Things, that impressed the participants the most, new experiences and business tools, most interesting business persons they met - everything about the study tour of MSс in Technology Management to Israel is here.
Almost half of Intel employees are volunteers
Our next destination - Intel. By the way, here are a lot of immigrants from Ukraine, and all of them tried to speak with us in Ukrainian and demonstrated their warm attitude to our country. It was the very encouraging acquaintance, which motivates to be proud of our countrymen.
Here we have met Alla Svidler, who comes from Zaporizhzhya. She studied at Technion and works in Intel. Her field - debugging chips, but she works not as a manager. She is occupied as an Individual contributor, without being affiliated with the teams. It is the peculiarity of the Intel, which allows introverts to create innovation in a preferable way for them. But this privilege should be deserved!
The other featured approach, known as “Dangin” (Jail), is a special working plan (more like Hackathon) to release people resources for very accelerated problem solution.
Personnel in Intel highly values a mutual support, but it displayed mainly on the informal level. Other main value - people, who stay with company in the hard time.
Intel has the internal venture community which invests in prospective ideas of employees, but reserves IP (intelectual property) for the company.
Intel also invests a lot of money in the children education, especially in a math, in order to prepare a future generation.
Volunteering - the key to success and best investment in the future of workers and company. 42% of Intel employees are volunteers, supporting different social projects.
By Nazar Tymoshyk
Failed interview at Microsoft became a start of the business
Yossi Tahuri is a serial entrepreneur who became an entrepreneur because of failed interview at Microsoft. Now he works with the startup Yallo. Recently Yallo has raised 8 million dollars. This startup provides the VoIP solution that instantly makes the transcription of "telephone" conversations and can connect to CRM or be synchronized with other applications.
The company has the cool product, but is striving to define an marketing approach to explain to customers why they need Yallo.
Some fresh ideas from Yossi:
- Don't build a business only on an idea
- If you are doing business only for money, don't do it!
- I care about people who care about what they do. I don't care about your SAT or IQ score
- I fire stupid people, lazy people and people who don't enjoy what they do
- If you want to be private nowadays, take a submarine, go under water and never go back
Hi-Tech service for plants!
We had an agro marathon of Israel companies which are world leaders in agro-technologies. It’s the high time for the 2nd agro revolution: to “hear” needs of plants and support them 24/7.
AgroWebLab is an agriculture company that was created in 2012. The company develops, installs and supports electronic devices for agribusiness.
The main advantages that company provides to clients:
- highly developed genetics;
- a short period of vegetation;
- a variety of plants that require less water;
- stability to disease;
- EuroGAP certificate.
AgroWebLab consists of 17 employees in Israel (including a former NASA employee born in Ukraine) and it is going to open a new office in China during this year and it has ambition plans to become a global company in the nearest future.
The second company was AutoAgronom. The company sold its part to a Chinese company but kept its R&D center in the kibutz Ramat Ashofet.
The main problems that company resolves:
- how much to irrigate;
- when to irrigate;
- how much to fertilize;
- when to fertilize;
- what is the best fertilizer.
The company guaranties 30% reduction of water and 40% of fertilizers for irrigation. Also, you will have at least 5% growth of crop capacity with AutoAgronom.
The third company was AGAM advanced agronomy. It is a company that provides services for optimization of agriculture processes.
What they do:
- GIS (Geographical Informative Systems);
- Remote sensing (image processing);
- Sampling (soil and plants sampling);
- VRA/VRT (variable mode application).
The company of 5 employees was very inspired by the “exit” that the team made only last week! Now they are going to work with 1000 distributors in a more than 100 countries (it's an R&D of only 5 people).
Excellent motivation for startups, isn’t it?
By Lyubomyr Lyadyk
Device for restoring the eyesight
MSс in Technology Management study tour participants were hosted by the company Nano Retina, which develops nano-retina for the eyes! As developers say, it could take 7-10 years to growth the idea and tap into the market. Nano Retina is in the middle of the road, on the stage of preliminary testing.
Nano Retina has two main products: retina and special glasses. This retina used to be implanted into eyes in the very easy and painless way and is supported by the glasses, equipped with the battery and could be charged through USB.
The product will do no less than to restore an eyesight to people with the damaged own retina. The intersection of electronics and biotechnology, where this product was nurtured, is really exciting!
Many good specialists in different areas moved to Israel, enabling the multi-disciplinary projects.
As Chan Kim says (Blue Ocean Strategy): all innovations are at the intersections of different areas.
