If Silicon Valley is widely considered a kind of promised land in today’s startup landscape, certain Israeli entrepreneurs have their sights set on a different dream: New York City.
Given its relative proximity to Israel and overlapping cultural propensities, a brand new accelerator called ICONYC labs is aiming to help five Israeli founders take a bite out of the Big Apple.
Israeli entrepreneurs, who tend to be solution-oriented, tech-savvy and frank communicators -- due in no small part to the fact that military service is compulsory at age 18 -- mesh well in New York’s slightly more grounded ecosphere, ICONYC's founders say.
“In Silicon Valley, people want to change the world,” says ICONYC partner and founder Eyal Bino. “In New York, people want to build a business.”
ICONYC, which launched last April, offers each of its startups a $20,000 stipend and office space at co-working hub AlleyNYC in exchange for an 8 percent stake in each company. (It hopes to add 10 more companies to its portfolio by year’s end.)
During the six-month program, ICONYC connects founders with local VCs, coaches them on how to conduct business in the U.S. (storytelling, for instance, tends to be a particularly weak spot) and brings in mentors and advisors -- including the founders of burgeoning brands like Casper and Boxed.
From ecommerce to agricultural tech to the Internet of Things (IoT), ICONYC’s first batch of startups is strikingly diverse -- though the businesses are united by a common theme of smart data, notes ICONYC co-founder Arie Abecassis. “Israelis are more focused on core technology than that something looks good on the surface,” explains Sharon Mirsky, the firm’s third partner.
Meet the accelerator’s first class of startups below: