by Nathan Gilson*
Now a sophomore at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Sam Shapiro has always aspired to work in high-tech startups. His idea for a social clothes-shopping website was recognized as a finalist in the prestigious 1000 pitches competition. In his spare time, Shapiro runs a videography company that shoots everything from weddings to concerts for popular music stars like Kid Cudi.
He figured that he would continue building his tech experience, and with enough hard work, earn a job after college. This year, Sam’s career path took an unexpected turn: Israel.
In the fall, Sam joined an organization called the TAMID Israel Investment Group. Sam played a key role in TAMID’s consulting project for , an Israeli startup that reduces a mobile phone’s data usage. He attended lectures from prominent Israeli business leaders like the famed Jerusalem-based venture capitalist Jon Medved.
When it came to making summer plans, Sam eschewed jobs in Silicon Valley and instead chose to come to Israel as a TAMID Fellow. The TAMID Fellowship is a selective program that funds TAMID’s most promising student leaders for an eight-week internship and business immersion experience in Israel. Sam ended up working at BillGuard, a Herzliya-based startup that detects fraud in its clientele’s bills and bank statements.
“My internship experience at an Israeli startup has been phenomenal. I am thrilled to contribute to a place with so many great entrepreneurs and such extraordinary innovation,” Shapiro said.
Other TAMID Fellows spend their summers at high-level Israeli venture capital firms like Giza Venture Capital and Arba Finance. At night, the interns share insights from different corners of Israel’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Having interns on the startup side and the investor side brings a wealth of perspectives on what it means to be a startup nation,” Shapiro said.
For Israeli companies, the TAMID Fellowship is a boon. TAMID compensates the interns directly, and companies are not required to provide a wage.
Chen Lindman, CFO at BunkerSec and mentor to TAMID Fellow Zac Berlin, said, “I would definitely recommend taking a TAMID intern. It was very useful because we are in the process of deciding which markets to enter, and we needed him to do a lot of legwork and a lot of research to make sense of the information out there.”
TAMID’s story begins three years ago at Michigan, where founders Sasha Gribov and Eitan Ingall sought a way to connect their business-minded classmates with Israel’s exciting economy.
Students begin with a semester of education about Israel’s business scene. Each student then chooses to either work on a consulting project for an Israeli startup or manage a portfolio of Israeli stocks. And in the summer, TAMID brings its most promising students to Israel on the Fellowship program.
TAMID is growing, with chapters at seven campuses across the United States, including Harvard, University of California-Berkeley, and Penn State.
Allison Berman, one of TAMID’s Executive Directors, said, “Our founders saw that ambitious, business-minded students are joining consulting groups and investment clubs, and finding summer internships anyway. These are tomorrow’s great founders, CEOs, and fund managers. There is so much benefit to channeling all of that talent and energy towards Israel.”
The Fellowship debuted last summer with five student interns. This year, the program doubled to ten. TAMID is seeking companies that would be interested in hiring an intern for the summer of 2012. TAMID is also actively fundraising to increase the number of students it can send next summer.
Nathan Gilson directs the TAMID Fellowship. For information on interns or supporting TAMID, email Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.