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Elie Wurtman is the Co-founder and Partner at PICO Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm headquartered in Jerusalem. Elie’s investments portfolio includes Vroom, a company that hit a market cap of $5.5 billion after its IPO, and, which was acquired by NetApp for $450 million. Elie also has investments in Gloat, ChargeAfter, AutoLeadStar.

Prior to starting PICO, Elie was a General Partner of Benchmark Capital and he has taken three companies from founding to IPO. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Deltathree, one of Jerusalem’s first unicorns.

Elie’s other notable startups include Iron Source, where he’s an External Director and active mentor. He is also the Founder of PICO Kids, a social enterprise focused on child education in Jerusalem. Elie also owns and runs Bat Shlomo Vineyards, a boutique winery in Northern Israel.

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

  • Elie Wurtman shares what it was like to grow up in Israel and what he learned from his mom that no college degree or MBA can ever teach him
  • The big problem in the telephone industry that Elie sought to address by founding Deltathree
  • What are the challenges that come with being the pioneer of a new way to use technology?
  • Elie talks about how he took Deltathree from founding to IPO and how he became a part of Vroom
  • How going through the different era of global business crisis prepared Elie for the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Elie’s advice for keeping businesses afloat in a stormy business environment
  • How Elie met AutoLeadStar Founder, Aharon Horwitz, and why he invested in his company
  • Elie talks about how PICO Venture Partners started and his favorite story from PICO Kids

In this episode…

Every entrepreneur’s dream is to disrupt industries, build lasting companies, and change the world around them. But what happens when the dream becomes a tiresome mountain to climb? What do you do when it seems like the more invested you become, the greater the challenges that come your way?

Elie Wurtman has been through something like that. He survived the dot-com bubble and a global financial crisis, and he continues to disrupt major industries and has even taken three companies from founding to successful IPOs. Now he’s helping other entrepreneurs do the same through PICO Venture Partners.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Elie Wurtman of PICO Venture Partners opens up about his entrepreneurial journey and what it’s like to build unicorns. He also talks about investing in startups and how he hopes to positively impact the next generation through PICO Kids. Stay tuned.

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Rise25 was cofounded by Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran.


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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. This is part of the top VC Series and top Israel Business Leaders series. Past episodes include one with Mois Navone of Mobileye, when he talks about the mobile AI journey of being acquired by Intel, for $15.3 billion Uri Adoni is the author of Unstoppable Startup you could check that out and Jonathan Medved, founder and CEO OurCrowd, the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform, and Elie, today’s guest, I was watching you speak in a panel on an OurCrowd conference. And Yossi Vardi have some amazing stories to check that episode out, including his biggest wins and even as big as misses as an investor. And before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, which I co founded my business partner John Corcoran, and at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships, we help you run your podcasts. The number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at a way to give to my best relationships and a podcast over the past since 2008 has allowed me to profile some of the people I really admire and who have become friends and I’ve been able to refer people to them and and vice versa. And so you have questions about podcasting go to actually, Elie, you know, sometimes I talked about sometimes not it was actually inspired by my grandfather, who was a Holocaust survivor and him and his brother were concentration camps in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. And there’s an interview that the Holocaust foundation did with my grandfather. That is in my about page. And I feel like it’s helping people leave a legacy, you know, as well. So check that out if you have a chance. I am excited to introduce today’s guest and big thank you to Craig Weiss, who introduced me, Craig Weiss, runs and their podcast is In Your Face, so check it out. Elie Wurtman is Co-founder and Partner at PICO Venture Partners, which is an early stage venture capital firm headquartered in Jerusalem. His investments include Vroom which had a market cap of $5.5 billion after its IPO. which got acquired by NetApp for $450 million, Gloat, Charge After, AutoLeadStar we actually had founder Aharon Horwitz and he’s been on the podcast he’s amazing and AutolLeadStar check it out. And prior to PICO, Elie was General Partner of Benchmark Capital works with Jerusalem Venture Partners. He launched his first company in 1993. I don’t even know what the internet looked like. Then there was there’s really no internet I don’t know what it was. He took three companies from founding to IPO. He was Co-founder and CEO of Deltathree, Jerusalem’s first unicorns we’ll talk about his other notable startups include Iron Source, where he’s an External Director and active mentor, he was Co-founder and Lead Investor in Vroom which I mentioned and he’s Founder of Pico Kids a social enterprise focused on child education, Jerusalem, and he also found if he wasn’t busy enough, Bat Shlomo Vineyards, a boutique winery in Northern Israel. Elie, thanks for joining me.

Elie Wurtman

Thank you. That was quite an introduction. I think I’m gonna have to make it shorter.

Jeremy Weisz

It’s well deserved.

Unknown Speaker

I mean, a lot of them. Okay.

Jeremy Weisz

It’s well deserved, you know, and I want to start off with, um, how do you meet Craig Weiss.

Elie Wurtman

Craig Weiss lived in Jerusalem briefly. And he had just written a book with his brother about the founding generation of Israel during the War of Independence, the American and Israeli, the American volunteers who came to Israel, and I heard him pitch his book, it was a speaking tour. And I was very moved by what he had written and what he had said and his passion for Israel. I’m very passionate about Israel. And, you know, I said I’d be I’d be happy to follow up. And lo and behold, I invited him for a Shabbat dinner, as many people tend to do here. And it’s a long time and I want to say, but more than 20 years later, we’re still very good friends and business partners on many occasions.

Jeremy Weisz

So talk about your discussions on enjoy.