Michael Eisenberg ’93YC is an equal partner at Aleph, an early stage venture capital fund focused on serving Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build scalable, global businesses.
Since 2005, he has also served as the partner responsible for Benchmark Capital’s Israeli portfolio, and 10 years prior to that, in 1995, he began focusing his investment on Israeli internet and software ventures, including Shopping. com, Conduit, Gigya, Lemonade, Wix, and Picturevison, to name a few.
But as he has matured both as an investor and a person, he has seen a shift in the business world that has pushed him towards focusing on what he calls “long humanity,” a point he especially emphasizes in the speeches he gives to college students and in his recent book, The Tree of Life and Prosperity. (He has published two other books that touch on similar topics: The Vanishing Jew and Ben Barukh.)
“I have told the students that my core venture capital investment thesis for the next decade is to invest in humanity. It is the antidote to two decades of investment in social media,” which he said lack “civility and trust, shared values and shared consequences.” The next technological investment trend is in “Talking. Touching. Hugging. Caring. Educating. Helping. Succeeding Together. Healing.”
These words are not slogans for Eisenberg. They echo his deep and lifelong commitment to an ethical pursuit of his business interests, where the outcome of his e.orts leads to a world of greater wealth and justice.
Central to the success of this pursuit are entrepreneurs and their willingness to take risks. For Eisenberg, “entrepreneurism and risk-taking are positive, even hallowed, acts,” and entrepreneurs are the people who “think of creative, practical solutions to problems and challenges” and “create things that didn’t exist before.”
However, “those things entrepreneurs create have to be then driven to scale and produced as efficiently as one can possibly produce them,” and this is where the managers come in, who “bring in discipline and habits of efficiency.”
Together, entrepreneurs and managers infused with strong ethical values (such as the values Eisenberg finds embedded in the millennialong tradition of Jewish texts and wisdom but particularly in the Bible) can quite literally change the world in which we live, and this is what drives Eisenberg to do what he does.
“We must build a moral system,” he said, “that will support innovation and create a healthier society and a better collective future.”