SNPI

About the Institute

Start-Up Nation Policy Institute is an independent think-tank that works to strengthen the Israeli innovation ecosystem while expanding its impact to all areas of Israel’s economy and society. The Institute produces research and policy recommendations in partnership with the public sector, high-tech industry, and other stakeholders. SNPI is part of the Start-Up Nation Central group and is fully funded by philanthropy.

Our Method

SNPI furthers its mission by:

  • Generating data-driven policy recommendations
  • Producing high-level research based on proprietary datasets, including the Start-Up Nation Finder platform
  • Convening roundtables with government, business, and non-profit leaders to promote open discourse on innovation

Get to know our team

Prof. Eugene Kandel

Co-Chairman

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Prof. Eugene Kandel (BA, MA Hebrew University in Jerusalem; MBA, Ph.D. The University of Chicago) is an Emil Spyer Professor of Economics and Finance at the Hebrew University. Prof. Kandel published extensively in Finance and Economics.   

In 2009-2015 Kandel served as Head of the National Economic Council and Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel, advancing many important economic policies and reforms. 

Prof. Kandel is the founder and the Co-Chairman of the Start-Up Nation Policy Institute, a non-profit dedicated to advancing Israel’s innovation policies, aimed at strengthening the ecosystem, and making it more impactful on the Israeli economy and society.  

Prof. Eugene Kandel

Co-Chairman

Uri Gabai

CEO

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Uri Gabai is the CEO of the Start-Up Nation Policy Institute (SNPI) and former co-General Manager of Start-Up Nation Central. Prior to his roles at Start-Up Nation Central, Uri served for seven years as the Chief Strategy Officer and Head of the Strategy and Economic Division at the Israel Innovation Authority since its establishment in October 2011.

Prior to that, Uri was a Senior Economist at the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office. He earned a B.Sc. in Economics and Computer Science and a M.Sc. degree in Economics with a focus on Game Theory, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Uri Gabai

CEO

Kochava Ayoun

Managing Director

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Kochava Ayoun is the Managing Director of SNPI. Prior to SNPI, Kochava worked on the Strategy and Philanthropic Partnerships teams at Start-Up Nation Central.

Kochava began her career at Oasis Management, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund. She holds a BA in International Relations and Psychology (summa cum laude) from Brandeis University, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Law Journal.

Kochava Ayoun

Managing Director

Assaf Patir

Chief Economist

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Assaf Patir is the Chief Economist of the Institute, specializing in macroeconomics, monetary economics, and banking. Before joining SNPI, he taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was also an advisor to the Monetary Division at the Bank of Israel and held a visiting scholar position at the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Assaf started his career as a physicist, earning a PhD for his research in String Theory from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He later shifted his focus to economics, earning a PhD from Northwestern University for his dissertation on the macroeconomic impact of consumer loan securitization.

Assaf Patir

Chief Economist

Maya Shaton

Senior Researcher

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Maya Shaton is a senior researcher at SNPI, specializing in household finance, banking, innovation, law, finance, and behavioral economics. Before joining SNPI, Maya worked as an economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington DC. She is also a visiting professor at Hebrew University Business School and teaches in both the Business School and the Economics Department.

Maya holds a PhD in Finance from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, in addition to an MBA. She also earned an LL.M from Columbia Law School. Prior to that, she completed a joint BA in Law and Economics alongside an MA in Financial Economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Maya Shaton

Senior Researcher

Eynav Ehrlich

Researcher

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Eynav Ehrlich is a researcher at SNPI. For the past two years, Eynav has led Start-Up Nation Central’s research efforts in the field of human capital, and was responsible for the publication of the annual Human Capital Report. Prior to that, Eynav worked as a freelance researcher, focusing on the fields of finance and fast-moving consumer goods. She also worked as a Program Coordinator for the Citizen’s Empowerment Center Monitor, guiding students thorough their research and publications on the implementation of Israeli government policies. Eynav holds an MA in Financial Economics from IDC Herzliya (Reichman University) and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Tel Aviv University.

Eynav Ehrlich

Researcher

Shelly Linor

Strategic Partnerships

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Shelly Linor is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at SNPI, responsible for forming and maintaining partnerships with key stakeholders in the Israeli tech ecosystem.

For the last three years, Shelly led various marketing initiatives at Start-Up Nation Central, growing the AgriFood-Tech vertical and leading Start-Up Nation Finder product marketing efforts. Prior to Start-Up Nation Central, Shelly was the Director of Global Education for 3D-printing company Stratasys, where she developed and executed go-to-market plans and global alliances for the education vertical. Prior to that Shelly worked as a product marketing manager for Microsoft’s software development tools division, where she focused on market penetration strategies and market awareness within the Israeli developer community.

Shelly is an 8200 alumnus, holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology (cum laude) from Ben Gurion University, and an MA in Organizational Sociology (cum laude) from Bar-Ilan University.

