Shirat holds a portfolio of private investments and in parallel, acts as a management company with offices in Israel and in China. In addition to being pro-active in part of its portfolio companies, Shirat carries out a broad program dedicated to establishment of joint ventures between Israeli hi-tech companies and Chinese industrial mature companies, as well as establishment and operation of technological incubators, venture capital funds and corporate venture capital in China and in other countries around the world. This program was supported and assisted by the Government of Israel and today is supported by several local authorities in major cities in China.
Eliezer was the founder and entrepreneur of several hi-tech start-up companies, as well as board member and Chairman in many of them. He was also, for several years, a member of the international team of WJ Hopper investment bank.
Eliezer was among the founders of two Venture Capital funds — Co-founder of "Mofet" Venture Capital fund in Israel and Global Cayalyst Partners (GCP) Venture Capital in the US (Silicon Valley), as well as member of their boards, general partner and management companies. Eliezer was also a founder of IVA (Israel Venture Capital and Private Equity Association) and served as its first Executive Director. He was and presently is Board Member of private and public companies traded on NASDAQ and TASE (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange).
Eliezer is an invited founding board director IFIP IP3 Global Industry Council (GIC): "Global Industry Council Directors are specially nominated and invited to serve within the UN-rooted body as internationally recognized luminary executives, thought leaders, and visionaries and for their strong history of providing substantive contributions to global business, industry, society, education, and governments."
During his career, Eliezer was engaged in activities such as:
Eliezer is a physicist — M.Sc. from the Weizmann Institute of Science, specializing in electro-optics, and is member of the Advisory Editorial Board of Photonics Spectra — the international journal of electro-optical engineers.
Eliezer is also engaged in venture philanthropy. He and his family established and are supporting Schools-On-Line, a NGO active among high-school children and teachers, dedicated to bridge between children from different sectors, usually under conflict.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
:00:25: Eliezer, thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience. "....Thank you for inviting me for this interview...."
:00:36: Since we last talked can you share lessons from your work in China? "....In China we are not going to develop new technologies. We are going take Israeli companies that have already developed unique technologies and already have their own product and in China they are going to define the final product and commercialize it. This is the main purpose of this program. The reason I am taking Israeli companies is because the two countries, Israel and China have very complementary values...."
:05:47: That's a fascinating program, how many cities are you in China right now? "....We are in four cities so far...."
:07:06: What's your expansion forecast in China? "....This is a way for China to develop their hi-tech industry....What matters is that they are Chinese companies, they are operating in China, they are hiring Chinese people, they are paying taxes in China, so all these companies are developing the Chinese economy — for the short term. For the longer term the Chinese pure companies will try to implement this example and also become entrepreneurs...."
:08:36: How does your China work contrast with Chile and Slovakia? "....It is a different situation....In the case of Israel and China, Israeli companies are going into a market where they are supported to develop their businesses, and China benefits because companies with different technologies are coming to China and are able to develop new products (in other words the hi-tech industry)....In Chile we face a different problem. The Chilean government said we have many entrepreneurs here but they are not successful. How come in Israel the entrepreneurs are more successful? My answer was that in Israel we have different ambient conditions...."
:11:36: Do you find that the conditions are somewhat similar in Slovakia? "....Yes, Slovakia is also a relatively small country and I don't think that they can find in Slovakia or in Chile the same mechanism to work as in China. It's a different approach...."
:13:52: What are your recommendations for countries wanting to setup entrepreneurship programs? "....First of all to understand that without a real involvement of the government it will not happen....This kind of process of entrepreneurship is like a chemical equation, like a chemical reaction. You have the critical masses around, and in every country there are people with entrepreneur characteristics, there are markets, there are industries, but in order for it to happen you need a catalyst...."
:16:09: You have just released a remarkable book, "From Start-up to Smart-up." What prompted you to write this book? "....To explain the history of the Israeli hi-tech and venture capital industries, and then to share the lessons to be learned from these experiences. To show what the vision is, because everything that is done has to start with a vision....As we say vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare. We have to find the combination between vision and action in order to achieve something...."
:20:25: In your book, you talk about history of hi-tech and VC industries in Israel. What are your most important lessons that you can share? "....The kinds of roles that governments can play. As I mentioned before, the government role is not sufficient, but is necessary and this role is a very well-defined role...."
:24:00: What is the DNA sequence in hi-tech? "....Education....Research....Innovation....Entrepreneurship...."
:28:40: Eliezer briefly distinguishes between Angels, VC, Private Equity, Investment Banks, and Incubators. "....They appear at different levels in the development of the company....Usually Angels are not pure financially investors they are more strategic, early stage investors because they are looking to bring added value to the company in which they are investing....Once a company "graduates" an incubator the company should get a venture capital investment from a Venture Capital Fund....Then we see the Private Equity which appears a little bit later than Venture Capital because they want to see company's resale through its profits and so on. Then when the company has built its value we see the Investment Banks preparing the companies for exit and then you have the Stock Market...."
:31:05: In these different kinds of roles that can happen: Incubators, Angels, VC, Private Equities and Investment Banks, which hats and roles have you played? "....In general, I went through all the stages....I was lucky that I was exposed to all these phases and understanding where and who are playing the right role in each phase...."
:31:51: How can governments help and where can they fail? "....The failure mechanism with the government is only when they want to share the financial upside with the private sector. It's like apples and oranges, they don't fit...."
:34:32: You have a most entertaining story at the end of your book — can you share any elements of this story or do they have to read the book? "....The story is about 'being creative'...."
:36:46: You had this remarkable person speak recently at a forum that you set up in Israel, can you share a little bit about that at all? "....Ruha Reyhani....Her approach in life is that the future of our economy will be based not on competition, but on co-operation...."
:39:23: Eliezer shares a story from his extensive speaking, travels, and work (amusing, surprising, unexpected or amazing). "....Believing is seeing....you see the result because you believe that it will happen...."
:42:19: One final question and it's about your book, "Start-up to Smart-up" — where can they get it and is there one additional comment you wish to make about the book? "....They can find the book on our website,http://www.shirat-enterprises.com The message of the book is a vision of establishing Cross-Nation Force Multiplier....This is my message, that we can make a change, and many people are looking at how to make a change in our world because our world needs this change to help mankind to make life better for people...."
:44:29: Eliezer, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.
Music by Sunny Smith Productions and Shaun O'Leary