Tag Archives: Tel Aviv

Having a break in Gordon beach

After visiting Procter&Gamble (see article there) and the Hive, we decided to have a break on Gordon beach. It’s located just in front of Tel Aviv, so that when you are swimming, you can have a great view on the city and the buildings.

Gordon beach, Tel Aviv

Gordon beach, Tel Aviv

Then, we went to a party organized by the Chambre de Commerce Israel-France thanks to celebrate the Independance Day in Israel. And after that, we moved to a roof-top party, but it’s another story…

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The Hive: an accelerator for Olim

Yesterday, we visited the accelerator The Hive, created in 2006 in Tel Aviv, and presented to us by its director Audrey Chocron. An accelerator is like an incubator, but on a shortest period (6 months instead of 2years). This accelerator is the brainchild of the association Gvahim whose purpose is to facilitate the integration of Olims (new immigrants in Israel) finding positions in Israeli society.

the Innovators Nation team at the Hive

the Innovators Nation team at the Hive

This is a very pleasant and colorful place that allows 15 entrepreneurs of 8 nationalities to make their projects become a reality. There’s no time to dwell on the business plan and prospects, they must first act as the lucky ones have only 6 months in the accelerator before flying on their own. Fortunately among these 8 start-ups, 5 are IT projects that quickly reach their market.
The Hive is a real network accelerator for these newly arrived graduates. The main problem for these entrepreneurs is that, are they are freshly arrived in Israel, they did not go to the army, so did not created their network of friends and relationships in the country. Plus, Israeli employers often don’t know very well the schools or universities were Olim are graduated from. So The Hive make them meet CEO, investors, consulants, coaches,etc.

After Audrey’s presentation, we met some entrepreneurs and talked with them about their project.

Giorgio talking with an entrepreneur, at The Hive

Giorgio talking with an entrepreneur, at The Hive

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Day 4: what we have seen or learned in Tel Aviv

Here is a list of what we have seen or learned today in Tel Aviv:

  • Israeli cuisine is not just hummus. It’s also shakshuka!
  • 1/3 of the population of Tel Aviv is less than 25.
  • A lot of shops are closed during independance day (on April 25th), and everybody celebrates it. The State of Israel is still very young (it was created in 1947).

The anecdote of the day: innovation in a taxi

We spend some time in taxis to go from a company to another, and as most of the taxi drivers can speak English, we talk to them and they told us some interesting stories. For example, Giorgio met a taxi driver who told him he just created his high-tech company! He gave him his visiting card.

Guy met another taxi driver who showed him rearview mirror coversprinted with the Israeli flag saying “look at that, they just invented it!”.

Start-ups are created everywhere, even in a taxi.

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Tel Aviv by night: Jaffa

To end this intense 3rd day in Israel, we walked from Gordon Street to Jaffa, on the seaside. In Jaffa, the arabic district, we had a wonderful view on Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv by night, in Jaffa

Tel Aviv by night, in Jaffa

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Better place: we tried the electric car and loved it!

On April 23th 2012, Ronit welcomed us at the headquarter of Better Place, an Israeli company which is located in an old water tank in Tel Aviv, and invited us to enter a theater built with recycled vehicle seats.We were shown an amazing 3D movie about the company stategy. Better Place is a company created in 2005, which mission is to make the world a better place (yes, it sounds like a Michael Jackon’s song). The electric car can look like an utopia, but it’s already here.

Charging an electric car at Better Place

Charging an electric car at Better Place

The introduction of electric vehicules in the car industry

One hundred years have passed after the invention of cars and if many innovations have been made, they are still mainly  combustion engines. Yearly, 85 million barrels of gasoline are used  worldwide and almost half of it is used for transportation. Approximately 750 million cars are active currently.

A possible solution is the hybrid engine, that combines a traditional engine with an electric or gas motor to reduce consumptions by about 20%, but from 1995 to 2005, only two million hybrid cars were produced and sold.

