From the iconic Casablanca quote, the Zell 12 class, no matter where their dreams will take them, “will always have Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and NYC…” or rather will always have the memories of this memorable study trip to the US. This June, another cohort of Zellots took their suits, decks, one pagers and bulky luggage, including a year’s worth of emotional baggage to head for the program finale abroad. Two weeks of action packed company visits, condensed classes, presentation events and eye opening experience.
The trip started June 1 at Ben Gurion, where one of the teams prepared flight kits for the journey including eye covers for the flight, needed toiletries like bandages and pain relievers a personalized shot glass and a bag.
We flew to Chicago via NYC and got a chance to get to know the Windy City and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The students took a specially designed modular program in commercializing innovation and entrepreneurial marketing strategy at Gleacher Center and visited Harper Center at the Hyde Park campus, where Zell alum Anat Kramer Godfried arranged and led a tour and campus visit.
We also met Sam Zell, who heard the ventures and were hosted for an incredible dinner thanks to Zell at the Waldorf Astoria arranged by his colleague and ‘fairy god mother’ to the program, Ellen Havdala. In Chicago we were hosted for dinner by chairman of the Chicago chapter of American Friends of IDC, Andrew Teitz in his home and Lowell Kraff for a Chicago traditional deep dish pizza dinner in town. Lowell and his partners at Trivergance, who last year awarded an US$18K grant to Zell 11’s roomer, this year chose three runner ups and the competition continues…
We visited Facebook, hosted by Dan Barak and got to hear about how Face.com founders are fitting in after relocation; we visited Kenshoo and heard about the amazing growth of that company from Sivan Metzger. We got some much needed down time plus lunch and ping pong at Auttomatic, with Raanan Bar Cohen,a connection initially made byEyal Gura, Zell 2. We visited Ido Lefflerwho told his incredible story about the founding ofYes to Carrots, another visit arranged by Zell alum Assaf Wand, Zell 1 of Sabiwho I got to spend some quality time visiting with his growing family on the weekend.
Speaking of the weekend, while the Zell Gals stayed to network and enjoy a delicious meal in Palo Alto, courtesy of Amit Adamov’s planning, her brother’s cooking and the generous hospitality of Lior and Mimi Delgo, get a group mani-pedi, a speed boat ride on the bay…and generally get to check out San Francisco, including the bars at the Castro…The boys went to Vegas! No pictures from there…
Our study trip was not without extra-curricular activities including a pub crawl in North Beach with my college buddy Andy Rogers (same one who took the gals on the boat trip round the bay) and a beer meet withUpwest Labs current wavein Palo Alto.
From there, we took a red eye to NYC, a beat up bus and crazy bus driver to Boston, where we spent a whirlwind day, the highlight of which was visiting Nathan Linderof Zell 2 at the MIT Media Lab…and then returned to the NYC. More company visits including Estee Lauder, BBDO, G&G, Goldman Sachs and of course our advisory board member, Yaron Galaiat the new OutBrain offices and a visit with newly relocatedYair Goldfingerof AppCard hosted by Mark Gerson at Gerson Lehrman Group (with much thanks to Or Benoz of Zell 11 for arranging the visit, less so for arranging our bus to Boston but mostly for a great Saturday brunch in NYC). We had the pleasure of visiting Bizzabo‘snew offices in NYC and tour the WeWork space with Alon Alroy of Zell 9. Also had an amazing visit to the World Trade Center visitor’s center, arranged by Offir Gutelzonof Zell 2 and now his newly founded venture Keepy.Offir was the star alumni this year, joining us in Palo Alto and New York!
And we could not finish the incredible trip without a closing Friday night Sushi dinner at Idit Harel Caperton’swonderful home with the most wonderful view and the most gracious hospitality.
For the film version created by the insanely talented Yoav Artzi, seeThe Zell 12 Trip.None of this would of course be possible without the generous support of Sam Zell, IDC, our fearless Zell team of Dana Barda Malka and Liraz Sharabani(and my dear husband Oren, who holds the house together and takes great care of the kids).