Impact First Investments
Cecile is the Founder and Managing Partner at Impact First Investments, Israel’s first impact venture fund. Impact First is exclusively focused on technology for social innovation generating market rate returns.
Cecile is passionate about addressing global social challenges through new ideas, technologies and business models. She specializes in creating the meeting place between technology, profit and social impact and is a pioneer of the impact investing industry in Israel. Prior to founding Impact First, Cecile managed the Noaber Foundation’s Israeli investments for over 14 years, and has earned extensive hands-on management experience with high-tech start-ups.
Additionally, Cecile held executive positions and led several companies as a CEO and served as a chairperson and board member on many more. She was one of the initiators of the Al-Bawader private equity fund, established to invest in businesses in the Arab community in Israel.
Cecile volunteers as a mentor and loan committee member at the Keren Shemesh Foundation for the Encouragement of Young Entrepreneurs. She is a board member and observer of Impact First’s portfolio companies and treasurer of the Business Ethics Center in Jerusalem. Prior to beginning her professional career, Cecile served as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defence Forces. Cecile is also an alumnus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she studied political science and international relations, and is an avid practitioner and trainer of Tai Chi.
What do you love most about the work you do?
To sum it up – I love the entrepreneurship side of my work, the exposure to new wonderful and impactful people and ideas and the ability to lead and make a mark.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by people who lead and overcome difficulties in spite of the challenges associated with success and failure. I’m blessed to have mentors in my life who help me overcome my own obstacles and challenges, and to see the importance of my efforts especially when things are hard. I’m inspired by powerful, smart and compassionate men and women I have encountered throughout my career.
What would be your 3 top tips to someone looking to do what you do?
1) Make sure you are fully aligned and connected with your vision.
2) Know that the way to achievements will be as important as your goals.
3) There will be difficulties and challenges so make sure you are surrounded by people who love you and share your passion and vision.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest professional achievement is the fact that within the space of a few years the impact technology industry in Israel has grown from being a one-operation market to a full and growing marketplace with hundreds of entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubation programmes, investors, and a whole industry is starting to bloom.