Pollution is a crucial issue. A research shows that 70% people think the dependence on gas has to be stopped.

For Better Place, the electric car is the solution. Through a partnership with Renault and a collaboration of twelve different countries they have created a network to solve the autonomy limitation of these cars.

Better Place has decided to expand the electric car ecosystem by building up a model which consists of:

  • Electric Cars
  • Park and plug
  • Switch stations
  • Integrated services

Renault, in partnership with Better Place, produces the Fluence, the 1st car with replaceable battery. The new lithium battery allows an autonomy of 160 km. To travel over longer distances, Better Place has developed a network of battery replacement, which allows in five minutes to walk away with a new charged battery. With the purchase of the car, the company will also install a plug at your home for reloading daily your electric car (a full charge lasts 7h). Better Place is also able to provide information, and tells you where are the stations to adjust your journey.

Inside the electric car, Better Place office in Tel Aviv

Inside the electric car, Better Place office in Tel Aviv


The electric vehicle in practice: a new comfort on board

Why chosing electric energy for vehicules? The vehicles are silent, the acceleration is immediate and especially the engine performance is better. In addition, electrical energy can come from renewable sources instead of gasoline. But with Israeli sources derived gas, the use of electric power guarantees only a saving of 30%.

Then we could try the car for a mixed course of one kilometer. The students with a driving licence took a key, entered the car with 2 or 3 passengers, and had a trial. We were all very excited! Impressions? Silence is impressive, especially when starting out. Only braking is different. The engine is reversed and recharges the batteries that provide a good engine braking. Now there is the car, the infrastructure, the solution… The question that arises is: are people willing to change?

Ricardo driving an electric car: Renault Fluence

Ricardo driving an electric car: Renault Fluence

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PlaNet Finance Group wants to develop in Israel

After coming back from Better Place, we attended to a conference about microfinance in Israel. It took place in the Leumi Bank offices.
PlaNet Finance, the 1st NGO in microfinance, launched by French Jacques Attali in 1998, wants to grow in Israel! The purpose is to increase the access to adapted financial services to the 25% of the Israeli population living below the poverty line.
A real need exists. Indeed, the majority (96%) of companies in Israel are SMEs but they account for only 23% in the total bank credits.
Micro-credits focus on micro-entrepreneurs who need small loans over a short period. Dina Weistein, Director of PlaNet Finance Israel, gives us the example of a micro-entrepreneur who needs professional photography equipment to start her business in photography for weddings in Israel.
To attract new funds for micro business in Israel, Planet Finance wants to launch a online platform for micro-credit (Microworld.org) that allows everyone to finance all or part of projects of micro-entrepreneurs.
Israel is a developed country, with a growing economy, but also with high inequalities between people. It’s estimated that poorest populations in Israel are orthodox Jewish people and Jews from Ethiopia.
At Leumi Bank, Tel Aviv

At Leumi Bank, Tel Aviv

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A special night in Tel Aviv

On Sunday night, we went to the Institut français, on Rotschild street, to discover the results of the French presidential elections 1st round.
We walked up together on the terrace, had a nice view of the city, talked with French expats, and finally saw the results on the TV screens.

After everybody expressed his feelings (disappointment, relief or “I don’t care, I’m Italian”), we decided to move to the beach, near to Gordon street, to have some drinks and debrief on this first intense day.

Gordon beach by day - Tel Aviv

Gordon beach by day - Tel Aviv

Gordon beach by night - Tel Aviv

Gordon beach by night - Tel Aviv

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Visiting Google Israel: a great experience

On Sunday morning, we took a taxi and stopped in front of a big building. We went in the elevator, up to the 21st floor. On the door, it was written: GOOGLE. Here we are: our first company visit!

The students at Google, with Daniel Rouach, his collegue Laureen, Aude and Julie from ESCP Europe administration and Jonathan

The students at Google, with Daniel Rouach, his collegue Laureen, Aude and Julie from ESCP Europe administration and Jonathan

Jonathan Riftin, a Google employee, welcomed us. He showed us the offices, and talk to us about working at Google (what they do, how it works, etc.).

