Aleph VC, founded by Michael Eisenberg and Eden Shochat, is one of Israel’s top early-stage venture capital funds, with $334 million under management. Focused on serving Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build large, scalable, global businesses, Aleph has invested in 15 companies including WeWork, House Party, Lemonade, Windward and Honeybook.
Michael, a veteran Oleh and Aleph’s partner, has been a pioneer of the Israeli tech and venture capital industries since 1995, and has invested in and sat on the board of Israel’s leading companies and startups, such as Shopping.com, SeekingAlpha, Gigya, Wix, Answers.com, Tradeum, and Picturevison.
Michael Eisenberg, Aleph VC Founder and Partner, speaks to the crowd of Olim, partners and companies at the Content Marketing Course final session and networking event.
Aleph recently made news in the Oleh world as well, as they rolled out two large-scale initiatives focused on helping Olim transition into the Israeli tech job market. The two initiatives, a job placement program and a content marketing course, were built with the goal of helping Olim find employment in Israel’s booming startup ecosystem, as well as helping the ecosystem itself find quality, competitive talent.
Aleph partner Aaron Rosenson, a 2016 Nefesh B’Nefesh Oleh from New York City, made a name for himself even before he landed in Israel. Recruited from an international search, Aaron came to Israel with a job coveted by many.
Reflecting on Aleph’s initiatives, he explained that integrating Olim into the Israeli tech ecosystem isn’t just a reflection of the Aleph’s Zionism; it’s also good business. As Aaron explains, Olim come with a unique background that translates well in the start-up world as they have already demonstrated qualities of hard-work, an entrepreneurial spirit, and being unafraid to start something new. Aaron explains that “Aleph’s mission is to build large, scalable businesses in Israel. We want to help Olim, both experienced and those just starting out, and want to improve talent in the ecosystem thus allowing us to build these big companies.”
The Content Marketing Course Aleph has rolled out came with the objective in mind that native English speakers have a huge potential advantage in the Israeli tech ecosystem. The art of content marketing – creating and distributing valuable articles, blog posts, videos, whitepapers, and just about any other type of, content – has become a must-have for tech companies wishing to succeed in the global market, and is the perfect opportunity for Olim to leverage their language skills and shine.
Aaron elaborates that North American Olim have a competitive advantage in this field because of their cultural competency. Branding, messaging and design are not just important parts of building a large scalable business, they are also areas in which America dominates the field.
Eytan Buchman, manager of Aleph VC’s Content Marketing Course, smiles while watching presentations.
Eytan Buchman (who made Aliyah from Chicago as a high school student in 1999), who is now head of marketing at Freightos (one of Aleph portfolio companies), helped develop the course. He remembers that when Michael (Eisenberg) discussed the idea of the course with him, he was thrilled. It’s easier to “start up” when you’re on solid group; for many people, getting that initial start is where they fall flat. After serving as an officer in the IDF, Eytan reflects that he had zero corporate or tech experience but found his way into tech without any protektzia – he just reached out to a handful of techies and found a community that was incredibly eager to help (including Michael, who helped him land his job at Freightos).
He describes the program as an incredible opportunity to pay it forward and help new immigrants dip their toes into tech. He continued that, “Sometimes just a little nudge is enough to get someone over the bar of entry. During the course, I was exposed to an incredible cadre of driven, eager, and talented participants.
Content course participants mingle with prospective employers and ecosystem players at final event networking session at Aleph’s headquarters on Rothschild Blvd in Tel Aviv.
There is so much raw talent and motivation…and the tech industry needs them just as much as they need jobs in the tech industry.”
Avigail Levine, head of marketing at Aleph and manager of the Content Marketing Course, shared that 50 individuals applied to join the course, with 30 Olim ultimately taking part. Olim came not just from the Tel Aviv area, but also from Jerusalem, Modi’in and even as far north as Ma’alot.
Chaim Siegel, who made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh in 2013 and currently lives in Jerusalem, had been in finance his entire career and while he was originally able to bring some of his business to Israel, the transition still required him to actively look to reinvent himself. His first step was discovering Seeking Alpha, a crowd-sourced content service for financial markets, and, in himself, an amazing writer. He found success in his financial services company Elazar Advisors, partly from being a little bottled up in a new land, with a new language, but also with a lot to say, he explained jokingly.
Seeking Alpha offered him to build a subscription service, and while he had an engaged readership he still didn’t feel like he had enough marketing prowess to take it to the next level. Someone there told him about Aleph’s content marketing program, free for Olim. One of Aleph’s founders, Michael Eisenberg, was an early investor in Seeking Alpha and was intent on giving back to help others with this program.
For Chaim, the four-week content marketing program has been incredible. His eyes were opened to inbound internet marketing’s enormous potential, a subject he says will give him the incredible ability to catch up in business.
Chaim says he’s “absolutely running now”, as he begins to design a strategy, content and event calendar. He looks forward to successfully integrating the new tools he’s learned into helping other new Olim.
Participants in Aleph’s Content Marketing course listen intently as Eytan Buchman speaks about strategy and distribution.
Amy Luchans made Aliyah from Boston in July 2015 and currently lives in Tel Aviv. While looking for a job, she kept seeing jobs advertised for content writers and content marketers. Writing and marketing had always been of interest to her, so when she saw a post in the NBN Jobs Facebook group about Aleph’s free Content Marketing Course, she was on-board! As she describes it, over the four weeks, she has experience a full college-level course. She looks forward to continuing to build her knowledge base and land her first content marketing job.
The course itself was just one small part in the initiative to help Olim. Each Oleh was paired with a marketing mentor, typically a manager or director in a local startup, giving them the opportunity to receive practical guidance as well as help build their professional networks. After the course, Aleph shared a job board for companies looking to hire Olim.
For more information, or to submit your information to Aleph, click here.
Photo credit: Omri Shapira