9 Israeli women entrepreneurs flipping the world’s gender norms upside down

Meet some of the women responsible for Israel’s placing #1 in the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs for 2020.

As the world has put a greater emphasis now than ever before on highlighting the successes of female entrepreneurs, a lot of Israel’s top businesswomen are yet to get their fair share of publicity.

This article highlights just a few of the hundreds of successful women in Israel who are rapidly modernizing gender norms as we know them.

“Rather than waiting for the government to take action, Israel’s female entrepreneurs are doing what they do best: taking matters into their own hands,” writes Yardena Schwartz in D&I in Practice. This quote truly defines Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit and chutzpah.

A progressive hub in the Middle East and the world, Israel placed #1 in the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs.

While this is extraordinarily impressive for a tiny country founded just 72 years ago, the country still has significant room for growth. Israel’s economy is growing rapidly every year, with 25 new companies added to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) this past year alone.

Below, we have highlighted just a handful of outstanding and impactful women who are leading the way to changing the world’s stereotypes about the Middle East, women in business and entrepreneurship.

1. Racheli Vizman: Cofounder and CEO of SavorEat

 

Racheli Vizman, CEO of SavorEat. Photo by Ithiel Zion

Racheli Vizman is the cofounder and CEO of SavorEat, the first-ever food-tech IPO (initial public offering) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

This is monumental for millennials looking to eat increasingly healthier, plant-based diets. Additionally, Israel is the perfect place for an IPO like this, as Tel Aviv alone has the highest rate of vegans per capita in the world.

Vizman raised over ₪42.6 million (~$13 million) for the IPO, which goes to show the genuine interest, even of older investors, in changing the stereotypes around vegetarianism and veganism. SavorEat is taking plant-based meat to the next level using a combo of a chef robot, 3D printing, and non-GMO plant-based ingredients, to accommodate different textures, tastes and dietary preferences.

“Our worldview is that only alternative tastiness, quality and healthiness to meat will succeed in leading to the desired change in reducing meat consumption,” said Vizman.

2. Karin Eibschitz-Segal: Vice President and General Manager of Intel Israel Development Center

 

Karin Eibschitz-Segal. Photo by Ohad Falik, Courtesy of Intel.

Karin Eibschitz-Segal is setting an example for young girls everywhere. She leads Israel’s largest R&D organization at Intel Israel.

Intel’s Israel branch is a national model for inclusion of diverse populations. Eibschitz-Segal herself is the perfect person to lead the 7,000-person center, as a ballerina with intense discipline and understanding of teamwork.

She won the Intel Quality Award in 2016 and was named to Globes’ 2017 list of Israel’s 40 most promising young leaders, and Forbes’ 2019 list of 50 most influential and accomplished Israeli women.

3. Kira Radinsky: Cofounder, Chairwoman & Chief Technology Officer at Diagnostic Robotics

 

Dr. Kira Radinsky, Photo by Ariel Elinson via Wikimedia Commons

Kira Radinsky is no newbie to the game of innovation and entrepreneurship. She is a Ukraine-born Israeli who specializes in predictive data mining and received her PhD from the Technion (in which she enrolled when she was just 15 years old).

At a young age, she gained recognition after her software predicted the first outbreak of cholera in Cuba in 130 years. She was able to conquer this amazing feat with unparalleled confidence and accuracy despite her lack of practical experience.

Radinsky cofounded SalesPredict in 2012 based on similar ideas (with different algorithms) and sold the company to eBay Israel in 2016. And now, amidst the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, she and a team of fellow scientists have revealed a way to predict its spread.

4. Adi Eckhouse Barzilai: Co-Founder of RealFace, Acquired by Apple

 

Adi Eckhouse Barzilai, cofounder and CEO at RealFace. Photo via LinkedIn

Holding a BS in computer science and an MBA from Columbia University, Adi Eckhouse Barzilai started her career on a strong note as a marketing executive in brand management at Procter & Gamble. Her career has only been on an upward trajectory ever since.

