Before Rony Halman and Uri Aldubi became businessmen, they were students in high school. Rony and Uri, along with another student, Michael, crossed paths in the same clubs and hobbies and quickly became friends. The trio stayed in touch after the three school years and eventually they built a pact to become business partners in their own company. Their plan was to finish their studies and service and fly to Melbourne, Australia to try to establish trade connections.
Just a day before their trip they received a phone call with a business opportunity. A foreign company that built a two floor raft purchased a place in the Jaffa port with enough space for a pub with a small store downstairs. The demands from the Tel Aviv municipality were to pay a large deposit and for the pub to be open on holidays Pesach to Sukkot before it floats to its next destination. The foreign company had gone bankrupt before the pub even opened and if somebody wanted to operate it they would need to find a way to open within three days. In this phone call, a day before the flight to chase their new venture, Rony, Uri, and Michael were offered to take over the pub, for free. They were given 24 hours to decide if they, three young adults who have never run a pub in their life, nonetheless any business, would accept this out of the blue business proposition, and push back their original plan.
Rony, Uri, and Michael accepted their offer. They went to the local market to gather all of the kitchen-ware, changed the pub design for more capacity, and opened within 48 hours for business. The raft was up and running with lines outside throughout the holidays until it finished its stay in Jaffa. Their first major project was a success and Rony and his friends had their first face-to-face business management experience.
Five years later, Rony and Uri continued their business ventures and formed Halman-Aldubi Group in search of a new opportunity...
Before 1995, Israel’s provident fund market was totally monopolized by the big banks. The day that Rony read in the newspaper that the government is going to allow competition in the provident fund market, he made it his goal to get Halman-Aldubi licensed. Shortly after, 5 companies received a license for provident fund marketing: 4 companies with portfolio management services and/or mutual funds, and 1 new company, Halman-Aldubi.
To receive their license, Rony and Uri faced 3 main challenges that none of the other companies had.
Halman-Aldubi was not yet an investment house.
They didn’t have enough capital to be licensed as an official financial institution by the regulator.
They didn’t know how to have clients
Still hopeful, Rony went to the biggest private employer of Israel at the time, a security and cleaning company called Hashmira with 10,000 employees. When he arrived, Rony spoke with the son of the owner, Yigal Shermeister, and tried to negotiate business. Yigal told Rony that if he were to be licensed that they could split ownership 75% and 25% and he would bring in all the money, but was doubtful that the Ministry of Finance would grant Halman-Aldubi their request. Rony agreed to Yigal’s proposition and brought this agreement to the ministry of finance, which ended up working in his favor and leading him to beating the odds.
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