Pharmacy student turned Israeli Innovator

Throughout the adventure I was full. Full of happiness and full of hummus.

In most Western countries, success is envisioned as becoming a doctor or a lawyer, while here in Israel, parents dream of their children creating the next unicorn (a startup company worth over $1 billion USD). This month, I challenged myself to adopt the entrepreneurial mindset held by many Israeli. My internship experience with databridge and tik tak certainly made this goal more achievable. Within the first week, I had gained experience in marketing, design briefing and creating corporate identities. Being a pharmacy student, I was thrown way outside my comfort zone and embraced the opportunity to use my creativity and develop new skills. 

Working in an Israeli startup

‘Due today, do today’ took new meaning throughout my time with databridge. I loved all of the tasks I was to complete, and I quickly learned how to work under time pressures. Our workdays were very full, with some days spent exploring Tel Aviv with our team, and others spent cramming in work we assumed would be due at a later date. Working quickly and effectively is a must when working with Israeli serial entrepreneurs. Work is not the only thing expected to be done speedily — 'chutzpa' is a major element that reduces the time Israeli spend doing everyday tasks. 

Chutzpa, defined as 'shameless audacity' encourages independence, taking ownership, taking risks and moving forward.

In Israel, you know exactly what your bosses and team members are thinking. They will tell you if they don’t like the work that you have done or if you are wrong and need to redo something. I have found this incredibly helpful, as I enjoyed receiving feedback and guidance so that I was able to complete my tasks to fulfil my bosses’ needs. It also encouraged me to be more vocal about my thoughts and opinions. I have learned so much about the ‘behind the scenes’ processes in entrepreneurship. I had no idea how much back-and-forth occurred in the process of building a brand and a website. Completing my tasks very quickly allowed me to see numerous mock-ups of what the new website for databridge will look like. I have also been fortunate enough to contribute to the corporate identity and features of tik tak, which was at a conceptual stage when I arrived in Israel. 

The insights I have gained have been invaluable to me and can be implemented when I create my own startup.

I will certainly use the mindset that I have switched to this month, replacing perfectionism with pace makes the unimaginable possible. The people I worked for were very supportive. To my surprise, I got in trouble for not having enough fun! When we were not doing internship work, organising university presentations and attending startup events, we were encouraged to be social and experience as much as possible.

Israeli culture

My introduction to chutzpa shocked me. After arriving in Tel Aviv while waiting to catch the bus to Tel Aviv University, numerous Israelis pushed to the front of the line that we had created. We missed at least two busses and half of our group ended up walking. In Australia, this would be seen as rude, but here it is simply the Israeli way. Although in this context it can appear to be a negative cultural feature, there are many ways in which Australians can benefit from integrating chutzpa into our culture. Chutzpa, defined as 'shameless audacity' encourages independence, taking ownership, taking risks and moving forward. 

Rebecca Almond Tel Aviv Startup Adventure
Rebecca (left) with fellow Startup Adventurers


Exploring Israel

We ensured that our weekends were full, fitting in just about a bucket-list-worthy outing every weekend. On the first weekend, we went to Jerusalem. Jerusalem holds religious significance to four religious sectors, and even as a non-religious person, to me this place felt special. I believe the history behind the location had a major impact on me. As our university lecturer repeated throughout our classes, Australians and other Westerners are used to thinking in decades, while here in Israel you need to think in terms of millennia.

Australia is so young, I have been overwhelmed and enchanted by the history of the numerous cities I have visited during my stay. Other weekend trips I participated in consisted of visiting Cairo, climbing Mount Sodom, Masada and Mount Zefahot, floating in the Dead Sea, viewing the Sea of Galilee and exploring Haifa, Tiberius and Nazareth.

There is so much I could write about each of these trips, but would not be able to do them justice in this blog post – so you’ll just have to experience it for yourself! 

Startup Adventures

This has been the uncontested highlight of my university experience so far. I have made many friends and memories that I will cherish forever. I will forever be appreciative for being given this remarkable opportunity and I would encourage anyone to apply.

Apply for our Startup Adventures program to experience the world's best tech startup hotspots.

Last updated:
23 December 2019