Welcoming Lia & Daniel, Our New Venture Associate & Intern

Who Are You?

I’m Lia Cromwell. I was born and raised in New York by my Israeli mother and American father. I also have a younger brother and two rescue dogs, Dubi and Chrysanthemum, who both look exactly like the dog emoji 🐶. People in America say I take after the Israeli half of my family, while people in Israel think I take after the American side. 

I received my B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. There I also completed minors in Economics and Spanish (perhaps I should have minored in Hebrew instead…). While at Duke I had the opportunity to study for a semester at Tel Aviv University and to do multiple internships in Tel Aviv, including one in management consulting and another at a pre-seed eCommerce startup. I also interned for OurCrowd in their New York office, which gave me my first taste of helping fund brilliant Israeli entrepreneurs.

Before joining UpWest Labs as a Venture Associate, I lived in New York where I was an analyst at CreditSights (a boutique financial research firm), in the TMT group specializing in the Media sector. A large part of my work (aside from financial modeling in Excel) was focused on analyzing the advertising market’s current and anticipated trends as the industry continues to be disrupted. Prior to this, I worked in business development at FiscalNote, a legal tech startup based in Washington D.C. There I learned about the sales process for SaaS startups, best practices for scaling a successful business, and that living in D.C. is much more exciting in House of Cards than in real life.

Why Would You Leave New York to Work with Israeli Entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv?

Besides the cold weather? There weren’t enough Israelis in New York! I have always wanted to move to Tel Aviv for a variety of reasons. Professionally, I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs realize their visions, and genuinely believe that many of the strongest founders (and in turn many of the best startups) come from Israel. Moving here to be part of the action was an easy decision; having the opportunity to help Israeli companies scale in the US is a dream come true for me.

I also have a deep connection to Tel Aviv because of friends and family who live here, and traveled here often while living in the US. Since I was younger I always knew I would live here at some point in my life. There is just something about Tel Aviv that feels like “home” in ways New York never did, notwithstanding how much I love New York.

What Are Some Fun Facts About You?

Despite being raised in an Israeli-American household, I am fluent in Spanish and my Hebrew is rather poor — but it is improving!

This is not exactly a “fun” fact, but I am severely allergic to dairy. I always ask people to tweet me their favorite restaurants/cafes for dairy-free eats in Tel Aviv, because I’m trying to expand my options! My favorite restaurants here are Rothschild 12 and Meshek Barzilay. I also am an avid yoga-doer and like to pretend that I am an avid runner even though I definitely do not run.

My most random fact is that I once saved a squirrel from drowning. And lastly, in preparation to move to Tel Aviv, I filled half a suitcase with sunscreen.

Who Are You?

I’m Daniel Newman, a rising junior at the University of Southern California (USC) pursuing a dual degree in Business Administration (emphasis in Entrepreneurship) and Real Estate Development. I was born and raised in LA and am the eldest of four crazy and loving kids. Although I promised to become a world-renowned laser eye surgeon during my Bar Mitzvah speech, I’ve since changed my goals toward entrepreneurship. Somehow through all the chaos that comes with figuring out my life path, I’ve founded two companies—TutorYou Beverly Hills and Geocasion—and have been lucky enough to be featured on news outlets such as Entrepreneur and Business Insider

Before joining UpWest as a Venture Intern, I interned with a healthy variety of companies in a diverse set of industries, the most noteable being Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills and Hawke Media, one of LA’s top digital marketing agencies renowned for their tailored a-la-carte model and industry-leading ROI figures.

Why Would You Leave Sunny California to Work with Israeli Entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv?

Because Tel Aviv is even sunnier! A huge effort of mine is serving as the Vice President of Operations 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, numerous funds which analyze and invest in Israeli stocks, and a fully-funded summer fellowship (which is what brought me to UpWest!). During my leadership, I founded USC’s first-ever TAMID Tank, the “Shark Tank for college students,” by building a team of 15 students, singlehandedly fundraising $14,000, and allowing USC’s top three student-led startups to pitch to VCs in front of 500 attendees.

From my work with TAMID, I’ve come to realize that diving into Israel’s ecosystem as the “Startup Nation” is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. For starters, Israel has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world. Interns also don’t face the typical hierarchical challenges they do in the US—we’re given real work and real responsibility. And hey, the beautiful beach bars and clubs in Tel Aviv are always a plus.

What Are Some Fun Facts About You?

For starters, I speak four languages (not all fluently) including English, Farsi, Spanish, and Hebrew. Hebrew’s a work in progress, so good thing I’m in Israel.

I also am a pianist and violinist, and have posted a couple of my covers on YouTube.

In my free time in LA I like to mountain bike and swim; in my free time in TLV I like to…wait, what free time?!

And my most depressing or hilarious fact, depending on how you look at it, is that I’ve gotten stitches four times throughout my life. And every, single time has been on a different part of my face. Sometimes battle scars are attractive, right? Let’s hope so.

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