Our 10th kitesurf event is taking place in Soma Bay – apply now! An interactive event concerning Kitesurfing and Networking 2015
More than a business card exchange – with the Founders Kite Club in Spain
Hummus and Animal Instincts
Fours years into the club the Founder Kite Club held its first event in the holy land; holy for innovators and entrepreneurs and holy for epic kitesurfing conditions in biblical spots.
For some time we’ve had set our mind on Tel Aviv for being a perfect match for a FKC event. Through some local contacts we teamed up with Executive on Boards for an amazing event. The first day greeted with ideal kitesurfing conditions. 30°C air temperature, 20 knots, sideshore winds blowing over this beautiful natural beach with plenty of space were the start of our journey to Israel. The session ended with the wind picking up to about 30 knots and everyone leaving the beach with an exhausted smile. Back in Tel Aviv we gathered at one of the lively restaurants you can find all over Tel Aviv. The Israeli cuisine is as diverse as the cultural influences it receives but there is always one standard dish that is often served without even asking for it. Hummus! If you thought you know Hummus Israeli chefs will teach you better.
Next up were company visits but before we could start our trek we observed how the entire country came to a two minutes stand still for Holocaust Memorial day.
WeWorks founder and CEO Adam Neumann is from Tel Aviv but the business is NYC headquartered. WeWorks mission is to transform the way we work in a bold way, similar to Uber’s vision to transform urban mobility. Their goal is to create a global platform for community and interaction through co-working spaces. I was amazed by the amount of value is given to the community and the effort that goes into it to ensure that their more than 50.000 members across 65 cities all feel that they have access to a global network of talent once they become a WeWork member. With $16bn valuation this only six-year-old company can still be considered a start up but what a hot one.
A short, guided trip to the historic sites of Jerusalem felt like reading an abstract of the bible. Within minutes we walked from the previous site of the temple of David, today home of the Rock Dome and Al Aqsa Mosque, along the whaling wall, up the via Dolorosa to find ourselves standing on Golgotha, looking down at Jesus’s tombstone and grave.
A short car ride later we are sitting in the office of a company working with great success on our future. MobilEye invented an incredibly smart technology for assisted and soon autonomous driving. The company is NYSE listed after a $1bn IPO in 2014. They took a lot of time to explain their camera lead approach to improve road safety. They are partnering with most of the automobile manufactures as an OEM supplier but also have a product for the automotive after market that can be fit into pretty much any car. They presented statistics on how their technology has lead to improvements in road safety, measured by life’s and injuries saved but also fuel consumption reduced.
Back in Tel Aviv it was time to meet up with more of the local entrepreneurs for an Israeli feast at Big Itizig’s Restaurant. They served countless different mezze starters but Hummus was the usual favorite of the crowd. With a solid base we ventured out to get a taste of the city’s vibrant nightlife.
The next day kicked off at the beach with most of the Israeli entrepreneurs from Executive on Boards and plenty of Hummus supply on the beach. Due to light winds we moved up North to Sea of Galilee (it’s biblical name is Lake of Gennesaret) for some memorable kiting sessions. Close to the Golan Heights the river Jordan flows through the lake from North to South that other than being popular kite spot it happens to be a key strategic asset for the state of Israel as their main source of fresh water. There is a very active kite community on this lake that get’s very reliable thermal winds from May to September.
Next morning was time for our business part with keynotes and Mastermind Session. The first keynote was held by Rami Beracha, Managing Partner at Pitango Venture Capital, Israel largest cross stage VC with $2bn under management and invested in 180 Tech companies with a clear focus on B2B companies. Rami likes challenges and living up to his words he explained how he got into Kiteboarding. When he saw the sport for the first time he instantly knew this is something he will have to master. Even his considerable disadvantage of having only one leg and arm did not stop him to become a very proficient kiter ten years later. As a VC animal instincts keep him alive in this hostile environment. He is in constant survival mode. On the one hand he’s on alert of predators in form bad ideas that are trying to attack him while on the other hand he’s able to instantly switch predator mode to attack and secure a good idea presented before there is only carrion left. Rami left us right after his speech because he had to catch a flight to Maui to go kitesurfing.
Next up was Yoram Snir from 83 North, Yoram was a former partner at Greylock in Menlo Park, CA who initially started Greylock Israel but rebranded it to 83 North later. He set out to explain what makes Israel such a fertile breeding ground for Tech companies. The fact that Israel has no major natural resources, a good education system and the military equalizing men and women from any background for at least two years are all important contributing factors to the success story . With no important home market Isreali founders have to create products that large corporates will take global. Yoram’s ensured to keep the attention high by using slides of him kitesurfing in beautiful conditions as a back ground for the data he presented.
Joshua Levinberg, co-founder of Gilat Satellite Networks, a leading provider for satellite-based broadband solutions, gave the last keynote. He told us how they convinced some of the leading underwriters on Wall Street to take a company to NASDAQ with little more then $12m revenues but a promise to double growth in each of the upcoming years. It all went well and the company performed to grow significantly and soon Cisco was ready to put in money for a valuation of $250m. Joshua further shared his knowledge on their M&A activities in order to penetrate the US Defense market and the lessons learnt from it. Today Joshua runs a small venture fund JAL Ventures that is investing into B2B tech companies.
The event continued with the mastermind sessions with one table hosted by FKC Sponsors from Digital Capital Advisors Europe ho gave answers to all M&A related questions. With no wind at sight moved straight on to one of the beautiful beach restaurants for lunch with Hummus and more and slowly carrying over into more of Tel Aviv’s vivid night scene. Tel Aviv was a truly inspiring event. The Israeli kite and entrepreneur community gave such a warm welcome to the FKC that we will for sure be back for another event as well as we are looking forward to open the network of our Israeli Founders at our upcoming events in Sylt, Germany and Tarifa, Spain.
Very special thanks go to Shalhevet Segal including her team at Executive on Boards and Eitan Shalev for being a great resource in making this event a success.