Israeli venture capitalist says Australian start-ups are too unambitious

Israeli entrepreneurs set out to conquer the world, says a leading Israeli venture capitalist, and that vaulting ambition is the reason the tiny nation’s businesses do well.

Israeli start-ups set out to create global businesses, and that large-scale ambition drives success, according to John Medved, currently CEO of mobile personalisation company Vringo and previously founder and General Partner of Israel Seed Partners, a venture capital fund with $262M under management.

“US companies think about their own market first,” Medved told My Business. “They don’t go global until later. In Israel people start a business with no intention of serving the local market.”

They do so, he said, as many are “megalomaniac dreamers”. Those dreamers are in plentiful supply. “650 Israeli companies will receive venture funding this year,” Medved said. “Each has two to four founders so that means there are 2000 or 3000 crazed entrepreneurs this year alone.

Medved said that in his experience Israeli entrepreneurs don’t take no for an answer and fearlessly gravitate to the world’s commercial centres to make the contacts they need to succeed. “They go to San Francisco at the drop of a hat,” he said.

While not well versed in Australian business culture, he said the perception of Australians is that our business community is more timid. But Australia and Israel, he added, also have considerable opportunities to work on together. Israel has recently discovered substantial gas deposits and has already turned to Australia to learn from our experience building infrastructure for the gas industry. Israeli solar technology companies have also sought local collaboration, while Israeli investors have also taken an interest in our solar industry.

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