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The Connectors

The Connectors

By Nitzan Gal and Inbal Perlman
"The Connectors" is a podcast about the people who are building and managing innovative ecosystems worldwide.

The exponential growth in demand for innovation, from all kinds of players in the tech world, has created new and diverse versions of ecosystems. On the podcast, we interview different ecosystem managers to learn about their work, find out how they measure their impact, and their ways to generate value for the different stakeholders they work with. We’ll explore how they maximize collaborations and hear about their challenges through stories from their day-to-day work.
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#8: Elementor's Open Source Ecosystem | Nofar Ben Dror Paecht, Director of Community at Elementor

The Connectors

#10: How the Israeli Security Agency works with startups | Ido, Chief Innovation Officer @ the ISA
The Shin Bet, known in Hebrew by its acronym Shabak (Israel's security service - ISA), is one of the most secretive organizations in the world. For the first time since its inception, the ISA has agreed to showcase a senior official on a podcast, providing Nitzan Gal and me the huge honor to Host Ido (Alias), Chief Innovation Officer of the ISA, on “The Connectors” for our season Finale! 🎧🍾 With over 20 years of experience leading the organization’s field operations and thwarting terrorist activity in some of Israel’s most critical security events, Ido’s understanding of the organization is like no other. In a fascinating conversation, he shed light on his work developing the ISA’s innovation ecosystem and collaboration with startups, and the challenges in doing so while walking a thin line between the secret and civilian world. From the ISA’s approach to working with startups, its work to promote open and internal innovation and it’s diverse collaborations with industry, venture capital funds, and partners to cultivate a first of its kind ecosystem - Ido provides a glimpse into the unique work of one the most confidential bodies in the world.  
May 05, 2021
#9: Samsung Next Ecosystem Playbook | Gary Coover, Ventures Operating MD and GM of Samsung Next @ Silicon Valley
In the latest episode of the Connectors, we hade the pleasure to host Gary Coover, Ventures Operating Managing Director and General Manager of Samsung Next in Silicon Valley. Samsung Next operates a global network of ecosystem hubs, providing founders with domain expertise and access to Samsung, through its ventures, partnerships, and M&A teams. Over the past decade, Gary helped grow Samsung Next’s innovation footprint from a 3-person team in Korea to 200+ people globally across the Bay Area, New York, Tel Aviv, Europe and Korea, launching and leading startup-centric initiatives. As the Ventures Operating MD, Gary oversaw Next's early-stage venture incubation efforts and global portfolio company support program, while deeply engaging the startup community as the GM of Samsung NEXT in the Valley. In one of our most fascinating conversations in the podcast thus far, we dove into Gary’s decision making and execution process in launching international hubs for Next; the secret to balancing between local preferences vs. global strategy, while allowing streamlined collaboration; and eventually achieving wins for Next by fostering internal and external collaborations, and so much more. Tune in an enjoy!
April 01, 2021
#8: Elementor's Open Source Ecosystem | Nofar Ben Dror Paecht, Director of Community at Elementor
In the latest episode of the Connectors, we had the pleasure to host Nofar Ben Dror Paecht, Director of Community at Elementor, one of the world’s leading website builder platforms, powering 7 million active sites. At its core, Elementor is an open-source product, making it a user-driven company. Today, it empowers a global ecosystem of professional web creators whose members play a key factor in its growth. What steps has Nofar taken to identify and meet the evolving needs of Elementor’s growing ecosystem? How can crisis be leveraged to build trust among user-communities and what are Nofar's best practices for remote crisis management? What methods has Nofar implemented to engage Elementor’s global ecosystem, spread over 25 countries? How can intentional 'community over competition' be created among freelance communities? Answers to these questions and more - in our latest interview with Nofar. Enjoy!
February 14, 2021
#7: Jerusalem's Tech Ecosystem: Igniting Innovation from within | Inbal Halperin Gottesman - Jerusalem Ecosystem Manager @ SNC
When thinking of Jerusalem, most people imagine the holy sites and the city’s diverse demographic makeup. But for Inbal Halperin Gottesman, the uniqueness of the city is its world-class startup ecosystem. In the latest episode of ‘The Connectors”, we had the pleasure to host Gottesman, Jerusalem Ecosystem Manager at Start-Up Nation Central, and learn about her work elevating the city as a center of global innovation. Recently ranked as the 6th most attractive ecosystem for #startups (alongside Tel-Aviv), there are over 400 active tech companies that operate in the city, which is a 102% increase since 2012. In 2019 alone, $233M was invested in Jerusalem-based-companies, with an overall of 22 exits, including Mobileye which is the largest exit in Israel’s history. What does “a day in a life” of a city ecosystem manager look like? What steps did Startup Nation Central take to attract Israeli innovators to the city to grow professional its tech communities? What does it take to create a successful “beta site” to try out new ideas and collaborations? What are the stages of ecosystem growth and how can they be developed to ignite innovation in cities? What are some best practices for building bridges between businesses, government entities, academy officials, and NGO leaders? Answers to these questions and more in our latest interview with Inbal. 
January 07, 2021
#6: From Silicon Wadi to Silicon Valley | Yasmin Lukatz, Executive Director of ICON – Israel Collaboration Network
