While Israel is renowned for its flourishing high-tech sector, its startups often find it challenging to break into the international field. eDealya, an Israeli startup whose technology allows brand to monetise their social media investments, turned to a consulting club at New York University (NYU) to help engage global audiences.
The university’s consulting club, OFEK, invites Israeli companies to lecture its members and place them in professional roles. That, in combination with a connection through the Israeli deputy economic minister, Oded Grinstein, is how eDealya landed the partnership with NYU.
American students possess the language, connections, and cultural knowledge necessary for eDealya to engage with the brands it sought to target. So how did they target them successfully?
Under the direction of OFEK’s president, Jason Bieber, a double major in information technology and finance, students contacted brands directly through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and volunteered at social media conferences to better understand the industry and network with its thought leaders.
“We provide a wide range of services for clients, pretty much anything falling under business development,” said Mark Fox, who is majoring in English literature. “For eDealya, we are doing sales and account management, developing marketing material (e.g., one pagers, website, case studies etc.) For another company, Yubitech, we prepared a market research report.”
How do students manage their schedules while dealing with real clients?
“It is difficult to balance a full course load and be a full time account manager,” said Michael Reidler, an eDealya recruit. “But attaining experience like this is invaluable for any young and eager student looking to pursue an entrepreneurial career.”
The main inspiration for the club was students wanting to learn through experience. By working with startups, students are able to take on tasks that would never be presented to them through other opportunities. Typically, the projects are unpaid—but startups are encouraged to make a donation to the club. In the case of eDealya, sales commission pays students involved in the summer internship.
The students’ diverse educational backgrounds have been an asset in helping eDealya establish itself.
“It’s been interesting to see how I can apply my writing skills in this kind of environment,” said Fox. “The startup realm establishes all creative ideas as equal and encourages every eDealya recruit to bring something different to the table.”
OFEK began in September 2010 and has been working with eDealya since December 2010. In the future, the club hopes to host an annual conference for startups. They also want to explore foreign startup consulting as a real business opportunity, as many startups are looking to break into the U.S. market.
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