While some leftwing startups claim they are pulling their money out of Israel (and trying to convince others to do the same), at the very impressive OurCrowd summit in Jerusalem for VCs, investors and startup companies, we spoke with a number of Israeli startups (including some located in Tel Aviv) and they said they have no intention of leaving Israel or pulling their money out of the country.
The venture capital/hi tech summit was so packed with so many thousands of people that there wasn’t a parking lot available in any lots for blocks around the Binyanei Hauma building.
In the photo above is a very cool experimental flying vehicle that they were not raffling off or giving away – we asked.
Hillel Fuld has this to say about the OurCrowd numbers:
The 2023 @OurCrowd summit was totally bonkers!
— Hillel Fuld (@HilzFuld) February 15, 2023
“Today, in Jerusalem, Jonathan Medved and his team had:
– 1,700 investors from 35 countries.
– 9,000 people registered for the summit.
– Over 1,800 delegates from more than 400 multi national corporations.
– 573 representatives of OurCrowd portfolio companies.
– 323 governments representatives.
– 631 VCs from around the world.
– 305 members of the business press.
– 950 entrepreneurs.
This summit was the biggest one to date and it was truly insane. No other way to describe it. The mayor of Jerusalem came. The president came. It was nuts.
Over 2,000 prearranged 1:1 meetings between hundreds of OurCrowd’s portfolio companies and hundreds of multinational corporations.
Just walking the floor, I bumped into some HUGE tech investors who write $400 million checks, leading lawyers, accountants, journalists, bloggers, CEOs, CFOs, marketers, kids, moms, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers, and on and on.
It felt like the whole world was there.
Don’t believe what you read. Israel and its business sector is doing just fine.”
President Isaac Herzog spoke on Wedneday morning to the OurCrowd participants. Here’s his speech, in case you missed it earlier.
“Shalom, to all of you! Good morning! I am so happy to see so many people from over 80 countries here in Jerusalem. The First Lady and I are so happy to be part of this very impressive conference. I want to say thanks to our good friend Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd; Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion; to our friends from all over the world and especially the Gulf states who are here with us, including the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, and ambassadors and distinguished visitors, ladies and gentlemen.
Dear Jon spoke about some current events. I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’re a quiet, tranquil, serene nation. But I think that’s makes us so great. We are a nation that combines people of the Jewish faith who came from over 100 origins, we have Muslims of all denominations, Christians of all denominations, Druze, and Circassians, in a small strip of land where we all live together and practice our democracy and beliefs. And I truly believe that this historic moment in the story of the State of Israel is actually an exemplification of the unique stature of our society and the way it is so exciting, the way it is open, the fact we debate so many issues. And in fact, we are at a critical juncture in a national debate about the way our democracy is structured. I think the same way you see the innovative spirit of the State of Israel, you also see it in this debate. And I am very proud of my brothers and sisters, the Israelis taking an active role in the debate from all of its sides. All I can say about myself is that I’m doing my best to direct this debate into a constructive dialogue that will lead to an agreed-upon result that will strengthen, and foster, and protect Israeli democracy. I can say that I don’t know if I can reach results, but I can say that I’m giving 100% effort with the hope that I can reach the same 100% results. I can’t promise 100% results. I can promise 100% effort.
It’s great to be back at the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit and to welcome you from around the world to our beautiful capital. It is especially exciting to welcome our brothers and sisters from the Abraham Accord countries, with whom a joint conference of this nature would have been pure fantasy only a few short years ago. It is an inspiring reminder of what can become possible with goodwill, openness, and an intention to harness our collective creativity toward finding solutions that benefit us all. We even share some incredible tastes and culinary experiences, as you will hear later on.
This, my friends, is the call of the future of humanity. And it relates so directly to what you all are doing here at this outstanding conference. The fact is that the future will be determined not by the resources of the ground, but by the resources of our minds. But there is another piece. And that is our willingness to share our knowledge resources with each other, to collaborate, for the common good. Of course, while natural resources are limited and exhaustible—shrinking as they are used—the meeting of minds is a gift that keeps us all going on. It is truly the most fertile, and worthwhile, of human endeavors.
My good friend, Jon Medved, I believe that what you have built in Israel with OurCrowd speaks to all of us. You are an incredible human being and I love your openness and your optimism and your energy! There is no question that as one of Israel’s most active venture investors, you are empowering trailblazers in fields that are key to our shared future. But your unique platform also underscores another critical feature of progress. And that is that is that it flourishes within a community. You have created a community where people converge to advance goals that emerge from new and challenging and changing circumstances.
You know, just a few weeks ago I addressed the Cybertech conference and surprised the audience by revealing that part of my speech was written by a special helper: Open AI’s ChatGPT robot. It was yet more tangible evidence that we are in new era of discovery and change. But it was also a reminder that our future lies not only with our technology, but with our uniquely human capacity to choose to use it to make a better world. Technology can be an answer to many of our problems and challenges. But it can never replace the intention for good that is at the heart of our human civilization.
Dear friends, it is no surprise to anyone that chief among humanity’s problems right now is a global climate disaster of enormous proportions. That is why I have made work on climate change a top priority for my presidency. Already, the Israel Climate Forum that I put into place at the President’s Residence has put more than sixty proposals forward for implementation—the fruits of the joint labors of a broad cross-section of experts and stakeholders, from government and academia, to the private sector and NGO and civil society. This is the spirit of collaboration on which our future world depends. And I invite each of you to step forward with whatever unique tools you bring to the table to join our collaborative endeavors and be part of humanity’s response to this unique challenge of our time.
In our own region, I believe that working with partners old and new we can transform the Middle East into the Net Zero Region, a global hub of sustainable solutions in food, water and health, which can supply renewable energy, mostly solar—this is my dream—solar energy from this region to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is possible as Israel is now negotiating electricity connectors with Greece and Cyprus which will lead electricity derived from solar energy and other sources from the enormous resources of our region to Europe, Asia, and Africa. And I believe that we can harness them to make a more secure and sustainable region that lives in peace.
My friends, I thank you for participating in this summit. Enjoy Israel. Enjoy the brilliant human tapestry of this magnificent country and city. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to advance the technologies, ventures, and most importantly, the human partnerships that will position us to solve our planet’s greatest challenges and leave a lasting imprint on our human story. Toda raba and shalom.”