Roni Michaely is putting Israel on the map in a major way—and it is not through politics or agriculture. As Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship Program at the Cornell-Tech program in New York City, Michaely engages students with startup companies in Israel. “The [Cornell] tech program will be to New York what Stanford is to Silicon Valley,” Says Michaely.
When asked if he sees himself as an ambassador of sorts, Michaely replies, “It’s about the startup world, not Netanyahu.” But he may be more of an ambassador than he knows. This year 45 students will participate in a program between Cornell and Israel’s Technion. He predicts the number will jump to 150 students in three years time. “By exposing students to Israel’s technology many will go on to be hired by companies in Israel. Through this program [the students] are getting acquainted with many of the 5,000 startups in Israel,” says Michaely.
The U.S. has Silicon Valley; Israel has the Negev. The next area targeted for substantial investment is Beersheva–this is where the next big cyber center will be located. And, according to Michaely, “American companies are already investing in the South (Israel).”
Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of dealing with a company in Israel is the value. According to Michaely, the companies in Israel are doing the same thing (for a lot less) as the companies in Silicon Valley and New York.
This is where the angel investors come in.
“Angel investing is like growing a new baby…,” says Michaely. “Startups need help growing. Like parents you do it alongside someone who knows what they are doing. It is not just about the big bucks, you can be supportive, provide resources, networks, and vendors. If you want to increase the potentiality of the investment provide advice, support and expertise.”
Finally, you must find an angel investor with credibility. “Everyone can talk the talk—you need to find someone who can walk the walk.” That means finding an investor who understands the intricacies of business and understands how much and what to invest. And, you do not need to go at it alone; there are individuals such as Michaely who are willing to guide others who are interested in angel investments in Israel. You can also use iAngel, which is helping individuals invest their money in Israeli startups by following experts.
So, you do not have to be a billionaire to invest in startups—just an angel. If you are interested in finding out more about investing in Israel contact Jlife Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will connect you with Professor Michaely.
Originally from Israel, Professor Roni Michaely is a Rudd Family Professor of Management and a Professor of Finance at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. He obtained his Ph.D. from New York University.
Lisa Grajewski, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and adjunct Assistant Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has been a contributing writer for Jlife magazine since 2004.