5 Questions with Guy Israeli, Managing Director of Techstars Tel Aviv

Jun 28, 2023

Guy Israeli is the Managing Director of Techstars Tel Aviv

Guy is an experienced tech entrepreneur and finance professional with more than 12 years of experience as an entrepreneur and an investor in various emerging and developed markets. His experience includes serving as founder and CEO, Business development, a venture capital investor and an advisor to various investors and entrepreneurs. He gained much experience in growing ventures internationally in various markets in Europe, Latin America and the US doing so with financials, strategy and growth execution.

Guy holds an MBA from the London Business School and bachelor's degree in information system engineering from the Ben Gurion University.

01. What are you looking for in startups for Techstars Tel Aviv?

I’m looking for resilient founders who leverage or build cutting edge technology such as AI, deep tech, machine learning and others to disrupt big markets and solve global problems across finance, climate, enterprise software and health industries.

I’m looking for innovative business models that can be scaled into global companies. 

And most importantly, I want founders who dream big, are execution driven and are experts in their field.   

02. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars MD? 

During the entrepreneurial journey, you become more persistent and resilient, learn to overcome challenges and obstacles as well as discover the opportunities within them. Handling the successes and failures teaches you to become agile and creative. 

I have also learned that surrounding yourself with a talented and diverse team is the only way to build a successful venture. 

03. What is your favorite thing about the Tel Aviv and Israel startup scene?

Much has been written about the tech scene in Israel and Tel Aviv including the number of startups, venture investing per capita, and successful Nasdaq IPOs.  

And while these numbers are impressive  and rival  any other techhub in the world, for me it’s about the people. Tel Aviv, the heart of the Israeli Tech scene, is a small city. Founders, investors and top executives are very down to earth people keen to help and assist other founders. They are very accessible even to founders they haven't met before. This welcoming ecosystem truly is one of the best places in the world to build a startup.

04. Describe a situation with a startup founder or team where you felt like you made a difference. 

I met with a super talented founder last year who was thinking about shutting down the business. The business model was not working, hadn’t secured funds and only had a two month runway. It was  a difficult situation, but not hopeless. 

We met several times and built a  three month plan which included a new business model using the same technology, a different round structure and quick, heavy operational changes. 

The founder had to make some difficult decisions and focus on a new plan, but did it. After three months, it was an oversubscribed round and the business continues to thrive. 

05. As a founder, how do you disconnect and recharge 

I like traveling and hiking to remote locations, particularly in the south part of Israel. Spending the night in the desert is magical because it’s so quiet. It’s a place where I can get away from  all the noise of day to day running a startup and really think. It's a place to recharge, to think and make big decisions far away from all the day to day work distractions.