At Geektime, we review the world of Israeli startups every day. We give you reports about financing rounds, acquisitions, and interesting developments that are just beginning. But who are the people behind these ventures? Do they all fit into the same category, or is the club open to everyone? How many women entrepreneurs are there, and in which military units did most of the startup people serve? With the help of our data unit, we went over all the startups that raised money or were acquired over the past year in order to compile a profile of the 2016 entrepreneur.
Note that this is not a representative sample. It refers only to the startups that were active in the past year.
Gender – expected, but just how bad is the situation?
Of the 783 startups we checked, only 5% were founded by women, meaning that men were responsible for the “remaining” 95% (744 startups, compared with 39). The female entrepreneurs included Iris Shoor, founder of OverOps (formerly Takipi), a company that helps developers detect and solve code problems within minutes; Dr. Michal Tsur, a founding partner in Kaltura, which recently raised $50 million; and Yael Vizel, who founded Zeekit so that we don’t have to try on clothes before we buy them.
Of the 708 startup people who participated in this sample, 47% have a BA/BSc degree, 37% have an MA/MSc degree, and 6% have PhDs. 9% have only a high school education.
Distribution among institutions of higher learning
As can be seen, the entrepreneurs were spread out among innumerable institutions of higher learning. It is nevertheless easy to distinguish the most prominent ones. 25% of the 654 in this sample people studied at Tel Aviv University and 21% of them studied at various overseas institutions; these two groups accounted for almost half of the participants in the sample. 11% of the sample graduated from the Technion, putting it in third place. At the bottom of the list were Ariel University, the ORT Braude Academic College of Engineering, the Sami Shamoon College of Engineering, and Ruppin College; one graduate from each of these institutions founded a successful startup.
92% of the 278 participants in this sample served in the army; the others did not serve. One of the entrepreneurs is so young that he has not yet been drafted.
29% of the participants served in the intelligence corps (including Unit 8200), and 22% of them served in the IDF as programmers. The C4I Corps (which also includes Center of Computing and Information Systems (MAMRAM) cadets) is in third place with 13% of the entrepreneurs, closely followed by the Air Force with 11%. It appears that combat units are less attractive to entrepreneurs, since only 7% of the served in the infantry, three of which were in the Golani Brigade, and a few others in various other combat units.
The entrepreneurs are distributed among a large number of different towns. A number of cities, however, stand out. The most popular city among the entrepreneurs is the one called “Overseas”: 37% of the 451 people in the sample live there (where? mostly in New York (42) and San Francisco (43)).
The second most popular city among Israeli entrepreneurs is Tel Aviv, where 33% of them live. It is difficult to follow the distribution after overseas and Tel Aviv. We managed, however, to discover that 3% of the entrepreneurs live in Herzliya and the same number in Petah Tikva. It appears that Israeli entrepreneurs prefer an urban way of life. The most “daring” locations we found were Tzfat, Kiryat Gat, and Kibbutz Shamir in the Upper Galilee.
Place of birth
Many of the startup-ists were born in Tel Aviv (32%). 14% of them were born in overseas cities: Toronto, Brooklyn, Lyon, and even Accra in Ghana (Gregory Rockson from mPharma). The city that gave birth to the third most startup people is Jerusalem (7%), followed by Haifa (5%) and Herzliya and Ra’anana (4% each).
We cross-referenced the entrepreneurs’ place of birth of birth with their current residence. The result was a slight and unsurprising contrast; while the majority of the entrepreneurs were born in Israel (Tel Aviv), many of them have left Israel and now live overseas.
The average age of the successful 2016 entrepreneur is 36.6, with most of them being in the 30-35 age bracket; 117 of the 280 participants in this sample are in this group. There is no reason for those past this age to be downhearted, however – 65 more entrepreneurs were in the 38-42 age bracket. Down at the end of the graph is the youngest entrepreneur in 2016 – 19 year-old Ido Gino from the RapidAPI startup. At the not so extreme other end of the spectrum is 64 year-old Alvarion founder and former CEO Michael Rothenberg, who is now chairman of MIND CTI.