In 2009 as part of SMU's Technology Study Mission (TSM), my peers and I left for a 10 day trip to Israel to study their VC/Startup industry to figure out how we can replicate their success as a Startup Nation here in Singapore. We spoke to government officials, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs during the trip.
The following posts in this series are my verbatim account from notes taken during the trip.
Gemini Israel Funds
1. Invested in Nasdaq companies like
- Precision (which was the company of JVP's founder)
2. Established in 1991
3. In the period of 1990 - 1992
- 1 million immigrants from Russia came into Israel, greatly increasing the nation's
talent pool and they needed some places to go or do.
Most of these immigrants hold PHDs.
4. Being one of the first few VCs, they acted as a mini incubator
by providing access to infrastructure
5. In Israel, everybody knew everyone:
JVP -> Precision -> Gemini -> Technionseed -> Beta02 etc.
6. 50% of funds raised by startups comes from outside of Israel.
7. In 2008, raised over 1Bn (USD) in just half a year
Notes from chat with Dr. Orna Berry (former Chief Scientist, Israel)
1. Israel startup incubator programs was started in 1991 to support R&D (and not startups)
2. By 2007, there are 24 incubators
- 200 projects at a time
- 1000 projects have 'graduated' (left the incubator) so far
out of which 57% secured external investments
3. Dr Berry has been involved in the industry and in startups like dbMotion and Confidela
before becoming CSO.
4. Tips when talking to a VC:
- Get Family Support and a Coach/Mentor first!
- Be fully committed
- Be able to standout (VCs receive lots of meetings a week/day)
- They are looking for:
- Domain experts in teams
- Understanding of how you will grow sales efficiently
- Long term barriers to entry
- Honest in assessing the market. (Bottom up and not Top down)
- Executive Summary is important. Remember they read a lot of proposals a day.
"A mediocre idea that is well-run is worth more than a excellent idea with a poor management"