Who Are You?
I’m Jared Fleitman. I was born in Mountain View, CA and I spent most of my childhood in Orange County, CA in a city called Mission Viejo. I attended the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, where I studied Economics-Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering. Fortunately, our football program wasn’t very strong when I was enrolled, so I spent most of my time running an international nonprofit called TAMID, studying, and playing hockey.
I also earned three years of experience in the Viterbi School of Engineering, analyzing alternative forms of ignition in internal combustion engines. After my sophomore year, my team and I had the very special opportunity to present our research the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, which confirmed for me that I didn’t want to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer (and that I didn’t want to live in Ohio).
Before joining UpWest as a full-time Venture Associate, I interned or collaborated with a healthy variety of companies in a diverse set of industries ranging from startup to VC, including: True Ventures, Stitch Labs, SET Media (acquired by Conversant), OurCrowd, Sustainable Microfarms, and UpWest Labs.
Why Would You Leave Sunny California to Work with Israeli Entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv?
A huge effort of mine in college was serving as the National Chairman of a nonprofit called TAMID Group. TAMID develops the professional skills of undergraduate students through hands-on interaction with the Israeli economy by providing pro-bono consulting for Israeli startups and sending students on a fully-funded summer fellowship that places them in internships with startups in Tel Aviv. During my leadership, I tripled the organization’s membership, budget, and client base and expanded to 1200 students and 24 campuses. Drawing from my experience founding the USC chapter, I reformed the organization’s educational curriculum and consulting framework, raised enough money to send 167 students to Israel, and established relationships with hundreds of early-stage startups in Israel.
I had interned in Israeli twice, and felt a level of comfortability and drive during my time in Tel Aviv that was unmatched by any of my experiences in the US. I knew I needed to be here. The shawarma, sun, and beaches didn’t hurt either 🙂
What Does An Associate Do?
I have my hands in a little bit of everything. Primarily, my responsibility is to build and maintain relationships with companies on the ground in Israel. I establish a comprehensive deal flow process that is designed to ensure that we know as many Israeli early-stage companies as possible. This includes attending events, taking meetings, scouring LinkedIn and Angel List, collaborating with other accelerators, coworking spaces, investors, universities, and entrepreneurs, and being a hyperactive contributor in the startup community (not just for our portfolio but for everyone). I truly believe that there are real gems in Israel (maybe a unicorn, or two) and Silicon Valley investors aren’t able to catch everything from their ivory offices in San Francisco and Menlo Park. If you want to find great Israeli entrepreneurs, you need to spend time with them!
Why Should I Talk to You (“The Associate”) Instead of Your Bosses (“The Partners”)? Am I Being Passed Off? You Can’t Write the Checks…
It’s true that I don’t write the checks, but this perspective misses a key point: I talk to the UpWest Labs partners on a daily basis. WhatsApp, Email, Facebook…regardless of where it’s happening, it’s happening. Frequently. As an associate, I represent someone that has more time to initially commit to answering every question you have about the firm and building a relationship with you and your team. At the end of the day, you want me in your corner advocating for your company when I provide the partners with daily updates. The process of building a relationship with a prospective accelerator is not entirely linear.
What Are Some Fun Facts About You?
I love to read. A couple of my favorite books: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. I’m currently reading Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson and The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto by Phil Champagne.
I care about mental health reform and drug abuse. My older brother passed away of an overdose when I was a graduating high school senior, and his passing contributed to my deep ambition to be successful. I feel like I’m living for him. My mother founded Solace, a support network in Southern California for parents who have lost children to overdoses, and she inspired me to have an active voice in college (where there is plenty of drug abuse).
Hockey is my passion. I have a weird sleep schedule because while I’m in Israel, I like to wake up at 3am to livestream Ducks games. the team was founded the same year I was born. Love the Ducks, hate the Kings. I started skating at age 7. I played hockey at USC for four years.
I like to tinker. My computer and phone (Windows and Android, respectively–I don’t do Apple) are the software equivalent of the tangled wires behind your home entertainment console. I constantly try to optimize for battery efficiency and gesture minimization, and the process of breaking things and having to retrace my steps is particularly fulfilling.
I’m really sassy on Twitter.
Personal health and the tech revolution that is tied to it is a personal hobby. I recently sequenced my genome using 23andMe, and one of these days I’ll get around to analyzing my microbiome using Ubiome.
My first job in high school was in a seasonal Halloween superstore that was converted from a Mervyn’s that had gone bankrupt. I wore costumes to work every day.
I didn’t enjoy eating pizza or chocolate until I was 19 years old.
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