If you’ve been reading NoCamels, you’ve likely become well versed on the newest developments in Israel’s technology and innovation scene. And if you’re looking to hear straight from Israel’s visionaries in the spheres of culture, tech, health, and art, the new podcast Founder Stories is what you’ve been waiting for.
Founder Stories features inspiring conversations with founders ranging from celebrity chef Barak Yehezkelli, tech stars Jon Medved and Gigi Levy, fashion icon Dorin Frankfurt to pop idol Ivri Lider. This series is all about celebrating Israeli chutzpah and the entrepreneurial way of life that makes the Startup nation tick.
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Hosted by husband-and-wife team Anouk Lorie, a co-founder of NoCamels, and Barak Rabinowitz, managing partner at F2 Capital, Founder Stories delves deep into the lives, experiences, and personas of the founders from this small country’s ecosystem who are leaving their mark on a global scale.
Lorie and Rabinowitz share candid, dynamic conversations that are often filled with witty jokes and personal anecdotes from life in Israel as parents and professionals.
“We’re trying to think broadly about founders; there are tech founders, but there are also people that transcend tech, who are doing non-profit work or are in the arts. They have a story to tell, wisdom to share, lessons to teach and courage to spare. I see big directories of companies like Crunchbase, but there’s no directory of founders,” says Rabinowitz.
And that’s where Founder Stories comes in.
Lorie’s experience as a journalist for the Financial Times, Newsweek and CNN shines through as she engages interviewees with insightful questions that spur thought-provoking answers. Rabinowitz, who as an investor has met hundreds of the most groomed up-and-coming entrepreneurs, has a unique perspective that catalyzes forceful responses. “We always say we’re looking not for the founder who’s creating a particular feature, but the founder who has the vision to make an impact,” he explains.
“For me, it’s less about the businesses and projects these people are leading, and more about discerning who these people are, what makes them tick, what formed their psychology and what led to their unique ability to lead. I’m fascinated by people who delve head-first into their destiny,” says Lorie.
Founder Stories may very much be an Israel story, but it is told in a way that will resonate with audiences all over the world.
The stories are as diverse as Israeli society. They include overcoming unique personal challenges, adventures in India, college campus activism and being a woman with a PhD in mathematics being told by a CEO that women are not good at math.
What does it take to overcome these bumps on the road to success? Who are the real people creating successful businesses in this unique geopolitical climate? What can we learn from them? And what is it about Israel that makes it such a fertile land for founders? These are some of the questions Founder Stories seeks to answer.
In the episode featuring Lee Rotenberg, the co-founder of Ivy, a business management tool for designers and vendors acquired by Houzz, Rotenberg says: “I always wanted to create things, but it wasn’t that I woke up one day and said ‘I want to be a founder.’ I was living in Tel Aviv, and there’s something really contagious about creating in this city. There’s a unique energy that somehow seeps into your blood and just makes you hungry to hustle, hungry to tackle challenges, hungry to build solutions to problems.”
In the podcast episode featuring Chutzpah author Inbal Arieli, we learn that the secret to Israeli success, as she sees it, is cultivated as early as age two to three. It does not, as is often believed, happen solely in the military. “The way children are taught to think is completely different. They are taught to question and challenge everything. And that’s not regarded as disrespect.”
When Eli Beer of United Hatzalah was interviewed about the early days of his life-saving organization, he said: “I decided to use Israel’s best invention ever. We invented one of the greatest inventions in the world called chutzpah. Whoever doesn’t know what Chutzpah is – balls.”
Or, in other words, the blend of courage, vision, and audacity that is at the heart of Israeli innovation. How has chutzpah played out amongst Israeli’s new generation of founders? Listen here to find out.