Avi Hasson's career spans executive leadership roles in the business, technology, and not-for-profit sectors. He served as Chief Scientist at Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry, and as Founding Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), the government entity tasked with planning and executing innovation policy in Israel. Prior to his government service, Hasson was a General Partner at Gemini Israel Funds, one of Israel's top venture capital firms. Upon leaving his position at the IIA, he joined early-stage venture firm Emerge as a General Partner and serves on the board of Tower Semiconductor (NASDAQ: TSEM) - the leading foundry of high-value analog semiconductor solutions.
In addition to his long record of public service, Avi has distinguished himself as a leader with some of Israel's most important not-for-profit organizations. He serves on the board of the Sheba Medical Center, SpaceIL – an organization promoting scientific and tech education with the aim of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon – and the Israel Tech Challenge, which offers tech-training programs to address Israel's industry-wide tech talent shortage.
Hasson completed his B.A. in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies and his MBA at Tel Aviv University.
Professor Eugene Kandel is the co-chairman of the Start-Up Nation Central Policy Institute, a non-profit dedicated to strengthening Israel’s innovation ecosystem through in-depth research and policy recommendations. Prior to taking on his role, Kandel served as the CEO of Start-Up Nation Central from 2015 to 2021.
Between 2009 and 2015 Professor Kandel served as the Head of the National Economic Council and as the Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, and played a central role in all the major decisions on economic policy.
Kandel is the Emil Spyer Professor of Economics and Finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He holds a BA and an MA from the Hebrew University, and an MBA and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. Professor Kandel’s primary area of expertise is Financial Markets and Financial Intermediaries, and his research has been published in various world-leading Finance and Economics journals. His research was instrumental in the 1997 redesign of the Nasdaq trading rules.
Wendy Singer has served as Executive Director of Start-Up Nation Central since its founding in 2013.
She worked with the US-based funders to build the infrastructure and professional team in Israel, and to launch its initial activities – connecting Israel’s innovation ecosystem with government and business leaders around the world. Today she heads SNC’s Jerusalem operation and manages its engagements with foreign government leaders.
Before joining SNC, Wendy concluded a 23-year career at AIPAC. She was Director of AIPAC's Israel Office for sixteen years. In that role, she and her team curated educational seminars in Israel for several dozen senior US lawmakers and political leaders annually. Wendy maintained relationships with Israeli ministers and senior government leaders, members of the opposition, and a wide range of MKs, in addition to US diplomats, and Palestinian officials. She reported to AIPAC-Washington on policy, security and political developments in Israel.
Prior to emigrating to Israel, Wendy served as a registered lobbyist on Capitol Hill, where she was the lead contact for 20 Senators and 70 House Members. She also served as a staff aide for three Members of Congress, focusing on foreign policy issues.
Mr. Gabai is the VP of Strategy of Start-Up Nation Central (SNC). This role includes overseeing strategy, policy, and data and research activities in Start-Up Nation Central. He is also in charge of the human capital operations of the organization and specifically hi-tech training programs for the ultra-orthodox and Arab populations.
Prior to this role, Mr. Gabai served for seven years as the Chief Strategy Officer and Head of the strategy and economic division in the Israel Innovation Authority (previously the office of the chief scientist in the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, or OCS). He has led the division since its establishment in October 2011, focusing on strategy, evaluation, budget planning, and research. In this role, he also led the transformation from the OCS to the Israel Innovation Authority, including an in-depth strategic, institutional and organizational change.
For five years before that appointment, Mr. Gabai was a senior economist at the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office. At the National Economic Council, he led the Macroeconomic team and was involved in several government initiatives, among which, a new fiscal rule for the Government of Israel, a 7 billion USD program for transportation infrastructure, a reform in the entitlement criteria for elderly citizens and more.
Mr. Gabai is a regular participant in international forums dealing with innovation policy and lectures regularly on Israel's emergence as a leading country in technological innovation.
In addition to his public position, Mr. Gabai is teaching courses in economics, focusing on the economics of innovation and theoretical economics.
Mr. Gabai holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and computer sciences from the Hebrew University, as well as a Master of Economics also from the Hebrew University, specializing in game theory.
