More Fintech and Falafel. Back in the Start-up Nation.

I’m excited to be back in Israel with my partners at Propel Venture Partners and 12 fellow fintech investors and entrepreneurs.

Last year Jay, Tom and I joined Howard Lindzon (Social Leverage Capital), Sean Xiu (Vy Capital) and Ben Savage (Clocktower Technology Ventures) for a four day visit to Israel.

Our host the Israel Economic Mission to the West Coast, led by Gili Ovadia. Yael Kleinman, the Mission’s Director of Business Development, developed a packed 4-day itinerary and joined us as our guide.

We met over 300 entrepreneurs, VCs, academics and financial services executives during our visit and established strong relationships with the local fintech eco-system.

I promised Yael that we’d be back in 2017 with a bigger group. I’m thrilled that our group of 16 participants includes 5 of the founding group and many new faces from the US and Canada including well known fintech investors from 500 Startups Fintech, NEA and Partag3.

Over the past year many investors have asked why I put so much effort into bringing fellow fintech investors to Israel. “Don’t the best entrepreneurs come to San Francisco to see you?”, they asked.

My reason is simple: over the years I’ve met some of the most tenacious and thoughtful entrepreneurs who have come from this small strip of land on Mediterranean Sea — the Start-up Nation. They pursue big ideas, have excellent technology chops, and never give up. I believe that the only way to really understand why Israel is the Start-up Nation and why Israeli entrepreneurs are who they are is to visit Israel for yourself. You’ve got to walk, talk and eat your way through Israel, and read the Start-up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer before you arrive.

Venture Capital is very much about Human Capital. It’s about connecting great people with other great people and then to invest in impactful ideas together. 16 VCs and fintech entrepreneurs visiting Israel together will come home with some great stories, a new appreciation for falafel and many opportunities to back brave founders together.

My prediction: In 2018, we’ll bring 50 entrepreneurs and VCs to Israel. Yael and Gili, there’s a lot of work ahead!