Managing Partner, Aviv Ventures
Yoav graduated in Economics and Statistics from Tel Aviv University after spending five years in the Israeli army Intelligence corps. “When I left the army my mother wanted me to be a career diplomat but I had international aspirations of my own.”
“I decided that I wanted to go into business and business leadership and that meant I needed an MBA. I chose INSEAD because it was in Europe and was the most international and most diverse school in the world.”
“My year at INSEAD was the best year of my life. Wonderful people, fascinating work and I really enjoyed the group work. Work at INSEAD is based on learning by doing, which you get through working with both the professors and your peers. This was something new to me and something I found very exciting. When I went to INSEAD, in 1979, there was quite a gap between the economy of Israel and that of Europe, so we were definitely the poor cousins. My wife used to make bonnets and scarves that we sold at the weekends to make money to live.”
Whilst Yoav was at INSEAD, Ford introduced a prize for the person who came top of the class. “I decided, with my wife, that I was going to try and win that prize not for the kudos but for the money associated with it.”
“On the last night of our MBA, there was a big party where I found out that I had won the Henry Ford prize. I don’t think I will ever forget that night.”
Immediately upon graduation, Yoav joined Scitex Europe as CFO. “I was in a senior Finance and Admin job in Europe - something I could never have achieved if I had not been to INSEAD.”
Yoav was helped in his role by the then Scitex Europe General Manager and eventual Scitex President, Arie Rosenfeld, who was himself an INSEAD graduate. “One of the best ways to enter an unknown field is to create a personal relationship with an INSEAD alumni, and learn how things are done in that field.” Yoav succeeded Arie to become the President and CEO of Scitex Corporation.
During his time with Scitex, Yoav led the turnaround of the company’s pre-press activities, grew the digital printing business from zero to revenue of $250 million and managed the sale of the company’s Digital Video division to HP.
Scitex was the pioneer of digital imaging and printing systems and is well known worldwide as a leading developer, manufacturer, marketer, and servicer of interactive computerised prepress systems, primarily for the graphic design, printing, and publishing markets. The company was a pioneer of Israeli high-technology and a prototype for other Israeli electronics firms.
Scitex is an excellent example of the alumni network in action. Over the years, they have employed 14 INSEAD graduates. Two of them became President of the company. “As an INSEAD alumnus, I have a moral obligation to meet other alumni to see if I can help them. When the company was growing and most of its staff were engineers, we hired MBA graduates to add marketing capability to Scitex’s technical capabilities.”
Twice a year Yoav presents a case at INSEAD. He is also the co-founder of the INSEAD Israel Research Centre. He will be giving the keynote speech to the new January 2010 MBA promotion in Singapore.
“I am very proud of what I achieved at Scitex. It was a very exciting 20 year ride that took the company from $7m to $700m. I enjoy creating ‘new stuff’ and Scitex was a pioneer of so many pieces of technology that we all take for granted today. Printing is the world’s oldest and biggest small business and I am very proud that it was Scitex that enabled printing to enter a new era.”
In 2001 Yoav joined Aviv Venture Capital as Managing Partner. Aviv invests in Israel related, revenue stage companies that bring breakthrough technologies to large established industries.
“I like investing and building new things and my ambitions for the future are all based around this. As a venture capitalist, I have the opportunity to participate in the exciting process of bringing new technologies to market which help move our world forward
“I have always had the good fortune to see things ahead of time and to identify what the next big thing will be. I am currently writing a book that talks about how business models need to transform as technology makes them obsolete.”
Yoav is also the Chairman of Ta'asiyeda, a not-for-profit organisation affiliated with the Manufacturers Association of Israel. This organisation helps school children to build their leadership and team skills while providing them with a feel for industry and technology businesses.