A couple of James', director of Nano Retina, quotes:
- "Two core values of high tech: men and patents."
- "If in the world is a problem and you have a unique -solution, it automatically provides you high margins."
- "To develop our channels of distribution, you need huge amounts of money."
- "There is a phenomenon that I call "the Israeli disease": focus only on R&D and how to make quicker exit. Quickly, quickly - it's in our nature and due to the relatively young age of our economy."
Get a customer success manager early
Why it's important to have customer oriented people in startups? This and other related questions were discussed with Chilik Hochberg, a Head of Customer Success in Israeli startup called BioCatch (a company that develops Behavioral Biometric, Authentication and Malware Detection solutions for mobile and web applications).
Nowadays, a lot of startups focus on R&D and product marketing while leaving the customer success part unaddressed. But even if a startup doesn't really have money to hire a dedicated person who cares about successful usage of your product by a customer, as an owner you'd better make sure that your developers are customer faced, because at the end of the day we're all are in sales now.
Imagine a developer who couldn't explain in simple words what your product is doing. Or even better, imagine a developer who thinks that client asks silly questions - how would he present your company in a face of a customer? So next time your people speak to clients, make sure they understand what does "patience" mean, could explain in the business language what problem your product solves and they understand that "there is no such thing as a silly question".
It's even better if you have a customer success manager from the very moment you start to sell your product. Usually people delegate this responsibility to account managers or sales, but it's not always working, because the task of a sales person is to sell a product or solution and most of the time they don't care how it's being used by customers afterwards and whether they're satisfied with it. The next time a sales persons contacts your customer is when they need to renew the contract, so they don't really know what happens with your customers during the period between signing a contract and it's renewal.
As an owner you should think of incorporating into your product some means of backward communication and signaling so you know whether this user is still active and how it's doing. It's also more important for a startup to keep an eye on existing customers' satisfaction than focus on getting new customers, because it requires more effort to find new customers than retain existing ones.
In BioCatch they care about customer success a lot, they have dedicated a person who is focused on creating customer success in the organization, they perform work with developers to make sure they treat clients well, they hire people who're not only smart but also open minded and customer faced, they actually maintain a dialog with their clients throughout the entire cycle from implementing the pilot project till product purchase and usage in customer's live system. All those factors, in addition to a great product, of course, make them competitive players on the market and open an opportunity to provide their solution to 10 biggest banks in the world with a 30 million users' base!
I believe that all participants of the Study Tour to Israel are thankful to Chilik for coming late after work and sharing his hands on experience with us!
By Alexander Barinov
A medical R&D company in Keysaria, Israel, impressed the MSс in Technology Management participants
One of the interesting business experiences of the study tour to Israel on the MSс in Technology Management program was a meeting with ConTIPI, a company found by the gynecologists Dr. Elan Ziv. The company conducts R&D and develops disruptive technologies aimed at the disposable and non-invasive solutions for women with pelvic floor disorders, that otherwise could have only been solved with a surgery. They are a very good example of a healthcare industry startup from Israel.
The company was originated in 2002. Clinical studies conducted throughout 2003-2005 and ConTIPI got an FDA certification in 2006. In 2010, the company was approached by P&G and leased its product to the latter, but this cooperation was not successful. Later on, it terminated the lease agreement and sold to IT rights of its unique product to Kimberly-Clark for 98 million USD (!!!) and is now working on two new products of similar character.
There are few things that I personally find interesting in this story:
- ConTIPI was a small startup (up to 10 people) that was accepted by LN Innovative Technologies high tech Haifa-based incubator. Work on ConTIPI’s first product took them around 10 years: from a research and development to the sale of the product. Being a part of an incubator shows how much of experience and knowledge and help is provided to a startup by the former. All the decisions were made collaboratively (by the startup founder and the incubator head). A lot of efforts and advice really helped to build a business, pass all closed doors, raise the capital and become more interesting to investors.
- The other point is that ConTIPI grew into a strong company (still 10 people) that decided to stick only to R&D (did not get into the business of packaging, marketing, distributing its products on purpose) with a continuous start-up business model. By this I mean, they gained experience that now allows to shorten the time needed to develop a new product and make an exit with it (sell the product). If it took around 10 years to make a successful exit with a fist product, it is expected for the second product's R&D to take only 3 years. After the 2d product is sold, there is a plan to work on another product.
