We’ve all heard about the remarkable Israeli spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the publication of Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle in 2009 solidified Israel’s role as a global leader of innovation. This week, our Federation embarked on an extraordinary collaboration with UCLA Hillel and the 8200 Alumni Association, which brings together professionals who served in Israel’s elite cyber/tech IDF unit. Hands down, the IDF’s 8200 unit is responsible for churning out some of Israel’s biggest successes and exports, and whose alumni go on to develop technologies that have revolutionized industries and changed the world. Amongst its stated goals, the 8200 Alumni Association runs an accelerator that matches its participants with titans of industry in business, banking, technology, and other fields, and provides them with opportunities to network amongst their prestigious colleagues.
A week-long tour across Greater Los Angeles kicked off Monday morning with the four members of the delegation participating in L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s Global Tech Summit at Microsoft, a forum dedicated to fostering the connectivity between Los Angeles and the Israeli tech startup community, where they participated in a panel discussion on the unique qualities and characteristics that makeup the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit. Guy Katsovich, who serves as the Chair of the Young Alumni of the 8200 Unit said, “We are really fortunate to visit L.A., such a wonderful city for start-ups and full of innovation. We were happy to share our own experiences as entrepreneurs, as well as present our perspectives about the benefits and challenges this unique path has. We were happy to see local entrepreneurs who were willing to hear stories about innovation from the other side of the world. I think we have a lot in common, and looking forward to potential collaboration.”
Katsovich serves as the Business Development Manager of Veribo and is the Co-Founder of Wize, which provides a large variety of opportunities for young professionals like himself to hear outstanding, science-oriented lectures at local bars in Israel.
It was the first annual gathering of influentials in the L.A. community to discuss Israeli innovation. Attendees also included select Microsoft policymakers, Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy Dana Erlich, consultants, marketers, entrepreneurs, and high tech mobilizers from across L.A. This year, the Summit hosted the 8200 delegation to hear their personal stories and input on the Israeli start-up community, and to hear about the innovative work being done to connect and convene the IDF’s most sought-after alumni.
On Thursday, May 1st, the delegation will participate in one of our Federation’s third installment of the TLV Talks forum, this time focusing on “Israel’s High Tech Heroes.” This event is a partnership between the Federation and the Israeli American Council’s BINA salons for young professionals, and convenes young adults from across Greater Los Angeles to hear and discuss innovative Israeli social and technological innovations. Click here to register for this event.
In addition to our TLV Talks event, the group has a packed schedule, with events planned at UCLA and USC, discussions with business leaders from across the San Fernando Valley, a visit with the Federation’s Business & Professionals Divisions in Century City, presentations to high school and university student leaders throughout Southern California, and a gig this Sunday, May 4th, at the UCLA Center for Israel Studies’ Israel in 3D conference.
For more information, contact Dan Gold at DGold@JewishLA.org.