Posted by: xplainblog | August 17, 2010

Yozmot Haemek – The Technological Incubator at Migdal Haemek Part II

This post is a continuation of our interview with Dr. Amnon Weichselbaum, who is the New Projects Manager for the Yozmot Haemek technological incubator.

Q: What is the success rate of the incubator in getting funding for startups?

A: The last 17 companies that we have proposed to the committee have been funded. Approximately 80% of the companies that completed two years in the incubator were funded by outside investors.

Q: That’s pretty impressive. To what do you attribute your success?

A: Through experience I’ve learned both what is likely to get funded and what will have a good chance of success.

Q: Can you elaborate? What are you looking for?

A: I look  at the technology as well as  at the personality of the entrepreneur. The project has to be practical in terms of novelty, potential market, IP and development timetable, but what is more  important is the personality of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur must be both realistic in terms of what is required for the successful development and commercializing of a product. At the same time, he must have great determination and fire in his eyes.

Q: Can you quantify the traits that you are looking for?

A: Actually I can. I presented a quantified method of determining the potential success of an idea and presented it at a lecture that I gave to students. But, in fact, there are more factors going through my head when I decide about a project, and I don’t literally quantify the process in “real life”.

Q: Is there a problem with entrepreneurs coming from academia not being prepared for the business world?

A: Sometimes people coming from academia have unrealistic expectations and don’t realize the importance of certain steps in product development, such as regulatory issues in the development of a medical device.

Q: What is the main reason that incubator companies fail to get outside funding after two years?

A: In my experience, projects generally don’t fail because of technological reasons but rather due to personality conflicts.

Q: Who actually owns the companies?

A: The companies are owned partly by the entrepreneur, partly by investors, and partly by the incubator.

Q: Do you retain your shares after the company leaves the incubator?

A: It depends. Sometimes we retain all our shares and sometimes we sell all or part of them at different stages in the development of the company, depending on our financial needs and the business opportunity.

Q: That brings me to my next question. Who actually owns the incubator?

A: We are the last incubator that is state-owned and we are now going through privatization, meaning that we will soon be self-sustaining.

Q: What are the implications? Is that good or bad

A: I think that it is good and bad. On the one hand we will be self-sustaining and not taking taxpayer money for the day to day activity and management of the incubator, but on the other hand we may not be able to take as many chances backing projects that may be a little more risky.

Thanks for talking with us


  1. Very interesting reading!

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