With 21 years of experience in digital and broadcast media, Chico Menashe previously managed Reshet Bet, Israel Broadcasting Authority’s news radio station. He also served as deputy editor-in-chief at the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC), overseeing news programs across digital, television and radio platforms.
During his journalism tenure, he covered a variety of news beats, including foreign relations, health, environment, transportation and aviation for Israeli television stations Channel 2 and Chanel 10.
In the past, Menashe was involved in e-learning in the high-tech sector; he is currently also a lecturer at the School of Communications at IDC Herzliya.
Jeremie Kletzkine, VP of Business Development at Start-Up Nation Central. Jeremie is an entrepreneur and executive with technological expertise. He previously served as the Director of Worldwide Business Development at PrimeSense (acquired by Apple). Over the course of the last decade, Jeremie founded 2 startups, has mentored, and advised several VCs, accelerators and sits on the boards of various technology companies.
Dana Pollak Wasserman has more than 15 years of experience in HR management, and leads all HR aspects of Start-Up Nation Central, including recruitment, training, employee and management development, welfare, and HR strategy. During the eight years prior to coming here, she worked at Gvahim as VP HR and head of the careers program, which assists highly-skilled immigrants (olim) in their professional integration in Israel. Previously, she worked for five years as a recruitment manager in the technology unit in the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, and also held a senior HR management position at Keinan-Sheffy, a leading recruitment agency in Israel.
Dana holds an M.A. in Labor Studies from Tel-Aviv University, and a B.A. in Sociology and Human-Resources from Haifa University.
Laura Gilinski is VP of Philanthropic Partnerships at Start-Up Nation Central.
In this capacity, she is responsible for all Start-Up Nation Central’s development related issues including partner cultivation, retention, and support. Prior to Start-Up Nation Central, Laura served as Deputy Director for Development and International Relations at the Israel Museum (IMJ), where she was responsible for development operations including cultivation and growth of 16 international friends’ organizations; and direct fundraising from foundations, and individuals. Prior to IMJ, Laura served as Chief Development and Public Relations Officer at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where she worked closely with the Institute’s network of partners, individual donors, foundations and philanthropic organizations, helping Hartman to double its revenue base during the years of her employment.
Laura worked for over a decade in the Israeli high-tech sector as Director of Corporate Marketing Communications at the Ex Libris Group and as Director of Product Marketing at Wizcom Technologies. Laura brings over twenty years of experience in communications, public relations, branding, and fund-raising in the corporate and non-profit sectors.
Eliran Elimelech, Senior Director of Business Development. Prior to his arrival at SNC, Eliran ran a private consultancy for Israeli start-ups wishing to operate in developing markets such as China, India, and the CIS; and was a commercial attache at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, where he was responsible for promoting Israeli companies in China through various business and trade initiatives. Eliran holds a B.A. in international relations and East Asian studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and MBA from the Inter-Disciplinary Centre (IDC). He is also an alumnus of the Israeli government’s elite cadets’ program, where he was selected to an “upgrade skills” program in the Israeli government. Eliran is married with three children and speaks Hebrew, Chinese, and English.
Arita Mattsoff joined Start-Up Nation Central in August 2020 as VP Marketing. Prior to this, Arita held CMO, VP Marketing, other executive roles, and was part of management teams at Israeli and international high-tech companies, including CGTrader, Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), Magic Software (NASDAQ: MGIC), Finjan, Paradigm and Scitex. Arita is also a founding member of an Israeli humanitarian organization LATET and has been part of the organization’s board of directors between 1996-2016. Arita was recognized among the 20 most influential women in 3D printing for five consecutive years while working at Stratasys. Arita has an MBA, and BA in Social Sciences from Tel Aviv University (Israel).
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Welcome to www.startupnationcentral.org (together with its subdomains, the “Site“, and together with the Content, Marks (defined below) and any services, the “Service”).
Last updated: January 2018
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If you are a California resident under the age of 18 and a registered user, California Business and Professions Code Section 22581 permits you to remove content or personal information you have publicly posted. If you wish to remove such content or personal information and you specify which content or personal information you wish to be removed, we will do so in accordance with applicable law. Please be aware that after removal you will not be able to restore removed content. In addition, such removal does not ensure complete or comprehensive removal of the content or personal information you have posted and that there may be circumstances in which the law does not require us to enable removal of content.
Last Updated: January, 2018