5 Questions with Hilla Ovil-Brenner, Managing Director of the Techstars Tel Aviv Accelerator

Mar 01, 2020
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3-min read

Hilla Ovil-Brenner is managing director of the Techstars Tel Aviv Accelerator. A serial entrepreneur in the high-tech industry for the past 20 years, she is a true believer in innovation and team spirit. Hilla specializes in turning dreams into reality through passion, experience, and skill. She was named one of the top 100 influential people in the hi-tech ecosystem by geektime. Hill is the Founder of Yaazamiyot, the biggest female founders group in Israel, with over 4000 founders and global projects. In addition, she is an investor, a mentor, and she sits on many advisory boards.

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

I'm looking for startups with innovative and disruptive ideas. Most importantly, those startups should have strong team members: passionate and intelligent founders who are real executors.

02. How have learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey helped you be a successful Techstars MD?

I made many mistakes while learning how to create a successful startup. Despite those mistakes, I was passionate and loved my company, and I think that’s why I succeeded. Now I have the opportunity to accompany, mentor, and closely watch the startups in this accelerator, and help them avoid mistakes and pass any obstacle in the way.

Learn more about how Techstars mentors work: read the Techstars Mentor Manifesto.

03. Describe a moment/situation with a startup founder or team where you felt like you made a difference.

I had a company with two team members—one of them was the CEO and the other was COO. After a month into the program, I thought the two should switch roles and areas of responsibilities in order to move forward quickly and wisely. They accepted my advice, and the moment they switched roles they managed to raise money and gain traction. The company thrived.

Sometimes as a founder, you’re so caught up in the day-to-day that you can’t see the big picture—like how trading major roles and responsibilities could help your company succeed in a big way. This is one way an accelerator can help.

04. You’re dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs succeed. Tell us why this is so important.

Unfortunately, there are not that many women in the business world, and particularly not enough in the tech industry and in startups.

I know that there are many women out there with amazing ideas and the right skill set required for creating and growing strong companies, and I want to support and help those women succeed in an industry dominated by men. Diverse teams create strong companies with better chances to succeed—I believe this in my heart, and research strongly supports it as well.

Providing role models is one way to help women see themselves as founders. This is why I created ‘campus for moms’ a program with Google and my nonprofit organization with over 4000 female founders. I dedicate my life to this cause because I think we are creating the revolution.

You can't be what you can’t see.

05. What is your favorite thing about the Tel Aviv and Israeli startup scene?

Tel Aviv has an incredible ecosystem. Israel truly is a “startup nation”—it has one startup for every 1400 people, the largest number per capita in the world.

The ecosystem community is dynamic and exits happen very often, and each Israeli success story creates great pride within the community. The community consists of Israelis as well as people from all over the world, and they truly care about each other and have a strong willingness to help and assist—what we at

Techstars call Giving First. This makes Tel Aviv a wonderful place to start or grow your company.

Learn more about the Techstars Tel Aviv Accelerator here.

Learn more about Techstars accelerators and see which ones are accepting applications now.