The Israel Web Tour is less than a month away and it’s already making headlines. Michael Arrington posted about the fifteen Israeli companies chosen to tour Silicon Valley (covered on VC Cafe), and sparked a debate in the comments section.
TechCrunch’s short post sparked a political debate spanning across 59 comments, questioning the right of Israel to defend itself, asking where are all the Palestinian startups, questioning foreign aid etc. My favorite, was comment #42, who wondered if the tour was sponsored by the taxpayer. Not only it’s privately funded, but also note that CICC is not connected in to the Israeli or US government.
Folks, why are you so angry? The fact that Israel is a tiny country with the highest ratio of startups per capita in the world is remarkable. In 2007 alone, Israeli tech startups raised $1.76 billion, breaking a six year record. The companies that were selected to the web tour in Silicon Valley have worked hard to develop game-changing products – they just happen to be Israeli. To quote Shuly Galili, the organizer of the tour:
there is nothing political about this visit. Israeli startups gravitate towards new markets since they lack a sizable local one. This is nothing new in our global economy. The fact is…once they establish their US presence the local economy benefits from hundreds of new jobs. There are many such efforts by other countries and it is what keeps this industry and region so fresh with new ideas and innovations.
I wish all the fifteen startups good luck on the tour. Hope to see you soon in California.