A trip of the EY VODW Data Science Talent Program to start-up nation Israel

Sander van der Hoek
03 jan 2020

This month we started with our fifth group of Data Talents. After a tough recruitment & selection procedure six new talents entered our Data Science Talent Program. Whitin this program we usally go on a trip to connect with new and existing relations, to learn and to get inspired. This year we went to Israel, a leading country when it comes to technology, innovations and AI.

We went to Tel Aviv on an intensive three-day-trip to get acquainted with data driven companies. From start-up to scale-up and ultimately to well-established corporates. In total five companies and nine meetings… Read our experiences below!


Welcome to Tel Aviv

After arriving in Tel Aviv, our first stop was EY, situated in one of Tel Aviv’s most impressive skyscrapers. There, we were welcomed by Martin Duifhuizen. Martin is a senior manager and responsible for corporate innovation and business development. In his presentation, Martin explained the success story of Israel, and why Tel Aviv became an important global tech hub. Due to the fact that Israel does not have any natural resources, they did not have any other choice than become innovative and start exporting technology. In addition, the Israeli army pushes a lot of knowledge and technology into business. Martin's talk was followed by David Carmi (AI Partner EY) who gave us a short introduction on AI and tech innovation. 


The next day, we visited Monday.com. Chosen as one of the coolest tech companies in Israel. And yes… cool they are. Monday.com provides project management software, and is rapidly expanding globally. The firm’s core value is enterprise agility, resulting in a focus on increasing speed and productivity, adopting customer needs and empowering employees. Central in this concept lays BigBrain, which is their data science platform. Dmitri Romanov, head of Monday.com’s data science team, took us through the platform. Noteworthy was their use of dashboards. Their office is literally packed with screens displaying dashboards, with one screen per two employees. In the first weeks of January 2020 we will work side by side with Monday.com on a case to improve their lead scoring model. 


As a next stop we went to a company that is closest to being a true start-up from all the companies we visited. JoyTunes is a music app developer with roughly 70 employees and focuses on revolutionary musical apps. Recently they were chosen by top Israeli VC’s as #2 hottest startup around. So a must see for us of course. Their flagship application is Simply Piano, which uses AI to assist in teaching the user piano skills. Really interesting to hear about agile pods, which is their way of working. This organizational system is a step toward realizing the maximum potential of their agile teams (max 8 people). This is done by putting together members of different expertise and specialization, giving them complete ownership and freedom, and expecting the best quality output. Nathaniel Yankelevich, who is a software developer at Joytunes, explained the challenges in acquiring insights about their customer base and how data science can be used for effective marketing. 

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Google Waze

On the second day we had an interesting meeting with Dr. Roy Sasson who is the head of data science and BI. Besides being a leader within the company he is also a faculty member at the Tel Aviv university, having done a PhD in econometrics. He was able to brilliantly explain Waze’s vision in an economics driven way, leading to their new venture in Carpooling. He showed Waze’s vision to be the number 1 contender in this space.


On our last day, we started with a visit to IBM. There we were welcomed by Ofer Lavi, who is the technical assistant to the VP IBM Research Artificial Intelligence. Ofer took us through the latest developments concerning AI. According to him, AI will not replace human work. In fact, it will make us even better in what we do. When asking Ofer about the future of data science, he argued that it is becoming more and more important for a (starting) data scientist to take a step back and not immediately dive into complexity. We discussed also the possibilities to work together on a case, something to follow up in January 2020!



Would you like to know more?

 Would you like to know what our talents can do for your customers and relations? Or just want to know more about our connections and or the companies we visited in Tel Aviv, feel free to contact us!

Eerste hulp bij data

Bergen data, maar geen idee wat je er mee kunt? Laat de data scientists van EY VODW je helpen! Ze helpen je inzichten uit je data te halen waarmee je business structureel uitgebouwd kan worden.

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