Last year we had the Startup Israel competition in Hanoi; it’s now been rebranded to Start Tel Aviv 2015 so things are a little bit different. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tel Aviv Global & Tourism are holding a competition to send one founder of the winning startup to Israel from September 6-12.
Startup extraordinaire and Indiegogo evangelist Oren Simanian was in Hanoi on May 14, 2015 to announce the program’s launch to a crowd at Hub.IT. Mr. Simian engaged the crowd, pushed the audience out of their comfort zone, and gave some actionable advice to aspiring and current entrepreneurs alike.
From a document distributed at the event:
“Start Tel Aviv is an international competition held by The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tel Aviv Global & Tourism. In this competition startups from 20 different countries will compete for the opportunity of a 5-day intense startup experience in Tel Aviv to learn from the ecosystem in the city. This list the fourth annual competition, formerly known as Bizcamp Tel Aviv and this is the first time Vietnam is invited to join.
Start Tel Aviv will take place during the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival, and participants will have the opportunity to meet the coolest and smartest companies, techies, startups, designers, artists, scientists, investors, and cultural drivers from Israel and abroad.
The DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival, a global gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world, is held throughout Tel Aviv in mid-September. The Festival is comprised of a long list of events, conferences, meet-ups, mingles and gatherings, all focusing on different sides of digital, technological, social and urban innovation.
Some of the participating countries this year are Norway, UK, Germany, Spain, Finland, Italy, Korea, India, Japan, and Russia.
As a part of Start Tel Aviv 2015 as well as a continuation of the successful Startup Israel 2014, the Embassy of Israel in Vietnam in collaboration with Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam and Business Studies Assistance Center (BSA) will organize a startup competition to find out a winner for Start Tel Aviv 2015.
Only 01 founder member of the winning startup will go to Israel for the study tour in September 2015.
- Age of submitting founder: 25-35
- Sectors: information and communications technology
- Stage of startup: seed stage
- Participants are responsible for reserving their intellectual property rights to the submitted products
- Founder member of the startup need to be fluent in English
2. How to Apply
- An application in both English and Vietnamese includes the general information about the startup and thorough business plans in PDF
- A video clip in English, no more than 2-3 minute long, explaining why their company should be picked to go to Israel
- After screening of application and video clips, the finalists will have interviews (in English) with a board of judges including representatives from the Embassy, the Ministry and BSA in Hanoi. The final interview stage consists of presentation and Q&A session with judges.
- Application need to be sent by email only to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Deadline for submission: June 7, 2015 (only shortlisted applicants will be contacted)
*Please note that participants shall cover their own expense if they need to travel to Hanoi for the final interview.
Fore more information, please contact:
Ms. Phan Thuy Trang, Email: email@example.com
Mr. Simanian gave some pointed and salient advice to the crowd, and even brought some members up on stage to quiz them in front of everyone else.
Below, points have been paraphrased from Mr. Simanian’s remarks at the event:
First, be ready. Leave the door open, don’t close yourself off to opportunities. Find a way to be better, faster, and cheaper than any of your competitors. The team and team development are a priority.
Keep your pitches short, keep your description to one page. Entrepreneurs need to get best out of every interaction. Don’t waste other people’s time. The world is flat, you need to use digital connections. Be a nice annoying person—for example, when following up, add another piece of the puzzle to help people understand what you are doing. Remember, no one works for you… so use creative ways to find a connection with the person you want to reach. Make your pitch one page, get it ready, so when you get the right contact then you are ready to go.
Most things will fail—it’s part of success so find a partner and fail. Enjoy your way but focus on the what, why, and how of things. What/who are you competing with?
Adopt more branding. Look to the Israeli Army’s Unit 8200 branding or Israel’s “Startup Nation” moniker, which was established six years ago. So start a brand; create a brand to improve the start up ecosystem—establish a unique selling proposition (USP). Figure out what’s unique in Vietnam. Build a brand around something new, and create it.
Try to find an academic correlation between your product and team—it helps establish credibility. Network! Find Vietnamese outside of Vietnam and try to connect with them. If you’re missing the know-how then find someone who has it; there is a huge Vietnamese community overseas.
Build your minimum viable product (MVP) so you can meet the market when ready. Timing is crucial; don’t pull trigger too early. Find connection on social media— on Facebook or LinkedIn. The world is flat so it’s easier than ever to raise money. Israel is a beta test market with 8 million people so most products/services are targeting the US. Go outside of Vietnam. Visit a different country. You need to understand how people around the world feel, so visit new countries.
Don’t be shy—it’s called chutzpah in Hebrew. Every “no” is an opportunity for education—find out why. Don’t be afraid to fail; this is life. Even if you fail, you will have expanded your tool box and gained more confidence. So start and fail. Start; don’t talk too much about it. Approach people to make it international. Before, startups used to raise money from friends, families, and fools. Now it’s friends, family, and Facebook. Use your network and be open to feedback. Think what is next. Think what you will be if you do well–and then do it.
Start with a feature killer. Don’t get distracted, but be flexible. Build it and ship it.
Mr. Simanian had a great quote during his presentation: “Stop reading, put down the book, and do something.” We’d like to add, “and if you fail then try again.”
Thanks to Oren Simanian and the Israeli Embassy in Hanoi for their support of the startup community in Vietnam. If you’d like to know more about Oren Simanian then you can find his TED Talk here.