Yasmin Lukatz is the executive director of the Israel Collaboration Network (ICON),  a non-profit organization that aims to create a Silicon Valley-based community to harness and support Israeli startup technology and innovation. ICON’s ecosystem includes prominent Silicon Valley investors, senior corporate executives, and Israeli founders of tech startups based both in Israel and the US, and serves as an entry point for Israeli entrepreneurs and their startups to Silicon Valley, helping them get connected and find funding. What goes behind the scenes of the largest network today bridging the Israeli and Silicon Valley tech ecosystems? What are the challenges and opportunities involved in connecting hundreds of Israeli entrepreneurs with senior Silicon Valley venture-capital executives in the COVID-19 era? What does building an 'ecosystem brand'  entail - and what are the secrets to developing a lasting brand identity from day 1? What does the future hold for ICON? Tune in to listen to Yasmin’s insights and thoughts on these questions and more. Enjoy!
November 28, 2020
#5: Measuring the Business Impact of Community | Richard Millington, Founder of FeverBee
In this episode, we had the privilege to interview one of the most influential voices in the community space today. Richard Millington has spent the past decade helping 250+ companies develop some of the world’s largest online communities. He is the founder of FeverBee, an international community consultancy, and his clients have included Google, Facebook, Oracle, Wikipedia, EMC, Greenpeace, United Nations, and many more. Prior to FeverBee, Richard interned with Seth Godin in New York. He started his first online community in 1999 and is the author of The Indispensable Community and Buzzing Communities, which have been widely cited as introducing the best practice into developing successful communities. What’s the biggest challenge businesses face when implementing community strategy? Why do most community strategies fail to achieve their goals? How can community managers apply psychology to their work to develop successful, indispensable communities? What are some metrics you think are important when measuring community impact? What is the relationship between building community and ecosystems, and how has it changed in the last decade?  Answers to these questions and more - in our latest interview with Richard.
October 25, 2020
#4: Bridging two innovation ecosystems | Tue David Bak, Executive Director at Innovation Centre Denmark
In this episode we went behind the scenes of not a single ecosystem- but two.  As the Executive Director  of Innovation Centre Denmark, Tue David Bak fostered innovation alliances between the Nordics and Israel, in an array of fields ranging from foodtech, healthcare, pharma, cleantech to education. What does bridging two innovation ecosystems look like? What are the challenges and opportunities involved in connecting two different countries and cultures - and what is the skill-set and  mindset required to do so successfully? How does Israel’s risk-taking culture play with the Danish culture of conformity- and how does the tension between traditional diplomacy VS innovation come into the picture? Tune in to learn more. _  Tue David Bak  has spent the past two decades working on economic development and innovation. He has managed projects and advised governments and business leaders in more than 25 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, The Middle East and Asia. His clients and employers include the Danish Government, the UN, the World Bank, BSR-Business for Social Responsibility, AngloGold Ashanti, the Government of Serbia, the Government of Ghana, and more. From 2017 to 2020 Tue was Executive Director at Innovation Centre Denmark in Tel Aviv, where he helped foster novel innovation alliances between the Nordics and Israel within an array of fields.
August 07, 2020
#3: Leading an Innovation Managers Ecosystem | Romi Davidor, Director of CatalystIL
In our third episode, we had the pleasure to host Romi Davidor, Director of CatalystIL, a  professional community for innovation managers in the public and private sector, managed under the Israeli Innovation Institute. Romi joined the Israel Innovation Institute in 2018 with a clear vision of creating a professional, first of its kind community in the field of innovation management in Israel. Soon after she became one of the co-founders of CatalystIL, today an ecosystem of over 1,900 community members, 250 innovation managers and over a 90 professionals.  What are the components involved in leading a first of its kind ecosystem of innovation professionals? What useful habits can ecosystem managers adopt to sustain member engagement and promote a culture of innovation within? What does it take to create a concise value proposition- while navigating between multiple stakeholders? And how does understanding members' needs- sometimes mean wearing the "psychologist" hat? Answers to these questions and more - in our latest interview with Romi.  
July 21, 2020
#2: Creating Value For Protfolio Companies | Nofar Amikam, Partner and Head of Value Creation at Glilot Capital
In this episode, we had the pleasure to host Nofar Amikam, Partner and Head of Value Creation at Glilot Capital.  Glilot is one of Israel’s most successful VCs in recent years, and has been ranked as one of the five best performing VCs in the world by Preqin for three years in a row. Amikam joined Glilot in April 2018, after previously working at Microsoft as a business development lead for Israeli startups, and at Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP). How can VCs build a thriving ecosystem that provides structured, effective and valuable support to their portfolio companies?  What is the role of value creation leaders in the venture capital landscape, and how is it evolving? Tune in to listen to Nofar’s perspective on these questions, how her previous work with Israeli startups at Microsoft, Deloitte and  Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) serve her work as an ecosystem builder, as well as some practical methods for creating a venture capital ecosystem.
June 21, 2020
#1: Building Global Networks | Yaron Samid, Founder of TechAviv
Our first episode! Join us to hear about Yaron Samid's journey of building TechAviv, and his valuable insights on motivating people and creating real value for his members.  Yaron Samid is an Israeli-American technology entrepreneur, CEO, board director, investor, and startup community organizer and the founder of TechAviv, an invite-only global network of top Israeli startup founders and investors established in 2007. Its 3,000 members are spread across 16 cities with 6 main branches - Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, LA and London, and meet regularly to harness collective  knowledge and networks.
June 03, 2020