The Flux team, a company which manufactures a hi-tech hydroponic growing system..
(photo credit: DANA MEIRSON)
Israel’s hi-tech scene, like the hi-tech world in general, has a gender problem.
One small start-up, Ranky, wants to do its part to fix it.
“We said, ‘Let’s do something. It may be small relative to the market, but it’s big for us – and if the big companies follow suit it could make a real difference,” said Yoav Vilner, Ranky’s CEO.
Women account for a little over a third of hi-tech workers in Israel. In the upper echelons of business in general, they are underrepresented; there are twice as many men in management positions.
Only 13 percent of executives are women, and their male counterparts earn more than 50% more on average. Of companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, only 2% have women directing their boards.
Just 6% have female CEOs.
Ranky, a 2.5-year-old digital start-up with an all-male set of founders and 5 women on its 12-person staff, decided that it would do its part by adopting a female entrepreneur.
“Being that Ranky is a start-up environment itself, we are well aware that our female employees are fabulous and a crucial part of our great success,” its call for applications reads.
“Before the month of January is over, we will choose one female entrepreneur, that has a great product (not just an idea), but no funds to support her start-up’s growth and marketing. With the amazing relationships that we have developed we want to pay it forward,” it continues Ranky is offering the lucky winner access to their office space, mentorship, marketing advice and connections. When she is ready to move on, the company said, it will seek another.
“We don’t expect this to be a one-time thing,” Vilner says.
Though the benefits from the company’s side are mostly in-kind, and don’t cost much, Vilner estimates the services at several thousand dollars worth of value a month.
“Our business exists on retainers, not on big investments, so those hours we devote to mentorship are really important,” he says.
So far, the company has received more than 70 applications.