Israeli Tech Scene Endures During War
Aug. 7, 2014
As fighting between Israel and Hamas raged over the past week, Israeli tech companies had one of their best runs ever. Investors and buyers didn't stay away either, with one acquisition announced and four initial public offerings.
Still, quite a few startups in the country's busy tech sector had staff called away on mandatory military reserve duty, as did some of their suppliers and business partners.
"Young startups have had as much as 25% of their employees on reserve duty," said Yifat Oron, chief executive of Leumitech, a subsidiary of Bank Leumi, Israel's largest bank.
But experts say investors in Israel's tech industry are used to periodic instability.
"The market has long ignored the geopolitical risk factor of investing in Israeli companies. The more [intellectual property] is required to deliver the product, the less vulnerable it is to physical disruption, whether it's a war or an earthquake or a tsunami," said Adam Fisher, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, an American venture-capital firm with offices in Israel.
Over the past week, four Israeli companies went public, notable among them Mobileye, which notched the biggest-ever Israeli IPO in the U.S.
Alongside Mobileye's IPO, three Israeli biomedical companies - MacroCure, Bio Blast Pharma and VBL Therapeutics - went public last week on the Nasdaq, raising a combined $154 million.
For the full feature story on the Wall Street Journal click here.