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Venture Capital Profile: The Story of UpWest

Venture Capital

UpWest is a seed fund committed to funding specific types of business ventures. The financial institution has a history and story we find fascinating and worth retelling. It is rare to find a financial company that maintains such a narrow focus to help promote the growth and prosperity of a single group within a national economy, removed from its country of origin. UpWest is a positive force in the world. The company makes a difference for sharp entrepreneurs with good ideas and a high likelihood of success. Here is the story of UpWest and its idyllic platform that is changing lives and making a powerful impact by promoting new startups and their ultimate success.

UpWest is a young seed fund

UpWest launched its operations officially in 2012. It's a seed fund established by its founders Gil Ben-Artzy and Shuly Galli. The legal name of the entity is UpWest Labs, Inc, according to Crunchbase. It's been in operation for nine years, which is less than a decade, but it has helped many entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals. They headquartered the company in Silicon Valley in California, USA.

UpWest serves Israeli entrepreneurs

When we speak of the singular focus of UpWest, it relates to the national origins of the companies it funds. They allocate the UpWest funds to specific Israeli entrepreneurs, which makes it unique in that regard. Not just any entrepreneur from Israel will qualify for funding, however. There are stipulations for qualification. The applicants must show that they have solid ideas, a good business plan, and they must be among the most promising entrepreneurs in their country. There is stiff competition and they accepted only the brightest and best that have evidence to support their likely success into UpWest's funding program. The overall goal of UpWest is to infuse the necessary capital into a startup along with access to markets, support, and a network of peers to supercharge the growth of these companies and take them to new heights of success. They must be willing to accept the help offered through the program. UpWest takes a hands-on approach to service. The entrepreneurs must also target the US market to qualify.

UpWest in an Accelerator/Incubator program

Pitchbook further clarifies that Upwest is a business accelerator program. According to the data they supply, the fund has made 115 investments so far with 39 companies in their current portfolio and a total of 44 exits. UpWest Labs invests in early-stage startups with venture capital funding with the tools and programs that create the rapid development of a company's products with the rapid deployment of services. For example, if a new startup is working on a software solution, the UpWest Labs program helps them to speed up the R&D, and to expedite the production of the final product to bring it to the marketing stage faster. It supercharges these businesses to help them become more productive faster than if they didn't enter the program.

UpWest serves a diverse portion of the industry

Although UpWest is specific with its funding allocation requirements, it does service startups from a variety of different industries. The companies that it is actively seeking to help include those involved with infrastructure technologies, consumer applications, drones, enterprise software, augmented reality, cybersecurity, marketplaces, artificial intelligence, drones, the internet of things, and more. The list of current businesses it's invested funding in also includes various types of software management producers, business productivity software producers, financial software, automotive, and electronic instruments and products.

UpWest works with a team of co-investors

Like any other venture capital firm, the UpWest funds work in conjunction with other investors. The case of UpWest has 188 co-investors on the roster. Some of them include Insight Partners, Accel, Hillsven, Redpoint Ventures, Vertex Ventures Israel. and dozens more.

UpWest hs 44 exits

At this time, UpWest actively funds 115 businesses. Throughout its history, the fund has listed just 44 exits. Some of the companies went out of business, but many of them have merged or become acquired with larger parent companies, such as Fuze. tv and Arcadia Augmented Reality.

The leadership team of executives at UpWest

UpWest's founders are Gil Ben-Artzy and Shuly Galili, who both function s co-founding partners. They are joined by Liron Petrushka, also co-founding partner and a senior advisor, and Michal Azran-Soen, the director of programs and operations. La Cromwell is a venture associate from Tel Aviv, Israel with the rest of the team working from the headquarters in Palo, Alta, California.

Gil Ben-Artzy profile

According to her LinkedIn profile, the co-founder of UpWest Labs comes to the fund with an extensive history of experience in finance and management. She was an executive at Yahoo! working as the vice president of operations management. Before that, he worked with the company's corporate development group. She a whiz at strategic planning and making acquisitions. Gil knows how to drive business within the tech world and it makes her perfect for her current venture with UpWest. She has years of experience working with Israeli investors and the ecosystem within that country including entrepreneurs and their new startup companies in the tech arena. It's her area of expertise. Her knowledge of international business relations is a valuable asset to UpWet. Gil established the first research and development center for Yahoo! in Haifa, Israel. Gil tended Hebrew University in Jerusalem, earning her bachelor's in Economics and Business Administration. She attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the United States to earn her MBA degree. From there she was hired as a consultant and advisor for the Boston Consulting Group headquarters in New York. UpWest is Gil's first entrepreneurial endeavor, but she knows his business when it comes to accelerating growth and helping others to prosper and thrive.

