A crucial lesson for first-time founders is that the impact of their first hire is among the most telling indicators of their startup’s success.
As shared by Munjal Shah, Founder and CEO of Health IQ, an early hire’s commitment is the only way to breathe life into your vision. “If we don’t row this boat across the lake we are all dead,” he states when he reflects on Health IQ in the early days.
ICONYC Labs is a six-month accelerator designed to help Israeli startups build global companies in New York City.
Eyal and Arie, amongst a team of advisors, work actively with founders to devise a six-month roadmap to jump start their companies’ growth and reach a global audience.
The founding premise of ICONYC Labs is that the traditional “one size fits all” approach is simply not efficient for startups.
The beauty of the model is that there is no typical day. It is truly an around the clock operation.
We are working with our founders every day and on the weekends because that’s the reality of startups. Every company has their own goals and track.
In particular, Eyal and Arie were adamant about extending the accelerator to span six months. The additional time is especially important for Israeli founders who are making a cultural shift.
The founders, along with VP of Operations Sharon Mirsky, met with 200 startups before selecting five to join ICONYC Labs. The accelerator officially launched at the end of April.
The partners invested $20,000 in Dandyloop, Flux, Clickspree, Myndlift, and Gaonic for a common stake of roughly 8% equity.
A burning desire to build a business in NYC ranked high on the team’s list when evaluating potential companies.
“You need to be here to hit the ground running,” Eyal shared.
Pitching is the first, and among the most important tasks, Eyal and Arie coach their founders on. Whereas they feel Israeli teams are primarily focused on demoing their products, a compelling story is vital to win American customers and investors.
Echoing Jonathan Triest, Founder and Managing Partner at Ludlow Ventures, Arie affirms that the first 30 seconds are the most telling part of your pitch.
Here are the four questions you need to answer before the second-hand hits 30.
- What do you do?
- What is your vision?
- Why are you the best team to execute it?
- Why should I, as a customer or an investor, be interested?
When I asked Arie to share the ICONYC Labs pitch as an example, he stated in 30 seconds flat. (I timed it!)
“ICONYC Labs is a first of it’s kind acceleration program that focuses exclusively on early stage Israeli tech companies to help them grow their businesses globally via NYC. Part of what we want to do is bring them here and have them take advantage of all that NY has to offer; To be able to land their first customers, partners, and ultimately investors,” he said.
Once you’ve survived the 30 second sprint, it’s important to decipher where each customer and investor is most intrigued by your story.
It’s about emotional intelligence, really being able to read the other side and play ping pong. You want to get to a point where everyone is playing and enjoying it.
Eyal and Arie’s mission to build a direct extension of Israel’s startup nation in New York is most exciting because of the hands-on approach they’re taking with their founders.
Between the pitch, relationship building, and customer acquisition Eyal and Arie work directly with the founders to achieve the milestones set in their six month plans. They even simulate meetings for the entrepreneurs to practice interacting with the community and pitching their product.
When it comes to improving your presentation skills, role playing with a co-founder, friend, or mentor is significantly more effective than practicing alone.
Eyal feels that ICONYC Labs’ active involvement is “magnifying the things that are going to make these companies special.”
Access today is a dramatic problem. There is so much noise and so many companies. If you don’t know the right people today you don’t have access. It’s like hitting a wall; That’s what we are trying to solve for Israeli startups.
Eyal and Arie have two important personal goals for ICONYC Labs. When it comes to future headlines, Arie hopes that “an ICONYC Labs company will be acquired by Google, making their entrepreneurs and investors happy.”
Similarly, Eyal’s reads “ICONYC Labs is the Biggest and Most Strategic Hub for Israeli Startups Coming to New York.”