Andrei Vernon 2017-09-16
Start-Up Nations: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle and Russian Ideas Boosted In The Air

The founder and manager of several Accelerators and International Innovation centers across Israel Tal Catran delivered a lecture in HSE. In Russia students are prospective in innovations as well. {LAB} «Drone Hack» is a unique space for those who can create something that will boost in the air in a couple of seconds. How far do we differ?

This is his second time in Moscow in the past month and a half and he hopes to come to Moscow more frequently. Tal Catran wants to be “open” and expects people to smile during his presentation. We are smiling.


In Israel Tal runs four programs a year and hosts 15 startups. One of his programs lasts 5-6 months and provides mentorship, but no meeting space. The youngest entrepreneurs he works with are 15 years old. At this age, the focus is on teaching the students the different roles within startups. They also train these young students to raise money from VCs.


Tal has a real passion for an entrepreneurship — “The more you get involved, the more you will understand.” Entrepreneurship is about saying “yes,” not knowing exactly what you want, but being there and learning. It sounds quite contradictory to what we were taught, isn’t it? Tal knows his business and he is ready to spread his knowledge.



Start And Go Up


Someone wakes up and says “I have an idea.” That person then finds a CTO (Chief Technology Officer). As Tal described, a CTO is typically technical, brilliant and hard working, but not always the most sociable person. He said this doesn’t matter – as long as they get things done, they do not need to be outgoing.


According to Tal, investors are spoiled nowadays. In 2005 or earlier, one could present an idea with just a PowerPoint and they would have been funded. Nowadays you need to have a MVP (minimum viable product).Today you have to work hard.


Tal also gave some insight into well-known companies that originated in Israel. For example Waze (traffic and navigation app) was bought by Google two years ago for $1.1 billion even though it was not profitable. Now why did Google (today a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.) purchase Waze? Tal explained that with the advent of IoT (Internet of Things) Google not only wants to stay ahead of the curve, but more importantly wants to create value from Waze via data mining.


Israel: Start Up Nation


“Our government is an investor, like any investor, invests and waits for interest.”- Tal Catran. The Israeli government takes about 4.7% of GDP each year and invests in R&D.


In 2015, Israel gave birth to 1,500 startups. 104 startups “exited” and 400 startups shut down. Tal reminded us that only 1 in 100 startups “make it.”.


In Skolkovo, Russian Innovation Centre there are 1,200 total startups, but how many of them are actually successful? The life of an entrepreneur is difficult. They are quite poor; everyone is smarter and has more money than they do.


Tal is also trying to inspire students not to be afraid to fail. There is an annual conference called “FailCon” where people just talk about one thing – failure. While it is difficult to talk about for many people, part of success involves failing.. He admires failure because it means you did something, fell on the ground and cried, picked yourself up and did something about it.


The last topic Tal covered concerned life perspectives of those who help entrepreneurs — investors’ motivation. Why do investors give money? The answer is clear.


“They believe in people. Your investor will give you money, they will get shares. His money is not to get your application, he wants to own some of your dream.” The answer is so simple, but also true.


HSE {LAB} «Drone Hack» 

Russia is one of the greatest empires of IT. There are dozens of stories about Russian hackers and leaks of information. We are planning to cover this urgent topic and reveal some secrets of our IT student organization, not now though. Now we want you to dive into a “Drone Hack” launched by HSE. Drones are a hot topic not only in Russia, but in the whole world .

Russian companies currently produce a number of aerial vehicles, although these are mostly used for military purposes. Can you launch a successful startup, start your own company and change the economy? We want you to trust Tal Catran and say “yes” to new challenges in Russia.