“It’s hard to generalize founder attributes based on different geographies, but there’s something to be said for the urgency with which Israeli founders approach issues,” explained Teddie Wardi, managing partner at Insight Partners. “They usually act very quickly to iterate and find a solution in the market. The “done is better than perfect” attitude often helps these founders and startups quickly take the lead in a new category. »
Insight Partners is a New York-based venture capital and private equity firm with nearly $100 billion in assets under management. Founded in New York in 1995, the company works with American and Israeli founders and helps them scale their businesses.
Wardi joined CTech as part of its IL Tech in NY series to discuss what Israelis could learn if they choose to do business in the United States.
Name and type of organization: Insight Partners, venture capital and private equity firm.
Key Areas of Investment: Insight’s bread and butter is software. Insight finds and invests in the best ScaleUps – companies emerging from startup mode that need expertise and go-to-market capital to sustain growth. Our myopic focus on software and internet companies helps us win across the board, supporting horizontal and vertical leaders to help them grow internationally, capture market share and scale across successful growth stages.
Names of directors/managing partners: 35 general managers and 11 directors.
Partners and/or other funders: Insight is backed by some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated institutions and investors.
Year of foundation/beginning of operations in NY: Insight was founded in 1996 in New York.
What types of Israeli startups/entrepreneurs are you interested in?
As a company, we invest heavily in software, from inception to buyout. Personally, I focus on B2B software across the stack, with a bias towards the early growth side. Israel is well known for cybersecurity, but we’re seeing a growing number of software startups in other categories, from developer tools to application verticals.
Why invest in an Israeli company in New York? What are the advantages of such companies? How is the New York market different from the Israeli market?
Insight was one of the first global investors to take notice of the Israeli market and as such we have a long history of investing in Israeli companies. It goes back to success stories like Wix, as well as more recent stories like SentinelOne and Monday. Israeli software companies tend to open US operations very early in their life cycle. We see Israel producing truly world-class founding teams that scale quickly, hire great talent, and build best-in-class companies. The density of tech talent in Israel is unmatched by almost any other startup hub in the world, including New York.
How do Israeli entrepreneurs/startups differ from their local counterparts?
It’s hard to generalize founder attributes based on different geographies, but there’s something to be said for the urgency with which Israeli founders approach issues. They usually move very quickly to iterate and get a solution to market. The “done is better than perfect” attitude often helps these founders and startups quickly take the lead in a new category.
Two suggestions for Israeli entrepreneurs on what to do in New York:
My first suggestion is to tap into the networks of entrepreneurs in New York outside of just the other Israeli founders. There is a huge amount of activity these days in the New York City ecosystem with businesses in a wide variety of verticals. The diversity of founders and companies is not available to the same extent in Israel, so it is a good idea to take advantage of it.
Second, I would suggest looking at research incentive programs in the area, such as START-UP NY, and exploring relationships with the many local colleges and universities.
Two suggestions for Israeli entrepreneurs on what not to do in New York:
Don’t rush into senior hires without doing your due diligence and making sure it’s right for you. The success rate of first-time US-based executive hires for Israeli companies entering the market is exceptionally low.
In recent years, I’ve seen more Israeli founders try to open their US operation on a part-time basis, which can be difficult. I strongly believe that one of the founders should move here entirely to ensure success.
On a scale of 1 to 10, what impact has the Covid pandemic had on your work?
I would say 7. The COVID pandemic has caused many distortions in the markets, advancing demand for some categories while slowing adoption in others. I think the most permanent effect is the growing prevalence of totally remote and heavily hybrid companies. This has been an advantage for many companies in terms of being able to find experienced talent. On the other hand, it caused difficulties for many of them to adapt their working methods.
Examples of 2-3 most successful investments:
SentinelOne – we ran the D-series of SentinelOne in mid-2019. Since then, it has been a tremendous growth story in disrupting the existing endpoint security industry and beyond towards an “XDR” future. For me personally, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences to be able to work with the incredible team. We also led their Series E on the path to an IPO which took place in mid-2021.
World Papaya – we partnered with Papaya Global in their Series A at the end of 2019. It has been an exciting journey as the team is led by inspirational CEO/Founder Eynat Guez, who has transformed Global Payroll into a streamlined software offering. We also continued our investment in Papaya Global, their Series D leader at a valuation of over $3 billion.
Wiz- we co-led Series A of Wiz during the height of COVID in 2020. The hugely experienced team behind Wiz had already created something disruptive in cybersecurity with their former company, and they intended to do it again . Wiz has been one of the fastest-to-adopt cybersecurity products we’ve ever seen, and the team is just getting started. Late last year, we also co-led Series C of Wiz, where the company was valued at $6 billion.