Shuly Galili profile

Shuly Galili began her professional career in the program and marketing divisions of the New Israel Fund SF from May 1999 through May 2000. She served as an advisor for The C100 from 2010 to the present. for the past 11.5 years, she has advised the non-profit organization to help Canadian entrepreneurs through mentoring, making investments, and forging partnerships. She worked at the Google Corporation as an Anchor Mentor for Google Launchpad in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, she served as an advisor for an organization called Cracking the Glass Ceiling. She spent two years advising clients through the program that served municipalities and schools in the country of Israel. The goal of the program was to have a positive impact on women and young girls via STEM and entrepreneurship information. Shuli was hired as the executive director of the California Israel Chamber of Commerce in 2000. She worked in the position until May of 2012. She managed a network of more than 10,000 companies and continued to develop programs and arrange meetings, seminars, and conferences related to the development of market opportunities in the United States and Israel.

UpWest maintains uniqueness within its industry

UpWest has taken the necessary steps to ensure that it maintains uniqueness in the financial services industry. It has filed for and been granted four registered trademarks in the Advertising business category. This helps to protect the intellectual property of the company and makes it illegal for rivals to use the same names or processes.

UpWest has an eight-member executive leadership team and 3 board members

The executive leadership team of UpWest is comprised of eight members. Liron Petrushka is a senior advisor. Guy Hirsch is a Mentor. Don Loeb is a mentor. Shuly Galili is a co-founding partner. Jeff Tannenbaum is a mentor. Gil Ben-Artzy is a founding partner. Jessica Peltz-Zatulove is a mentor. Lisa Cromwell is a principal. UpWest is a woman-founded and lead enterprise.

There are three members on the board of directors for UpWest

UpWest has a three-member board of directors. Each member serves as an advisor to the executive leadership team, helping them to make strategic plans for moving the funds forward in achieving their overarching goals. Ilya Fushman is a partner at Kleiner Perkins with three portfolio companies. He currently serves on thirteen boards of directors in advisory roles. Amir Taichman is the founder and chief executive officer of Unity SCM. he currently serves on one board of directors in an advisory role and has founded two organizations. The third member of the UpWest board of directors is Daniel Levine. He is a partner at Accel. He has founded one organization and he currently serves on three boards of directors in advisory roles.

UpWest supports diversity in business

UpWest funds various Israeli/US startups, and many of the companies it helps are in the diversity spotlight. The fund helps a diverse group of entrepreneurs to establish and accelerate their businesses with seed funding. UpWest is a woman-founded and led company, and it encourages female entrepreneurs through its support and mentoring programs. So far, UpWest has invested in 20 companies led by entrepreneurs who are classified into minority groups. Some of these include BeeHero, a woman-founded company, InnerPlant, also women-founded and women-led, Unity SCM, a Middle Eastern/North African founded and led enterprise, Outgage, ltostra, Donde Search, Buildup, and many others.

The world is taking notice of UpWest

UpWest monitors the traffic to its official website to understand where potential investments in the accelerator program are at. The headquarters for UpWest is in California. It is a US/Israeli company, but many of the visitors to the website are from other countries. The statistical reports for web traffic show that seventy-two percent of the website visits are from people who live in Germany. Twenty-eight percent are from Israel, and seventeen percent are from Japan. Over the past thirty days, there were 699 visits to the website. This number reflects a 56.26 percent decline in the number of monthly visits to the site.

UpWest maintains a small staff, but it's doing great things

When we checked the number of staff members who work tirelessly to support the UpWest acceleration and funding program, we learned that the enterprise is running on a staff of just twenty-nine members. UpWest has a small workforce. The size doesn't stop it from investing millions in the future of new startups that are just launching their new ideas, products, and services. UpWest is not advertising any new job positions. It runs on a lean crew, but they're effective in doing their jobs.

Final thoughts

UpWest is a unique venture capital firm founded by women and led by women. Its two principal founders bring years of experience and knowledge to the enterprise, but they also understand the unique challenges faced by entrepreneurs who come from diverse backgrounds. The overarching goal of UpWest is to help level the playing ground for the most talented entrepreneurs. It serves those of Israeli backgrounds to enhance the market activity between the United States and Israel. Another goal is to strengthen the exchanges. UpWest's funding and acceleration program not only provides the required amount of seed money to help these new businesses to develop and market their products and services, but it also provides them with mentors who work individually with new business owners to help point them in the right direction for expediting the growth and ultimate success of their new startups. They provide value-added services including education and advisement with suggestions about the best practices and how to move from the initial stages of development to the marketing phase to start the revenues rolling in. UpWest is providing a valuable service through its accelerator with skilled staff who understand what it takes to get a new business off the ground to make them profitable and stable. They're making a difference in the world today.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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