Team. Support. Joy.

Meet the people who are passionate about the potential that science and technology hold to help people live more joyfully. We’re not here to do the work of our entrepreneurs, but to make their work better.

The Joyful Team

Miri Polachek CEO
CEO Miri Polachek

Miri joined as CEO of Joy Ventures in January 2018. Prior to Joy, Miri co-founded and led Israel Brain Technologies (IBT), a non-profit envisioned by late Israeli President Shimon Peres that accelerated brain-related innovation and established Israel as a global brain technology hub. Miri started her business career as a corporate economist at Teva Pharmaceuticals and later held financial management positions at Pfizer in New York. She also served as VP Finance at IntegraMed, a specialty healthcare services firm. Miri holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics and a Master of Arts in Health Economics, from Boston University, as well as an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.

Sources of Joy: Miri’s favorite pastimes are singing in a rock band and taking boxing classes. She is the proud mother of Adar, Edan and Emma.

Liron Nunez Weissman VP Product Development
VP Product Development Liron Nunez Weissman

Liron joined Joy Ventures as VP Product Development in 2019. Prior to Joy, Liron was the CTO of Beyond Mobility, where he evaluated startups for investment, and built and managed the service offering for the company’s corporate clients.

Before that, Liron headed the CTO office at Consumer Physics, where he was responsible for pushing the envelope of the SCiO device beyond its existing application, as well as expanding target markets. He also led a program at Consumer Physics focused on embedding the SCiO device in the mobile phone. Prior to this role, Liron was part of the founding team of Pearls of Wisdom, where he served as VP Development.

Earlier in his career, Liron led R&D in various disciplines and areas of technology, where he enjoyed rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty in the actual development process as much as possible.

Liron holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics, from the Hebrew University, as part of the Talpiot honors program.

Sources of Joy: Liron spends his free time (not that he has much) in traditional hand tools woodworking and enjoys cooking almost as much as he enjoys eating.

Sophie Melnik-Amitay CMO-in-Residence
CMO-in-Residence Sophie Melnik-Amitay

Sophie joined Joy Ventures as CMO-in-Residence in April, 2021. Sophie oversees all marketing strategies, consumer insights and efforts to strengthen Joy's brand, and leads portfolio companies' value-add marketing activities.

Sophie brings 20 years of experience leading international marketing teams for multi billion-dollar companies, across a variety of industries, and is passionate about entrepreneurship, creativity and driving growth in complex global and diverse B2B and B2C environments. Prior to Joy, she led the global marketing strategy at Taboola and Outbrain, and served as VP Strategy at international advertising firms, such as JWT and McCann, where she shaped the narratives for some of the world's most innovative consumer brands.

Sophie is also the Co-Founder of G-CMO, an exclusive community for Israel’s top CMOs from global companies and a cancer survivor and activist. She holds an MBA from HEC, Paris.

Source of Joy: Aside from spending time with her 3 teenage girls, Sophie also loves fashion, rock concerts and chardonnay :).

Ron Gabay Head of Innovation & Venture Design
Head of Innovation & Venture Design Ron Gabay

Ron builds and manages the foundation for venture creation by interweaving technology, science and design. He leads cross-disciplinary collaborations that foster curiosity, human-centricity and creativity while applying a commercial lens. Ron’s mission is to spark new ventures and experiences that inspire people around the world and improve their well-being.

Prior to joining Joy Ventures, he worked as a global innovation consultant and as a senior strategic designer in a Volkswagen corporate venture. Ron holds a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Industrial Design from Humber College and an MBA from the Leipzig Graduate School of Management.

Sources of Joy: Ron’s entrepreneurial journey started by transforming decommissioned subway trains into creative spaces.

Sabrina Kestenbaum Director of Marketing
Director of Marketing Sabrina Kestenbaum

Sabrina is the Marketing Director at Joy Ventures. She leads Joy’s marketing and communication strategy and ecosystem programs, and works with portfolio companies across key areas to support their growth. 

Before joining Joy Ventures, Sabrina was the Government & Cities Program Manager at SOSA, where she oversaw innovation partnerships with countries and cities such as Australia, Cologne and the Basque Country, and led the business development of the program. Prior to this role, she served as SOSA's Innovation Ecosystem Manager and was responsible for growing SOSA’s presence in the tech ecosystem, overseeing weekly industry events and programming, and working directly with SOSA's 50+ VC clients on their marketing and ecosystem outreach strategy.

Sabrina holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Communications and Film & Media Studies, from Northwestern University.

Sources of Joy: Sabrina spends much of her time out of the office chasing her dog Luli on the Tel Aviv beaches, listening and dancing to music (in classes and around the house) and scavenging for sweets.

