family, it is simpler for us because there is no hesitation. So, we both enjoy our Shabbat and rest," the couple sums up together.
LSports is a world-leading provider of real-time sports data, working with the sports betting industry's key clients since 2012. Its mission is to consistently present game-changing solutions for the sports betting industry and is dedicated to supplying highly effective control tools and data analysis. Powered by a unique proprietary API technology, state-of-the-art sportsbook trading management services, innovative betting stimulating services, and 24/7 comprehensive and accurate sports data feeds, LSports is the one-stop shop for your sportsbook data.
Brothers Ido and Dotan Lazar founded the company, with Dotan serving as the CEO. "The pressure from working as a family takes its toll because there are no more family discussions around the table. So, on the one hand, it's fascinating but it doesn't leave much space for other sorts of conversations that families would normally have," says Dotan about the work-family balance. "My father, brother, and I running a business together significantly affects Friday night meals. We can’t seem to separate it because our work is a significant part of our lives," he adds.
"We also have other family members as ‘satellites’ if you will. My wife Limor and my brother oversee the accounting and bookkeeping of the company" shares Dotan. My wife is a designer, and she and her sister are working with us in market product marketing. It's a family business, not just for us, the founders, but also for our workers and partners," he sums up.
"Our tip for starting a business with family and friends is that you can go for it as long as you know how to get along– as long as you manage to separate your private and business life. Another thing is that you need to set boundaries– give your partner a place to bloom and flourish. If you take full charge and don't leave anything to anyone else, it can create frustration that might explode someday. We learned that over the years, everybody has their natural position within the company," the brothers concluded together.