Discount Bank CEO Uri Levin.

Unicorns Forum
Uri Levin: "High-tech will continue to be the growth engine of the Israeli economy even in a crisis - and we will stand behind you"

The CEO of Discount Bank added at the Unicorns Forum: "The crisis is not happening just in technology but in the global economy and of course in Israel as well. We do not know what its depth and duration will be, but I estimate that there will be a slowdown and not a deep crisis but that it will take quite some time"

Will the banking system still be able to provide the necessary financing for the Israeli high-tech industry in 2023? There is no doubt that the atmosphere has changed, and the banking system is trying to adapt to the new environment. These are adjustments that are not easy, but are required, emphasizes Uri Levin, CEO of Israel Discount Bank at the Unicorns Forum sponsored by Calcalist and Discount.
According to Levin, "Only a few months have passed since Calcalist's last Unicorn Forum and the world has completely changed. We are asking ourselves whether we are still dealing with unicorns at all, maybe this phenomenon should be given a new name," Levin said. "I have a message on this subject, I have no shadow of a doubt that the Israeli high-tech world will continue to be an engine of economic growth, over time, in the current crisis, in the not too distant future and in the longer term. I strongly believe that Israeli high-tech is here to stay. The transition of companies from a state of start-up to building a leading global company in its field, this is something that will change the high-tech world and the Israeli economy, and it is a process that remains even if the music has changed in recent months."
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כנס פורום היוניקורנס 2022 אורי לוין מנכל קבוצת דיסקונט
כנס פורום היוניקורנס 2022 אורי לוין מנכל קבוצת דיסקונט
Discount Bank CEO Uri Levin.
(Photo: Orel Cohen)
According to Levin: "Today there is no doubt that there is a crisis, there is a slowdown, we know there is a slowdown and it will not disappear in the coming month. Not even in the period after next month. I must emphasize that this crisis is not a crisis that is occuring in technology, but in the global economy and of course in the Israeli economy. We do not know what the depth of this crisis is and what the duration of the crisis will be, i.e. how long it will last. Personally, I estimate there will be a slowdown rather than a deep crisis and it will take quite some time. There is something happening and it is significant and I think it requires us all to adapt to the new world, because to succeed in this slowdown one has to behave differently, one has to make sure we have the ability to survive the crisis, that there is money in the coffers and the cash burn rate can provide a runway for a year or two. It is not always possible to rely on a bank's loan for financing gaps. Sustainable models must be built and the way we conduct ourselves must change."
Levin added: "We must make sure that there is a survival of companies. We must work in a way that is more adapted to the new world and it is very important to be attentive to what is happening in the outside world and also find opportunities, everything from opportunity to acquire talent to opportunities to acquire companies. It's important to change the way we work in order to live in this new world.”

According to Levin: "Where is the world of banking today? The world of banking is looking at high-tech, which on the one hand is a growth locomotive but on the other hand it is clear that high-tech has undergone a process. There is a problem with risk-reward, that is, risk versus reward, of the banking world and high-tech support. In the world of high-tech financing, the risk is great. The reward is not immediate. In a world where it is not certain that it is possible to get financing, it is not certain that the risk is small, and this is the place for bankers to continue to support the high-tech world. Two-and-a-half years ago, we decided to be the leading banking company in Israeli high-tech, Discount Tech and IDB Tech are leading the field, and it is not only during the peak periods. Here too the game is changing and not everyone who received funding in the past will receive funding now, but we learn quickly and we will continue to learn how to support, how to identify companies that need a little help, and a business model that is sustainable. I have a lot of confidence in Israeli technology and the Israeli high tech market. And we will also be there in the future - but we have to learn the new rules of the game."