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It’s Morning In Tel Aviv

Thoughts Following My 8th Trip To Israel — & Why It Was The Best Yet

When you visit a place eight times in two years, it starts to feel like a second home. So I went with that feeling and rented an AirBnB in Tel Aviv. Though I’ve AirBnB’d many times on vacation, I’ve never done so on business. It’s amazing how that simple change can make all the difference. It also helps when you’re AirBnB is across the street from the spectacular Tel Aviv beach:

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The View From My AirBnB
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With Jonathan Benzrtzi (Firsttime VC) & Yani Oron (Vertex Ventures) at the Geektime Cocktail Party

Israeli Companies Are Killing It In FinTech

Israel has a long list of FinTech successes, from pioneers like Payoneer and eToro, to newer companies like FeeX and Lemonade. But nothing is hotter now than crypto currency, with Bitcoin and Etheruem trading at market caps exceeding $40B and $30B, respectively. Part of the enthusiasm is due to Tokens and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) that are being built on, and enabled, via the blockchains. In this dynamic ecosystem, it’s exciting that Israel based Bancor recently held the most successful ICO to date, raising $150M in 2 hours for its smart-contract-based token conversion standard. It doesn’t matter that (most of) you have no idea what that means. To some degree, that’s the point. This is cutting edge FinTech and an Israeli company is helping lead the way.

Israel’s Economy Is So Strong… That The Rising Shekel Is A Problem

So there’s this….

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Dollars Per Shekel The Last 12 Months

Jefferies Does A World Class Tech Conference In Israel For U.S. & Israeli Institutional Investors

In my post on my 6th trip, I wrote about how the world is beating a path to Israel to learn about innovation. On this trip, I spent time with U.S. investors who came to learn about Israeli innovation (and investment opportunities) by attending Jefferies’ 3rd annual Israel Tech Trek. Jefferies put on a great conference, part of which took place at the beautiful Ritz in Heziliya.

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GM’’s First Autonomous Car Prototyp

Samsung NEXT Is a Truly Unique Software Innovation Ecosystem

Since starting my first company, .tv, out of the idealab incubator, I’ve had a fascination with innovation ecosystems. Israel has many great ecosystems, including MassChallenge & The Junction . On this trip, I had the pleasure of meeting Eyal Miller, a founding member of Google Israel in ‘06, who left in 2015 to be the founding Managing Director of Samsung NEXT Tel Aviv.

Mobileye Is Throwing Gasoline On Jerusalem’s Sizzling Tech Ecosystem

Since visiting Jerusalem on my 6th trip, and experiencing the vibrancy of it’s tech ecosystem firsthand, I vowed to spend at least one day in Jerusalem every trip. Jerusalem’s tech vibrancy became apparent to the entire world in March, when Intel announced the $15B acquisition of Mobileye. As I wrote then, that deal is poised to dramatically accelerate the growth of the Jerusalem tech ecosystem, and that impact can already be felt.

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Listening to Orcam read my iPad

Best Trip To Israel Yet

For many of the reasons stated above, and for many not mentioned, I remain hugely optimistic about the Israel tech ecosystem. It was another amazing week. I learned so much. I met so many great people and saw so many great companies. So why was it the best trip yet? I inferred that it was the best, simply because it was, by a wide margin, the saddest I was to leave. I missed my family back in NYC, and was excited to see them, but I was deeply saddened to have to leave what has truly emerged as my second home.

Believe Crypto is the biggest thing to happen in the history of mankind. Focused on stablecoins (founded JustStable.com) & communities (founded. CryptoMondays)

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