Startup Nation UnitedHitech4Israel: A Startup Nation’s Call to Action
Startup Nation United
Hitech4Israel: A Startup Nation’s Call to Action
Israeli tech enthusiasts unite in service of the state and its citizens to provide the necessary equipment and assistance rapidly, urgently, and efficiently.
It is hard to think of our country, Israel, as lucky these days. Yet in the midst of mourning and aching for this war that continues to take the lives of so many, we see how our Startup Nation mentality has become a core tenet to our rebuilding from the disasters of October 7th.
Hitech4Israel is one such organization embodying this Startup Nation’s unique energy and ability. We spoke to Gal Barzilay, COO of boosst and a personal friend, about this initiative and how it leans on the support of Israel’s high-tech community to impact volunteers and security forces.
Its story is part of Startup Nation United, a series showcasing how individuals and organizations in the tech industry have united under a common vision to do their part during the ongoing war. The podcast is produced and moderated by Michael Matias and Yaffa Abadi, in collaboration with CTech, as a spin-off of the popular podcast series “20 Minutes Leaders”, also published in collaboration with CTech.
Having served during the Tsuk Eitan War of 2014, Gal knows how important those extra hands are in times of crisis. As her co-founder left to serve on the frontlines, her energy went into how she could best support the IDF this time around, a war of a different scale. She banded together with Guy Katsovich, founder of Fusion VC, and tens of entrepreneurs, investors, and more in the high-tech ecosystem to form Hitech4israel. It is an organization that mimics a ferocious startup: fast, organized, urgent.
The first gap their team looked to fill was locating those missing from the nature rave where Hamas terrorists murdered hundreds. In a matter of hours, they established a headquarters in an empty office, brought their own equipment, and turned it into an intelligence agency. With the help of intelligence personnel, contacting the festival organizers, scanning social media, and placing phone calls, they located 300 missing people, 35 of whom were found alive.
Their second point of action was to efficiently and rapidly gather requests from the field to purchase necessary equipment for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers called to reserve duty, from underwear and coats to vests and helmets.
From there, their activities branched out. To date, they have provided essential military equipment and welfare support to soldiers across 130 military units, which is more than 30,000 pieces of equipment. Their fundraising efforts have resulted in around $220,000 in donations, with a goal of reaching $500,000 in the near future. They maintain relationships with civilian centers to ensure resources get where they need. Every day, from the early morning hours, dozens of volunteers in their logistics system take care of 13 main needs from the field: underwear, coats, socks, green knit shirts, mattresses, earplugs, heating bags, headlamps, blankets, watches, warmers, and medical equipment.
Gal is sure to stress that their work is nowhere near done.
“People really needed the equipment. They still need it and that’s something that I want to share. Nothing has stopped yet. The rush of the beginning was massive… but we still have hundreds of units waiting for the equipment. This is why we continue to fundraise.”
Hitech4Irael is able to accomplish its tremendous feats in hours and days thanks to its high-tech expertise, and the high-tech community to which it belongs.
With 50 initial team members, all coming from high-tech backgrounds, between 400 to 500 volunteers, and 50 high-tech companies actively promoting them and supporting them: be it through marketing, funding, or volunteers, it is the high-tech circle of life.
As for Gal who finds herself a solo founder for the time being, helping serve her country is her number one priority. Yet the resilience born out of this initiative will remain steadfast for her, and for all those entrepreneurs who have put their efforts primarily into their volunteer projects in this time of crisis.
Down the line, this generation of founders will be the most resilient executors the world has seen, and the economy will recover with a wave of gusto. It is the type of entrepreneurship shown by Gal, Guy, and by all of those in our series, that makes great leaders. Leaders for their companies or their nation in its time of need.
Yaffa Abadi is the founder and CEO of Abadi Brands, a boutique consultancy specializing in personal branding and thought leadership for investors.
Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the CEO of Clarity, a startup that preserves trust in digital media by fighting deepfakes, and an active angel investor in the AI and Cyber domain.