#MentorSpotlight || Meet Helen Wexler
“Have a big vision, but don’t forget the detailed plan.”
Around the world to Israel
Helen Wexler grew up in New York but made aliyah to Israel with her family at the age of 16. She says she loves the country for its people: their authenticity and ‘chutzpah’, better known as their to-the-point attitude, make her feel energized and alive.
After her service in the IDF, where she served in the air force and managed a fitness program for the elite unit of Talpiot, Helen went on to study architecture at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Her final thesis, an independent study on 3D-printing houses on Mars by using solar technology, earned her an award from Nasa.
Beginning her career in architecture, Helen contributed to projects in everything from small Manhattan developments to large projects in China. After some time she realized she wasn’t passionate about building and saw it as incremental innovation. Rather, she wanted to focus on on exponential innovation and be on the ground dealing with in an entrepreneurial environment.
The overall goal of Jnext is to facilitate the success of startups in Jerusalem. They act as the overarching umbrella of the tech scene and connect people with the resources they need.
Helen is often called the ‘Wish Fairy’. She meets with startups, figures out what stage they’re at and what they need at that time — whether it’s connecting to investors, or finding space — and makes it happen.
Jnext monetarily supports the various accelerators in the city. They also provide grants (up to 500,000 NIS) to Jerusalem companies.
When asked about Jerusalem as a startup ecosystem, Helen looks to its diverse population and emphasizes the power of having of many people, religions, and races in one city. Everyone can work together in Jerusalem and build the future.
Tips for startups
• Have a big vision, but don’t forget the detailed plan.
• You’re married to your investors — so get to know them before you take their money, especially if they’re from the corporate line, to avoid a misalignment in visions. Once they’re your partner, they’ll be harder to get rid of than you may think.