Israel Conference Draws Global Tech Entrepreneurs

The fourth annual Israel Conference, recently held in Southern California, brought together entrepreneurs, professionals, and investors from all over the world who are interested in getting a piece of the Israeli tech pie.

Over 70 speakers addressed a capacity audience of more than 700 attendees. Many of the panels and companies represented came from the full scope of Israel’s tech industry. In addition to the country’s more well known companies in the computer hardware or biomedical fields, the presence of consumer-focused products and industries indicated a broadening appeal of Israeli know-how.

The Lighter Side of Israeli Business

For example, Israel’s gaming and entertainment industries were well represented. One panel called “Israel in Hollywood” featured speakers like Howard Rosenman, producer of “Sparkle” and Jon Turtletaub, producer of “National Treasure.” Companies and investors were also interested in the growth of Israel’s mobile gaming and advertising firms. Another panel featured Yahoo’s Head of Games Ross Avner, Roy Bahat, president of IGN Entertainment, and Blizzard Entertainment’s Chief of Staff Itzik Ben-Bassat to talk about video gaming innovations in Israel.

Shaul Olmert, director of GameGround, said, “Israel is not the global capital of gaming yet, but it’s growing, and technology is its point of entry, …Teens in Israel want to create content and games and become entrepreneurs.”

Another company getting a lot of interest was SodaStream, an Israeli company that uses a unique process to combine liquids for consumer drinks. Last year, SodaStream raised more than $261 million in its secondary offering, which is the most an Israeli company has raised on Wall Street. Yonah Lloyd, SodaStream’s Director of Corporate Communications, said the company is looking to partner with other consumer food producers. “I’d love to collaborate and make some coffee or chocolatey drink for SodaStream.”

Defense is Still King

Of course, Israel’s famed defense industries got their fair share of attention at the conference. The two companies that sparked the greatest response and interest were Space IL and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Rafael is the developer of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. Gidi Weiss, Rafael’s business development manager, spoke about the broad potential of Iron Dome, “The Iron Dome saves the lives of our enemies, too, as it eliminates conflict escalation.”

Space IL, based in Tel Aviv, is looking to make Israel the next nation to land on the moon, and it expects to do it more cheaply than anyone else. The company’s goal is to win Google’s Lunar X Prize, $30 million, by landing a spacecraft on the moon by 2015.

Filed Under: BusinessJewish business News

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Menachem Greenfield About the Author: Menachem was previously a feature article writer for the Milwaukee Journal. He currently runs a small publishing business in Michigan focusing on books and magazines for the tourist industry. He is looking forward to writing for Jewocity and connecting with its readers. More about Menachem

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