It’s been almost 10 years since I left Israel, the place I belonged. I was 33 years old, my startup was doing well, we had raised money from American VCs and they wanted me near them, close to where the market is. I had a dream to pursue, borders were not even close to a deal breaker for me. So I got married to the woman I love, and a few weeks later, on March 31st, 2008, we arrived to a totally empty apartment in Tribeca, New York. We had four suitcases, two inflating mattresses, one debit card, and a new place to call home. Life has never been the same since.
I’m foreign-born, a mixed bag of two homes, two identities. And it’s been complicated. I love the city and country I live in, but sometimes I miss my homeland, my culture, my roots. Through this experience, I now have a problem defining what home is. I come from a place that is different than where I live, but I love it here, I’m thriving. At the same time, I’m an entrepreneur with a funny accent and my kids, who are Americans, love to make fun of it.
What I’ve found in my journey is that the story is bigger than just my experience, and it keeps on growing. There are 244,000,000 people like me across the world, who belong here and there. Forecasts predict that by 2050, half a billion people won’t live in the country they were born and raised in.
This is why we created homeis. We believe that the Internet has never paid attention to people like us. That our unique experience is digitally underserved. We know first-hand how deep the experience of being foreign-born. We’ve witnessed how difficult it is for local foreign-born communities to digitally connect, share their culture, their local knowledge, and unique context. We see the importance of these communities in one’s life, how supportive they can be, and how effective their common wisdom can be to its members.
So we decided it’s time to give foreign-born communities a dedicated, comprehensive product experience. A product that understands them well, encompasses their unique echo system, and most importantly - empowers them. We want to empower the Indians of Toronto, the Jamaicans of London, the Israelis of NY, and all other foreign-born communities out there - every single one of them. We are building what we like to call “Culture Networks”, and we think that it’s time to use technology and innovation to turn our invisible groups into visible communities.
homeis is a free and private culture network for local foreign-born communities. Using homeis, our users can find their community of locals who come from the same homeland, make new friends, celebrate their culture, and share their unique experience and local knowledge. We’re launching our first community – Israelis of New York – today, and are planning to open many more in the coming months.
Living abroad sometimes feels like having two homes. Our mission is to bring the two together.
Co-Founder & CEO, homeis
About homeis: Homeis was founded in New York and Tel Aviv, by Ran Harnevo (CEO), and Hanan Lashover (CTO). In 2007, the two co-founders 5min, a video startup they sold to Aol in 2010 ($65M). Ran and Hanan went on to build Aol’s global video business unit, growing it until it was sold to Verizon ($4.4B). Homeis has raised $4M to date, backed by Spark Capital, Canaan Partners, The Chernin Group, Samsung Next, and private investors such as Tim Armstrong (CEO, Oath), and Adam Singolda (CEO, Taboola), to name a few.