Shelly Linor

Strategic Partnerships

Yam Atir

Head of Public Policy

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Yam Atir is the Head of Government Relations and Public Policy at SNPI. Prior to joining the Institute, Yam served as an adviser to the OECD on youth policy, working with ambassadors, practitioners, and policymakers to formulate long-term policies for the post-COVID-19 era. Before her role in the OECD, she was a member of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign relations team and on the executive team of former President Shimon Peres. Forbes Magazine named her on the 2021 “30 Under 30” list.

Yam holds a BA in Political Science and Communications from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Yam Atir

Head of Public Policy

Eran Igelnik

Researcher

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Eran Igelnik is a researcher at SNPI. Prior to joining the Institute, Eran worked in the AdTech industry as a group leader, creating products to aid in monitoring ad revenues. In 2020, Eran worked on the Capital Market Authority report dealing with private equity investments. Eran earned a BA in Government and Diplomacy and an MA in Financial Economics, both from IDC Herzliya (Reichman University).

Eran Igelnik

Researcher

Aaron Gefen

Researcher

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Aaron Gefen is a senior researcher at SNPI, specializing in economics, human capital and education. Before joining SNPI, Aaron worked as an economist for the Israeli Ministry of Interior, the head of Strategic Planning and Data Analysis of the Jerusalem education department. In the past few years, Aaron worked as a business consultant to various companies, and a freelance project manager for in high-profile inter-governmental initiatives.

Aaron holds a BA in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics (with honors) and a MA in Public Policy, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition, Aaron is a   fellow of the Mandel Leadership Institute and a graduate of the Israeli Cadets for Civil Service program. In his spare time Aaron is a director in a couple of NGOs and writes TheHumanROI blog.

Aaron Gefen

Researcher

Ido Meiboom

Analyst

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Ido Meiboom is an analyst at SNPI and a second-year student pursuing his BA in Economics and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before working at SNPI, he worked as a STEM Instructor at PICO Kids and headed the youth segment of the “Hitorirut” campaign in Jerusalem.

Ido Meiboom

Analyst

Sharon Kinory

Research Assistant

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Sharon Kinory is a researcher at SNPI. Prior to joining the Institute, Sharon was a research assistant to the Israeli desk at the economic department of the OECD. She participated in the process of writing the 2022 economic survey about Israel (EDRC). Before her role in the OECD, she was an analyst at the financial risk management unit of the markets department at the Bank of Israel.
Sharon is a 4th year PPE student, majoring in Economics, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sharon Kinory

Research Assistant

Dana Rozentzwaig

PA to the Chairman and CEO

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Dana Rozentzwaig

PA to the Chairman and CEO

Policy Fellows

Danny Biran

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Danny Biran is a Senior Policy Fellow at SNPI. An experienced business and technology leader, he now serves as an advisor to several technology and medical devices companies in Israel, the US, and India.

In 2017-2018, Danny served as the VP of the International Division of the Israel Innovation Authority, responsible for establishing and managing Israel’s international innovation and R&D partnerships. Prior to that, Danny had a long career in the tech industry, mainly in the semiconductor sector. Between 2005-2016 he worked for Altera prior to its acquisition by Intel, his last role there being Senior VP of Marketing and Strategy. Prior to Altera, Danny was President & CEO of Silverback Systems, and before that held various leadership positions at LSI Logic and National Semiconductor.

Danny Biran

Shahar Cohen

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Shahar Cohen is the founder of Lucid Capital, a global tech fund that invests in both the public and private markets. Shahar began his career as a software engineer at Intel and has held senior positions at tech companies, including Head of Strategy at HP-Indigo, VP Product at the Cyber startup AppDome, and Head of Product Marketing at Cisco’s global headquarters in Silicon Valley.

From 2019 until the end of 2021, he served as a tech investment advisor to institutional entities and managed the “More 4D Technology Stocks” fund.

Shahar served as a board member at two non-profits and in 2011, served as the youngest member of the Trachtenberg Committee. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing and a B.Sc in Computer Science, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, graduating with honors.

Shahar Cohen

Naomi Krieger Carmy

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Naomi Krieger Carmy is a Policy Fellow at SNPI . She also serves as a SVP at Social Finance Israel and as the Executive Director of Nova, part of the SFI Group. Before joining the Institute, Naomi was a VP at the Israel Innovation Authority and the first head of its Societal Challenges division, which funds and supports “impact tech” and aims to develop a wide and diverse pipeline of human capital for the innovation industry.

Earlier in her career, she worked as an investment banker on Wall Street, supporting tech companies on IPOs, M&A, and strategic transactions. She was the CEO of STRIVE Israel, a flagship employment program of JDC-Tevet and helped run the UK Israel Tech Hub.

Naomi is an 8200 alumnus, earned a BA in Economics and International Relations from Hebrew University, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, and is a fellow at Cambridge University’s Centre of Science and Policy.

Naomi Krieger Carmy