Israeli tech execs seek UK funds to help create a startup for every Oct. 7 victim

Tech veterans, led by entrepreneurs Izhar Shay and Dov Moran, to embark on capital-raising spree in fields of cyber, AI and food tech at Israel investment summit in London

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Tel Aviv's financial business district skyline, June 2022. (Elijah Lovkoff via iStock by Getty Images)
Tel Aviv's financial business district skyline, June 2022. (Elijah Lovkoff via iStock by Getty Images)

A group of Israeli tech executives, led by entrepreneur Izhar Shay, who lost his son Yaron on the first day of the fighting with the Hamas terror group, will be meeting with UK-based private and institutional investors in London on Thursday to help raise capital for local startups and new ventures following the October 7 atrocities.

With Israel more than two months into a war with Hamas, and many tech executives and employees on reserve duty, local startups are struggling to attract essential funding, in particular from foreign investors, while major deals will likely not happen. The Israeli army called up more than 350,000 reservists after the brutal Hamas assault on southern Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and saw at least 240 abducted to Gaza. Israel swiftly declared war with the intention of toppling the terror group’s regime in Gaza and securing the release of the hostages.

The Israeli delegation, which includes tech veteran Dov Moran, will participate in the ReStartIL summit in London on December 14 to try and renew trust among investors and kick the Israeli startup scene back into higher gear.

At the London summit, 30 Israeli startups and entrepreneurs will present their technology to 200 British private and institutional investors and business leaders. Presentations will include sessions covering three areas to raise capital for investment in dual-use technologies for civilian and security deployment; agriculture, agritech and foodtech; and AI and cyber.

The sessions will include a survey of trends and opportunities in Israel as well as meetings and networking between investors and entrepreneurs.

Among the speakers at the summit are Moran; Yossi Matias of Google Israel; Guy Cherni, co-founder of Climate First; Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, founder of Safe Dome VC and former director general of the Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry; and Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely.

Yaron Oree Shay in an undated photo from his father Izhar Shay (used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).

As part of the conference, Shay, a former Israeli science and technology minister, will officially launch a project named “Next October,” an initiative that aims to establish 1,200 new Israeli startups, one in memory of every fallen soldier and murdered civilian of the October 7 massacre. The project seeks to help revive the tech sector and create thousands of jobs.

Over the coming year, the initiative plans to help establish more than 500 startups, each one dedicated to one of the October 7 victims, and by 2025, more than 1,200 startups.

Shay initiated the project after his son Sgt. Yaron Oree Shay, a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces’ Nahal Brigade, was killed on October 7 during fierce clashes with Hamas terrorists in the Kibbutz Kerem Shalom area near the border with the Gaza Strip.

“Next October is the correct response of the Western civilized world to the evil represented by Hamas murderers who started a war against Israel and, in fact, against the Western world as well,” said Shay. “The companies that will grow under the auspices of this initiative will employ workers, and build innovative products and services that will be deployed around the world and contribute to creating a better world.”

Among the partners that have joined the project are more than 100 companies and venture capital firms, including Meta, OurCrowd and Pitango.

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