Meet the founders behind the crowdfunding platform investing in Israel's startups. By Betsy Mikel (Editor, Women 2.0)
We’ve been hearing lots of buzz about more tech hubs popping up beyond the walls of Silicon Valley. For many, starting up elsewhere just makes more sense. It’s certainly more affordable almost anywhere else. And if you’ve got a strong network elsewhere, it’s smart to be closer to the people who can help you grow your business.
Lately we’ve been hearing more about the startup scene in Israel. “It’s not only a great place for tech entrepreneurs in general,” said Chen Levanon, the CEO of Israel-based ClicksMob. “Specifically, there is an opportunity for women to rise to the top in Israel’s tech ecosystem, evidenced in part by the number of women in pivotal positions both in the tech and investment community – and its upward trend.”
To get a better gauge on why Israel, and why now for startups, we spoke with Shelly Hod Moyal and Mor Assia. They are are founding partners of iAngels, a crowdfunding platform that focuses exclusively on Israeli startups. Here’s what they had to say about the opportunity they see for Israeli startups.
Women 2.0: Tell us a little bit about your background before founding iAngels
iAngels: We are both entrepreneurs with many years of experience at high tech, business, investment, M&A and strategy roles. We both have corporate experience in the U.S. and in Israel.
We know there are thousands of women angel investors who appreciate a woman's perspective and a style of negotiating deals that may be different from the traditional approach. They bring their experience, methodologies, expertise to the entrepreneurial space to open the door to Israel for investors who are excited to tap this booming ecosystem.
W2: How is iAngels different than other equity crowdfunding platforms?
iAngels: There are a few differentiating aspects of iAngels. The first thing investors will notice when they view our site is that we focus exclusively on Israeli startups. Most important however, is the way in which we curate our deal flow.
As opposed to other equity crowdfunding platforms and traditional VC firms, startups cannot approach us and pitch their startup. Rather, we receive all of our deal flow from Israeli super angels or VCs. Only after a startup has received funding from an angel investor or VC do we begin our due diligence process in order to determine if we will present their company to our investor community.
W2: Why did you see the need for a platform strictly for the Israel angel community? Why not open it up to all angels?
iAngels: We would like to clarify that while our deal flow comes strictly from Israeli angels and VCs, our platform is open to all angels across the world. In fact, the majority of our investors are non-Israeli investors who wish to invest in some of the amazing ideas coming out of Israel.
That being said, the Israeli angel community has traditionally been a closed network of investors that enjoys significant investor returns from some of the most exclusive deals to come out of Startup Nation. Our mission is to open up this unique ecosystem by allowing private investors to co-invest with prominent angel investors in a managed, structured, and transparent way.
W2: What are a few qualities you look for in startups before giving the “green light” to be featured on your platform?
iAngels: First and foremost we invest in teams. We look for relevant experience, motivation, leadership and ability to execute on the vision.
The second thing we look for in startups is traction. While we make early-stage investments, we invest after there is a team in place working full time on a product that has received initial traction, be it through customers, initial revenues or successful pilots. These are typically seed and Series A.
W2: Can you share with us a few female-founded companies that have been funded on iAngels?
iAngels: We’ll give you two examples of incredible companies founded by even more incredible women. The first is a company called 24.me — a smart personal assistant with a calendar, to-do list, and notes built-in and fully united. Besides for the tradditional personal assitant app, 24.me allows users to link all of their social media accounts to their calendar, send gifts to their friends and family, and pay their bills all from within the app. The founder, Liat Hertanu, is a serial entrepreneur with vast experience in the startup ecosystem.
The second company is Hello Heart — the simplest way to monitor blood pressure and understand your health. The founder, Maayan Cohen is an entrepreneur with a background in BioTechnology and Management Consulting. Both Hello Heart and 24.me are now available on the Apple Watch.
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Photo credit: Dmitry Pistrov via Shutterstock.
About the author: Betsy Mikel is the managing editor of Women 2.0 and runs the content consultancy Aveck. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a lifelong obsession with French language and culture. When she's not biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym.