Who’s Who in Israel: Supporting the Women of Startup Nation

Shirley Schoenfeld
Dec 10, 2018 · 3 min read
What I got when I searched for “women in tech.” (Credit: Bruce Mars)

I like to joke that when I moved to Israel in 2011, I tripled the demographic overnight. At the time, there were so few Asian American women in the Israeli tech and venture ecosystem that I probably wasn’t far off.

Israel continues to be one of the world’s top hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship. Having spent time in NYC, London, and the Bay Area, there is without a doubt a unique magic in the Israeli tech ecosystem that I’ve never experienced elsewhere.

But what isn’t unique is the abnormally low levels of female founders and top tier investors with check-writing ability.

The movement to fix this imbalance is still in the early innings. Some folks are very vocal supporters of diversity — as long as it happens to someone else’s team.

Despite some warm interest from the ecosystem, on average the actual change is embarrassingly low. In this respect, our American and European counterparts have outpaced us by miles. They’ve built an impressive collection of tools to meaningfully support inclusion efforts, drive transparency on company diversity statistics, and have demonstrated a willingness to have uncomfortable conversations. If the Israeli community doesn’t keep up, we will see a mass departure of female talent for the more welcoming shores of California or London.

Twenty four hours ago, I started searching for a list or repo that summarised in one easy place all of the women-focused resources in Israel. I texted six industry leaders, all of whom said “I don’t know.” The list below is a first attempt at answering my own question. I hope to achieve three things:

  1. Provide Israeli women in tech and venture with a single directory of valuable resources to which they can continually refer.
  2. Provide investors with an answer to the question, “where is all the female technical talent hanging out?”
  3. Put in stark comparison the gap in Israel vs. other global hubs — and by extension, spur my colleagues to enact the change they say they support.

This list will grow and change over time. If your organisation is missing, please comment below. Thanks to Joshua Henderson and Naomi Goldberg for the inspiration.

Disclaimer: Thoughts and omissions are my own.

Co-Working for Women-Led Companies

  1. Hub Etzion
  2. WMN

Networks of Women Engineers and Entrepreneurs

  1. Baot
  2. Digital Eve
  3. ICON Women in Tech
  4. ImaKadima
  5. iWen
  6. LeadWith
  7. Lesbians Who Tech
  8. mBolden
  9. WeAct / Stride Ventures
  10. Woman2Woman
  11. Women in Data Science
  12. Women of Startup Nation
  13. Women Techmakers Israel
  14. Yazamiyot
  15. Hastartupistiot
  16. Women in Industry (פורום נשים בתעשיה)
  17. Women of High Tech (נשים בהייטק)

Women-led Accelerators or with an Inclusion Track Record

  1. Barclays Techstars Tel Aviv
  2. Labs/02
  3. MassChallenge
  4. Microsoft for Startups
  5. Oracle Accelerator
  6. The 8200 Social Program
  7. Women Founders Forum

Organisations Dedicated to Diversity

  1. Parliament 51
  2. Power in Diversity

Tech-focused Funds with at least One Female Investing Partner*

  1. 83North (Laurel Bowden)
  2. Arbor Ventures (Lior Simon)
  3. Blumberg Capital (Yodfat Buchris)
  4. Bridges Israel (Sandrine Montsma)
  5. Citi Ventures (Ornit Shinar)
  6. Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (Irit Kahan)
  7. EDvantage (Amalia Bryl)
  8. i3 Equity Partners (Noga Kap)
  9. iAngels (Shelly Hod Moyal, Mor Assia)
  10. Janvest Capital Partners (Dafna Winocur)
  11. Joy Ventures (Miri Polachek)
  12. Lamed Holdings (Daniella Segal)
  13. Meron Capital (Liron Azrielant)
  14. MizMaa Ventures (Cat Leung)
  15. Moneta VC (Meirav Harnoy)
  16. OurCrowd (Liat Sverdlov)
  17. Pico Partners (Tal Tochner)
  18. Porsche Digital (Tali Rafaeli)
  19. Qualcomm Ventures (Meirav Weinryb)
  20. Qumra Capital (Sivan Shamri Dahan)
  21. TLV Partners (Rona Segev)
  22. TriVentures (Michal Geva)
  23. Union Tech Ventures (Roxanne Horesh)
  24. UpWest Labs (Shuly Galili)
  25. Verizon Ventures (Merav Rotem Naaman)
  26. Viola Credit (Ruthi Simha, Timor Arbel-Sadras)
  27. Viola Growth (Natalie Refuah)

Others with demonstrated awareness of the need for diversity of thought: Angular Ventures

*For purposes of this exercise, I did not differentiate between Managing Partner, General Partner, and Partner. In reality, these roles range hugely in voting power and check-writing ability.

Funds Targeting Diverse Companies

  1. RED Capital Partners

Developing Female STEM Talent

  1. Cracking the Glass Ceiling
  2. Developers.Institute
  3. Rails Girls
  4. she codes
  5. QueenB

Other Resources

  1. Let’s Get to 51%
  2. List of Female Israeli Speakers Available for Tech Conferences

Shirley Schoenfeld

Written by

Co-founder and Partner @SenecaVC. Formerly @83northvc, @morganstanley, @sandp

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