Expect to fail: Lessons from Women Entrepreneurship founder Keren Hod

"Women need to believe in themselves,” Hod said.

 Keren Hod (photo credit: DORON LETZTER)
Keren Hod
(photo credit: DORON LETZTER)

“Failure is not the end of everything but the start of a new beginning,” is Keren Hod’s mantra.

The founder of WE (Women Entrepreneurship), Hod was named to the prestigious Forbes “30 Under 30” list last year. Now, she is planning her own conference with the Jerusalem Post to bring like-minded women and men together to inspire new ideas and innovation.

The Post caught up with Hod to learn more about WE and why she does what she does.

Answers edited for clarity and length.

Why did you start WE?

When I was a student in Ben-Gurion University, I was selected to participate in an entrepreneurship program co-sponsored by BGU and Google. There, I was exposed to the underrepresentation of women in the entrepreneurship world. 

Almost all the lecturers, mentors and even participants in the program were men; I was one of the few women there. I did some research and learned that only 8% of start-up founders and only 2% of capital goes to women. So, I decided to create a platform that encourages women entrepreneurship.

What does WE do? 

WE encourages women to become entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools and knowledge to succeed, exposing them to role models and creating an entrepreneurial, like-minded and supportive community.

Our main activity is our entrepreneurship program at academic institutions. The program hosts top leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and investors who share their knowledge and personal experiences.

By joining WE, the participants gain skills in leadership, networking, pitching ideas, storytelling, creative thinking, fundraising, teamwork, business communication and more.

How has the program evolved since its founding in 2019?

We started with one branch at BGU when I was a student there. Today, there are 10 branches in Israel and the US, including at Harvard, Columbia and MIT.

Are there any real success stories?

There are already promising active startups founded by WE alumni. 

For example, our alumna Or Harel is the co-Founder & CMO of Elvy.ai, which developed a wireless charger for a mobile phone that protects the user from radiation without compromising the phone's functionality. This allows users to charge their phones on their nightstands in a safer way so that they can get a better night’s sleep.

The company raised a pre-seed round from tier 1 investors, and now is in the middle of the rising seed round, and is preparing to launch on Indiegogo. 

The company won first place in two categories at the well4tech boot camp in the US, and also took first place at the ASE Annual Conference.

What have you learned since starting WE?

You can’t set down a path and expect not to fail once or twice. If you start knowing that along the way you are going to fail, you will be better off. Failure is just another lesson putting you back on the path to success.

 What’s left to learn?

A lot! I learn from people every day. I also learn a lot from my mistakes; it’s the best way to learn.

How can women be the best they can be?

They need to believe in themselves and not put obstacles in front of themselves.

What excites you most about the upcoming Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit?

 The gathering of entrepreneurial, like-minded women and men who will come together to hear and learn from the most successful entrepreneurs, investors, executives and leaders.

To learn more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit and purchase a ticket to attend, click here.

Partner with us: [email protected]