Made in Jerusalem

‘Made in JLM’ hosts a monthly happy hour event for start-ups

Design gurus: (left to right) Sagi Shrieber, co-founder of Hacking UI; Scott Simcha Markovits, customer advocate at Invision; Tova Safra, senior product designer at Hometalk; Tal Sznicer, lead designer and product manager at Lightricks; and Ohad Aviv, co-founder and CEO at Muzli (photo credit: RICKY RACHMAN)
Design gurus: (left to right) Sagi Shrieber, co-founder of Hacking UI; Scott Simcha Markovits, customer advocate at Invision; Tova Safra, senior product designer at Hometalk; Tal Sznicer, lead designer and product manager at Lightricks; and Ohad Aviv, co-founder and CEO at Muzli
(photo credit: RICKY RACHMAN)
Made in JLM wants to rebrand Jerusalem. How does one rebrand a city, you might ask. It starts with showing that it is not only a place having thousands of years of history, but is also a thriving center for innovation.
“I’ve fallen in love with the ecosystem of Jerusalem tech,” says Rachel Wagner Rosenzweig, head of business development for Made in JLM. “Startups and tech are so important for Israel. It’s a way to drive forward the economy and create more jobs. I really wanted to work for an organization that was helping to foster that.”
Wagner Rosenzweig came from a non-profit theater background, but after connecting with Made in JLM’s co-founder, Roy Munin, about a year ago, she joined the team and began running their Happy Hour events.
The monthly events are held at the First Station’s Beer Garden and have become a networking hub for Jerusalem’s burgeoning tech community.
“The Happy Hour events have grown immensely over the last year, because we have made them more professional and more organized,” Wagner Rosenzweig states. “We have a format now, where we always have a theme and five companies that present on that theme.”
April’s Happy Hour theme was design. The evening was one in a three-part series co-hosted by Hometalk, a Jerusalem start-up that boasts the largest DIY community in the world, with nine million members and 40 million monthly visits. Happy Hour kicks off with time for mingling, making connections, and of course, enjoying the Beer Garden’s stock of bottled and on-tap selections.
Made in JLM provides a table upon entry with colored stickers, each denoting the participant’s intention for the evening. Whether you’re seeking employment or looking to hire someone for your company, there is a color for you.
The second part of the evening consists of speakers from five Israeli start-ups, all on the theme of the month. April’s Happy Hour featured representatives from Lightricks, InVision, Muzli, and HackingUI, all of whom spoke about how they are innovating in the world of design. Moe Mernick, head of business development at Hometalk, also spoke about the collaboration with Made in JLM, as well as the importance of design in the start-up world.
“The featured companies each get five minutes to speak,” Wagner Rosenzweig explains. “The main part of the Happy Hour is networking. That is what people want; they’re coming for happy hour and they want to make connections and hear from the companies briefly on how they see the future of design."
“After the speakers, we open it up to the audience to do one- or two-minute pitches. Usually a handful of people come up on stage, giving people in the Jerusalem tech community an opportunity to pitch to about 150 people every month.”
Since Hometalk co-hosted three events in a row with Made in JLM, they chose the themes together. March’s theme was industrial technology. Wagner Rosenzweig emphasizes that, when selecting the theme, they try to be as strategic as possible. March’s theme reflected the desire to get more industrial tech companies involved with the Jerusalem start-up community.
“When WeWork hopefully comes soon, we’ll do an event around them,” Wagner Rosenzweig adds. “The main idea is that, if companies want exposure, this is the best event in Jerusalem to get it.”
The success of Made in JLM’s monthly Happy Hour can be measured by the caliber of companies that are involved. The fact that people come from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to participate in an event for start-ups is a sign that Jerusalem is no longer warming the bench in the tech game. April’s lineup featured InVision, one of the top three design companies in the world with millions of users; Muzli, a design inspiration platform recently acquired by InVision; HackingUI, a thriving content publication for designers and developers with an entrepreneurial spirit; and Lightricks, one of Jerusalem’s most extolled success stories.
Operating out of Givat Ram, Lightricks has millions of users and two of the most popular paid mobile applications in the world. Its Facetune app offers sophisticated editing of selfies and is used by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry.
Bringing high-profile speakers from successful companies connects the start-up scenes of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in a way that has not been done before in such a sustainable manner.
“I was really impressed by the start-up community of Jerusalem and how it has evolved in only a few years,” adds Sagi Shrieber, co-founder of HackingUI and founder of Pixel Perfect Magazine.
“I think Jerusalem has a lot of talent to offer the world in terms of start-ups and design,” he says. “It is a city that is constantly working, improving, and engaged. Design is very important and I see that the Jerusalem community really cares about it. Knowing that HackingUI has a crowd in Jerusalem is a great thing. Also seeing the mixture of religious and secular people at the event was different and wonderful; it was such a Jerusalem scene.”
The Happy Hour crowd reflected Shrieber’s sentiments.
They appeared excited to take part in the event, to connect with one another and to help Jerusalem’s start-up scene thrive.
“Roy Munin first told me about the Happy Hour events and that they would be good networking opportunities,” says Sam Schubert, co-founder of uChange and founder of Muddy Digital Advertising. “The Happy Hour led to me acquiring my first Facebook advertising clients. I’ve also made some friends."
“Once we started uChange, the connections I made at Happy Hour led indirectly to significant investments, as well as being invited to large, international events to talk about uChange. For me, Made in JLM’s Happy Hour has been invaluable. The events allow me to make connections with people and build relationships that lead to trust, and trust leads to clients. I go every month.”
Made in JLM has no plans to slow down. The organization is planning to hold this month’s event on Jerusalem Day, May 24. They are hoping to host Mobileye and also someone from the municipality as speakers, serving to further their mission of showcasing Jerusalem as a force to be reckoned with in the start-up and tech world.
“One of the main aims of Made in JLM is to rebrand Jerusalem as a city, not just historically, but of innovation,” Wagner Rosenzweig explains. “Developing Made in JLM is also developing the city of Jerusalem. The Happy Hour is such a nice view into what is really going on in Jerusalem tech. We are like a family."
“It’s such a helpful atmosphere and you really see that in the Happy Hour. It’s not dog-eat-dog as it can be elsewhere. I only hope that it continues to grow in the future. I feel lucky to be a part of this. It’s really a revolution; you can feel it.”
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