How Rakefet Russak-Aminoach revolutionized Israel’s banking system

Rakefet Russak-Aminoach will speak at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference on Sept. 12.

 Rakefet Russak Aminoach, Managing Partner at Team8. (photo credit: RON KEDMI)
Rakefet Russak Aminoach, Managing Partner at Team8.
(photo credit: RON KEDMI)

When Bank Leumi launched a digital revolution in the country’s banking sector, there was a woman behind it: Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, who has made Fortune magazine's list of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women in Business" multiple times.

After she stepped down from her position as CEO of Leumi, she joined Team8, a venture group that partners with entrepreneurs to build and invest in startups, to launch its Fintech foundry. 

“We are more than a VC,” Russak-Aminoach said in an interview with American Banker in June. “We are an investor and also a co-founder, and we have a lot of experience in building companies from the ground up.”

“We tell the entrepreneurs, we are not in the business of portfolio management,” she added. “Our business is to build five companies, with the goal of having all five succeed. We help them to validate the idea. We bring them access to tech talent. We introduce them to our network. We have an amazing village of industry players.”

Rakefet Russak-Aminoach will discuss "From Banking To Fintech: Building the Next Cohort of Unicorns" in a conversation with Maayan Hoffman on Sept. 12 at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Learn more.

Russak-Aminoach is a graduate of Tel Aviv University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Before joining Leumi, she was the CEO of KPMG Israel.

One of Russak-Aminoach’s major achievements at Leumi was launching Pepper, Israel’s first mobile-only bank.

“The days 'Pepper' was written in my calendar were the days that most excited me,” she recalled in a recent interview with Calcalist.

Meet Rakefet Russak-Aminoach in New York! The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference is Sept. 12. Find out more.

'It was a burden for me'

In the interview, the banker-turned-entrepreneur opened up about how she felt as a major bank’s CEO.

"I really enjoyed the bank and being CEO,” she said. “But everything the position entailed – waking up each morning, suiting up, being recognized in the street – it was a burden for me.”

At Team8, Russak-Aminoach has the opportunity to work with both innovative ideas and entrepreneurs.

“First of all, we ideate ourselves,” she told American Banker. “The idea behind April, an embedded tax platform for financial institutions, was born at Team8 and then we recruited the entrepreneurs.

“Sometimes it's the other way around: Entrepreneurs come with an idea,” she noted. “We like the idea, we like the entrepreneurs and we work with them. And sometimes there is a group of entrepreneurs that want to build a company and we like them a lot, but we don't like the idea, so we find a way to work together and build a different company.”  She said people make the difference.

“If you have the right people, you can do amazing things with them,” she added.

Join Rakefet Russak-Aminoach and the Jerusalem Post at Gotham Hall -