- ConTIPI had two different models they used with P&G and Kimberly-Clark. First ConTIPI has been acquired by Procter & Gamble for $100 million, but the IP actually remained in Israel, while with Kimberly Clack, they sold the complete product with all certificates and patents. The national law in Israel is built in a way that keeps the IP inside the country. Since ConTIPI was grown in an incubator, they had government investment. If the actual IP (basically the product as a whole) is sold to a company in another country, there is a requirement to pay 6 times more than the original investment from the government, covering the risk of taking away possible working places associated with keeping this business in. This was an interesting experience for the company, so with their 2d and 3d product lines, they are not involving any government money and will work only with private investors’ funds.
- There is also a conclusion, that going into the mass production and trying to enter the global market with your product, is a different strategy. The company chose the continuous start-up business model. There is a list of reasons why this model still remains unchanged. First: there is no or little experience in the marketing and sales and product distribution (when P&G or KC basically own the market). Second: ConTIPI has very limited production capabilities, they could only produce 40.000 devices per year in 3 shifts within the company; when it came into the market KC had 8 product development lines opened that simultaneously covered production of 30 million devices. Third, and most important: this was not the calling of the company, ConTIPI likes developing new things that help the world, and are good at it, why do anything else then?
Kinda.. follow your calling notion…
P.S. It is curious to know that 1 product may require around different 87 patents. Really.
By Iryna Paprotska
Israeli Techno Incubators
Our acquaintance with Israeli techno incubators started with Klara Oren. Not only is she an Israeli air force major, mathematician, and a dapper grandmother to 7 grandchildren; Klara appears to be the first and only female founder and General Manager of one (and the last!) of 26 Israeli techno incubators - LN Techno Incubator in Haifa.
Nowadays, the 26 techno incubators in Israel are known as places that help create and grow successful startups. Israel is proudly reported to be a nation of 35% success rate of startups, whereas Klara’s incubator generated an even higher, 40%, success rate! That becomes even more amazing when you learn that originally, back in 1990s, techno incubators were institutionalized to mostly support new immigrants and national minorities.
Let's Start it Up!
First and foremost, with the desire in your heart and the idea in your mind to help Israel, you need the money for R&D and business development. You can try obtaining a grant from the Government personally; alternatively, you can refer to a Techno incubator for potential budgeting.
How does it differ?
The Incubator will help you create a very detailed budget and plan, and facilitate the obtaining of 85% from the state of Israel and 15% from the Incubator. To qualify you need to cover three items: 1. Prove the innovativeness of your technology/solution. 2. Prove your solution is needed, that it will have the Consumer/Market. 3. Have an entrepreneur-type personality (be able to lead/work in a team, be able to give in, e.g. agree to hire a CEO to your company if needed, etc.)
Sounds easy yet?
Ultimately, at the end of the day, it can either work out or not. It is even easier with the latter - you are not supposed to return the money to the Government. When your company is a success, you pay 3% royalty from your sales until you return the invested 85%.
No, it is not easy to startup. But the truth is that Israel has initiated 6000 startups - a Startup Nation, indeed! My question was: Where does innovation takes its origin? Enthusiastic people inspired by technology progress? Yes. Financial support from the Government? Absolutely! A desire to help Israel prosper? Always. A wish to become world-known and rich? Why not? Dense concentration of scientifically-minded people in Techno Incubators? Exactly so.
By Svitlana Bondar
Our next destination - Intel. By the way, here are a lot of immigrants from Ukraine, and all of them tried to speak with us in Ukrainian and demonstrated their warm attitude to our country. It was the very encouraging acquaintance, which motivates to be proud of our countrymen.Here we have met Alla Svidler, who comes from Zaporizhzhya. She studied at Technion and works in Intel. Her field - debugging chips, but she works not as a manager. She is occupied as an Individual contributor, without being affiliated with the teams. It is the peculiarity of the Intel, which allows introverts to create innovation in a preferable way for them. But this privilege should be deserved!The other featured approach, known as “Dangin” (Jail), is a special working plan (more like Hackathon) to release people resources for very accelerated problem solution.Personnel in Intel highly values a mutual support, but it displayed mainly on the informal level. Other main value - people, who stay with company in the hard time. Intel has the internal venture community which invests in prospective ideas of employees, but reserves IP (intelectual property) for the company.Intel also invests a lot of money in the children education, especially in a math, in order to prepare a future generation.Volunteering - the key to success and best investment in the future of workers and company. 42% of Intel employees are volunteers, supporting different social projects.