Dori Zimner Investment Associate
Investment Associate Dori Zimner

Dori Zimner

As Investment Associate at Joy Ventures, Dori focuses primarily on Joy Ventures’ startups investment activities.

Dori has over a decade of experience in cross-border business development and financing. Prior to Joy Ventures, Dori spearheaded numerous successful investment and cooperation deals between Israeli startups and foreign corporations at, international investment banking firm, Asia Direct Capital. 

Dori won a Thesis Award for Excellence from Beijing University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics. 

Sources of Joy: Dori volunteers as an actor in the Beit Ekstein theater initiative, which brings actors and people with disabilities together on stage in effort to provide them with higher quality of life and social inclusion.

Tami Dvir Head of People Strategy
Head of People Strategy Tami Dvir

Tami Dvir is a People Strategy Consultant who partners with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists to design and implement talent strategy that accelerates business outcome.

After spending close to two decades at the Israeli high-tech community, supporting companies growing from early stage to large sustainable businesses, Tami believes that a company's core values and culture are critical guiding principles to organizational design, talent strategy and company's success.

Before becoming a consultant, Tami was HR Partner at Star Ventures, an international venture capital firm with a portfolio of over 150 companies. Prior to STAR, Tami served as VP HR for the Enterprise Internet working Group at Lucent Technologies where she led the integration of 5 companies acquires by Lucent and supported employees located in 19 countries.

Tami holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Bar Ilan University. Tami also received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from the Open University of Israel.   

Sources of Joy: Tami volunteers at Enosh’s Employment Center, Israel’s largest organization that provides mental health rehabilitation services. She participates in a bi-annual vocational program that qualifies mental health consumers to join the job market.

Cilla Zack Academic Program Manager
Academic Program Manager Cilla Zack

Cilla is a social psychologist managing the Joy Academic Grant Program focusing on innovative technologies, interventions and novel approaches in the field of neuro-wellness.

Since 2018, Cilla has also managed her own business, Simple Habits, where she studies and conducts research in social psychology to offer consumer-friendly, science backed tools for wellbeing.  

Cilla holds a Master of Arts in Social Psychology, with a concentration in Judgment and Decision Makin,  from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Philosophy and the History of Art and Architecture from University of California Santa-Barbara. Recently, she completed her MBSR training and is currently working on her BECK CBT certificate. 

Sources of Joy: Cilla enjoys exploring the application of interdisciplinary scientific insights from the field of neuro-wellness and leads a Lean in circle in Tel Aviv.

Yhonatan Shemesh Research Analyst
Research Analyst Yhonatan Shemesh

As Research Analyst at Joy Ventures, Yhonatan is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date picture of the scientific literature in the neuro-wellness space.

Prior to joining Joy, Yhonatan was employed at the Israel Gerontological Data Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he conducted research on the psychological and social predictors of healthy aging, and was involved in producing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. In 2017, he co-published an academic book on public understanding of economics.

Yhonatan holds a Masters degree in brain and cognitive science, and is currently pursuing a PhD in psychological data science. He has served in several research capacities in the military and in academia.

Sources of Joy: Yhonatan is an avid cook, percussionist, and gardener.

Aviv Celine Operations Manager
Operations Manager Aviv Celine

Aviv is Operations Manager at Joy Ventures. She helps ensure Joy’s day-to-day operations run smoothly while helping build its long-term internal strategy, company culture, and team communications.

Prior to Joy Ventures, Aviv acted as Business Development Associate at the M&H Distillery, Israel’s first whisky distillery. There, she helped establish a stable and reliable system to reach out to those interested in the distillery, directing and organizing hundreds of tours, workshops, and events. She designed a number of the distillery’s tours and workshops that were open to the general public and developed new ways to share the whisky world. Before this, Aviv largely worked as a student organizer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and J Street U, giving leadership and organizational training to hundreds of students.

Aviv graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Commonwealth Honors College as a Scholar with Honors in 2013, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Civic Engagement, Education & International Justice.

Source of Joy: Aviv enjoys lounging with her dog Jimmy and cat Luna while embroidering or reading. She loves visiting restaurants and bars she’s never been to, and learning new things about the culinary world.

Shery Noyman Office Manager
Office Manager Shery Noyman

Shery is Joy Ventures’ office manager. In her role, she orchestrates the daily routine of the office, and its varied members and partners both locally and abroad.

Prior to this role, Shery worked as an Administrative Manager at Microsoft and started her career as a teacher.

Shery holds a Bachelor of Education, from Levinsky College of Education.

Sources of Joy: Shery is a proud mother to a sweet baby boy name Tom, and two furry and well-mannered Chow Chows, Mona and Pako. Both of them serve in the  'Cuteness Department' at Joy Ventures. After working hours and on free days, you can find her at theaters or planning the next family weekend.