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🎉Congratulations to Opster on their acquisition by Elastic 🎉

Opster develops products thousands of DevOps and engineering teams use to take charge of their search operations.

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Opster is a resident company with SmartUp Academy since its inception
Accepting applications for March 2024

Foundations Course

Learn the principles and steps to create a profitable, fast-growing company on a small investment.
This course is led by Yonatan Stern

Admission following a selection process
March 31st, 2024
15:00 - 17:30
2 Hapnina St. 1st fl., Ra'anana
  • Academic News

    Foundations course starting March 31st, 2024
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  • Opster News

    Congrats to Opster 🎉Acquired by Elastic!
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  • SmartUp News

    We're moving to our new Offices!
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  • Sogomatic News

    Welcome Sogomatic to our family🧡
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SmartUp Academy is a school combining lectures, workshops and residency programs that teaches entrepreneurs and companies how to build successful, profitable, and fast growing companies, using relatively small investments. Many companies, and especially technology driven startups, are founded by inexperienced entrepreneurs who lack understanding and practice in branding, marketing, sales, finance and many other aspects that are critical to building successful companies. The SmartUp Academy teaches the profession of entrepreneurship with the aim to increase the success rate of companies from 1 in 10, to 6 or 7 out of 10, by teaching the skills needed for that profession.

Yonatan Stern is a serial entrepreneur, who founded and led eight successful tech companies in various domains, from data to hardware, from AI to business software, and from SaaS to retail. Five of his ventures were acquired totaling over $1 billion, and one, ZoomInfo, went public a few months after being acquired and is traded on NASDAQ at a value of $11B. Yonatan has a B.Sc and M.Sc in Computer Science from the Technion, served in Unit 8200 of the IDF where his team earned the Israel Defense Prize from the President of Israel. Yonatan also registered six patents in data extraction and analysis from free text and from web sites, which are the foundation of ZoomInfo’s technology and success. As a scientist, Yonatan spent many years researching the reasons companies succeed or fail, trying to distill and refine a process to increase success rate of companies, which resulted in forming the SmartUp Academy.

SmartUp Academy Companies

"Building a successful company is a career that requires mastery – just like any other profession. Learning how to do the work is the first step, but true mastery comes from years of practice and experience."
Yonatan Stern
Founder and Teacher

Our programs

Our programs encourage participants to think differently about company-building – from product development to marketing to sales and operations.
  • Foundations Course

    Learn the principles and steps to build and run a successful company on a small investment. This course will change your approach to building your company and help you avoid the big mistakes.

    This program is intended for entrepreneurs at all stages
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  • Companies Workshop

    Directed discussions of the implementation of SmartUp principles with other company leaders. Learn from real life situations and receive mentoring for your ongoing challenges.

    This program is intended for leaders in established companies
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  • Residency Program

    Partner with us to grow your company or learn by joining one of our resident companies.





    This program is intended for entrepreneurs at all stages
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  • Angels Circle

    Learn how to guide your portfolio companies in becoming profitable. Increase their success rates and retain more equity.




    This program is intended for angel investors only
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The SmartUp methodology is grounded in unconventional principles, such as prioritizing profitability before growth, initiating branding efforts well in advance of product development, targeting small niche markets over larger ones, recognizing your customers are much more important and valuable than your product, and many other practical insights. The SmartUp Academy program is dedicated to guiding entrepreneurs on the specific actions, their sequence, and effective execution strategies. We don’t just impart concepts and principles; we also provide practical, step-by-step guidance tailored to each company’s unique needs.

 

It's going to be different

We challenge the common wisdom and achieve uncommon results

Do you need to target a 5 billion dollar market?

No.
VCs need to cashout on their investment in a few years with a substantial exit, so they expect you to target a very large potential market and grow extremely fast.

If your goal is profitability, you should lower your cost of acquisition by targeting a narrower and more focused market you can reach with accurate compelling messages.
You can be profitable with sales in the 3-5M range, requiring a market size of 100M or less. This does not mean you cap at 5M, rather dominating a small market is a gateway to many other related markets.

Do you need to be first to dominate the market?

No.
There are countless examples of exceptional products that reached the market first but never made it - only to see imitation products take the market.

While your product may indeed be wonderful, if no one understands it, or wants to listen to you explain - it will not sell. Being first is also a liability as the burden of creating the market and explaining your product is on you.

If you’re going to be first to market, be sure to have the market’s attention in advance. By far the most effective and most affordable way to achieve this is by creating a strong brand. This is a process that may take time so it should be your company’s top priority from day one.

Do you need groundbreaking technology?

No.
Following the same logic of being first to market, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to believe their product is so amazing that it will sell itself. For the same reasons, if no one knows about your product, no one will buy it. It's your job to set the stage for your product, in advance. The cheapest and most effective way to do that - is creating a strong brand.

Do you have to grow fast to dominate the market?

No.
Regardless of how fast you grow, if no one wants to buy your product, you will not dominate the market.
Rapid growth at an early stage is a liability as it drains your resources and diverts your focus from the single most important task of any company: the search for a repeatable process of acquiring paying customers.
"The skill set that I was missing I found with Yonatan's mentorship"
Ziv Segal
CEO & Co-Founder
He is really thinking completely differently about marketing
Eyal Wultz
President & Co-Founder
"Yonatan has interesting solutions to the company's issues"
Ashi Horovitz
CEO & Co-Founder
"You build your company, from marketing through core business"
Ori Shafir
CMO & Co-Founder
"The greatest value of working with Yonatan is his wide thinking and vision that makes our company focus on the important things"
Eli Baratz
CTO and Co-Founder

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions (and answers) we frequently get

What's SmartUp Academy?

SmartUp Academy is a school for entrepreneurs. We teach the knowledge, skills, and experience to build fast-growing, successful, and profitable companies. We offer courses, workshops, and a residency program.

Who should apply to the SmartUp Academy?

SmartUp Academy welcomes:
1. Founders, working full time on their idea
2. Potential entrepreneurs, working full time somewhere else
3. Existing companies without VC funding
4. Curious individuals who want to learn the SmartUp Method.
5. Investors looking to invest in companies that follow the SmartUp Model.

Can I apply even if I don't have a company or an idea for one?

Yes! If you:
- want to become an entrepreneur but are still working somewhere else; or
- have some business or tech experience; or
- have an idea for a new company but don't know how to start; or
- don’t have an idea and want to be paired with other founders to develop new concepts.
Please visit our programs page or contact us to discuss what program is right for you

Want to know more?

We’ll contact you with more information about our programs and to understand your needs