11:06 | 06.04.17 | Interviews | exclusive 136285

Israeli mentor: Armenia needs to involve large corporations

Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) venture fund is considered to be one of the top ten consistently performing funds in the world. Founded in 1993, JVP has helped build over 110 companies.

Noa Segre is Director of Investor Relations at JVP.  She is active in the Jerusalem Hi-Tech ecosystem and acts as a mentor for a number of technology accelerators in the city, assisting teams and companies with their storytelling, capital raising and investor interactions.

Itel.am talked to Noa Segre within the frames of First Global Summit on Impact Investment, which took place in Yerevan at the end of March.

- 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report was recently released, which ranked Tel Aviv as the 6th among 20 best startup ecosystems in the world. How do you manage that?   

- Israeli tech ecosystem does not target Israel.  Being very strong, it is based on Research and Development (R&D), so the majority of businesses operate outside of Israel.  The companies are mostly located abroad. A lot of developments are taking place in Israel in terms of education.

Touching upon Jerusalem Venture Partners, we have mostly invested in Israeli companies, though there were some investments in companies outside of Israel. Our investments are based on knowledge and can involve different stages of startup development: from seed to growth. By the way, we are really interested in cyber security solutions, being the most active cyber security investor in Israel.

I think that Armenia can learn a lot from Israel, adopting various initiatives, which have already promoted high tech in Israel, for example government support, incubations programs.

photo © Mediamax

- Israel and Armenia are similar in territory and population, as well as relations with the neighbors. Being Israeli IT representative, what would you advise us to make Armenian IT as attractive as the Israeli one?

- I think that Armenian IT lacks some research. Armenia should create conditions for doing research inside universities. Armenia may interest global groups as a developing economy, which will boost innovation as well.

First of all, you need to pay attention to education, and secondly, involve and bring in Armenia global multinationals. Armenia needs such a precedent to change the ecosystem.  If one similar company succeeds here, it will definitely attract more companies. I really believe that talent attracts talent and success brings more success.

For example, 300 multinational companies operate now in Israel. Armenia is a small county, but if one of those multinationals invests in Armenia or becomes a client, this will attract more companies into the country.

It is essential that the companies avoid targeting only the local market. You need to think global, start speaking English, create platform in English, Chinese or any other language that has a wider audience. You need to start as a global, not a local company.

Having small territory may be an advantage. Everyone knows one another in Armenia, just as in Israel. These connections can only create opportunities for working together.  Small countries have advantage here, because they can do things together.

Think global, have a very good business model and make sure that you have the best team. Do not be another company that already exists, think of something new.

Everything that is going on in Armenian IT really surprises me. There is still a lot to be done, but it is possible. Tumo center just blew my mind; this kind of structures will help you get the innovation to the country.

Narine Daneghyan talked to Noa Segre