Bob Rosenschein: The Oleh’s Unassuming Hero of Start Up Nation

At the Aleph Launch party last week, I saw a familiar smiling face who came from Jerusalem to Rothschild Blvd. just to attend and say Mazal Tov and congrats. He too was an Oleh from the United States, lives in Jerusalem and is a frequent flier. In fact, when I thought about it, I think I ran into this Oleh more when he is hobnobbing with Walt Mossberg at tech conferences in the United States than I do in Jerusalem. He insisted on taking a picture together with me even though I was the photographer for the night. That picture got me thinking about him, about Aliya and about Start Up Nation. And then, the next day, I opened my email to find 3 pictures from him chronicling the two of us aging over the last 13+ years. Then I decided this was worth a blog post.

You see Bob Rosenschein is not just an Oleh and a tech entrepreneur. He is the person who brought Hebrew to the word processor with his first start up Kivun, later to be known as Accent Software. You heard that right, Bob Rosenschein from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania brought Hebrew to the Word Processor. He started one of Israel’s first consumer internet companies called Gurunet, later to be known as answers.com which I was on the board of when we went public. And now, he is back for a 3rd act, launching Curiyo earlier this month. I am not sure how old Bob is but he is working just as hard at Curiyo as I saw him work at answers.com. That is Start Up Nation!

Bob is a tireless entrepreneur and a staple at elite tech conference in the US where you find very few Israelis. Anyone who has seen him there, knows he is tirelessly pitching his latest start up, always smiling and trying to get product feedback from the best in the business. I have personally seen him pitch Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos by just walking up to them, smiling and saying “can I show you something really cool.” Bob is a great ambassador for Start Up Nation wherever he goes.

Armed with a fabulous MIT education and great personality, Bob could have been successful in the United States but I think about all of the things that Bob has contributed to Israel from Hebrew Word Processing to Consumer Internet and I am not sure Start Up Nation could have been as successful without Bob. He is one of the unsung and unassuming Oleh (immigrant) heroes of Israel.

As I leave to the USA today and get ready to speak to a bunch of Jewish students, I am thinking about Bob as an instructive role model for aliya and entrepreneurship. He is an example of the impact Olim can have on Israel and the bridge that they are to bigger dreams and bigger markets. Most importantly though, Bob is a mensch (even if in sending his older photographs he showed my aging as well!) If you are an American or European and thinking about Aliya and what role you can play in Israel, then think about Bob. Think about his entrepreneurial spirit, impact and his smile and then reach out to him and get his advice for how you too can move to Israel and leave your mark on Start Up Nation.

[Originally published on 7th October 2013 by MIchael Eisenberg]