Ben Wiener is the Managing Partner of Jumpspeed, the first and only micro-VC fund dedicated to investing in early-stage startups that originate within the Jerusalem startup ecosystem. Jumpspeed addresses the mismatch of supply and demand for the early-stage capital in the Capital of the Startup Nation.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Ben Wiener shares his process for investing in a person and an idea in early-stage startups
  • The value of candid feedback in the investment process
  • A hard no Ben had to make about investing in a company and why
  • What Ben looks for first in a business idea before backing it with an early-stage capital
  • Why Ben invested in Genetika and AutoLeadStar
  • How Ben went from being a lawyer to becoming an investor
  • Why Ben is so passionate about investing in startups in the Jerusalem ecosystem
  • Who should contact Ben Wiener for a potential investment
  • Ben recommends his favorite business books

In this episode…

All entrepreneurs know just how important seed capital is especially for startups. But what many don’t know is how to get an investor interested enough to invest in them and their idea. Many wonder what investors look for before they decide to invest in someone or something, and even more importantly, what solidifies their notion that their hunch about a potential investment is right. What is it about a founder and their idea that gives an investor goosebumps? This week’s guest, Ben Wiener, Managing Partner of Jumpspeed, sheds some light on what investors look for that makes them say yes to an investment opportunity.

Tune in to this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast as Dr. Jeremy Weisz talks with Ben Wiener, Managing Partner at Jumpspeed, about what knocks investors off of their feet and makes them decide to invest in a person and their idea. Ben shares insights on what convinces an investor that the investment is a good deal, what the investor-founder relationship should look like, and why he is passionate about investing in startups in Jerusalem.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Special Mentions

Related Episodes:

Recommended Reads

Sponsor for this episode

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of InspiredInsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders and I have Ben Wiener today but before we introduce him formally, you should check out some past episodes. You know, I’ve been doing this is, you know, Israel Business Leader Series Mois Navone who Ben is friends with talks about Mobileye. And their journey being acquired by Intel, for $13.2 billion. I remember on my way in that day, Ben, I was thinking that point 15.2 sorry, yeah, I don’t know. What’s another couple billions you really, um, I was used to be, I was thinking on my way in what before the interview, I was like, wow, the point two is $200 million. That’s just the point to that’s remarkable. I’m Uri Adoni, I’m the author of Unstoppable Startup was talking about spending 20 years in high tech in Israel. And it was a partner of Jerusalem Venture Partners. So check out his book. And, you know, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 which I co found with my business partner, John Corcoran at Rise25 we help b2b businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 you know, best relationships partnerships clients through running their podcasts. You know, for me, Ben, you know, the number one thing in my life is relationships, I’m always looking at a way to give to my relationships and a podcast over the past over 10 years have been a way I can profile my favorite people on a platform and share their knowledge share their thought leadership and what they’re doing. So check it out. If you have questions, you can go to Rise25.com or email us at [email protected] And I like to mention too, it was actually inspired by my grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor. So if you go on InspiredInsider.com the about page. Actually I have the video of the whole customer nation doing interview with him. And it’s pretty, you know, if you are looking for something intense, it’s not like a light hearted interview, obviously. So check it out and excited to introduce today’s guest. And I’ve had two other guests on the podcast that are part of Jumpspeed’s portfolio company Ran Korber BreezoMeter, and Aharon Horowitz, of AutoLeadStar which check out those interviews. Today I’ve Ben Wiener he’s the Managing Partner of Jumpspeed, which is the first and only micro VC fund dedicated to investing in early stage startups that originate within the Jerusalem startup ecosystem. You know, Ben and I were talking it’s like, early stage, a person and idea sometimes, and he’s going to talk about what he looks for, and is disciplined, even sorting through all the stuff with just a person and idea or founders in idea. And Jumpspeed addresses the mismatch of supply and demand for the early stage capital in the capital of the startup nation. And he invests in what I was reading an article Ben hanging curveballs over the plate. So if you think investment strategy of Warren Buffett meets Ted Williams, I’m so Ben, thanks for joining me.

Ben Wiener

Pleasure, happy to be here. Thanks a lot.

Jeremy Weisz

Um, let’s talk about that. A guy or woman and an idea. Um, talk about one of the early interactions I know I mentioned, all of these starbreeze meter you have several other portfolio companies talk about one of the stories early on was just like a person and idea and what what you were looking at.