A Google office is exactly as you imagine it, even better. It’s colourful, young, open. People here have an amazing view on the sea. They have free food available in the kitchen (coffee, snacks, candies). They have rooms to relax, to play video games, or to make music.

After the visit we had the great pleasure to listen to Inna Weiner. She presented us the projects Google Israel is working on. A lot of very exciting projects such as “how to forecast who will be the winner of The Voice using Google Insights?”. To know this trick and to learn more about this exceptional visit at Google, please have a look at this Israel Valley article.

At the end of the meeting we asked Inna and Jonathan why Israel is so special? They both answered “the people!”. Israeli people are from all over the world, it’s a great melting pot, and they are not afraid to fail.

In the elevator

In the elevator

Ricardo and Alice in the music room at Google

Ricardo and Alice in the music room at Google

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Being a young entrepreneur in Israel : the story of Jonathan

At the University of Tel Aviv, we met Jonathan. He is a French entrepreneur living in Tel Aviv.

He explained us his personnal story. He was born in Paris. After highschool, he went to scientific preparatory classes at Lycée Chaptal during one year, and then realized it wasn’t what he wanted to do. So he decided to move to Israel in 2002. During one year, he learned Hebrew, so then he could enter the Technion (it is like the Ecole Polytechnique in France, we will visit it tomorrow). Then he had to go to the military service, which is compulsory in Israel. He worked for the intelligence services as an officer.
After that he went back to school for a neuroscience licence, which was very practical.
And now he is launching his own company : Erez, strategic consulting based on exponential thinking. Exponential thinking is a theory based on the fact that innovations comes faster and faster to the market. For example, Facebook has been adopted by 50 millions of people in only 3years. So, according to Jonathan, companies should anticipate the future, and imagine which kind of product could exist in 5 or 20 years, better than having a strategy based on today’s world.

Why moving from France to Israel?
Each immigrant here has its own reasons for coming to Israel (business opportunities, religion, quality of life…). Jonathan wanted to take part in this amazing project called Israel.

The military service experience
Jonathan told us about the years he spent in the army. It can be hard for French students like us to imagine taking a break of at least 3 years in the middle of your studies to go to the army, but this is actually a very important step in every Israeli young people’s life. For example, Jonathan told us he met his best friends in the army. He also got high responsibilities at a very young age (22), so he gained a lot in self-confidence. The army allows young people to go beyond their limits and to become more mature, which can explain why Israeli people are more innovative.

How to do good networking?
Networking is very important in Israel. Jonathan says it begins with a good handshake! But the best way to create a good network is to establish a win-win relationship: if you expect someone to help you, first help him. It can be as simple as connecting people.
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Jonathan, entrepreneur in Israel

Jonathan, entrepreneur in Israel

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Day 1: what we have seen or learned in Tel Aviv

Here is a list of what we have seen or learned today in Tel Aviv:

  • It’s warm and sunny
  • Private donations from the diaspora (Jewish people all over the world are 14.5 millions) are very important in the Israeli development.
  • “The country is considering itself to be a research lab” (Daniel Rouach)
  • There is a strong patriotism (for example, you can see Israeli flags everywhere)
  • Hebrew language is really hard to understand, it looks like Chinese for us!
  • the compulsory military service impacts a lot the economy
  • Israeli people speak a good English and are very friendly
  • Sunday is Monday (Israeli people work on Sunday)
  • Israeli websites end with .il
Trying to read Hebrew at McDonald's

Trying to read Hebrew at McDonald's

The anecdote of the day: the English cats

In Tel Aviv, we have seen a lot of wandering cats in the streets. We have been told this story : under the English protectorate, there was a lot of rats, it was really a big problem. So English people decided to import a lot of cats to Tel Aviv. Rats disappeared, and cat are still there : in the street, in the university campus, everywhere.

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