Chief Executive Officer
As CEO, Avi charts Start-Up Nation Central’s strategy, sets its goals, and oversees execution across multiple teams and verticals. He ensures that the 120-person organization adheres to its mission of being the prime driver and facilitator of Israeli innovation that boosts growth and generates global impact.
Avi draws on more than 30 years of innovation leadership experiences, in both the private and public sectors. Prior to his role at Start-Up Nation Central, Avi served as Chief Scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry and as the Founding Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, the government agency tasked with planning and executing innovation policy in Israel and a key driver of the Israeli innovation ecosystem’s rise to dominance over the past decade.
Additionally, Avi spent more than a decade as an early-stage investor at venture capital firms Gemini Israel Funds and Emerge, identifying promising startups and helping them scale.
After completing his military service in the IDF’s 8200 intelligence unit, Avi spent the first decade of his career working for several communication technology companies.
Throughout his career, Avi was a member of the leadership and advisory teams of several for-profit and non-profit organizations. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Sheba Medical Center, SpaceIL, and Tower Semiconductor, recently acquired by Intel.
Avi holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies and an MBA, both from Tel Aviv University.
Chief Business Officer
Giora leads Start-Up Nation Central’s business activities including Business Development, Sectors Development, Innovation Diplomacy, and Global Partnerships.
Giora brings with him vast entrepreneurial, managerial, and business execution capacity having previously served as General Manager Cyber at Cognyte (Previously Verint) a global leader in Cyber Intelligence, managing a division of several product/business units. Prior to that he was the CEO of RDC (Rafael Development Corporation) an accelerator and venture arm of Rafael and Elron; the CEO of Jetro Platforms, a Cyber security startup that built the first Secure Browsing Gateway; Founder and CEO of WorkplaceIQ, a global B2B SaaS EFM company headquartered in Boston USA; Co-founder of AirSphere, a SaaS B2B platform for the aviation industry; and Co-founder of GeoCAD, a leading engineering system house, providing CAD technologies to design offices.
Giora studied Industrial Engineering & Information Systems at Ben Gurion University.
Chief Product Officer
As Chief Product Officer, Noga creates customized and scalable solutions for Start-Up Nation Central’s clients helping them to effectively address their main challenges. She brings to the role a wealth of experience from both the public and private sectors, with a background in strategy, finance, product, innovation, and business development leadership. Prior to joining Start-Up Nation Central, Noga established and led the TLV Innovation Hub of the Boston Consulting Group, where she created opportunities for BCG’s global clients to effectively engage with the Israeli Tech ecosystem. Before that, Noga served as VP Products and Solutions at Leumi-Tech, the high-tech arm of Israel’s premier banking group. Early in her career, Noga held key positions in Israel’s Ministry of Finance where she managed various large scale government projects.
Noga earned a BA in Business, Economics and, Communication and an MBA (both Sum Cum Laude) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Chief Operating Officer
Chico manages the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the organization, including overseeing the work of the Finance, HR, Legal, IT, Knowledge Management, and Productions departments.
Chico joined Start-Up Nation Central after having worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and senior editor in Israel’s top news organizations. Prior to joining Start-Up Nation Central, Chico managed Israel Broadcasting Authority’s news radio station, and served as deputy editor-in-chief at the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC). During his years in journalism, Chico covered a variety of topics, including foreign relations, health, environment, transportation, and aviation for Israeli television stations Channel 2 and Channel 10.
Chico completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies & Management at The College of Management in Israel, his Master’s Degree in Law at Bar Ilan University, and his Executive MBA at Tel Aviv University.
Chief Marketing Officer
As the Chief Marketing Officer Aliza is responsible for creating and accelerating the company’s marketing strategy and brand recognition across the globe.
Aliza is an experienced senior executive, having served in multiple leadership positions at tier-1 global corporations.
Before joining Start-Up Nation Central Aliza was the CMO of OptimalPlus. Before, she headed the Business Support organization at Microsoft UK. She also served as the Global VP of Marketing at NICE, CMO and VP of Strategy at Netafim, and held a 17-year tenure at Microsoft in various management positions, including Director of Worldwide Strategic Planning at the company’s Redmond headquarters.
Aliza studied Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program at Wharton Business School.
As the VP of Finance at Start-Up Nation Central, Uriel is responsible for leading the organization’s financial strategy and operations, fostering its growth through financial optimization.
Uriel started his career in 2011 at Kost Forer Gabbay & Kasierer (EY), later served as the Director of Finance for several Electra FM group subsidiaries, and was the CFO of the Tower of David – The Museum of The City of Jerusalem, where he significantly improved the organization’s financial health and managed all the financial aspects of the museum renovation. Prior to joining Start-Up Nation Central, Uriel was the CFO of the “Ogen” Group, contributing to its expansive social financial work.
While handling his professional roles, Uriel has also lectured in finance courses at IDC Herzliya and the Lev Academic Center, and has volunteered as a director and audit committee member for various non-profit institutions.
Uriel, CPA, holds a BA in Accounting and Information Systems from the School of Business Administration at Lev Academic Center and an MBA in Financial Management from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
VP Philanthropic Partnerships
Michal leads Start-Up Nation Central’s resource development work, including partner cultivation, retention, and support. Prior to joining Start-Up Nation Central, Michal headed the Rashi Foundation’s Partnerships Department, developing and overseeing strategic partnerships and managing dozens of philanthropic partners – organizations, Jewish federations, and foundations in Israel and abroad – in initiatives to drive social mobility. Previously Michal served as the CEO of the Nadav Foundation and as director of marketing and investor relations at the venture fund JVP.
Michal earned her BA in social work from Bar Ilan University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Clark University.
