Ronit Zimmer, Super Star Entrepreneur
Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Last week, we had the great honor to interview Ronit Zimmer, CEO and Founder of Rephraser. Ronit shared her insights regarding entrepreneurship in Israel, being a woman entrepreneur, as well as discussed her project and mission — Rephraser.
Rephraser.ai is an innovative productivity tool that instantly rephrases (or edits) non-native English into native English. The AI-based Rephraser generates native-language text to correct the language-specific phrasing errors made by non-native speaking populations.The company’s mission is to democratize communication and make native-business and academic-English accessible to everyone, everywhere.
Who is Ronit?
First, a Family Woman - An Israeli-Australian entrepreneur
- A true Tel Avivian
- A passionate business woman on a global mission to level the playing field for businesses, professionals and academics everywhere.
“ Tel Aviv is an incredible city to live in”
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Ronit Zimmer, I was born and bred in Melbourne, Australia, but Tel Aviv has been home for 17 years.
I am the Founder and CEO of Rephraser.ai, an instant native-English tool for global writers. I previously created Mailfixer.com, a human-based English communications platform, whose authentic human-written data served the development of the AI-based tool, Rephraser. I was formerly a department director at the Peres Center for Peace. After that I established a communications firm Beyond Israel, where we worked with a broad spectrum of companies, as well as non-profit organizations in the peacebuilding, human rights and women’s empowerment spaces. I studied Law and Arts (English/Political Science) and wrote an award-winning thesis on the laws in Israel and Palestine, as they relate to women.
Why did you decide to live in Israel and launch your startup in Tel Aviv?
I left Australia 17 years ago. After travelling for nearly a year in the Americas, my partner and I decided to move to Israel and create our family here. I wanted my children to identify as nationals citizens, rather than with a minority community (Jewish) in Australia, particularly one that has preserved its survival instinct (post-Holocaust) and therefore limits options to some extent. And I feel like we made the right decision — overall. Here in Tel Aviv and in Israel, children grow up within their neighborhoods, with much more freedom and independence to choose the rights paths for themselves. Of course, we miss our families and miss out on much of the wonderful things that living within an extended family offers, but we really love our life in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is about the entrepreneurial spirit, and it is very inspiring and influential.
What is the best part of your job and what do you love most about it?
Well, my job is very challenging, but the best part of it is the SATISFACTION! When you create something from nothing, and can ultimately say “WE DID IT”, and did it well — the feeling is extraordinary. I’d also add that we created Rephraser with a lot of love and a specific passion to better communications for ourselves and our international peers — hopefully also, one day with our neighbors in the true sense of the word. I am proud of our mission and of what we have accomplished. I feel a great sense of joy to have customers using our app who have enjoyed the magic of our instant results. Each day as an entrepreneur and CEO varies. Some days are difficult and challenging, and you wonder why you bother. And other days, when the technology works seamlessly and you have a glimmer of hope from a potential investor, customer or business agreement, my optimistic and more dominant side takes over, and the day can be truly satisfying. What’s certain is that on a personal level, I am growing in terms of my understanding of business, and my understanding of the world. This is all part of the entrepreneurial journey I assume — actually, I’m only really familiar with my journey. Everyone must experience their own individual journey.
Can you tell us about your experience of being a woman entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is a positive space for women as it offers independence and plays toward our multitasking strengths. We can prioritize according to our professional goals as well as our personal missions. I feel empowered to be able to juggle entrepreneurship and motherhood. But I do contend that it’s not easy nor suitable for every woman. As Virginia Woolf wrote, a woman requires a room of her own. I’ve been so privileged to have that room — physically and emotionally.
How long did it take you to implement Rephraser?
Well, I established Mailfixer.com four years ago, which I bootstrapped. The idea behind Mailfixer and its data are the backbone of Rephraser. It took us about a year to raise the funding to begin recruiting staff for Rephraser, and then slightly more than another year for its development and product launch.
Where do you see Rephraser in five years?
This depends on the day and whether I’m wearing my realist or optimist lenses. Optimistically, I envision Rephraser being used by millions of people worldwide, via various channels. I truly believe it is an effective and necessary productivity tool for professionals and SMBs globally. From an educational/academic perspective, I see Rephraser integrated into more comprehensive English learning platforms for pupils and students (30% of all standardized-English testing is allocated to writing), and as a consumer tool for international students worldwide.
What do you think are Rephraser’s most unique aspects?
Our state-of-the-art technology is completely unique and not used by a single competitor.
Our tech is based on neural network architecture (deep learning) that we meticulously customized for our purposes, and the training data is based primarily on texts from our human service Mailfixer, and is therefore absolutely unique.
We then developed an augmentation algorithm that allows us to optimize the data and create more and more examples in the 10s of millions — again we developed this model from scratch and is therefore 100% defensible and unique. All other grammar checking technologies employ rule- and statistics-based technology — traditional NLP. Our tech is at the cutting edge.