For the past five years I have served as the Managing Partner of Jerusalem Capital I, LP, a venture fund I willed into existence, helped and supported by partners, investors, and of course my family. Now I am in the process of winding that down – and rediscovering who I am and what I want to do with my time.
During the past five years Haviva and I welcomed two additional children into our lives (Mishael, who joined the family over three years ago, and most recently Shefa, born two months ago), continue to raise our other five children, moved from Jerusalem to Hanaton where we are helping establish a new community, and much more.
In parallel, in my role as seed stage investor, was part of the formation of six companies, two of whom are alive and making progress. The other 4 – victims of the statistics of start-up life. Yes, along the way there was 2008-2009, which was a good excuse for many failures, but those 4 might have failed regardless.
So where does that leave me? Well, I can genuinely say I still am very interested in technology, entrepreneurship, and the constant innovation that makes up the start-up ecosystem in Israel and around the world. I know that as a board member, I can add value. But I also know that at 42 years old – I still have the strength and endurance to do it again directly – to start something new. Even if I do manage to return capital with a profit from the fund, which remains a driving motivation for me, I would not raise another fund. For me, the VC business is a lot of talking about, not enough doing. And I am doer.
The most important message we try to import to our children is “be who you are.” Some might be familiar with the hasidic tale of Reb Zusha, who fears not being judged against the achievements of others, but rather being questioned in the world to come as to whether he was the best Reb Zusha.
I also try and remain open to new possibilities, and that together with realizing what I want to do led me to deciding to go back to my roots – yes, I am co-founding a start-up, where my role is CEO. We (my co-founders and I) are setting out this week to begin our formal fundraising, after giving the “idea” much thought. I am sure we will continue to shape and reshape our plans in light of feedback we receive from the venture community and our potential business partners.
I am excited to going back to being who I am -- a “start-up” guy. Coming together with people who have chosen to work with each other, exploring new ideas, challenging each other, and creating something from nothing.
There are no guarantees of success in this business, but definitely will be a fun ride, and I will be who I am.
I will keep you posted on my progress, but in light of so many changes, I am renaming and moving my blog, but will continue to cross-post for some time. Will notify of new blog very soon.