Last month, we marked our 10-year anniversary. Over a decade ago we embarked on a journey to build UpWest and drive real impact for earliest-stage Israeli entrepreneurs breaking into the US market. Since then, we have been privileged to back 90+ companies founded by brilliant, resilient, contrarian founders who today represent the largest network of Israeli startups headquartered in the US.
While this is an incredible milestone to celebrate on so many levels, for us it is first and foremost about acknowledging our Founder community as the lifeline of UpWest.
Since the early days of UpWest, we have taken a founder-first approach that is heavily centered around, and constantly informed by, the journey of our entrepreneurs tackling similar fundamental market-entry and growth challenges. In our experience, sharing in coping with these challenges — operationally, mentally, and emotionally — alongside like-minded peers is the key factor to forming deep and authentic relationships, as well as a genuine sense of commitment to each other’s growth. Moreover, when our founders connect with each other they often are able to learn from each other’s experiences and avoid potential challenges.
Throughout their journeys, our founders collaborate with one another on countless areas: sharing best practices, facilitating customer and investor introductions, advising on relocation, managing stress & founder burnout — time and time again, we regard this community as a support system like no other.
A few weeks ago, we gathered in California’s beautiful Napa Valley for a special two-day Founder Retreat. While tasting world-class wine and farm-to-table foods were delightful, the most amazing part was, undoubtedly, the energy of this community being brought together. Once again we validated its value and power as our new and seasoned founders took the opportunity to connect, exchange views, brainstorm — and essentially continue amplifying our network and shared journey of UpWest.
We can’t wait for the next decade, together.