VP Product, Data, Development
Yariv manages Start-Up Nation Central’s flagship online business innovation platform, Finder, overseeing the work of the Technology & Development, Data & Insights, and Product & Users teams. Yariv previously served as Managing Director of Value-Focused Investments, an investment banking boutique dealing in cross-border, mid-market mergers and acquisitions focused on Israel and China. Prior to that, he founded and ran the first Corporate Venture Capital arm of one of the largest insurance groups in Israel. Yariv served as Executive Chairman of Shiluvim, the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Engineering at Tel-Aviv University (TAU), and also on the Steering Committee of the Industry Affiliates Program of the Faculty of Engineering at TAU.
Yariv completed his BSc. in Industrial Engineering at Tel Aviv University and his MBA at Brunel University in London, where his thesis addressed Venture Capital Investments in Life-Science Companies.
VP Business Development
As VP of Business Development, Jeremie is Start-Up Nation Central’s global ambassador, scouting for business opportunities and partnerships all around the world. Jeremie is an entrepreneur with technological expertise in consumer electronics, software, and 3D imaging industries, who possesses a deep familiarity with Israel’s innovation and commercial capabilities. Prior to joining Start-Up Nation Central, Jeremie served as the Director of Worldwide Business Development at PrimeSense (acquired by Apple). A serial entrepreneur, he founded two of his own startups and mentored founders, VCs, and accelerators.
Jeremie co-founded GameIS, the Israeli Digital Game Association. He has authored six standalone board and card games that can be found on the shelves of specialty shops around the world.
VP Innovation Diplomacy
As VP of Innovation Diplomacy, Yariv manages Start-Up Nation Central’s relations with government partners around the globe, overseeing a team of regional managers with a focus on the U.S., MENA countries, and developing countries. Yariv employs the skills he gained during his 13 years in public service at the Ministry of Economy and Industry to enable Israeli technology companies to penetrate foreign markets and expand their international business operations. A former Commercial Attaché to the UK and the US Midwest, Yariv knows exactly how to promote Israeli innovation and technology internationally and assist foreign corporations and governments to tap into the innovation ecosystem in Israel. Prior to his governmental roles, Yariv spent eight years at one of Israel’s leading cyber security companies as a part of the Credit and Collection Team, and later as a Partner Alliance Manager.
Yariv completed his BA in History at Tel Aviv University and his MBA at Ono Academic College.
VP Ecosystem Development
Eliran leads Start-Up Nation Central’s ecosystem development efforts, overseeing the work of both the locally-focused sector leads and the internationally oriented Global Partnerships teams. A former business consultant and diplomat, he brings his years of experience in government and private sector roles to bear in his work managing Start-Up Nation Central’s relations with its most valued partners. Eliran previously ran a private consultancy for Israeli startups wishing to operate in developing markets such as China, India, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, served as the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry’s Head of Branch at the Bilateral Trade Agreements Department, and later as Commercial Attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, where he leveraged his fluency in Chinese to promote Israeli business interests.
Eliran completed his BA in International Relations and East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his GMBA at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC).
VP Strategy and Chief of Staff
Ari serves as Start-Up Nation Central’s VP of Strategy, in charge of shaping and implementing its long-term goals in cooperation with the senior management team. Ari has an extensive background in designing and managing market approaches, product launches, sales force strategies, and new strategic plans and operating models for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Start-Up Nation Central he was an independent consultant for Israel Impact Partners and previously served as Managing Consultant at Capgemini Consulting. He was also the CEO of the Israel Tennis and Education Centers, and Chief Commercial Officer for a sports-tech startup.
Ari completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Managerial Economics at the University of Washington and his MBA at the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management.
VP Human resources
Dana is responsible for all the HR activities of Start-Up Nation Central, including recruitment, training, employee and management development, welfare, and HR strategy.
Dana previously worked for eight years at Gvahim as the VP of Human Resources and head of the careers program, assisting immigrants to Israel in their professional integration. Prior to that, she served for five years as Recruitment Manager for the technology unit of 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 a B.A. in Sociology and Human-Resources from Haifa University and an M.A. in Labor Studies from Tel-Aviv University.
Chief Executive Officer - Start-Up Nation Policy Institute
Uri is the founding CEO of the Start-Up Nation Policy Institute, a think tank that seeks to provide Israeli decision makers with data-based research and policy recommendations on a range of innovation-related topics. He is also chairman of the board of Scale-Up Velocity, a human capital operations platform under the Start-Up Nation Central umbrella that specializes in high-tech training programs.
Uri is the former Co-General Manager and VP of Strategy of Start-Up Nation Central, prior to which he served for seven years as the Chief Strategy Officer and Head of the Strategy and Economic Division in the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA). He has led the division since its establishment in October 2011, focusing on strategy, evaluation, budget planning, and research. For five years prior, he was a senior economist at the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office, leading the Macroeconomic team at the National Economic Council. In addition, he teaches courses focusing on the economics of innovation and theoretical economics.
Uri completed his Bachelor’s in Economics and Computer Sciences and his Master of Economics specializing in game theory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Wendy was an integral part of building Start-Up Nation Central’s infrastructure and professional team, and in connecting Israel’s innovation ecosystem with government and business leaders around the world.
Singer previously spent 23 years at AIPAC, including 16 years as Director of the organization’s Israel Office, where she and her team curated educational seminars in Israel, maintained relationships with Israeli ministers and senior government leaders as well as US diplomats and Palestinian officials, and reported to AIPAC-Washington on policy, security, and political developments in Israel. As a registered lobbyist on Capitol Hill, Wendy was the lead contact for 90 Members of Congress and served as a staff aide for three Members of Congress, focusing on foreign policy issues.
Wendy completed her Bachelor’s Degree in American Government and Politics at Brandeis University.