Karnit Flug has been deputy governor of the Bank of Israel since July 2011. Flug worked with the International Monetary Fund before joining the Israeli central bank, where she is completing a quarter century. In this interview from December with Israel Knowledge@Wharton, Flug — said to be among the front-runners to replace Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who steps down at the end of June — talks about a wide range of issues, including the Israeli economy; why the ‘start-up nation’ hasn’t been able to produce large companies, and the serious social problems that lie ahead if currently unproductive segments of the population are not brought into the economic and labor mainstream.
The second segment of Israel Knowledge@Wharton’s interview with Chemi Peres, co-founder and managing director of Pitango Venture Capital, focuses on the origins of the start-up funding sector in Israel. Peres also discussed how he picks “winners” from a sea of entrepreneurial hopefuls and the key tenets of his leadership style.
Israel has acquired a reputation as a “start-up nation” because of its large number of innovative entrepreneurs. Venture capitalist Chemi Peres has been involved in funding them from the very start. Today, he is co-founder and managing general partner of Pitango Venture Capital. The nature of the game is changing, he told Israel Knowledge@Wharton in an interview, and the country needs to diversify both its sources of funding and its markets.
Jonathan Medved is one of Israel’s leading high-tech venture capitalists. The New York Times has named him one of the 10 most-influential Americans who have impacted Israel. He has invested in more than 100 Israeli startups, helping 12 reach valuations in excess of $100 million. What excites him today is that Israel has this “hoard of 10,000 successful entrepreneurs” — a fertile catchment to tap for new ventures. At the same time, says Medved in this interview with Israel Knowledge@Wharton, tomorrow’s successes will be those that marry global finance and markets.
Gidi Grinstein is founder and president of the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit strategy group that focuses on the efforts of Israel and the Jewish diaspora. It has a large canvas: On the one side is the Israel 15 program, which aims to make the country one of the top 15 economies over 15 years. On the other is an endeavor to transfer Israeli expertise in areas such as medicine to other parts of the world. Far more ambitious is the Tikkun Olam initiative, named for the Hebrew phrase meaning “repairing the world.” “It is the beginning of a long journey,” says Grinstein in this interview with Israel Knowledge@Wharton.
Spread over several parallel streets and connecting alleyways, the Mahane Yehuda market may be the only place in which to see, meet, hear and taste the unbelievably broad spectrum of humanity that lives in or visits Jerusalem. By the same token, the market — which U.S. President Barack Obama visited this month during his trip to Israel — is the best place to come to grips with what makes Israelis and Jerusalemites of all stripes tick and to get a deeper understanding of the forces at work in Israeli society.