Advice for Israeli start-up founders: Be like a 'hatzav' and blossom

Published date02 June 2023
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
This strange flower has no fragrance. It blossoms in August, September and October, mostly in dry, rocky regions

Why flower in autumn?


All the other flowers have blossomed, got pollinated, withered, and dropped seeds in spring and summer. In spring, for example, the Negev is carpeted with bright red anemones, and people flock to see them.

But the tough, brazen hatzav sends up spikes almost as tall as Michael Jordan and blooms when almost nothing else does. It gets exclusive service from pollinating bees and insects and grows high to make sure they see it. It's the only game in town. Its deep roots find moisture well before the rains return. It has no fragrance because – it doesn't need one. Six feet tall – you can't miss it.

Once long ago, perhaps a mutated gene let this flower bloom in fall instead of spring. And its progeny spread and prospered as a result. The wonders of evolution.

Start-up founders: Learn from the hatzav. Now's your time to blossom when others are getting cold feet. Be like the hatzav.

Advice for potential Israeli start-up founders

What follows is an imaginary though fact-based conversation with a young Israeli potential start-up founder. According to a survey, reported by the business daily Globes, he is male, 25-35, married with two kids, lives in central Israel and dreams of an exit.

Much of my "be a hatzav" advice below originated with a real-life seasoned entrepreneur, now an active venture capitalist who enjoyed a profitable exit.

The Report: Hello, founder. Nice to meet you. Now, June 2023, is a great time for you to launch your start-up. As the Nike slogan goes: Just do it!

Founder: What? Now? Really? Are you crazy? This is the absolute worst time. I can give you many reasons why.

The Report: Okay, let's hear them.

Founder: Last year, according to Start-Up Nation Central, investments in Israeli start-ups fell by 42%, falling from $27 billion in 2021 down to only $15.5 billion in 2022.

Fourth quarter 2022 was really bad. Start-ups raised only $295 million, down from a record $862 million in the same period in 2021. Cybersecurity was the hardest hit.

Cyber start-ups raised $3.5 billion in 2022, about half of the $6.6 billion they raised in 2021. And the number of new start-ups overall plummeted. Hi-tech layoffs soared.

All this was a result of the global drought in venture capital, in turn an offshoot of banks and investors tightening their lending as interest rates soared.

Then came the second half of the double...

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