June 22 is right around the corner and I have a hard time realizing it’s coming so quickly. That’s right, on June 22, we’re hosting a TechCrunch Meetup + Pitch-Off in Tel Aviv — and I couldn’t be more excited.
But for now, let’s talk about the great lineup of judges who are going to listen to the ten startup pitches and crown the winner of the Tel Aviv Pitch-Off.
Without further ado, meet the judges who are going to join us on stage next week:
Gadi Tirosh, JVP Managing Partner
With his strong background in software and internet-based R&D organizations, Gadi is a leading member of JVP’s team, as well as a Chairman of the Board of CyberArk Software (NASDAQ: CYBR) and AnyClip Media. He also serves on the board of directors of ThetaRay, HexaTier, ComQi and Gamefly. Gadi’s experience gives him strong domain expertise in both the consumer infrastructure world and service provider needs.
Before joining JVP, Gadi was Corporate VP of Product Marketing and member of the executive committee for NDS (acquired by Cisco for $5 billion), a leader in digital pay-TV systems, supporting some of the largest digital broadcast platforms such as DirecTV, BSkyB, Canal Digital and more. At NDS, Gadi established the business of digital interactive TV in the late 1990s, catering to the likes of Sky Sports, MTV, Discovery, QVC and other leading TV channels. Gadi lead the NDS international marketing team responsible for defining the product scope and roadmap for NDS and established products such as conditional access for secure broadcast, middleware for digital set-tops and integrated PVR solutions.
Prior to NDS, Gadi held a variety of positions in software and Internet-based R&D organizations, including Director of Product Marketing at ServiceSoft Corp. Gadi holds a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics as well as an Executive MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Merav Rotem Naaman, Nautilus CEO
As Nautilus CEO, Merav orchestrates Aol’s investments in Israeli startups, as well as the fruitful connections between the company’s businesses and Israeli innovation. Merav’s job is to make sure the fund’s portfolio companies know that someone has their back, that problems aren’t insurmountable, and that they’ve got a team behind their team.
Among the first-in at Better Place, where she held both operational and fundraising related responsibilities, Merav knows a thing or two about ambitious start-ups. After completing an MBA at Harvard, she worked as a consultant for Bain & Co. in The Bay Area, advising companies on strategy, business development and M&A.
Merav is deeply involved in Israel’s buoyant startup investment scene, is a board member and a mentor in several startup programs and accelerators.
Michael Shmilov, Viber COO
As Viber’s COO, Michael Shmilov is responsible for the operational running of the fast-moving business.
In Michael’s previous role as Head of Product, he was responsible for the long-term vision of the Viber platform, product planning, design, and management of the product team.
Yifat Oron, LeumiTech CEO
Yifat Oron is the CEO of LeumiTech and is in charge of leveraging Leumi Group’s global capabilities to support technology companies’ financing needs. Yifat has approximately twenty years of experience working with technology companies, in venture capital, banking, and consulting. She spent most of her career as a Partner at Vertex Venture Capital.
Prior to joining Vertex, Yifat was a technology investment banking associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, during which she analyzed mergers and acquisitions, equity offerings, fixed income and syndicated financings. Previously, she spent three years at the Directorate of R&D of the Israeli Ministry of Defense where she achieved the rank of Lieutenant in the Economics, Budget & Control Department.
At 34, Yifat was selected as one of the promising “40 under 40” in the High-Tech and venture capital category. She has served on leading technology companies boards, and is a speaker at many of the prominent high tech conference in Israel and around the world.
Yifat holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University and a B.Sc. in Economics and Management from the Technion.