April 14, 2018
Savannah Dowling is a writer at Crunchbase News. She's a Cornell graduate and a Fulbright scholarship awardee.
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Last week, Crunchbase News spoke with Mor Assia, the co-founder of iAngels, the third most active investment fund in Israel. Mor combines her background in computer science, mathematics, and business with her interest in what she sees as the boundless future of tech.

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When she isn’t interviewing startups or mentoring her portfolio companies with her partner Shelly Hod Moyal, Mor is raising four young children/ Her dedication to both her work and family life makes her days busy but her life exciting. That breadth of experience was apparent in her insightful answers to our questions on Proust Goes Tech.

What would you otherwise be doing right now?

If I wasn’t investing and working closely with entrepreneurs on their endeavors, I would probably be a founder of a startup company in my own right. If I had to choose a space. it would probably be AI. I’m very excited about the space and there are some cool things happening with that in Israel as well.

What is your main fault?

Well, first of all, I think nobody has one fault. We probably all have several. But if I have to choose one, it would probably be that I care to much about specific things or maybe that I talk too much. Those probably go hand in hand.

What is the quality that you most desire in a tweet?

I really like statements that are very ambitious and with a view into the future. I think in our space things are moving very fast, and in some aspects of the business you really need to take a breath and look at the longer term view. So I think when someone has a cool thought—or cool aspiration about the future and a long-term perspective—that’s something that I find inspiring, and I would probably retweet it.

What is your idea of misery?

Anything involving being away or torn away from family. That’s probably the worst.

There are also a few scenes on Game Of Thrones that I would classify as misery….

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

I have really good friends, and I think the thing that I love the most about them is that they accept me for who I am. It can be hard at times because I’m super busy, and I don’t always have the time and don’t always get back when a friend calls. They understand the number of things I do every day and are super patient with me. They never take it the wrong way or lose patience with me. They really accept my crazy life and love me for who I am.

What skill do you wish you possessed?

It’s something that I could do, but there are a finite number of things that you are able to work on.

I was a software developer way back in the day. I haven’t coded in years, but I come from that discipline. To be able to code things on blockchain or write smart contracts would have been super cool to be able to do. Unfortunately, I can’t.

At a certain point of time you kind of have to choose your course, but it would have been so cool to be able to do that.

What is your impactful book?

One that I really appreciated was Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.

What defines success for you?

From a personal perspective, being successful is being really happy. If you have a sense of accomplishment and achievement and fulfillment.

My husband thought it was hilarious that, for my last birthday, I told him I didn’t want anything. I said, “I feel somewhat accomplished, already.” And he said, “Oh wow, you feel somewhat accomplished. That’s nice! After so many years, I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard you say it.” But it’s right! I’m good. I have everything I need, and I have a family. I feel good.

That kind of feeling that you feel when you’re happy with what you have ties in well with a feeling of success.

When is confidence lost for you?

I think a quality that I look for in entrepreneurs. and that I try to have myself, is being honest and humble. I think over confidence is the opposite of that. You need to always question everything. For entrepreneurs, confidence is probably lost several times a day and then regained. Even if something happens you need to get back up on the saddle and keep going. You really don’t have a lot of time to dwell on it. The best entrepreneurs are the people who are able to correct a mistake or get back to doing. 

I think that confidence is lost, gained, and redirected. That’s what keeps us honest.

What buzzword is exhausted?

I’m not sure everybody has an element of machine learning, and it has kind of become part of everyone’s business. So I guess it’s overused to the point where you have to show me what this is all about.

Other than that, I guess I really don’t have anything that specifically annoys me. There isn’t really anything that I cringe every time I hear it because I don’t want to hear it anymore.

What virtues do others have that you don’t?

Patience is one. People who know me would definitely confirm this to be the case.

What impact do you want to leave behind? 

Being able to invest relatively early in some companies that are going to grow and change the world as we know it today is inspiring and very fun!

My contribution to the change in the world would be my ability to identify and grow companies that are going to have a huge impact. It could be in spaces that have to do with autonomous vehicles, which is a space that we really like. We also have a dedicated focus on environmental technologies and impact. Investing in AgriTech, for instance, which is a space that is going to change how food will be grown and how we will accommodate the global population as it continues to increase. I think it will be interesting to see what contribution that kind of investment and those kinds of companies can have from a macro perspective.

From my own personal, tiny circle, I want to be a role model to a new generation of children who are growing up in a very different world than the one I did thirty years ago.

It’s up to us to grow the next generation of innovators. We’ll have responsibility to not only our boys but also our girls. The next generation is going to have more women innovators. And that’s something that always hits close to home because I have three boys and one girl, and I was also a girl who had only brothers.

We probably can’t even comprehend the kind of challenges that we’ll see in the workplace and technology. I think we’re going to have a real sense of responsibility, and it’s going to pose a real challenge to grow that new generation while also navigating through some of the technological enhancements that are currently happening.

What is the biggest problem tech is failing to solve?

Because I’m from Israel, I think the biggest thing that tech probably doesn’t touch, unfortunately, is politics. I don’t see tech helping very much currently. I’m not talking about things that are highly technical. I’m talking more seriously about how governments are run—how politics happen and where decisions are made. I think that part of our lives hasn’t really been touched by technology and probably still happens the way that it did many many years ago.

I think that’s one area that hasn’t enjoyed the same evolution with tech.

Editorial Note: Answers edited for brevity and clarity.

Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias

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