Gateways to Israeli Tech
Maya Pizov, Amiti: Autotech has a strong future ahead of it
Speaking to CTech as part of a special investor survey, Maya Pizov of Amiti Ventures said "compute is well positioned to thrive long term, and so are data-related industries"
“Compute is well positioned to thrive long term, and so are data-related industries. As the problems companies aim to solve become more complex, and as we collect more and more data – these are the foundations to being able to continue scaling,” says Maya Pizov, a general partner in the Amiti Ventures fund.
Pizov shared her views in CTech’s exclusive investor survey conducted with participants of the Poalim Hi-Tech and Calcalist Road Show event. The event brought together dozens of startups who pitched their venture to more than 20 leading Israeli investment groups and investors.
What trends are you most excited about investing in?
We’re pretty broad in our investment areas, but are usually looking for a technology ingenuity to help set apart our investment from potential competition. A couple of areas and trends that we’re excited about are:
Compute – we’ve been very active in this space in the past, and feel there’s still a great opportunity in this area. The size and complexity of compute tasks keep growing and evolving, and we believe Israel has the right talent for this mission.
Developer tools – the development lifecycle has changed significantly to give more responsibility and freedom to developers, and we feel there are great opportunities in this area.
What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Most of our recent investments are still in stealth, but out of those that are not, we see Spectral taking over its market, allowing developers to write more secure code, and Demostack, becoming an early leader of a new category they helped launch – demo platforms for SaaS applications, allowing non-technical people to own their entire demo process.
Which industries seem well-positioned to thrive long term? What companies are you excited about (whether in your portfolio or not), which founders?
As mentioned before, we believe compute is well positioned to thrive long term, and so are data-related industries. As the problems companies aim to solve become more complex, and as we collect more and more data – these are the foundations to being able to continue scaling and becoming more sophisticated, in most if not all verticals.
We see the ability for Israel to build some of the most important compute and AI companies in the world. We see our portfolio company, NextSilicon, leading the way.
We are also bullish on autotech and believe this industry has a strong future ahead of it, with two of our portfolio companies, Innoviz and Valens going public this year and we see great progress by Vayyar and Autotalks as well.
What are you - as an investor - looking for in an entrepreneur or a startup?
As investors, we’re looking for a founding team that is right for the mission they’re going after: 1. Have a good understanding of the market they’re going after. 2. Relevant technological capabilities. 3. Complement each other.
But more than that, we’re looking for founders that will be a magnet for talent, and will be able to build a strong team to help them pursue their dream. And on top of all of that, we’re looking for people we’ll enjoy working with – that we feel we can have an honest conversation with, provide feedback, and just enjoy a cup of coffee together. We have such a long journey ahead of each investment, that a good relationship is a must.
What is your approach to VC involvement in the management of the companies they invested in?
As investors, we typically join the board of the company, and are there to support the founders where needed, but leave the day-to-day management to the CEO and his executive team.
We feel our best-added value is helping the company in critical times and in making strategic decisions, but are of course constantly looking for other areas where we can help, such as hiring, introductions to potential customers and partners, and overall being ambassadors for our portfolio companies.
What should be the level of a fund's involvement in solving a company's HR problems?
We feel recruiting is a key aspect for companies, and those who are able to assemble a strong team early on have a big advantage. Until recently we had a team member who worked closely with our companies on hiring and helped them find strong candidates and employees, and we’re considering the best approach moving forward.
Where will the solution to the HR crisis come from?
My own take on this, that education is probably the long-term solution, but it requires companies (small and large) to be more open to candidates with diverse backgrounds and levels of experience.
As tech is the strongest growth engine in the country, we should be able to create training programs for high demand roles, both technical and commercial, that are tied to internship or entry level opportunities and provide a wider candidate pool not only with theoretical knowledge, but also with hands-on experience.
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