Sitting in a café on a cloudy day in Tel Aviv, I got to hang out with one of the amazing women in Israel''s tech scene- Esther Loewy.I have to say, it was a real pleasure to get the chance to sit down and talk with her because she is bright, motivated and excited about her work in a way that is contagious.
Esther and I met up to talk about the Israeli tech scene, Bootcamp Ventures and their upcoming event- the Bootcamp Innovation Marathon in Tel Aviv March 27-28. Esther is an American ex-pat who is married with two kids and came to Israel from New York 6 years ago. She arrived with a lot of experience from working in hi-tech in the United States and she brought her very special skill set- investor relations – with her to Israel.
From my years in the nonprofit world, investor relations is one of the most important skills to develop, because running an NGO means annual fundraisers and you need to be constantly in motion developing relationships with donors and maintaining them. In the startup world, this is usually very different. Entrepreneurs are very knowledgeable about how to create amazing technologies or innovate in their fields, but many are not developing the skills that they need to create and develop these crucial relationships.
Esther and her business partner Ed Frank created Bootcamp Ventures to provide a service to both entrepreneurs and investors, connecting them and helping to create the optimal conditions for great investment opportunities. While there are many startup incubators, there were not many places for companies to turn when they were ready to go global. Loewy and Frank created Bootcamp ventures as a boutique firm to help fill that gap.
They meet with many companies, find ones that they believe are compatible with the goals of their investors, and then help create relationships. At the same time, they build up their network of global investors, get to know them, and develop and understanding of the types of companies that they are considering for investment. For the entrepreneurs, this is great because they get access to a wide range of qualified investors in a simple and straightforward fashion, and the investors are introduced only to companies which they already know are a potential fit for them.
Bootcamp Ventures have now run 17 innovation summits worldwide (this is their 18th), in under four years with investors coming from 15 different countries. Their next event is coming up next week in Tel Aviv where there will be 20 Israeli companies presenting to an international panel of investors. Their media partner, Venture Beat, will be there reporting on the event and offering great exposure to the companies that participate.
Esther and I chatted about the “women in tech” issue and I grilled her a bit as to what she thought of the lack of women in the Israeli start- up scene. She and I shared mutual bafflement as to why more women are not involved. The tech scene is exciting and she feels that it is very women friendly- no glass ceiling, per se, that should be holding women back. Esther said she is always on the lookout for a great new woman- led start up, but from where she sits there is not much she can do because few women apply. She said that out of the hundreds of applications that she gets, only a handful are from women. In her opinion, there might even be a slight edge to being a woman because it helps you get noticed, but ultimately it is all about creating a great business and being willing to put yourself out there to really sell it to the world whether you are a man or a woman.Esther has definitely done that for herself, creating Bootcamp Ventures and heading up her own global company.
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Sarah Nadav is an entrepreneur, thinker, journalist, university lecturer, and writer. Sarah is the mother of two and CEO of BUKIT a financial sector start up in stealth mode. You can contact Sarah through email [email protected] or find her on twitter @sarahnadav