Last week IDC’s Alumni association held a conference for the graduates of the Business and Hi-Tech Entrepreneurship courses. Numerous graduates of these courses attended and the conference was open to students as well. Current students who heard about the conference attended with a desire to learn from the vast experience of the speakers who turned their business idea into a reality.
The event began with a festive reception and time for all attendees to mingle with each other, and lighting of the second candle of Hanukah followed. Attendees piled into the lecture hall and the host of the conference, Ella Matalon, began with opening remarks. Ella is a lecturer for the Business and Hi-Tech Entrepreneurship courses from 1997-2010 and is the CEO of MIT’s Entrepreneurship Forum. She talked about Israel’s advancement in the entrepreneurship arena in light of great developments in Hi-Tech, Cleantech, commodities, and the achievements of companies such as Teva, Iscar and Check Point.
Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s president, followed and talked about his vision and the path which led him to establish IDC: “IDC was established for the students and in order to train the future generation not only in politics but also in business, social and economic entrepreneurship. Economic entrepreneurship is crucial in strengthening the state of Israel. The Israeli market is relatively small in comparison to the worldwide market and there is a need for people to do business abroad but live in Israel in order to assist the prosperity of the state”.
Ella Matalon, the conference organizer
“An entrepreneur needs to have a vision and to think “out of the box” but also have practical knowledge, determination, will power, stubbornness, and a strong mind in order to make an idea a reality. Any entrepreneur should always take into consideration the possibility of failure, which is a great way of learning how to pick oneself up and move on. There is also a need for good communication and persuading skills in order to raise money for the company and manage employees. Additionally a need of personal integrity is required to build a person/company’s reputation.
IDC is an example of social entrepreneurship for the benefit of the public. Many were skeptic early on but IDC is now the number 1 institution in Social Sciences, employs the top professors in Israel, establishes new, state of the art, programs yearly, and is respectively known worldwide. IDC was established with and because of the students, its future is in their hands and it will thrive with them”.
Prof. Gadi Taubenfeld, the Dean of the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science, was the next to speak. He talked about the school’s commitment to update the courses in order to provide the students with the most appropriate tools. The school’s graduates are more than willing to assist this by lecturing and committing the students. Every week there is a different lecture by a graduate who is currently working and leading the industry.
Intellectual Property Attorney Joel Stein, Partner in the Corporate and Patents Groups in Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer’s Herzliya office, spoke about his view of entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship is made of experience, knowledge, passion and determination. The experience and knowledge gained enable the entrepreneur to find the unique niche and the desire of the market in a specific area. The passion enables him/her to overcome the hurdles along the way”.
After this, each graduate speaker introduced himself/herself, their background, their company, and shared from their entrepreneurial experience.
Moran Nir, a 2010 graduate of the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science, talked about her company “Funkkit”. The company markets designed waterproof and flexible skins for sneakers which are easy to apply and remove and can customize any type of sneaker. The company allows any designer to design a skin, they then choose to print and market the most popular skins according to the amount of Facebook “likes”. The company began initial sales last month and currently markets in Israel and Japan.
Doron Tamir, a 2003 graduate of the Rafael Recanati International School of Computer Sciences and a serial internet and energy entrepreneur, talked about his various ventures. He talked about the establishment and work of “Kido’z”, a company which offers a web operating system for children. The idea came upon Doron’s partner when this area was a blue ocean, a new frontier (as opposed to a red ocean where there is vast competition). The company was able to sign OEM agreements with a number of leading players in the world of computers. Doron also talked about the path which he took in order to become a partner of the EDF-EN energy corporation, who is tasked with establishing solar energy plants in Israel.
Avi Kedmi, a 2005 graduate of the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science, talked about the path which led him to establish “Amadesa”, the company where he currently serves as CTO. Amadesa offers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions focused on delivering a dynamic website of one through personalization and automated content delivery. The company has risen until today from Venture Capital to $9.5 million. Avi talked about how it is always a bad timing to establish a startup and an entrepreneur should have the courage to establish something, because no matter where you’ll begin, you’ll have the abilities to take this forward.
Yishai Green, a 2006 graduate of the Rafael Recanati International School of Computer Sciences and a serial entrepreneur, talked about his experience and the companies which were established by him. His first company “Onigma” was sold to McAfee for $20M just 22 months from the day of its establishment. His current company “Soluto” provides anti-frustration software and recently received an investment from the American Venture Capital Bessemer and has won the first prize at the TechCrunch Disrupt Competition.
Gal Naor, a student of the Radzyner School of Law, talked about his company “StorWize” and how it was sold to IBM for $140M. The company provides real-time data compression and storage optimization solutions. Gal talked about the establishment of the company, the company’s re-location to the U.S., the process which took place with IBM and tips for every entrepreneur.