TheMarker’s 40 under 40 List names iAngels Co-Founder as ‘Inspirational Leader’

The following interview was originally published in Hebrew in TheMarker here

Like many other young people who decide to go on a trip after the army, Shelly Hod Moyal decided to pack and fly to the United States. But instead of selling mud from the Dead Sea in malls, she enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy at Hunter College. Her journey led her to UBS, where she was involved in portfolio management. Her second job was working at one of the world’s largest hedge funds. This period coincided with the economic crisis in the United States and the hedge fund specialized in “special situations and distressed companies,” so Hod Moyal found herself examining and investing over $1 billion in the most high profile companies of the time, such as AIG, GM and Citigroup. As part of her job, she also volunteered to provide advice to the US government on the TARP program. 

At the end of this exciting period she decided to return to Israel, where she joined Goldman Sachs, Investment Banking where it was her first time in diving into the VC and tech world in Israel as  part of a team consulting funds and high tech companies regarding mergers, acquisitions and strategic investments. Three years later, in parallel to the decision to establish a family, Hod Moyal also chose to embark on an independent career. Working in a large corporation with huge brands and mainly dealing in investment and analysis, she saw the opportunity to attract investors and build a company of her own from scratch. Together with her business partner, Mor Assia, they launched iAngels – a platform that connects investors from around the world to start-ups in Israel. iAngels’ business model operates by doing the due diligence on the start-ups and negotiates investment conditions. After a period of rigorous analysis they then decide whether or not to open up an investment opportunity to their international investor community, who are able to invest from a minimum investment of $10,000. iAngels currently manages $100 million, and has invested in nearly 100 start-ups in its four years of activity.

What qualifications are you required to use in your current position?

“In terms of managing a business, interpersonal skills are obviously a huge requirement – recruiting and nurturing employees, creating a supportive and constructive organizational culture, marketing, sales and basically everything that a business needs to exist. “

What tools did you get from the studies you are using today?

“I studied organizational psychology, management, strategy, marketing, branding – all of which have given me additional tools that have helped me on my new entrepreneurial journey. Getting to know interesting and successful people from all over the world, many of them coming from backgrounds different to mine has been a fascinating and life building experience.”

In a career there are often decisions which are game changers; decisions which advance you forward. What were the decisions you encountered of that nature?

“The decision which was big game changer for me was the decision to establish iAngels.

To leave a stable job with great prospects to moving to work from a basement with my business partner Mor, was a total 180-degree change. This decision came from both of us wanting to produce something of our own. I have always felt that I would return to Israel and as a person who grew up and lived here, I also feel responsible for the future of our country and much of this future lies in the technological initiatives of Israel, which is one of the most significant growth engines that we have. In the United States, we identified the potential of connecting entrepreneurs in Israel to investors all over the world who wish to participate and invest in Startup Nation and hence, the idea to launch iAngels began, combining the right combination of an important social goal with personal self-fulfillment. “

What is the main challenge in your current job?

“To build a company from scratch is a big challenge, and in most large and stable companies, as long as you are a good and diligent employee, there are always opportunities for advancement, and in your company you can be the best and most successful worker and still nothing in the future. I’m not sure that four years ago I had the mental ability to cope with some of the situations that have come to my doorstep today. In this sense, I feel that parenting my three children has also contributed a great deal in requiring me to be more responsible and mature. You can not suddenly fall apart when something does not add up because there are people who rely on you, so I’m forcing myself to meet expectations, to rise, to look forward and be positive. “

What would you like to change in the field?

“I would like to change the image that Israelis sometimes have in the world, because there is a lot of magic and uniqueness in Israeli entrepreneurship, but sometimes something in the business potential is missed because of a cultural gap. Because we work with people all over the world, we have the opportunity to set a high standard for respectful professional conduct.”

What kind of management do you dream of leading?

“I feel that I am leading this move today with iAngels, and this is exactly where I want to be, with the people I want to work with and I really enjoy coming into work and being a partner to so many talented investors and entrepreneurs who are changing the world, who have huge dreams that we’re able to partner with. And as two female founders, it is important for us to promote the female voice in society. Out of our 20 employees, 15 are women and it’s an opportunity to lead by example and show fellow females as well as our daughters that everything is possible. ”

A manager who inspires you? And why?

“I was fortunate in my career, wherever I went I won the attention of principals who took me under their wing, developed me and taught me a lot. And my co-founder Mor Asia and partner Kfir Hod Moyal, have given me a huge amount of inspiration.”