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Attitude, Boldness and Creativity - The ABC of Start-Up Cultures Worldwide

Omer Shai Wednesday, 30 April 2014.

Silicon Roundabout, Wadi, Plateau, Docks, Health – just some of the growing number of start-up hubs popping up around the globe. As an early member of the team at Wix.com, headquartered in Tel-Aviv, I'm often asked how a small country like Israel can have such a world-dominating start-up culture.

shutterstock 107802935It's no fluke that Tel Aviv sits alongside Silicon Valley and increasingly London's Silicon Roundabout as one of the most entrepreneurial regions in the world.

Each hub is successful for its own independent reasons, molded by the personality of the population and the geography of the country. This ABC of start-up cultures can provide an insight to each hub's secret to business brilliance:

In Israel it's often said it's all about Attitude. There's a 'can do' culture, made up of Israel's melting-pot nation. This attitude, or 'chutzpah' as we like to call it, is bolstered by the country's mandatory military service, helping to provide early business-related skills, problem solving mindsets and networking opportunities. Their positive approach to getting things done is helped by the physical closeness of Tel Aviv's tech cluster. A tightknit community of people has been created who eagerly share knowledge, make introductions and offer advice. We only need to look at two of the big names coming out of the Wadi this year – Onavo which was acquired by Facebook for $100 million, and traffic app Waze who was snapped up by Google for a cool billion dollars – to see this in action.

Then, there's Silicon Valley, the traditional home of technology entrepreneurialism. The American Dream was built on the ability to be able to achieve anything, and sell oneself, regardless of background. This Boldness is the reason that some of the world's best known and ubiquitous technology companies were born there. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are good examples of this confidence and boldness - both young, and entirely unafraid to promote themselves and go for their dreams. Dorsey has more Twitter followers than some A-list pop stars, putting him firmly in the limelight and creating a confident face for the company, which is vital when building a brand.

Being more risk averse, the UK doesn't have a traditional start-up culture. Yet the growth of Silicon Roundabout and other UK hubs is due to the Brits strong culture of inventiveness. This Creativity is generating some unique businesses which are creating a huge buzz in the tech scene. A well-known success story, Moshi Monsters, cleverly caught onto kids' love for nurturing and has proven an international hit, expanding its brand far beyond the technical sphere. More recently, Metail, raised £2.6million in funding with its unique virtual fitting room service. If the UK continues to combine its creativity and tech talent, it will cultivate a new culture of experimentation in this already thriving hub.

It would be great to come up with a recipe for start-up success that budding entrepreneurs in other burgeoning tech hubs could learn from. Yet it's my belief that each region should work on their particular strengths to build a start-up hub that's unique to them.

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Omer Shai

Omer Shai

Omer Shai is the Chief Marketing Officer for Wix.com, the world's leading do-it-yourself web publishing platform with over 40 million users worldwide. An internet marketing veteran with 11 years of experience in search optimisation, online advertising and social media, Omer is responsible for the global online and offline marketing activity for this web success story, which boasts an incredible one million new users joining every month.

Omer has been a part of the Wix management team for the past four years, growing the brand and the business across multiple international markets including US, UK, Brazil, Canada and Australia and releasing the product in nine different languages. More recently, Omer has driven the success of Wix' HTML5 website builder which is used to create over one million new websites every month, by directing ambitious cross platform marketing campaigns, as well as strengthening and widening Wix's market share and audience following the addition of the Wix App Market.

Prior to joining Wix, Omer co-founded and led the marketing activities for Hyperactive, the digital design corporation, and worked as an online marketing consultant for several leading brands. He began his career in marketing at Hackersoftware. Omer studied Economics at The Academic College of Tel Aviv before graduating in 2002.

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