Like most Israeli tech entrepreneurs, Lia Kislev lives in Tel Aviv. But her online styling company isn’t based in the country’s startup capital alongside the nation's fledgling fashion industry. Instead, she and her co-founder commute every day to Jerusalem.
Kislev's startup WiShi sits in a whitewashed building about a kilometer from the ancient stone walls of Jerusalem's Old City, a popular tourist attraction that houses sites holy to all three monotheistic religions. The tech complex in the holy city was built by Erel Margalit, the founder of Jerusalem Venture Partners, who is now a lawmaker for the Labor party.
Despite JVP’s location, it's taken 11 companies public on the Nasdaq, and 15 others have been acquired in the past two decades since the firm was founded. That track record is helping the venture capital firm attract startups from Tel Aviv and other cities to help nurture a Jerusalem tech scene. While JVP doesn’t require its portfolio companies to move to Jerusalem, close mentoring is a benefit for those who do.
"We knew Jerusalem Venture Partners was one of the most successful funds in Israel and Europe," says Kislev, 31. "If they wanted to invest in us, then we would do whatever was necessary."
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