tech on duty header d new
tech on duty header
Michael Eisenberg, managing partner at Aleph

Michael Eisenberg: "Our children's generation is turning out to be the best in history"

Michael Eisenberg, managing partner at Aleph, has numerous children in reserve duty fighting against Hamas. In addition, he and his firm Aleph just led an investment in an Israeli company, Dream Security. The agreement was signed on the Gaza border only 30 days after the October 7th massacre. He is optimistic, believes in the future of Israel and its tech industry, and he'll make you optimistic, too

Lior Avisar
Michael Eisenberg embodies what it means to be Israeli. We initially asked to interview him for this column because he is a managing partner at Aleph, an early stage venture capital firm. Then, several minutes into our conversation, it was clear that he was also being interviewed as the father of several enlisted children, as someone who has worked tirelessly to help the country since the October 7th massacre, and as an Israeli and a believing Jew. Michael has three enlisted sons and two enlisted sons-in-law, four of whom are in Gaza.
2 View gallery
Michael Eisenberg, managing partner at Aleph
Michael Eisenberg, managing partner at Aleph
Michael Eisenberg, managing partner at Aleph
(Courtesy of Alpha)
"We keep the Sabbath. Early in the morning on October 7, which was also the holiday of Simchat Torah, my son, who is in the middle of his mandatory military service and is always on standby, received a phone call and was called up. Another son, who serves in reserve duty in another unit, turned on his phone and was told to get ready. A few minutes later, I looked at my phone, too, for what might have been the first time ever on a Saturday. There was a text message from Ami Daniel, the CEO of Windward, one of our portfolio companies: "Please call me as soon as you can." How did he know I would turn on my phone? He knows I keep Shabbat. After a few minutes of deliberation, I called him and heard – there's a war."
“Ami is a real hero. He saved dozens if not hundreds of people. I just tried to help him.” In the hours that followed, Michael connected Ami with regular people who had traveled south with weapons and jeeps to try and save civilians. Ami ran a command center from his home in Hod Hasharon, coordinating operations to rescue survivors who were still hiding at the Nova music festival or trapped in their homes in southern Israel.
"My oldest son took our younger son to catch a bus in Jerusalem so he could return to his army unit. The older son returned, hugged his pregnant wife, and a few hours later left to pick up his own gear and go to his unit. I stayed at home on the phone just trying to do what I could to help coordinate with Ami and others. This initiative led by Ami quickly became “Kvar Baim”, which translates to “we’re on our way”, and is a real product built together with my partner Eden Shochat and other Israeli entrepreneurs to help first responders rescue civilians in emergency situations. Since then, I've been trying to do as much as possible at the national level. In cooperation between “Brothers In Arms” and the “Shomer Hachadash”, we established a program called "Mishmer" – recruiting ultra-Orthodox Israelis to train for security detail and protect cities and towns throughout Israel. Thousands have signed up, and many hundreds are already undergoing training.”
Keep the economy running
And in your role as an Israeli venture capital investor?
"We are a proud Israeli Zionist fund. Every team member is doing their part; of course, we also have employees who have been called up to reserve duty. But at the same time, we needed to get back to normal as soon as possible because routine is important in wartime and during times of stress. “Shigra,” as they call it in Hebrew, is code for how this country and our people keep moving forward even when surrounded by chaos or the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. And even when our sons and daughters are called up to the military.
At Aleph, it is particularly important because we need the fund to perform for our investors, for our entrepreneurs and for this country. The economy must keep functioning. We're back in our office; we've asked portfolio companies to go back to their offices. People need to see people for their mental health and for productivity. We are active. In fact, we just announced an investment in Dream Security, which was signed on the thirtieth day after the terrible massacre, and we signed the agreement itself on the Gaza border."
Are you worried about the future of the high-tech industry?
"The good companies are always in demand. The decline in global tech since November 19, 2021 has affected investment even more than the war, and it continues to this day. Less successful companies will shut down. But this is the natural cycle of venture capital. Even during the war, we are still closing financing rounds at our portfolio companies, led by international funds. We are still looking at new companies and investing. I'm optimistic. Israeli entrepreneurs have insane resilience, proving it even now during this war when they succeed in covering for their teams that are in reserve duty. They deliver! Show me somewhere else in the world that works like this, delivering under adversity and while missing large swaths of your team due to reserve duty and civic obligations. Our citizens are amazing. The best there is."
Do you have advice for entrepreneurs at this time?
"Now is the time for anyone thinking of starting a company. It's time to build; it's time to recover. We were down. Physically, morally, and we suffered a grave toll in human life. But we all must get up, shake off the dust, and move on. And Israeli high-tech is a significant part of that effort and resilience. Hamas and their sympathizers will delegitimize us forever. I wish there had been a pre-emptive effort by the government to prevent this, but there wasn't. Therefore, it is the job of the high-tech industry to advocate for Israel. Build good, ethical companies that do good things in the world. Build companies that make the world a better place. If high-tech is a good ambassador for the values of the people of Israel and the State of Israel, it will do us good as a country and as a business.”
2 View gallery
Signing the contract near the Gaza border
Signing the contract near the Gaza border
Signing the contract near the Gaza border
(Tamar Matsafi)
The best generation in Israel
And what else needs to be done to strengthen the country?
"This country is good. The people here are amazing. And we have a crazy opportunity to invite a quality wave of aliyah to Israel, and people will come voluntarily. We need to encourage them to come; we need programs; we need funding, for example, $10 million for a scientist to set up a laboratory here. You only need a few superstar scientists or entrepreneurs who can be the proverbial “pillar of fire before the camp”. Let them move their center of life here to Israel from the United States, from England, and become a critical part of rebuilding our country."
Thank you, Michael, for the fascinating and optimistic conversation. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
"Yes. Many Israeli parents were concerned about whether this smartphone generation would know how to conduct themselves if there was a war. We discovered that our children are the best generation in history. The defining generation, who got up from behind their screens and went to fight fiercely for the freedom of the people of Israel. We’re blessed with a wonderful young generation. We have a lot to learn from them. And we need to make them role models for all the world's children. They are the definition of resourcefulness. They define courage. They exemplify real values. This generation is not as “confused” as many thought; it is determined. We are the ones who got confused."