How Natalie Edwards Built a Successful Career in Israel’s Startup Industry

After getting an MBA from Tel Aviv University and starting a blog covering Israel’s tech community, Natalie was able to create a thriving network and immerse herself in Israel’s startup scene.

Israel’s Startup Industry (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
Israel’s Startup Industry
(photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
At 26, Natalie Edwards was living in Los Angeles, when she realized that she needed to make a change. She had previously worked in journalism and marketing, but she didn’t know what her next move would be. “I wanted to travel and learn a new language,” said Natalie. “Most of all, I wanted to force myself to take a fresh look at everything.”
She had recently returned from a Birthright trip to Israel, where she’d fallen in love with the country, with Israelis, and with one particular Israeli named Elad. On her group’s visit to Har Herzl, Natalie felt especially touched listening to her guide trace the history of the State of Israel through stories of Israelis who had died in war. “I had never felt such a strong connection between a people, their history, and their values.”
Natalie felt amazed by Israel’s strong sense of community too. “I had never met people with such a combined level of self-awareness, humor, and creativity, people who were able to handle their difficult history without letting it darken their souls. In fact I felt like it made their hearts larger. They’re able to look ahead with such optimism because of how highly they regard life,” she said.
Once back in LA, Natalie decided to apply to Tel Aviv University’s international MBA program, as well as a few other MBA programs in the States. Even though the programs she was accepted too in the States were prestigious, she had her heart set on TAU. 
In August 2013, Natalie flew to Israel, not sure what the future held for her. She and Elad weren’t yet a couple, and she wasn’t sure which direction she was headed professionally. But she was ready to be out of her comfort zone.
In the international MBA program, Natalie was one of 40 students from 17 countries. One of the highlights of the accelerated and heavy course load was a trip to India where the class learned about the business culture there. Meanwhile, while exploring the Israeli startup ecocsytem, Natalie made a decision that she wanted to stay in Israel. With Elad by her side, she officially made Aliyah in March 2014.
While still a student, Natalie also interned at Kenshoo, a digital marketing platform, and launched “Startup Tel Aviv,” a blog that covered entrepreneurship in Israel. “The blog helped me meet a lot of influential people in Tel Aviv, understand the market, and learn where my skills would be valued,” she said.
One of her articles featured Enon Landenberg, a well-known Israeli entrepreneur, who came to speak at Tel Aviv University. Impressed by her work, Enon asked Natalie to be the Marketing Director of his new company, sFBI. A startup studio, sFBI’s aim is to launch ventures that create solutions for everyday problems. 
Currently, she’s at work on their first venture, Pulse Play, a smartwatch for racket sports that that connects people to a global network of players and ranking system. Geared for tennis, badminton, and ping pong players, the smartwatch promises to improve their game experience with real-time scorekeeping. With an ongoing Indiegogo campaign to raise funds, she’s working around the clock.
Having also worked at startups in the US, Natalie says that the atmosphere in Israel is a lot more results-driven, familial, and non-hierarchical. “I really enjoy the pace and the energy of startups here. I feel much more engaged in my work because of the level of teamwork and collaboration,” said Natalie.
Living in a great North Tel Aviv apartment with her supportive boyfriend and a job that’s the “good kind of stressful,” Natalie’s life is worlds away from what it was in the States. “I really have nothing to complain about. I’m happy I made the decision to change things in a big way and take a risk,” she said.