Uri Adoni: How To Build A Successful High-Tech Ecosystem, Lessons From Israel

    Uri Adoni has over 20 years of experience in the high-tech space.

    He was a partner at Jerusalem Venture Partners Media Labs for over 12 years – JVP is one of Israel’s leading venture capitals with an impressive track record of IPO’s on NASDAQ and M&A’s to large leading multinationals. Adoni served on the board of several high-tech companies, both early and late stages.

    Prior to joining JVP, Uri was the CEO of MSN Israel (Microsoft Networks) and was one of Israel’s new media pioneers, as well as a partner at Geller-Nessis/Leo-Burnett Israel advertising agency, and a strategic planner at Ogilvy Israel, where he worked with Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Philips, Adidas, and more.

    He regularly addresses delegations from around the world in Israel, and has been a keynote speaker, panelist, and judge at high-tech conferences in the U.S., Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland, among other places. Adoni is a highly visible ambassador for Israeli high-tech and is also an angel investor, investing his own capital in early-stage startups.

    He recently departed from JVP to join a U.S.-based real estate entrepreneur who is developing a new and innovative approach for building local high-tech ecosystems and communities across the U.S.

    Tell us a little bit about you. Where do you consider to be home? Is there a specific place that inspired your pursuit of tech?

    I was born and live in Israel. Due to my work, I travel quite frequently, but I am always happy to return home to Israel.

    Israel has the highest density of startups per capita in the world. It is the second-largest tech hub in the world after Silicon Valley. So, when you live in Israel you are surrounded by tech – people who work in startups, investors, the media constantly covers related topics, so just living here is a great inspiration to pursue tech.

    What was the inspiration for the development of The Unstoppable Startup?

    One of the questions I frequently get asked by delegations who come to Israel to learn, at international high-tech conferences, and in the media, is “what is the secret sauce behind the Israeli high-tech success?”

    Naturally, there are many factors that contribute to Israel’s success and the vibrant high-tech ecosystem that has been developed. But there are other ecosystems around the world that are not as successful. So, I had a hypothesis that it has to do with the entrepreneurial culture that we have and zooming in even further, I believe that the core differentiating edge is chutzpah. Unlike charisma, which you are either born with it or not, chutzpah is something that can be taught.

    My aim in writing the book was to demonstrate the role of chutzpah in successful startups, and also to show people how they can learn to have more chutzpah in their own lives and businesses.

    How do you think the economy will benefit from The Unstoppable Startup?

    Statistics show that 75% of startups in the world fail. This is due to several factors: the startup didn’t address a real market need, it ran out of cash, it didn’t have the right team, it got outcompeted, or because its go-to-market strategy was insufficient.

    Having invested in high-tech companies and sat on quite a few company boards, I hope that by sharing my experience and insights in the book, I will be able to make my modest contribution to increase the chances that startups succeed and to decrease the statistics of failure.

    What is a current challenge for you and how would you approach it?

    There are a few startup companies that I am currently involved with, and COVID has affected a few of them, mainly the ones that needed to fundraise more capital. The way we’ve been addressing it is by managing the cash very tightly, and by focusing only on the core business in terms of R&D, product development, and sales.

    What was one thing you did that exceeded your expectations when you began developing The Unstoppable Startup?

    I had a hypothesis that chutzpah had an important role in the success of Israeli startups. But when I started interviewing the founders and entrepreneurs for the book, the role that chutzpah played in their successes really exceeded my expectations. Everyone had their examples and stories of how important the role of chutzpah was in their success.

    Technology in itself is a success. What does success mean to you? What are your rules for success?

    Success for me is the ability to come up with an idea and make it happen.

    The power of humans to imagine, to come up with a concept, and then turn it into a reality is like magic.

    How do you handle comparisons between The Unstoppable Startup and that of other books? What is one way you continue to distinguish your book and stand apart?

    The Unstoppable Startup is a hands-on guide to investing in and building startups. There are other books addressing startups and investors, but The Unstoppable Startup differs from them in various ways. Most of them take a higher-level view of startups and entrepreneurship, while The Unstoppable Startup is filled with insider’s insights on the nuts-and-bolts of building a technology business.

    Throughout the book, there’s an insider’s perspective on Israel’s secret formula that has made it so successful in fostering the growth of technology businesses.

    With practical advice and real-life examples of chutzpah, the book addresses the specific challenges found in each stage in the early life of a startup, and how to apply certain strategies to each step of building a startup.

    It also features interviews with leading, successful entrepreneurs telling behind-the-scenes stories that have never told before, which gives a unique practical perspective and advice on how to address real challenges that many startups face.

    The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration; what/who inspires you the most?

    I am inspired by people who are dedicated and fully committed to their vision, that through creativity and innovation they overcome challenges, boundaries, and hurdles in order to complete their mission.

    What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

    That from time to time I like to take a few days off and travel to the desert on my own.

     What is your favorite innovation-related motto, quote, or words to live by?

    “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are most probably in the wrong room.”

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