Dear friends and members of the CIV community,
I’m writing today to reflect with pleasure on a journey that started four years and a half ago, as I conclude my role as the Executive Director of the Coller Institute of Venture (CIV) at Tel Aviv University.
Since 2013, we have been working on several key areas of venture and produced insights for policymakers, limited partners, venture investors and entrepreneurs on their journey to improve the venture ecosystem, turn new ideas into businesses, thus creating new jobs and benefitting society as a whole.
In our effort to research the venture ecosystem, we have defined several research strands. Here is a quick summary of the what I consider the five most interesting phenomena in the world of venture today:
- Venture policy: The ecosystem is changing constantly and rapidly, and even the mere definition of “venture” is a moving target. The rise of corporate ventures, a.k.a. “virtual R&D,” together with increased government involvement, on the one hand, and de-regulation on the other, are among the key factors shaping the ecosystem today. Venture, like the world, is fast, messy and global.
- History of venture: Singular events affect the entire venture ecosystem, and the significance of an event can only be fully understood in a wider context spanning decades.
- Deep innovation: Venture for scientific innovations is relatively harder, in contrast with the relative ease of digital ventures. Therefore, numerous groundbreaking scientific projects would be lost in the “valley of death” and never get to the market. However, it is this kind of innovation that can truly change the world, and supporting it requires a different and deeper commitment from all players of the ecosystem – especially policymakers, investors, and researchers.
- University venture: in the 21st century, universities lost their centuries-long monopoly on research and teaching, and they no longer play the societal role of “the light in a sea of darkness.”Therefore, taxpayer money and government support are dwindling, and university leaders must find new ways of adapting to the change and generating value via the venture ecosystem.
- City venture: In the flat, smooth world of the 21st century, talents, results, successful firms, and, ultimately, jobs are easily sucked away by those cities that are attractive to founders, investors, and employment. These cities are Employment Black Holes, each one leading in its domain. A city wishing to retain enduring jobs and succeed must create its black hole in a domain where it has an “unfair advantage” – ideally based on a local attribute or resource that can’t move elsewhere.
I will be finishing my tenure at the Coller Institute of Venture on December 31st, 2017. Towards the end of this fantastic ride, I would like to thank, first and foremost, the members of our Advisory Committee: Jeremy Coller, who, for his vision and leadership; Chris McDermott of Coller Capital, whose guidance and assistance was of value both strategically and tactically; Prof. Joseph (Yossi) Klafter, President of Tel-Aviv University, who was always supportive of our ideas and helped turned make them a reality; and Moshe Zviran, Dean of the Coller School of Management, who guided our the first steps and now will – I’m sure — lead the institute in its new path. Read Prof. Zviran’s greetings here.
Next, I would like to thank the CIV core team: Ido Yavnai, Director of Research Infrastructure; Dr. Vladi Dvoyris, Director of Venture Community and Marketing; and Odeya Pergament, CIV’s administrative coordinator and the moving force behind all the institute’s operations; as well as our wonderful student interns – Dvir Shavit, Naama Brezner and Jael Fafner. Special thanks to our alumni, and partners and collaborators in Tel Aviv University and the Coller School of Management.
Finally, I want to thank the 5,447 CIV friends and 680 active CIV members constituting our community that created 416 web posts, and 238 papers and videos– fulfilling our vision of being a global hub impacting the venture ecosystem.
Prof. Yesha Y. Sivan