Please join me in welcoming two new members to the Aleph family: Nadav “Wiz” Weizmann as an Entrepreneur in Residence and Mor Sela as an Engineer in Residence. Yes, both are EIRs. That’s how much we don’t believe in titles at Aleph!
Deciding to have an Engineer In Residence join us is simple. As Aleph is a partner-only firm, we build software like Karma and Ampliphy to scale our impact on the eco-system, and service our portfolio companies. In his 18 months of tenure, Otniel — our first Engineer in Residence to date — has transformed much of Aleph from a spreadsheet & guesswork operation to one based on code, platform & data, empowering a small team of 10 to service the companies we invested in and the needs of the Israeli community. In the few weeks I have been working with Mor, I found a partner without the word “can’t” in his dictionary.
An Entrepreneur in Residence… That’s another story. When we established Aleph, one of the first things that we decided is that we won’t have an EIR program. And yet, this is an announcement for our 3rd one to date. That’s strange, no?
That begs the question of what’s an EIR. Which is yet another strange thing, because it’s easier to me to define what it’s not.
It’s not an investment role. Not at all. Nadav doesn’t have a check-writing ability, and we made sure to communicate that, as expectation setting is one of the more important things in a relationship. It’s also not “warehousing” top talent to get first dibs on their next startup, or to have them join a portfolio company. That’s always better happens organically.
So what *IS* it? The short answer is that the person makes the role. First and foremost, it was just too good of an opportunity not to take Nadav and Mor on board. Eran, our first EIR is the grandfather of Karma. Ron, our second EIR, took it to the next level, challenging the Aleph investment team to become better service providers to the eco-system, through his support of startups and creating real impact for the portfolio by working with the teams at Windward and WeWork, which ended up being his calling.
The longer answer is that EIRs push us as a team, and create innovation in a “creature” like a VC, where inertia can easily set in. Even though every company is different, and every week brings in different opportunities and problems, seeing 500 companies, investing in 2–3 year-in-year-out does make partners prune to be stuck in their ways. Entrepreneurs change the status quo for a living, and having an entrepreneur as part of the team creates a forcing function. Nadav’s official “job description” is “help the Israel ecosystem” as a fellow entrepreneur. What you should be expecting is that he will be meeting as many of you out there, gathering problems that need solving and ideas for community initiatives. Just being a “great citizen of the eco-system”.
More than that, Nadav and Mor are a team. They have known each other for a while, and have this weird bromance telepathy between them. It’s definitely a case of 1+1>2. We invite you to approach them, ask for their advice and feedback and suggest new initiatives. Mor is at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nadav at email@example.com