Start-Up Nation Central Names Eugene Kandel CEO

Former Head of Israel's National Economic Council to Expand Organization's Reach to Top Echelon of Global Leaders

TEL AVIV, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Start-Up Nation Central, a not-for-profit organization connecting international business and government leaders with the Israeli innovators and technologies that will help them to solve their most pressing challenges, announced today the appointment of Eugene Kandel as Chief Executive Officer. From July 2009 through August 2015, Kandel served as the Head of the National Economic Council (NEC) and Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel. He is also a Professor of Economics and Finance at the Hebrew University. Kandel will commence his new role at Start-Up Nation Central later this year.

As the Prime Minister's most senior economic policy advisor, Kandel advised on fiscal policy, economic growth strategy, and regulatory reforms in a number of sectors. Under Kandel's leadership, the NEC focused on Israel's innovation economy as a key driver of the country's economic expansion. He was instrumental – both at the strategic and implementation levels – in deepening Israel's bilateral economic relations with a number of countries, including the United States, Germany, Canada, and China. Kandel was the Israeli Head of the Joint China-Israel Bilateral Task Force on Economic Relations, which was established by the Premier of China and the Prime Minister of Israel during the Prime Minister's visit to China in 2013. Co-leadership of the Task Force and Kandel's role were mandated by an Israeli Cabinet Resolution. During the two-year period in which he co-led this initiative, Kandel worked closely with China's and Israel's governments and businesses to expand trade and investment opportunities for Israel.

"Among the most promising economic trends in Israel is its innovation economy," said Kandel. "As Head of the NEC, I was fortunate to witness firsthand the remarkable impact that technology and entrepreneurs are having on Israel. Start-Up Nation Central exists to help enhance this trend and to bring businesses, investors, and governments to Israel – to work closely with Israeli innovators – to solve complex business and technology problems facing the world."

Leading players from Israel's innovation community applauded the appointment of Kandel.

"His global perspective, his experience at world-class academic institutions, and his proven track record in driving a number of the country's unprecedented economic achievements, make Kandel a natural choice for Start-Up Nation Central," said Michael Eisenberg of Aleph, a leading venture capital fund headquartered in Tel Aviv. "Kandel's appointment will further catapult Start-Up Nation Central as a central entry point for international business executives looking to navigate and better leverage Israel's greatest natural resource – its inventors and entrepreneurs."

Additional statements from a number of Israel's top technology and life sciences executives are available upon request.

"Eugene is truly unique. He has been a practitioner of economic strategy at the most senior policymaking levels, he has relationships throughout Israel's technology community, and he is widely respected by business and government leaders in foreign capitals," said Paul Singer, co-founder and board member of Start-Up Nation Central. "A perfect fit for our organization, Eugene will call on all these skills and relationships as he leads Start-Up Nation Central."

Start-Up Nation Central was inspired by the 2009 New York Times best-selling book Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle, which explores the roots of Israeli innovation. Translated into 30 languages, the book continues to generate enormous demand from around the world for access to the people and technologies of Israel's innovation ecosystem.

Start-Up Nation Central operates as a GPS for investors, businesses, and governments seeking to access Israel's ecosystem. Providing customized offerings to the needs of each client engaging with Start-Up Nation Central – and bolstered by the advantages of being an independent not-for-profit organization – Start-Up Nation Central focuses on providing domain expertise in three key areas: cyber security, digital health and agrotech. However, through its vast Israeli network, the organization can also connect its clients to the right experts for virtually any technology application, as it has in water, fintech, retail, and others.

Since its founding, Start-Up Nation Central has developed a vetted database, called The Finder (formerly ILVenture) representing more than 4,300 active Israeli start-ups across a dozen industries. It has also connected more than 200 global leaders to Israel's innovation ecosystem, helping to bolster foreign investment and trade. Clients have included senior government officials from a number of countries, U.S. and European banks, Fortune 100 insurance companies and consumer companies, Fortune 500 global retailers, global health care providers and technology companies, as well as large private and public investors. Companies and governments have come from countries all over the world, including the U.S., U.K, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Singapore and India.

For example, this past year, the organization hosted executives from Japan's largest technology company, a multinational apparel company, the Chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, the Foreign Minister of Canada, senior officials from the Government of Singapore and Governments of European countries as well as U.S. Congressional leaders and U.S. governors. At the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, Start-Up Nation Central hosted a program on cyber-security moderated by Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, featuring Avi Hasson, the Chief Scientist of Israel; Nadav Zafrir, cyber entrepreneur and founder and former commander of Israel's Cyber Security Command; and Toomas Hedrik Ilves, President of Estonia. The session was attended by leading executives from financial services and media companies.

About Eugene Kandel:

Born and raised in Moscow, Eugene Kandel immigrated to Israel in 1977. He holds a BA and an MA in Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an MBA and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He is the Emil Speyer Professor of Economics and Finance at Hebrew University, and previously taught at the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago. He is a Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in London, and a Fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute. He founded the Center for Financial Markets and Institutions and the MA program in Finance and Financial Economics, both at the Hebrew University. He advised on the re-design of the Nasdaq and other U.S. markets in the 1990s. He was the lead advisor on the design of the Mutual and Provident Funds ranking system in Holland and in Israel, served as a judge on the Israeli Antitrust Court, and was Chairman of the Investment Committees of pension and provident funds in Israel.

About Start-Up Nation Central:

Start-Up Nation Central connects business and government leaders with the people and technologies that can solve their most pressing challenges. Founded in 2012, its board members include Terry Kassel, Raphael Ouzan, Dan Senor, and Paul Singer.

The staff of Start-Up Nation Central have served in intelligence or technology units in the IDF and/or have worked in start-ups, larger technology companies, or government ministries. The executive team, which has been managing Start-Up Nation Central day-to-day and will now be led by Kandel, has had a range of experiences:

  • Wendy Singer worked for over a decade as Director of AIPAC's Israel Office, and previously worked in Washington, D.C. as a congressional foreign policy advisor on Capitol Hill and legislative liaison for AIPAC.
  • Inbal Arieli worked with high-tech companies and start-ups for two decades. She served as a Lieutenant in the 8200 IDF intelligence unit, and later founded the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program, an accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs.
  • Omri Baumer worked in R&D roles with several start-ups, and was the founder of the Google Developers' Group in Tel Aviv.
  • Jeremie Kletzkine launched and consulted for technology start-ups, and later served in business development roles for Apple and PrimeSense.
  • Ohad Reifen served in senior policy planning positions in Israel's Ministry of Finance and was a Tikvah fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.

Media Contacts:

In the U.S.:
Thunder 11
Marco Greenberg, +1 212-362-1307
Marco@thunder11.com

In Israel:
Arad Communications
Eyal Arad, + 972 546699996
Eyal@aradcomm.co.il

Liron Friedman, +972 524582899
LironF@aradcomm.co.il

SOURCE Start-Up Nation Central

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