Izhar Shay

Mind the Tech NY 2024
Next October: resilience, entrepreneurship and optimism

Izhar Shay and his son Ophir spoke at Calcalist and Bank Leumi’s Mind the Tech conference in New York about the "Next October" project that was established to commemorate his son Yaron, who fell on October 7th in the defense of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom

Izhar Shay, the former Minister of Science, and his son Ophir spoke about the Next October project at Calcalist and Bank Leumi’s Mind the Tech conference in New York. On the seventh of October, Yaron Shai, Izhar’s son and Ophir’s brother, fell defending Kibbutz Kerem Shalom.
Izhar Shay said that although Next October begins with a personal story, “this is not about us, but a story about you. It’s about a conference that talks about innovation and the future of high-tech. We need to think of three significant words - resilience, entrepreneurship and optimism. Yaron was part of a special unit of the Nahal Brigade that was on the border for four weeks, and he fell on the first day of the war. They guarded Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, and in the morning they were attacked by hundreds of terrorists whose goal was to murder. There were three of them in the team - Yaron, his commander and another soldier, and they faced an attack designed to destroy the whole kibbutz. They fought for about an hour, our son was lost and many were injured, but the kibbutz was not damaged and everyone will return to the kibbutz when it becomes possible. Not only the people of the kibbutz were saved, but also many non-combat soldiers who were there. When we were sitting shivah at home and thinking about how to commemorate Yaron's personality, we decided that instead of planting trees, we would establish as many startup companies as the number of soldiers and all the victims of the seventh of October in memory of all those who lost their lives that day. The Next October project is not just a memorial, but is intended to stimulate innovation and jump start the number of companies and initiatives and ignite the Startup Nation as it was before October 7 - and this is the audience that will take it forward.”
Ophir Shay, Izhar’s older son, went on to say: "For the past few years I have worked at a high-tech company and I really love the company. But the thing I liked the most was being Yaron’s big brother, and everything I do now is in his memory. We don't invest, we just help the initiative to succeed and connect investors from all over the world to companies. After we connect them, we will put them in touch with families of victims from October 7th. My mother and her team will help preserve the memory of the victims. We want the companies to succeed, and we will do everything possible to help them with mentoring and entrepreneurship. This is a dual approach - we want companies to establish a significant business, and at the same time we want them to also remember the victims. The companies undertake to honor the victims in any way they can according to the company's capabilities, to talk about them at events or mention them in any way, so that everyone knows who these people are. My brother, for example, was a big sports fan and I want everyone to know that.
“The companies we are looking for are young and have a good business opportunity and need to be founded only by Israelis. We are building a fund for raising capital and connecting entrepreneurs. Our companies do not ask for a donation but want to create value and raise capital to invest in companies. Our advisory committee has senior officials such as Dror Bin, Chemi Peres and others. Many companies entered as partners and are supporting our way and our global initiative.”
Watch his full remarks in the video above.