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Israel's dynamic culture generates start-ups

October 6, 2010View for printing

It's my hands-down pick as the number-one instruction manual for Entrepreneurship 101.

Not long ago, a young Israeli entrepreneur named Shvat Shaked from an outfit named Fraud Sciences got his foot in the door at PayPal, the giant among Internet payment systems. Shvat's elevator pitch: His team had an incredibly simple way to unearth "online payment scams, credit card fraud and electronic identity theft."

PayPal was polite, but you could guess what they thought: "Sure, buddy, dream on!" Then its techno mavens tested Fraud Sciences' system and were shocked to find it really worked. PayPal didn't just buy the idea. In 2008, they bought Fraud Sciences. How did these start-up wizzes concoct this brainstorm? Using the same principle Israel banked on to track down terrorists.

"When you've been developing technology to find terrorists," as one expert put it, "then finding thieves is pretty simple."

The Fraud Sciences episode is just one of a fistful of innovation lightning bolts you'll find in the book "Start-Up Nation" by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.

Harvey Mackay

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