Yoel is the founder and chairman of 2B Angels, a venture capital group based in Israel that invests in high-tech companies. He is also the founder and chairman of 2B Community, a social venture incubated within 2B.
Yoel's entrepreneurship journey was born out of his investigation of the world as he knew it, and I'm thrilled to share his insights!
Lunch with The Rich and Famous
Yoel was raised in the city of Jerusalem, and was born to an honored family. His father, Mishael, was a Supreme Court judge and his mother, Ruth, managed the Jerusalem Foundation. His parents liked to invite many of their friends over, so during his childhood Yoel was able to talk with many rich, well-known people who were close family friends.
Growing up next to high-status people made him realize one striking fact: even the richest person in the world is still only a person, like everyone else.
He understood that in order to succeed in life you must believe in your ability to do so. Spending time with rich people will only give you so much. Believing in yourself is where the secret lies.
Yoel then decided that no matter what he did in life, he didn't want to be OK, he didn’t want to be good, he wanted to be the best! And this is exactly how he perceived himself.
Downfalls can make you stronger
Following his older brother Shneor, Yoel’s wish was to serve the elite Army combat units. Knowing that getting accepted to those units is very hard, he did his best and managed to get to the Navy SEALs and to the Israeli “Green Barrette “, elite commando units but it didn’t last for long. These units constantly reduce their soldiers to leave a small core. Yoel was dismissed from those units and served as a combat soldier in a different prestige unit, but not in those he most wanted to be a part of.
Yoel was devastated because he didn’t get what he really wanted.
As he tried to understand why he was expelled, he realized the power to excel was always in his hands. He realized the right question to ask in this situation was “What is it about me that made them dismiss me?”
Yoel wanted to be the best in the world, but looking back harnessed with a grown up perspective, he understood a life-changing fact: wanting to conquer the world is kind of a childish way of thinking. Conquering the world is only a manifestation of conquering our personal world.
It’s all about conquering ourselves. There is no escape from an inner work; overcoming our fears, personal challenges, limiting beliefs and what holds us back. For example, some entrepreneurs can get stressed out by approaching a VC when others will do it without hesitating. The difference lies in the way each person perceive a given situation. Nothing more. Yoel was a stronger person once he realized that being the best is about dealing with our daemons and constantly go through an inner observation and work.
Our choices shape our path
Later on, Yoel started studying philosophy at the University. He loved to study and thought he was on his way to a flourishing career at the academy.
During his studies he also entered the business world, tried different things, and invested money in various fields. Slowly, he started seeing how learning philosophy expanded his skills and abilities as a business person. A meeting with one person changed the course of things for the best.
Yoel met Arale Cohen who came from Microsoft and the corporate world. Arale saw a great potential in Yoels’ businesses and offered him to work together, harnessing a new approach, to get his business to a higher, and more professional level.
Yoel and Arale founded 2B Angels, VC Company.
Yoel’s love to the academy made him try to combine the business world and university, but it wasn’t easy at all.
Eventually, He decided that in order to succeed he should invest all his energies in one thing. He left school and dedicated himself to 2B angels.
A life-changing experience occurred when Yoel’s brother, Shneor , was killed in a bicycle accident. His brother was a role model for him. Yoel had always followed him – Boy Scouts, water polo, Navy SEALs, you name it. In one day, he realised there is no guarantee in life for anything. That realization made him give more meaning to the way he chose to spend each day. His life became more meaningful.
Yoel always wanted to do business with his brother, and this is why he called his VC company 2B Angels. The “2B” stands for “two brothers.”
Keeping his brothers’ legacy in mind, Yoel dedicates his company to business and also to community investments that support social causes and drive companies to do more for society.
One of the projects they supported was to create “Shneor Gardens,” named after Yoel’s brother, an event venue, next to a youth shelter. This garden enables the shelter to become more self-sustained by charging people instead of asking for donations. This is one of many community initiatives 2B angel supports.
The formula for investment by 2B Angels
Convincing an investor to invest in a startup is a skill.
2B Angels is looking for good people and great ideas to invest in, and has developed a formula in which helps them decide who is right for them:
Authenticity – just be who you are. If you try to be someone else, people will know it.
It's a deal breaker.
Dignity – don’t be greedy. The main goal is to succeed, and then everyone earns. Do what’s in your power to bring money back to the investor.
Persistence – don't give up. If you fall, you can stand up again. Develop the strength to deal with failure. It’s one of the most important things.
As Rocky Balboa said, “It is not how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
Passion – Love your startup and believe in what you do. Having that state of mind will energise the people next to you to love and enjoy their work and company too!
Wisdom – have the wisdom to make the right decision. Sometimes making the right decision is moving on, and sometimes is giving up in order to move forward.
Why killing dreams is important
Yoel always prefers to be honest with the entrepreneurs he meets.
When he thinks someone should drop his or her startup because it doesn’t have a chance, he will say it.
It’s killing dreams on the one hand, but it can benefit the entrepreneur and save him or her time, money, and energy. On the other hand, it can drive an entrepreneur to work harder and prove why he deserves it and eventually succeed. Killing dreams is like a test for the entrepreneur himself.
Being an entrepreneur consists of a lot more than what people may think. It’s a long journey and you need certain traits in order to succeed.
There is one main insight that I would like you to take from this post:
People like Yoel Cheshin show us the importance of the inner journey we go through as entrepreneurs.
The values and agendas we choose to believe in, have a big role in empowering us and forming our actions that eventually lead us to manifest success.