From France to the (Mobil)eye of Israel

Written by: Aurelie Darmon

Raphael Layani is working in the Aftermarket division of the prestigious company Mobileye, located in Jerusalem, as a Regional Sales manager for France Benelux and Switzerland. He has kindly accepted to share the story of his journey from France to Israel.

From the startup experience to the Israeli experience

He is a 38-year-old “ole hadash” (new immigrant), and a father of three daughters. He is initially from France where he studied business and worked for a while in business development departments.
Between 2013 and 2015, Raphael took the plunge into entrepreneurship and decided to launch “Shop In Street,”a connected shopping mobile service. After two years, he decided to return to the wage-earning world…But not in France anymore.

Raphael likes to compare the startup adventure to the Aliyah adventure (immigrating to Israel) because in both cases there is no safety net and you are forced to go outside your comfort zone.
If he had to share his feelings about his Aliyah, Raphael would say that it is definitely not easy every day. To succeed, it is important to stay very humble, to be able to question oneself and most of all to be flexible to cope with this new life.

In the working field, he noticed many differences between the French and the Israeli systems. It is much easier and faster to be hired in Israel than in France, but also easier to be laid off if you don’t fit to the job and its expectations.
On the contrary to France, where his attempt to build a startup was considered as weird, it was very well received in Israel- it isn’t called the
Start-Up Nation for nothing!

« Selling MobilEye is selling Israel and I feel very lucky about it »

What it feels like to work in MobilEye, a company like no other

Raphael has been hired by the famous Israeli company MobilEye, as a Regional Sales Manager for France, Benelux and Switzerland.

Company ID:

Mobileye was created only 20 years ago and has totally revolutionized the Mobility sector!
The company is now considered the leader in
driving safety solutions: its devices are sold all over the world and 25million vehicles are already equiped with it. Even though the company was bought by Intel in 2017 for $15.3 billion-an exit record for the Israeli high tech-, Mobileye has still kept its startup spirit and specificities.Thanks to data and road mapping, Mobileye is switching from a safety solutions provider to a key-player in autonomous driving. (By the way, it is not unusual to see pilot project cars riding around the Mobileye buildings.)

Raphael’s work focuses on European French-speaking countries and especially France. He takes care of the Aftermarket in these areas. Since people keep their cars for on average 10 years, it is essential to furnish Mobileye devices for the vehicles already on the road.

Raphael is really amazed by his job and proud to keep that kind of boundary with its origin country: « Selling MobilEye is selling Israel and I feel very lucky about it ». But although he speaks French with his clients, it is different inside the office, where he is the only recent “ole hadash” and hence surrounded by Israeli people. He tries his best to speak Hebrew and eventually switches to English. He reckons that, it is way harder to convince someone when you don’t totally master the language, but it is all the way more challenging.

Raphael describes Mobileye as a fascinating company with a spirit and working methods quite different from what he had known before, whether it be in France or in Israel. For example, the concept of “meeting”, defined as a moment scheduled when everybody gathers to share its ideas, simply doesn’t exist. You can be requested at any time by somebody, which means you have to manage your time well. Raphael describes his daily work as a real “headlong rush”.

Another specificity of Mobileye is its Jerusalem origin and the company takes pride in it! There are even hundreds of startups that have settled next to Mobileye to benefit from its global reach. The company certainly doesn’t want to move away from Jerusalem; a campus, able to welcome 4000 employees, is under construction, near the actual building.

While his Aliyah is quite recent-only 3 years-Raphael Layani doesn’t regret his move and doesn’t seem to miss France at all!
However, it doesn’t mean it has been “easy peasy” to cope with the Israeli way of life. He reckons that on the contrary to France, nothing is taken for granted and every day is a challenge. Especially at his work, where he has to constantly challenge and prove himself.

In an amazing company like Mobileye, Raphael wants now to focus on giving his best at his work and to completely succeed in his integration to the Israeli society.

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