Israel-Conference-Speaker-Itzik-Cohen

Itzik Cohen, Founder and CEO of ClipSync speaking at The Israel Conference in 2009. Image courtesy of The Israel Conference.

Yossi Vardi was recently interviewed about the upcoming second annual Israel Conference in LA that he is co-chairing. The conference will include speakers from Israeli companies in the cleantech, enterprise and mobile sectors among others.

Asked about what the business connection is between Israel and Southern California, he responded,

“I’ve come to visit Southern California and a number of startups, and always find I have to prolong my visit, because of the interest and very strong links. There’s lots of potential between the new media community in Los Angeles, the telecom industry in San Diego, all across this corridor between Los Angeles and San Diego, and Israel. There are 10′s and 10′s and 10′s of companies interested in Israel, mainly because new media and telecom, which are two of the major components of Israel’s high tech industry. Qualcomm has a huge development center in Israel, as do other companies. There’s a very high level of affinity.”

The goal of the one-day event is to take advantage of this by helping Israeli startups to expand business and investment opportunities between Israel and California. Over $10 billion of investable capital will be represented by some of the largest venture capital firms that invest in Israel, including Sequoia Capital, Shamrock Holdings and Giza Venture Capital.

Some facts about Israel and its ties to California include:

  • More than 3,000 start-ups have been launched in Israel, second only to the United States.
  • Significant Israeli companies have corporate offices in California with job creation in the hundreds of thousands worldwide.  A number of these are Fortune 500 companies such as Check Point, SanDisk, Magic Software, VocalTec Communications, AudioCodes, and Amdocs.
  • In 2009, foreign direct investment in Israel reached $3.8 billion.
  • Israeli high-tech capital raising in 2009 reached $1.12 billion across 447 Israeli high-tech companies, with 124 companies raising $275 million in the fourth quarter.  Sixty-seven companies attracted more than $1 million each.

Returning to the conference this year will be Bob Rosenschein, the CEO and Founder of Answers.com, one of the twenty most-visited sites on the web.