Exactly two months ago I was in the midst of Silicon Valley immersed in the buzzing startup scene. Today I’m on the other side of the world in Israel, a country the size of New Jersey, where there happens to be one of the most successful startup scenes in the world. As an example, Israel has the second most number of companies listed on the NASDAQ. In fact, Israel attracts two times more venture capital investments per person than the US and thirty times more than Europe.
So why did I end up in this tiny yet vibrant country?
Here it goes. In 9th grade I moved from New York to Israel for one year. I loved the experience. The atmosphere. The people. The food. The culture. Everything.
From that point on I decided that once I finished high school in New York I’d return to Israel. My plan was to join the Israeli Defense Forces. In Israel, at the age of 18, every female and male is drafted in to the army and serve two and three years respectively. If I had stayed in New York, I would by no means have been obligated to join but I felt a necessity to give back to Israel.
So now here I am, living in a city near Tel Aviv, waiting for my conscription date in March. Until then, every night I work on MySchoolHelp and ClassParrot and during the day I work full-time at Wibiya. I love working on these startups but I know that joining the Israeli army is the right decision. I’m applying all my efforts to join a unit that focuses on the technology angle that I enjoy. Without a doubt, I’m going to learn an incredible amount throughout my experience and afterwards apply all my new-found skills to future startups.
On the other hand, it was extremely difficult leaving Silicon Valley, a haven for startups and entrepreneurs, two months ago. I had an incredible four months, participating in an incubator, going to events and throughout my whole stay surviving on just $250 (that’s bootstrapping to the max.)
Decisions are always tough, but in the end everything always works out.