When TV’s talking heads ask serial entrepreneur and investment guru Jon Medved whether the current conflict with Hamas is harming Israel’s high-tech sector, he points out some surprising facts: Investors poured $920 million into Israeli startups in the second quarter of 2014.
Mobileye, ReWalk Robotics, MapiPharma and three other Israeli companies are moving ahead with major IPOs. On July 29 Mobileye increased the amount of money it plans raising in its NYSE IPO by 22 percent, to more than $600 million. And, believe it or not, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is up since the start of hostilities less than a month ago.
“Go figure that out,” he says. “This is a pattern that’s repeated itself in the last three wars. Israelis are pretty resilient.” Medved, CEO of the Jerusalem-based OurCrowd equity crowdfunding platform, does not deny that the stress Israelis are feeling extends to those in high-tech. “Most of us view our roles in this crisis as a form of reserve duty,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “It’s hard to stay focused when you have kids in the army or the reserves, and when you have to go to stand in a safe area or stairwell because of incoming missiles, and if suddenly an important business visit was cancelled because the person didn’t want to fly in. That makes life more difficult, but you realize your inconvenience is nothing compared to the sacrifice our kids are making in the fight itself, so you soldier on and get the job done.”
He says OurCrowd’s 48 portfolio companies “report that it’s business as usual in this rather unusual place we live. Many startup executives are pulling [military] shifts in the conflict and then running home to finish a product and then going right back into the conflict. For a few weeks, people can survive that way.” (via Israel21c)
[Photo: Eirikso / Flickr]