A Chat with JVP’s Erel Margalit

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Jvps_erel_margalit_4 JVP’s Managing Director Erel Margalit talks to our blogging group this week about start-ups and innovation in Israel.

Their Jerusalem outskirts office is not unlike a Silicon Valley-based VC office except that the printers and fax machines might be a tad older and like every other Israeli company kitchen, they’re well stocked with Nescafe instant coffee. The latter is an integral part of the culture here in the same way it was 20’ish years ago.

We learn about their DreamWorks-like initiative Animation Lab, which extends beyond a typical technology play. “The line is blurred between where technology ends and content begins,” noted Margalit. As the former head of MSN Israel, he has a background and perspective on digital rich content.

Erel and his team ‘get’ social media. We were introduced to three stealth mode companies and saw ‘on-screen’ demos. I can’t talk about them just yet, except to say that they’re dabbling in virtual worlds, interactive games, social networks and online video.

When asked about entrepreneurship and why there’s so much innovation coming out of Israel, Erel says, “Israelis don’t think about what they can lose but about what they can gain. Unlike Europe, they don’t have a plate on their door in a town where their family and history was rooted for 1,000 years. Israel is new and full of immigrants from all over the world. So its much easier for us to take risks.”

JVP is currently the king VC in Israel, having launched between 20 and 40 companies, with most of their exits in the communications and media space. “We’re on our 5th fund,” he added. “The key is to make a few home runs in each fund.”

We got the impression that they’re on track and that the climate was ripe with opportunities. Eran continued to rave about the opportunities that Israel has over Europe and the states…..and why. “Silicon Valley is very engineering driven versus the rest of the world. Not having that as a major driving force gives us an opportunity.”

He sees other opportunities in Asia where they’re developing a lot of interactive content. During his last trip to China, he observed that 500,000 were playing online warfare games. In LA, it was all about broadcasting entertainment. In Europe, mobile continues to take a leadership role.

I captured the tail end of his interview on video – see below (also uploaded to Flixwagon.com). Click play to tune in.

Renee Blodgett
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Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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