Blog: We Can’t Wait to See What the Future Holds for Ron Kimhi!
FIBA recently bid a bittersweet goodbye to our incredible Israel-based Company Sourcing and Program Liaison (and dear friend), Ron Kimhi! Ron embarks on a new journey with Monday.com as their Product Profiler, and the team is excited to see what new opportunities come his way. Monday.com is an Israeli company that reached unicorn status last year, meaning its valuation is in excess of $1 Billion.
Ron supported FIBA in Israel for almost 2 years. During that time he made an invaluable impact on the 2019 & 2020 Launch Programs, more than doubling the number of startups recruited to apply to the program. We want to take an opportunity to sit down with Ron to discuss his impact on FIBA, FIBA’s impact on him, and his future with one of Israel’s brightest companies.
How did you first learn about FIBA and what attracted you to pursue an opportunity with us?
I learned about FIBA through a mutual friend at the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at IDC University in Israel, where I previously ran a student-focused program. FIBA stood out because it offers: 1) a concise and practical program; 2) a direct focus on sales in the US, which is a unique challenge for high-potential Israeli startups; and 3) a focus on mature post-seed companies. Those three components really resonated with me in terms of their ability to provide impact in Israel and Florida. I also liked that Florida is an untapped market for Israeli startups.
What did you learn from working for an American company and with Americans in general? How does it compare to working with Israelis?
It was a great lesson in realizing my Israeli directness. In America you need to be much finer and delicate in the way you communicate- the message or ask has to be “massaged” into the conversation. I learned a lot from FIBA’s Executive Director, Rachel Feinman, on how to communicate the right way, and it changed the way I approached all kinds of discussion that I continue to use today. I initially came in with an “army attitude” which a lot of Israelis develop, where everything that needs to be said will be said with no beating around the bush. Sometimes this isn’t the best approach to business and it certainly differs from culture to culture.
You came to Florida, specifically Tampa, for the first time in 2019 to observe FIBA’s 2019 Launch Program. What was most surprising to you about Tampa?
When I arrived in Tampa it was amazing. I was so surprised in the best way. I was expecting Tampa to be very suburban, with less personality, culture and diversity. I discovered it is much more complex and rich in culture, with many parts of the city having their own personality. In Tampa you can walk from one world to another in a matter of minutes. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in America—not to mention, you also have space on the beach and white sand, something we do not have in Tel Aviv! I was also impressed by how community oriented Tampa is. The way the community is so interconnected and willing to help each other is really special and hard to find anywhere else. Of course, you also have Tiger King (Carol Baskin and Big Cat Rescue) which is awesome.
Is there a particular memory that stands out for you while working at FIBA?
A highlight of mine while working at FIBA was the great success I had recruiting companies to apply for the Launch program – we brought over 100 companies to apply for the program, which is over double the amount compared to previous years. Because of my help, people know the FIBA name in Israel, which is really cool, and they know Tampa. The post-seed, high potential companies that FIBA wants in the program are harder to attract than the earlier companies. The results I was able to deliver validated my own belief in Florida as an attractive place to do business for Israeli companies.
What are some valuable things you learned while working with FIBA?
Being able to work with different cultures and different personality types while working at FIBA was an invaluable experience for me. I enjoyed working with a small team that gave me a lot of freedom to approach my goals and responsibilities in my own way, while still learning from each other and constantly collaborating along the way. I was very impressed with the FIBA team for the willingness to adapt in order to make the program the best it can be, starting from scratch if necessary. The opportunity to come to Florida and experience the Tampa community is something I will never forget, I was shocked as to how much I connected to the place. I hope to visit in the near future, and if I’m lucky, perhaps I’ll make it my next home with my family.