Mentors Monday: Gilli Cegla

Mentors Monday: Gilli Cegla

#entrepreneurship #israel #media #strategy #business


Hamburg has a lot to offer to Israeli startups. Not only will teams from the #startupnation find a piece of home in the German city, the list of advantages also include cheap beer, rainy weather (= no distractions from work) and a thriving media scene. Gilli Cegla, our mentor based in Tel Aviv, knows the European market pretty well. In this short interview he shares insights about competition, differences between EU and Israeli markets and give hints on which are the gaps (or opportunities) teams can find when deciding to make Hamburg (and next media accelerator) the next destination for their business.

1 — Shalom, Gilli. Startups in Israel usually get investment from local investors and then look to grow in international markets. 🚀 Do you agree this is the right approach? And which are the benefits of jumping into Europe or most specifically in the German market before going to the USA?

In Israel there is no “non-internationalization” option. We are eight million people, so you have to think international from Day 1. This is the right approach because there is no other approach. The question is: “international where?”. If we chose European countries, the larger ones for example, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, we’re talking about significant market sizes very close by to Israel, so it’s easier to manage. Plus the marketing expenses would be significantly lower than approaching the USA. As an Israeli startup, there are many opportunities right on our doorstep. I would start close and manageable and then think where to expand next.

2 — An entrepreneur in the #StartupNation must be facing strong competition with so many startups around. What are the learnings you got from founding successful startups in such a competitive environment?

The competition is global or at least per geographic region. It’s more based on what I am doing, not on a general number of startups that are in my country. The competition is not the fact that we have seven thousand startups in Israel: we look at the competitive landscape for my solution, worldwide or at least in the countries that im targeting.

Competition is good and bad. If there is no competition, it might be that there is no market. And if there’s too much competition, maybe someone needs to do something else and ask him/herself what is that they are doing special or different in relation to the others.

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“In Israel there is no “non-internationalization” option. We are eight million people, so you have to think international from Day 1. This is the right approach because there is no other approach.”

3 — Are European and Israeli companies very different when it comes to being open to innovation and digitalization?

That’s a good question…In Israel there are certain segments that are very advanced in the digital realm. Regarding media market, we are very advanced in terms of digital video, in terms of advertisments, social and web and mobile. I would say we are very advanced in the area of media solutions, specially in the advertisment domain. Here I do see a gap compared to Germany/Europe. I still think if I had to promote a B2C product in Germany, television is still number one medium. Which is not the case anymore in Israel. The adoption of digital by the consumers in Israel is much more advanced than middle Europe all the way to the UK. There are still gaps there. But that said, gaps mean opportunity.

“As an Israeli startup, there are many opportunities right on our doorstep. I would start close and manageable and then think where to expand next.”

4 — Hamburg is rainy and cold and people eat sausages and drink beer. Despite that, do you see any reasons why an Israeli startup should join our program?

Warm people. Excellent program. The great potential for Israeli startups to meet potential clients or even companies that can provide them reference and the development of their product. And beer is not a minus — it’s a plus.

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5 — You are the founder and curator of Israel’s largest Video and New media community. Any particular trends you see great potential in it?

Among the interesting things at the moment area how AR will integrate and be added to mobile devices. Another interesting trend is video ads in the mobile space. If you look at the adverstisment space, video is the number-one revenue generator and spendings on video Ads are constantly increasing. I’m curious to see what is happening around this domain.

Toda Raba / Thanks, Gilli. ⭐️ We are looking forward bringing Hamburg — Israel startup community even closer.

Israeli startups: ready to to take the opportunities waiting for you right in your doorstep? APPLY NOW to our batch 6 (deadline: October 31st). 🏃


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