Am I in the right neighborhood, or what? I know all startups who won the TWS2008 Promising Israeli Startups Competition, held yesterday by “the.co.ils“.   I feel very “in”, to find out I am networked with the selected.

All 10 finalists have been networking intensively and efficiently. You’ve seen the people or the company at every relevant event, on or offline. As all companies are web related, the web, especially the web 2.0 tools, are the main channel of promotion and an essential ingredient in the company’s strategy.

So let me show off and present a partial summary of my networking with these great companies :

Worklight – the natural connection is the Founder and CEO, Shahar Kaminitz. He has one of the best blogs I am following. I met him at his offices about a year ago, learned about his startup strategy and management perception, and understood at once the meaning of investment in people. Shahar, of course, has a distinctive presence on Facebook and Linkedin. Hadn’t seen him in many events though. Worklight is well covered by all web media and was featured on the 2007 Demo in the US. (It was called serendipity at the time).

Nuconomy and Yosi Taguri. I am not sure which is more familiar. Yosi lives and breaths the web. Nuconomy, based in Tel-Aviv and San-Francisco, already got coverage at TechCrunch, ZDNet, Crunchbase, Venturebeat, Readwriteweb, SiliconAlleyInsider, Ynet and many many more. The company was chosen to take part in the IsraelWebTour held last February in the Silicon Valley. Yosi is a compelling web-celeb. He always seems to me like having a blast-in-and-out of parties kind of guy. We met on several occasions including the Eurekamp, a fun get together for the finest web minds in Israel, organized by Roostam Tiger. At every web/industry/entrepreneurs related event I participated I met him: From Meetups to Jeff Pulver’s events, to MashBash and more. One of the promoting agents working for him is the light, humoristic, web-tv program he started to make with Lior Zoref from Microsoft on December 2007. Titled “experimental broadcasts” (Shidurei HaNissayon) it talks about industry news and, well, who doesn’t want to be in these news? Needless to say Yosi can be found in most social networks and is twittering vigorously.

Mo’minis and Aviv Revach can be found almost at every event Taguri is attending. Great minds think alike, don’t they? I first met the very tall Aviv Revach at the Tel-Aviv-Yafo Entrepreneurs Meetup Group I organized. Then we kept meeting at the same events: the Pulver breakfasts, conventions, MashBash, and so on. I was flattered to be invited to his birthday party! Aviv is a warm and smiling guy. His height gives him an advantage, as there is no way he will attend an event and won’ be noticed. Needless to say we are connected on facebook and linkedin and probably several more networks. He and Mo’minis, his company, have great coverage in all blogs that count.

WIX ‘s CEO, Allon Bloch was interviewed on several blogs just recently. Among them VCAFE and TechAddress, CenterNetworks, TechCrunch sited VCafe, even on empowerwomennow.com the company has received coverage and at least 90 more blogs wrote about the WIX offering only in the past 2-3 months. But let’s socialize: Allon Bloch is a member of linkedin, of course. I found him in the NY Israeli Entrepreneurs Meetup Group. On facebook too. The mutual contact is Amit Knaani, who is a product manager at wix. Amit and I connected on thecoils, and our paths have crossed on many networks and events since. We’ve been net-friends by public exchange of views and opinions, experiences and mutual friends, without ever having a proper meeting.

Qoof, located in Bet-Shemesh and Manhattan, was founded by Richard Kligman. I first “met” him online when he requested to join my Linkedin group “Israeli Hi-tech Entrepreneurs Wherever” last March. The company was founded nearly two years earlier. I got to see the people in the flesh at the MashBash event in Tel-Aviv last month.

Dapper is one more fantastic winner. They probably spend some effort on SEO to be first on a 9 million Google results for the word dapper. Eran Shir, CEO, has co-founded the company with Jon Aizen, CTO at the end of 2005. Both have nice presence on Facebook and linkedin. Jon Aizen joined my linkedin group last February. Shir hasn’t made contact, yet.

Kaltura is located in New-York. It was founded about two years ago by Ron Yekutiel, Shay David and more. All have nice presence in social networks. Shay is a member of the NY Israeli Entrepreneurs Meetup of which I am also a member (you never know…). His call for voting from December 2007 is still posted on the message board of our group.

I could go on to unveil the roots of connections to HiveSight, Mocospace and WikiAnswers, but I think I have made my point: None of the winners of the TWS2008 were new to me. And that’s good news to these companies (and to me). These guys network! And networking is one major task on the CEO/Founder’s desk today. Can’t lead if you can’t network.

Congratulations!

networking