IL Tech in NYInsight Partners hails the Israeli ‘done is better than perfect’ attitude
IL Tech in NY
Insight Partners hails the Israeli ‘done is better than perfect’ attitude
In collaboration with Israeli Mapped in NY, Insight Partners has joined CTech for its IL Tech in NY series
“It’s tough to generalize founder attributes based on different geographies, but there’s something to be said about the urgency with which Israeli founders approach problems,” explained Teddie Wardi, managing partner at Insight Partners. “They usually move very fast to iterate and get a solution in the market. The ‘done is better than perfect’ attitude often helps these founders and startups get an early lead in a new category.”
Insight Partners is a New York-based venture capital and private equity firm with almost $100 billion in AUM. Founded in New York in 1995, the firm works with both American and Israeli founders and helps them scale their companies.
Wardi has joined CTech as part of its IL Tech in NY series to discuss what Israelis might learn should they choose to do business in the U.S.
Name and type of organization: Insight Partners, venture capital and private equity firm.
Main fields of investment:
Insight’s bread and butter is software. Insight finds and invests in the best ScaleUps – companies maturing out of startup mode who need go-to-market expertise and capital to support growth. Our myopic focus on software and internet businesses helps us win across all domains, supporting both horizontal and vertical leaders to help them expand internationally, capture market share, and scale through successful growth milestones.
Names of principals/managing partners: 35 Managing Directors and 11 Principals.
Partners and/or other backers: Insight is backed by some of the largest and most sophisticated global institutions and investors.
Year of founding/start of NY operations: Insight was founded in 1996 in New York City.
What types of Israeli startups/entrepreneurs are you interested in?
As a firm, we invest very broadly in software from early stage to buyout. Personally, I focus on B2B software across the stack, with a bias towards the early growth side. Israel is well known for cybersecurity, but we are seeing increasing amounts of software startups in other categories from developer tools to vertical applications.
Why invest in an Israeli company in New York? What advantages do such companies have? How is the New York market different from the Israeli market?
Insight was one of the first global investors to take notice of Israel’s market and as such, we have a long history of investing in Israeli companies. This goes back to success stories such as Wix, as well as more recent ones including SentinelOne and Monday. Israeli software companies tend to open operations in the U.S very early on in their lifecycle. We find that Israel produces really world-class founding teams that move fast, hire excellent talent, and build category-winning companies. The density of tech talent in Israel is unrivaled by almost any other startup hub in the world, including New York.
How do Israeli entrepreneurs/startups differ from their local counterparts?
It’s tough to generalize founder attributes based on different geographies, but there’s something to be said about the urgency with which Israeli founders approach problems. They usually move very fast to iterate and get a solution in the market. The “done is better than perfect” attitude often helps these founders and startups get an early lead in a new category.
Two suggestions for Israeli entrepreneurs on what to do in New York:
My first suggestion is to tap into the entrepreneurial networks in New York outside of just other Israeli founders. There’s a tremendous amount of activity nowadays in the New York City ecosystem with companies in a wide variety of verticals. The diversity of founders and companies isn’t available to the same extent in Israel, so it’s smart to take advantage of.
Second, I’d suggest looking into research incentive programs in the region such as START-UP NY and to explore leveraging relationships with the numerous local colleges and universities.
Two suggestions for Israeli entrepreneurs on what not to do in New York:
Don’t rush into senior hires without doing an appropriate amount of diligence and making sure it’s a fit. The success rate of initial U.S-based exec hires for Israeli companies entering the market is unusually low.
In recent years I’ve seen more Israeli founders try to open their U.S operation part time, which can be challenging. I firmly believe one of the founders should fully relocate here to ensure success.
On a scale of 1-10 how much did the Covid pandemic impact your work?
I would say 7. The COVID pandemic caused a lot of distortion in markets, pulling forward demand for some categories while slowing down adoption in others. I think the more permanent effect is the increasing prevalence of fully remote and heavily hybrid companies. This has been a positive for many companies in terms of being able to find experienced talent. On the other hand, it has caused challenges for many in adapting their ways of working.
Examples of 2-3 most successful investments:
SentinelOne – we led SentinelOne’s Series D in mid 2019. Since then it has been a tremendous growth story in disrupting the existing endpoint security industry and beyond to an “XDR” future. For me personally, it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences to be able to work with the incredible team. We also led their Series E on the path to an IPO that happened mid-2021.
Papaya Global – we partnered with Papaya Global in their Series A in late 2019. It’s been an exciting journey as the team is led by the inspiring CEO/founder Eynat Guez, who has transformed Global Payroll into a streamlined software delivered offering. We also followed on to our investment in Papaya Global leading their Series D at a valuation over $3 billion.
Wiz – we co-led Wiz’ Series A during the height of COVID in 2020. The extremely seasoned team behind Wiz had already created something disruptive in cybersecurity with their past company, and they were intent on doing it again. Wiz has been one of the fastest-to-adopt cybersecurity products we’ve ever seen, and the team is just getting started. Late last year we also co-led Wiz’ Series C where the company was valued at $6 billion.