A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

How a bullied Jewish boy became a successful med-tech entrepreneur

Shilo+Ben+Zeev%2C+left%2C+with+Emendo+Biotherapeutics+cofounder+and+CEO+Dr.+David+Baram.+Photo+courtesy+of+Shilo+Ben+Zeev

Shilo Ben Zeev, left, with Emendo Biotherapeutics cofounder and CEO Dr. David Baram. Photo courtesy of Shilo Ben Zeev

Abigail Klein Leichman , Israel21c

The typical successful Israeli startup entrepreneur bears no resemblance to Shilo Ben Zeev.

He wasn’t a Scout leader. He didn’t serve in an elite army intelligence unit. He has no college degree. In fact, he barely made it through high school.

At best ignored and at worst bullied, Ben Zeev had a difficult childhood.

“I was fat and had lots of health problems. I didn’t have friends. My father didn’t believe in me. Altogether, I couldn’t really be a good student,” says Ben Zeev, who was raised in a religious family in Jerusalem.

After high school, the army rejected Ben Zeev because of his weight. Determined to be a soldier, he went on a strict diet for seven months. But despite losing 40 kilos (88 pounds) and entering the armored corps – where he made his first real friends — his IDF service was cut short when they discovered he had Type 1 diabetes.

Nevertheless, through a lot of sweat equity and a knack for identifying golden opportunities and business partners, Ben Zeev became a serial med-tech entrepreneur.

One of his cofounded companies, Emendo Biotherapeutics,  was acquired in 2020 by Japanese pharmaceutical company AnGes for $300 million.

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A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.