Please provide us with a brief description of your field:
Venture capital in Israel is a transformative industry and one of the core pillars of “The Start-Up Nation”. While the industry does have a material impact on Israel’s ability to become a global innovation leader, employment opportunities remain limited. In reality, the industry in Israel has under 300 active professional investors, consisting of local venture capital funds, international venture funds and corporate investors with local representatives, incubators and accelerators, and angel investors. Only a handful of funds have more than 10 professionals. In this way, entry into this industry is not comparable to transitioning into any large industry, whether in finance, medicine (doctor), legal (lawyer), education (teacher), or in fact most industry disciplines.
How did you find your job?
My wife and I made Aliyah when she was accepted to the Kellogg- Recanati Executive MBA program at Tel Aviv University. I did not have a job opportunity lined up for myself when we arrived. I spent the first two months immersing myself in the language and acclimating to my new home. After that, I increased my focus on career opportunities by meeting people, expanding my network, and taking advantage of opportunities. While I initially sought a position as a CFO at a venture-backed company, I pivoted into venture capital and haven’t turned back. I now happily work as an advisor or consultant to a number of different firms.
What degree should someone making Aliyah come with in order to break into your field /get a decent position in your field? Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
Having a technology degree and having an MBA from a prestigious university helps, as does relevant experience – but breaking into the industry requires being in the right place at the right time and by marketing yourself – plus a bit of luck. In general, a new immigrant should emphasize their unique relevant experience from outside of Israel to compete successfully over people who have similar skill-sets based in Israel. This unique international experience may be attractive to funds seeking diversity of skills among their team – and make up for one’s initial lack of a relevant professional network.
However, breaking into the venture capital industry can be an impossible challenge due to timing. In these cases, it is easiest to pursue employment in Israel that is parallel to your overseas work. Continue to network with the industry and develop a track record for success that demonstrates drive and determination. Nothing is more attractive on a CV than someone who succeeds at what they do. However, much like the essence of the industry, success is not guaranteed with the “perfect CV” – we need drive, determination, networking and a bit of good timing and luck.
What is the salary range?
It depends on the role and the fund, but surveys indicate total compensation below the general partner is 15%-35% below similar positions in the United States. This is better than similar surveys of attorneys and finance professionals (indicating larger pay cuts), but not as good as software developers (who can expect very similar total compensation to the United States).
How do most people in your field find a job?
Many venture capitalists served in either elite combat or cyber units in the army. Engineering is the most common undergraduate degree. Successful venture capitalists leverage their backgrounds to develop a rich network of entrepreneurs and professionals from the army, an intimate understanding of the relevant technology, and a feeling for the intangible keys to success. Attaining a partner position at a venture fund typically has one of three trajectories: working up the hierarchy from an analyst or associate position, entering as a partner after industry success (often founding and exiting a startup company), or establishing your own fund and raising capital.
Every fund is different but as a general ratio, there is a junior employee (Analyst, Associate, Investment Manager) to every one or two investing partners. For most junior venture professionals, the opportunity to move into a partner position is limited. Rather, most will use the experience and relationships developed over 2-5 years to join an exciting start-up, become a founder of their own venture, join a multinational, start their own fund, or other opportunities that may present themselves.