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Our beginnings

Before UpWest, talented Israeli founders shared the same roadblocks at the same steps: limited access to the larger market, limited voice in the global discussion, and limited ecosystem explicitly designed to help them scale Israeli innovation in the US.

 

 

Meet the Team

So we decided to build it.

We started the same way all our founders do, by bootstrapping and leveraging our personal and professional networks over conversations in cafés after our everyday jobs, scribbling down ideas on napkins, and designing a dream without foundations or funding — only a working philosophy.

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Together, we’ve come a long way.

With more than ten years of experience amplifying the largest Israeli founder network in the United States and helping our portfolio raise more than $3 billion in follow-on investments, we are reaffirmed daily that we are built on the foundations of our founders.

Meet the Team

Shuly Galili

Shuly Galili

Founding Partner

Shuly is a Founding Partner of UpWest. An operator and dot connector, she brings her entrepreneurial, investment, and network expertise to supercharge market growth in UpWest’s portfolio startups. Based in Silicon Valley, Shuly spent over a decade as the Executive Director of the California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC), founding and building the largest gateway for technology and business collaboration between Israel and California. She is an active advisor to international organizations promoting entrepreneurship and diversity in tech -- Among them, the Canadian C100 and Cracking the Glass Ceiling.

Gil Ben-Artzy

Gil Ben-Artzy

Founding Partner

Gil relocated to the US in 2000 to pursue an MBA from The Wharton School, followed by working for The Boston Consulting Group in New York. He moved to Silicon Valley to join Yahoo!’s Corporate Development group, where he gained first-hand exposure to the Israeli tech ecosystem from the perspective of a US investor, acquirer and customer. This experience inspired him to pursue a path that helps level the playing field for Israeli founders by investing and bringing them early to market.

Lia Cromwell

Lia Cromwell

Principal

Lia joined UpWest in 2017 as the fund’s first permanent team member in Israel. A native New Yorker who grew up in an Israeli-American family, Lia is adept at helping Israeli founders translate their vision to the US market. Lia’s select investments at UpWest include CyCognito, Balance, Zone7, Canopy, and more companies that are currently in stealth mode. Prior to joining UpWest, Lia worked in politics, regulatory tech, and finance in the US. She holds a BA in Public Policy from Duke University. Outside the office, Lia is actively involved in the Nevo Network, a nonprofit helping olim integrate into the Israeli tech ecosystem.

Aya Neeman

Aya Neeman

Associate

Aya joined UpWest in August 2023 as an Associate on the investment team. With diverse experience in Sales, Customer Success, and Product positions at startups like Riskified, Pagaya, and Balance, Aya brings a unique understanding of the high tech industry from within. Prior to her time in tech, she worked in politics and comms in the Knesset and in the IDF Spokesperson unit. Aya is also a certified lawyer, completing her legal training at the High-Tech Department of Meitar law office. In addition to her Law degree (LLB), Aya holds a BA in Psychology, both from Tel Aviv University.

Noam Maital

Noam Maital

EIR

Noam Maital is currently an Entrepreneur In Residence (EIR) at UpWest and an advisor and consultant to executives in the transportation space. Previously, Noam was the CEO and Co-Founder of Waycare Technologies which was acquired by Rekor in 2021. Before Waycare, Noam led global strategy projects in technology implementation, growth strategy, and financial due diligence. Noam holds a BSc, Summa Cum Laude, from Babson College with a dual degree in Economics and Strategic Management.

Liron Petrushka

Liron Petrushka

Senior Advisor

Liron invested in and played an active role in Check (acquired by Intuit), LendingClub, and many other successful tech companies. Liron was also the founder and CEO of several technology companies, including Commercebid.com, acquired by Commerce One, where he helped form the company’s Auction Services serving as VP and GM, growing the division to over 200 people with operations in 14 countries.

Gil Birnboim

Gil Birnboim

Head of Platform

Gil joined UpWest as Head of Platform, equipped with years of experience working alongside startups in various fields and domains, serving as a world of resources to support founders throughout their journey. Leading Innovation and Partnerships for Comcast Innovation Labs, and later on managing startups incubation programs at Nex3, Gil is committed to empowering startups operations and sharing best practices to drive founders' growth and setting their companies up for success.

Michelle Serpa

Michelle Serpa

Office Manager

Michelle brings UpWest and our portfolio over 11 years of office management experience in the startup sphere, most recently flexing her skills at Quova, an IP geolocation company acquired by Neustar and Golden Gate Capital.

Assaf Wahrhaft

Assaf Wahrhaft

Venture Partner

Assaf joined UpWest in 2019 with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry. He was previously a Partner at Viola Credit, working closely with many companies and providing them with growth capital. He also fulfilled various product management and operations positions at iMDsoft (acquired by TPG Growth) and served as a lawyer at GKH & Co, one of Israel’s leading law firms. Assaf is an active volunteer and a member of the board of the education non-for-profit Unistream, a social organization that fosters business and social-oriented leadership in Israeli youth from peripheral communities.

Shuly Galili
Gil Ben-Artzy
Lia Cromwell
Aya Neeman
Noam Maital
Liron Petrushka
Gil Birnboim
Michelle Serpa
Assaf Wahrhaft