Ben Wiener

And there are a couple of really good ones. And I’ve been really fortunate, you know, any investor is judged at the end of the day by the people that they invest in the companies they invest in. And I’m really privileged to have in my portfolio, some just incredible, incredible people that I’ve been privileged to back often with the first check that they got in their company for a couple really great original origination stories where, you know, let’s say Bruce ometer, were wrong. You know, you had on the, on the on the on the show. For zonder. The two partners came to me before they could raise any capital, they were in program in Jerusalem. A bunch of people, including somebody at JVP where Uri Adoni used to work recommended that I meet with them. And that I wrote up the story when they were named. A year after I invested they were named the most promising startup in the world by President Obama in the White House. That itself is a great story, how they they got pulled by the White House and he thought it was a prank call. And they hung up the phone and the White House was holding back and said bill was one of the friends like cranking them in the White House. The White House you got to get over here and nobody We’re gonna meet President. But before that, about 10 months before they were, they were unfunded. And, and frankly, they were striking out because they had this idea for an air quality app, which they were going to sell on the App Store for a couple bucks to mostly to mothers, with children with asthma, amazing benefits of society. But, you know, and so, this is sort of gonna dovetail with to your questions, eight, what do you see in B? How do you discipline? So in three, like, how do you see ABC? See, how do you interact as an investor with these founders and treat them with respect? So I had been an entrepreneur for many years, and I had felt, you know, that I was in many cases, like, like a lot of entrepreneurs, like disrespected by VCs, who can often be very arrogant. And I felt, you know, once I was privileged to start a small fund, I was, you know, not that made sure there was no way I was going to make it that way. So to ensure that, I promised myself that I would respond to any single entrepreneur that met with me in writing, and give them you know, that dangerous, like detailed feedback, like, it’s not for me, because, and a lot of investors are changing, and a lot of them are coming around. But still, to this day, many investors won’t tell you like, first, they won’t even tell you no, but even if they do, they won’t tell you why. So I met with Ron and his partner, and it wasn’t for me, and it was clear to me why it wasn’t for me, and I explained it to them. And I said, Guys, it’s really very fascinating. Um, I don’t do consumer apps, that’s one of my disciplines, even to this day, I generally do not shy away from consumer related applications. I’m just not, it’s not when I, you know, have expertise in. And I certainly don’t believe in paid apps, I don’t, I don’t think that that’s, you know, very likely to succeed coming from Israel, I’m really great meeting you. And they came back. And they said, you know, you’re the first investor to give us that feedback. They had been pitching this paid app idea for four months, and they were striking out, and they said, you know, because you’re the first person to sort of bring this up, we’ll tell you that we have this other idea for the technology, we can actually potentially sell it’s on the back burner, but we can potentially sell this technology to businesses, in a b2b model, business to business. Um, you know, and I start to like, finish their sentences like, Oh, my God, like, you can sell that software to insurance companies and real estate companies and healthcare or whatever. And I remember I counted on the table, and I said, I am such an idiot, that I did not see the use of this technology in the business context. And you guys, with all due respect, they’re idiots for choosing.

I love you guys. But this is the business, you know, if you want to go in this direction, call me back. And, and the rest, as they say, was history. Now, I want to be crystal clear, because we’re being recorded. I am not taking credit for what they did. They are brilliant engineers, and scientists. And they may have come to that on their own. But I was privileged to be the first one to sort of be a match and stand up and say, guys, here’s why I’m not doing it. It triggered this other idea that they hadn’t told anybody else about. And when I met other VCs later on after they won these awards, and they raised, you know, millions of dollars, and now they have, you know, revenue unfortunate part with your customers. I met a VC recently who said to me, You know, I saw those presenter guys, and I remember exactly, I haven’t written down. I saw them before you saw them? How did you begin, see what they became? I said, Dude, I didn’t see it. I told them that I wasn’t interested. And they came back with this other idea. I wasn’t smart enough to see it. So the joke was that it wasn’t that I was so brilliant. It was that I was so stupid, that I said, Okay, that’s not for me, I couldn’t see the other path. And I was fortunate enough, just by mentioning that I wasn’t interested in a to have them come back with me. So that’s, I think, a good indicative story of how sometimes doing the nice thing with the right thing can often lead to better business outcomes than being, you know, talk for arrogant or jerk. Yes, it’s true. Some people have succeeded that way. But for me, that hasn’t been the path. And, and I have evidence to show that when, in certain cases, when I did the nice thing, without any hope of, you know, producing business outcome. So my greatest business outcomes came from that. So I think that sort of wraps in one good story, like sort of a How do you sit with the founders and ask them about their business be how do you give them feedback in the proper way? And see, how do you not take credit when the company pivots? And and, you know, it’s the quote unquote, jackpot? I think we as investors often will use the word we know there’s a great, I think was in Solomon’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow, one of the great behavioral economics books, they interview college kids the day after the college football game, and they asked them how the team did. If the team lost, the students would say they lost if the students would say we won, right? Yeah, we have veteran capital. Love to use the word we have a company succeed. And when they fail, we say you know that, but I try to be a little more careful and respectful because it’s not what we’re privileged to give them the money. You know, give them as much help as we can. They’re the ones working night and day, to change the world and resolve, I think it’s a good Iran, it was very dynamic, you spoke to him, he’s an amazing person. And they’re really doing something that he makes money. And being it makes the world a better place. And I think that’s a, I don’t make that a stipulation. But that’s it, you’ll see that that’s like a recurrent theme. In a lot of the companies that I back, I want to get response about the company, those goosebumps could be economic, like, if it’s just an amazing industry, it doesn’t have to be curing cancer, we’re saving people’s mental health. But when it does, like genetic plus, which is hopefully going to solve the problem of mental health medication, or MDI health, which is going to solve the problem of, you know, adverse drug effects with medication, cocktails, or Indiegogo, which is going to solve the problem of potentially like life threatening injuries and car accidents. It adds a lot of feel good to the economic and business analysis.