From Brooklyn to Tel Aviv: A Sales Story

Eli Kugel, International Sales Representative at Eureka Security

Eli Kugel was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, leaving home for educational reasons at the age of 13. After attaining a degree in Singapore, he started his career back in New York as a salesperson, before making a big move to Israel in 2018.

What motivated his move? In his own words, New York is always his home, but his father is Israeli and he could speak Hebrew. He identified Tel Aviv as a hotspot for high tech innovation and investment. Eli also reveals Tel Aviv has a shortage of English-speaking technical salespeople, who could translate Israeli innovation into North American investment.


The Big Move

Many of Tech Salescraft’s guests have been Israeli-born and made the big move from Israel to North America. Eli, by contrast, went in the opposite direction, from the US to Israel.

Upon arrival in 2018, he admits there were some cultural similarities between Tel Aviv and Brooklyn, much easier than he expected.

The work culture was the main sticking point, as he had previously only been exposed to corporate America, where people kept views to themselves, and kept to themselves at lunchtime.

Eli likens Israeli working culture as more akin to being with family: colleagues are used to lunches together regularly, and use more direct ways of communicating North Americans would reserve for more perosnal connections, which might come off as rude to North American salespeople.


The Biggest Difference

When drawn on the main differences between US and Israeli working culture in a post-pandemic world, Eli claims the US has moved more towards accommodating for a better work/life balance.

Israel, on the other hand, is yet to follow in this direction, according to Eli, who says the working hours are longer. The main reason for this? In Eli’s view, it’s simply a demographic, structural one.

Israel’s population is considerably younger than the US, and this means it has a larger population of young professionals who have a desire to work longer.

Upon arrival in Israel, Eli lacked the camaraderie that some of his colleagues enjoyed early on, as he hadn’t taken part in the military service so many of them had done, given his move to Israel had occurred too late in life.


A Eureka Moment

However, what helped Eli serve as a successful salesperson at Eureka was something his Israeli colleagues lacked: lived experience as a North American.

As is often the case with tech start-ups in Israel, there comes a time when most of them pivot towards North America, wishing to capture a large target market for their products.

This requires salespeople to branch out into the US to assist activities across the Atlantic. As mentioned, Israel is short on supply for individuals who can bridge the gap between Tel Aviv and US consumers.

Eli was one of the first salespeople hired at Eureka Security, and is now International Sales Representative there, overseeing a team selling from Tel Aviv into the US.

Eureka’s founders pondered early on how to get the first handful of customers onboard, and faced the stumbling block of translating Israeli innovation into American demand. Eli’s hiring helped open the doors for Eureka, as he had the precise cultural know-how to help scale up, knowing the lay of the land.

Want to learn more about what Eli has done at Eureka and more?

Watch the full episode of Tech Salescraft on YouTube, or across all major podcast streaming platforms.