After leaving P&G, she went on to conquer her first corporate feat, as part of the founding team for Syneron Medical, which was later sold to Unilever. Following all this, she helped establish and sell RealFace (later sold to Apple), where she helped develop the revolutionary face recognition and liveness algorithm that we all use on our iPhones today.

5. and 6. Michelle Heiman and Diane Avensor: Cofounders of Nanosynex

 

Diane Avensor and Michelle Heiman for Forbes 30 Under 30, Photo by Ohad Aridan and Nir Salkman

Michelle Heiman and Diane Avensor are the cofounders of NanoSynex, a med-tech startup aimed at providing advanced solutions to improve testing quality and reduce healthcare costs by speeding up diagnostic processes.

“Until now, if a patient had a particular problem, it is likely that the doctor would have given them a strong antibiotic, but one that is intended for a wide variety of bacteria,” Heiman explained in an interview with Forbes 30 Under 30. “The problem is that over time the bacteria have developed resistance to the antibiotic, so it is important to fight against them with the most appropriate antibiotic.”

The two women created a tool to solve this. By targeting the proper infections with the proper medications, they hope to forever change the medical landscape.

7. Neta Blum: Ramad Aviation Technologies in Mapat

 

Neta Blum and her 3D-printed UAV, Courtesy of Israeli Ministry of Defense

When you see the headline “Israel’s first 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle has been produced and successfully tested in recent months by the Defense Ministry, together with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI),” who is the first person that comes to mind as inventing a product like this? A 60-year-old man? Nope! It’s 27-year-old Neta Blum.

As a young female paving her way in the world of air force technology, Blum is the head of the Flight Technologies Department of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Directorate for Defense Research and Development.

Not only does she have a huge job for a young woman, she has taken immense initiative in formulating a revolutionary idea to help meet Israel’s security needs: a 3D-printed UAV.

In a time when nearly everything from food to clothing can be 3D printed, she thought of printing a plane. Anything is possible, and Blum is surely at the forefront of giving the world some insight into the extent to which this statement is true.

8. Hilla Ovil Brenner: Founder of Yazamiyot

 

Hilla Ovil Brenner via Techstars

In 2012, Hilla Ovil Brenner established Yazamiyot as the leading community for Israeli women entrepreneurs. It now boasts over 5,500 members. With a bright vision of dramatically increasing the presence of women entrepreneurs, young and old, giving these powerful women a support system to do so has largely been what has catapulted the success of her journey.

Today, Yazamiyot cooperates with Google TLV, where “Google Campus for Moms” has become a successful prototype for Google offices around the globe.

In an interview with Techstars, Ovil Brenner said,

“I made many mistakes while learning how to create a successful startup. Despite those mistakes, I was passionate and loved my company, and I think that’s why I succeeded.”

9. Dorin Barbi Leibovich: Director of Innovation at Rambam Health Care Campus and HealthIL

 

Dorin Barbi Leibovich for Forbes 30 Under 30. Photo by Ohad Aridan and Nir Salkman

Dorin Barbi Leibovich heads innovation at HealthIL at the Israel Institute of Innovation – a joint initiative of the Ministry of Economy and Digital Israel, promoting digital medical innovation. She worked her way up to this impressive role at just 27 years old.

When she came to Rambam Health Care Campus at 23 years of age and developed an entire set of three-dimensional prints, she started gaining recognition for the deep-seated talent she had despite her extraordinarily young age in a field of experienced doctors and researchers.

What is so unique about her perspective? She is a young brain solving age-old problems. Barbi Leibovich is able to look at each problem as “an opportunity for change and creativity – to invent,” she has said.

“The system did not know in which format to place me. I was called the ‘girl of inventions’ because I am not a doctor, I am not a researcher, but I am a girl who never stops inventing,” Leibovich told Forbes 30 Under 30.

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