Safra Catz (right) with Calcalist's Sophie Shulman.

Tech TLV
Oracle CEO Safra Catz: “We believe now is a very good time to be in Israel”

One of the most powerful people in global tech discussed why she is visiting Israel during the war, how she knows VCs will continue to invest in local tech, and the importance of Jewish unity and resilience

Safra Catz - Tech TLV
(Sinai David)

“From October 7th I feel like we have been in this trauma, catastrophe really from the first moment. There's before October 7th, and there's after, and it's been a really remarkable and difficult time,” said Oracle CEO Safra Catz in an exclusive interview during Calcalist's Tech TLV conference on Monday. “And I can tell you on October 8th, my sister and I, we wanted to fly immediately and help. But we looked in the mirror and we realized we were going to be a burden. So what we did was first sort of hug our employees, hug my Oracle employees by doing everything we could think of and put on our website ‘We stand with Israel’, not only on our Israeli website or even on our American website, but on our websites around the world in the local language. And as you know, we operate in a lot of countries. And it was very important for us to make sure we made a powerful message about how important Israel is and what the difference is between good and evil.”
So let's talk a bit about your plans for Oracle and Israel. Do you plan to expand less or even make some reductions because of the situation or the opposite?
“Okay, don't even say reductions, that's crazy talk. We're doubling down as they say. Remember, we are the first ones that invested and built a cloud in Israel, nine floors underground with not a single contract in the bag, without a single promise from the government or from the military. Nothing. We put our own money. We said Israel has to have a secure cloud. And it has to be so because we live in a bad neighborhood. We have to put it nine floors underground, because you never know, and you can't risk the resiliency of all the businesses that run on us. So we went ahead and ours was the first cloud. And the bigger our business gets, the more I want to invest. Oracle's cloud business around the world has exploded. The only problem I'm having right now is building fast enough for demand. It is literally the only problem I'm having.”
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כנס TechTLV - צפרא כץ מנכ"לית אורקל Oracle בשיחה עם סופי שולמן
כנס TechTLV - צפרא כץ מנכ"לית אורקל Oracle בשיחה עם סופי שולמן
Safra Catz (right) with Calcalist's Sophie Shulman.
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
Catz dispelled notions of Israel missing the AI train, insisting that it is well placed to lead the second generation of AI.
“The greatest minds in the world, some of the greatest experts and greatest papers ever written on AI, are written by Israelis.
“They said about us at Oracle that we missed the cloud train. Let me tell you: Those second generations are always better. We missed the cloud so we have a second generation cloud, and Israel will lead the second generation of AI. You'll see. No one adjusts to new challenges. No one thinks of things that are unthinkable like the Israelis. There is no tech community in the world more adaptable, more incredible than this one. I'm telling you now that those of you who are worried that capital will not invest in Israel because of this or because of that, don't worry. I'll tell you why. This very morning, I got an email from one of the leading venture capital funds, one of the single largest funds in the world. And what are they doing? They're bringing a delegation of investors back to Israel. Everyone took a while, just like me. I didn't come earlier because I didn't want be a burden.
“This is not a sprint, it's a marathon. And you know what? We're going win. And no one wants to miss out on winning. We're going win. We're not going to stop. And no one wants to miss. Everyone wants to be with a winner. And that's what's happening here.”
We were all surprised in Israel by the high levels of antisemitism in the world, and specifically in U.S. universities. How can we cope with that from Israel? How can we raise awareness to the horrible violence that happened here on October 7th?
“Whenever the Jewish people are weak, bad things happen. Whenever we're divided, bad things happen. But you know what? Ultimately we rise up from the ashes. I literally was standing basically where ashes had been yesterday, and we are stronger every time. And America in particular loves a winner. And Israel is a winner. It always has been. And it's going to be again. And that's going to end all of this. You'll see.”
Are you planning more investments in Generative AI startups like you made in the Cohere?
“Absolutely. Listen, but it's not only AI. AI is amazing and fantastic and is going to be part of everything everyone does. And then there's gonna be new ideas, new capabilities, and we continue to do enormous amounts of work because we need to change, literally change complete industries. For any of you who live and work in healthcare, healthcare is still in the 20th century. Imagine if we can use our technology not only to make accounting better and HR better and things like that, but imagine if we can use it to save lives. And that's what we're working on.”
So do you plan any investments or acquisitions in Israel in that field?
“Well, I can't tell you about acquisitions, but for us, you know, I have a saying for our Israeli team: ‘Just say yes’. So we are constantly looking. We are evaluating a number of Israeli technologies right this minute. And some are in, well, you know what? I shouldn't give it away. We're very open-minded, and anything that helps enterprises, governments, and citizens to be more successful may be a very good fit for us. We believe now is a very good time to be right here in Israel.”
The full interview can be watched in the video above.