Each week, we in Tech7 get the chance to meet different members and aspects of the tech community in Southern Israel. This time, we encountered a very special, one of a kind project, situated in an unconventional location – a quite Kibbutz called Revivim.
After a 30 minute drive we arrived at what can only be described as a beautiful Oasis – Revivim, and met two out of the three managers of the Startup Hatchery – Tom and Leon. They told us about their unique project that provides beginning startups not only an economical benefit, but also what seems to be an ultimate work environment and conditions.
“Two years ago we initiated the project of the startup hatchery. We’ve come to realize the advantage of our Kibbutz being one of the only ones in Israel that has remained with the shared principles of the original Kibbutz. Additionally, Revivim advocates entrepreneurship, and that is how we came up with the idea of the hatchery. We wanted to take the entrepreneurship value and apply it to what is truly relevant nowadays in the world – technology and startups.”
It sounds that there is an added value of your project, correct?
“Look, of course this project has financial aspirations and goals, however there is a very strong social element here. We wish to show people in Israel, and even in the world, that there are so many benefits to working in Revivim and in our hatchery. At the end of the day, if a family moves to Revivim as a result of one of the parents starting to work\participate as a startup in the hatchery – we will be at our happiest state.”
What are those benefits? Why would a few guys that live in a large city like Beer-Sheva for instance, move here to the hatchery?
“After a very rigorous examination and evaluation of the startups that come here, those who are accepted to the program basically receive almost everything they need in order to focus on their product. They get three meals a day in the Kibbutz’s dining room, residence, they have no bills to pay. All of that for 9 months, in which they have the time and the free-of-distractions environment to work on their product. Eventually, after they ‘spread their wings’, if and when they succeed we get back our investment.”
How do you choose the startups to invest in?
“We put a lot of effort into it. It is extremely important that their idea is something we see a valuable future for. Also, we have to value them as people, and believe that they are serious, and qualified for living here in Revivim. That way, the risk we take is calculated there is almost no chance for us to fail.”
What are the most prominent benefits of working on a startup here in Revivim?
“The startup members are provided with a very high quality of life. They don’t have any distractions, and they do have the silence and peace of mind to work hard, be productive and creative.”
And indeed, it is very quiet in Revivim, some will say even too quiet, but not Tech 7. We were hooked by the magical place and the good vibes coming from the members of the hatchery.
Leon David, the promoter and partner of the hatchery told us what he thinks are the weaknesses of working on a start-up in Tel-Aviv or any other city for that matter, from his own personal experience.
“4 years ago, my wife and I have decide that we needed a change. After a very long time of living in huge cities like Tel-Aviv, New-York and many more, we realized that we wanted something different. I have been working in many startups in Tel-Aviv, and founded numerous projects. I started to feel too immerged in the ‘rat race’, and after some time here in Revivim, I’ve come to a conclusion that in the city there are too many things you do that only divert you from making your product the best one. Here, you are much more productive because you don’t have all the empty activities the city has to offer.”
For our final question, we asked Tom __, the hatchery’s operations manager, to shortly tell us about the startups now situated under the ‘custody’ of the hatchery, and why she also moved from a city (Jerusalem in this case) to Revivim:
“I believe that Revivim is the ultimate place to live in. Fortunately, I have found a job perfect for the skills I acquired in Jerusalem while working as a director of different productions and projects. The Kibbutz combines innovation and a connection to the modern world with the serenity and quietness perfect for family life.”
“Our young start uppers will say the same. Those are: ‘Calid’ – an app that optimizes the marketing process of small\medium businesses. ‘Group Booking’ – an app that brings together people who wish to purchase something together in order to save money; an event or a VIP room for example. ‘Goodies’ – an easy way of comparing prices, on a massive and global scale. And last but not least, ‘Links’ – a chat app that give many tools for privacy rights.”