Episode
#38
HEB

How To Break The Glass Ceiling, Pave Your Unique Path And Win The Decathlon At The Olympics Of Your Life?

Featuring
Nofar Amikam,
Investor & General Partner at Glilot Capital Partners

Nofar is an Investor and General Partner at Glilot Capital Partners, one of the most prominent funds in Israel - she's a Seed Investor and sits on the boards of companies like Anecdotes and Ginox. Nofar is also the proud mother of 9-month-old Ayala Miri and Shai's partner. She really likes to run, study non-stop and travel.


Building her career

Nofar started her path in the Intelligence Corps, Talpiot, where she commanded many talented people, learned up close about the importance of listening to a wide variety of opinions, and deeply understood the meaning of modesty.

From there she continued to the Ein Prat seminary, where she studied philosophy and culture.

At Ben-Gurion University she studied psychology and business administration - she thought she would work in organizational consulting.

She began working at Deloitte, and was responsible for the deal flow and the biz dev.

She really liked the dynamics of constant learning. Alongside the good parts, she has also experienced the shortcomings of such roles, one of which is the feeling that you are not enough. Not smart enough, don't know enough. This kind of insecurity that is constantly undermining you - until she has matured a little and realized this super important lesson - “that it is impossible to know everything, we are on an endless journey of learning, and the fact that I still don't have all the answers - doesnt make me any less good, but on the contrary - it indicates that I am an interested, curious, learning creature, who always wants to get better.”

In a recent talk of Adi Soffer Teeni (CEO of Facebook/Meta Israel), Adi gave her a beautiful gift of a new perspective:

“next time, instead of saying you have imposter syndrome - call it ‘healthy modesty’. It's okay to say you don't know, it immediately creates relief, and allows for intimacy and openness in dialogue. You just take off the mask and ask.”

In another coffee meeting with Rakefet Russak-Aminoach - She says that one of Rakefet’s favorite phrases is

"I did not understand, I did not understand, I did not understand"

- which again, allows you to take off the masks and speak in the most simple way at eye level - just ask for another explanation. 


Nofar, alongside Oren Toledano & Raphael Ouzan, were part of the founding team of Israel Tech Challenge, and Nofar also got to sit on the entrepreneurial side of the table. From an idea they grew to a company, and in the days when they sat at SOSA, she turned to the founders - including Jonathan Saacks, Barak Pridor and Rami Beracha, and told them that they need to create more value for startups - a value that is beyond space. She found herself setting up this role.

From there she moved to JVP and studied the world of investments from up close. She worked with wonderful partners, like Kobi Rozengarten and Gadi Tirosh, and learned from them, and still learning, how to value companies.

Nofar caught the bug of seed investments and the ability to imagine the future of a company with the entrepreneurs and help them create their company from scratch.

 

How to get up from your lowest point?

Nofar was invested in her work and dedicated all of herself to the fund in Jerusalem. Her mother, Miri, had cancer at that time and died the same year. Nofar describes how she experienced all the stages of grief, that started with somewhat of denial to the stage of her mother's illness, so she continued to work like crazy and hid behind her work - until she got a wake-up call from her manager, who told her to go home and be with her family. This was a crucial guidance that she needed to hear to remember clearly again what really matters. She realized that she needed to balance more now between her private life and her career and in order to deal with everything - she just concentrated on her day-to-day, the little things. She made sure to be present in the here and now. Being in this exact moment. This ability to make the most of the moment serves her to this day - because in the end, that's all we have.

Nofar was recently reminded of the Olympics Decathlon. This includes several branches, and in order to succeed in it - you have to reach the optimum score in all of the branches, it is not enough to excel in only one branch.

Nofar woke up strengthened after the loss of her mother - realizing that the worst had happened, and yet - she continued to smile. And with that strength - she knew she was moving on.

She moved to the global team of Microsoft that worked in Beijing and Seattle, and connected startups to Microsoft's major customers around the world.


Giving value at all times

Nofar moved to Glilot Capital Partners, to build and lead the Value Creation team. She created the Advisory Board, which consists of 100 executives from organizations and foundations from all around the world, with which entrepreneurs can enjoy an open and honest discussion as well as succeeding in reaching a faster product-market fit. This is how the fund's portfolio companies go up for talks with the various consultants to get feedback and work on iterations. The fund representatives also join the conversation as listeners and all knowledge is documented with action items.

Nofar has progressed and been promoted to be a partner in the VC, and feels in her flesh the "Olympics Decathlon" - there are lots of balls in the air.

She joined the investment team in her 8th month pregnancy, a role she very much wished for, just as she wished for the role of her life, to be a mother.

Nofar is grateful for the resilience her life's events have given her. She learns from her own wins and mistakes - the need to balance, release, optimize, understand the price of each choice she makes and also choose what she is not willing to give up on - because that is what charges her.

The understanding that we are a dynamic breathing system, and that we need to learn to change and bring compassion into our being, and sometimes we will miss a deal or be late to the babysitter.

Nofar describes how, as an investor, the team and the people she works with are the most important part for her. Just as she works closely with the teams in which she invests - the entrepreneurs need to choose investors who are right for them and roll up their sleeves to work with them.

When I asked her - what the adult Nofar would wish for the young Nofar - she remembered a beloved mentor who told her: "Patience, everything will come". You should enjoy the road. And she remembers a song that accompanied her for years in this regard - “Ithaca":


Ithaka

By C. P. Cavafy

Translated by Edmund Keeley

 

As you set out for Ithaka

hope your road is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

 

Hope your road is a long one.

May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

But don’t hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you’re old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

 

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

Without her you wouldn't have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.

 

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

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