Setting up barriers to globalization is bad for economies and especially bad for technology, Jon Medved, the Israeli venture capitalist who heads the crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, said Wednesday at a press conference in Jerusalem.
“A lot of people look at globalization and become afraid one way or another, and I think that is a mistaken notion that is based on lack of understanding, especially in technology,” Medved said, ahead of a global investor conference that will be held in the capital on Thursday.
“Technology is an international business and building companies today is an international business. Silicon Valley depends on its ties around the world. You cannot stop the flow of technology.”
Medved’s comments come as the high-tech community in the US has expressed concern that President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries will hurt its technological edge. In Israel a lack of engineers and programmers is prompting the industry to call on lawmakers to allow foreign workers to bridge the skilled manpower gaps.
Collaboration between countries and companies is the way forward to ensure economic growth and jobs in today’s world, Medved said. It is all about how to cooperate, “not how do we steal jobs, but how do we create jobs, how do we create value, make money together.”
OurCrowd said that there are over 17,000 accredited investors using its crowdfunding platform, with $400 million invested to date in 100 portfolio companies and five funds.
A Massachusetts-Israel Economic Impact Study presented by David Goodtree at the press conference shows that in 2015 over 200 Israeli-founded businesses in the greater Boston area directly employed 9,000 people and posted over $9 billion in revenue, generating over $18 billion in economic benefit to Massachusetts and representing almost 4 percent of the state’s gross domestic product that year.
Israel holds an important position in a world in which technology drives growth, Medved said. Just as US investments power the Israeli economy and its high-tech sector, so Israel helps power the US economic growth, Medved said, as entrepreneurs, setting up their businesses in the US, create jobs and opportunities.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that calls for a boycott of Israeli goods is not a “major factor” in the business sector, Medved noted, even if it may be felt in college campuses and in certain other organizations. “In the business world we see the opposite. Israel is the big, positive, warm brand” in Asian countries like China, India and Japan too.
He forecast Israel would see growing investments from Japan over the next two to three years — as the Japanese “are sitting on a lot of cash.” And as Europe becomes more focused on technology, Israel will also get more attention from there too.
More than 6,000 guests from 82 countries and representatives from 200 multinational corporations are expected to attend OurCrowd’s Global Investor Summit that will take place in Jerusalem on Thursday. It will include over 60 booths demonstrating a variety of technologies, including industrial drones, companion care robots, miniature spectrometers that allow you to “google” everything and phone-based glucose monitors.