An Israeli technology investor is considering opening a tech hub in London to develop digital companies after launching one in New York.
Speaking to Jewish News this week, Erel Margalit of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) said a new London hub was “a definite possibility”, but that “there are also discussions with some major cities in Europe”, including Paris and Berlin.
“Before the Brexit vote, London was a no-brainer because of the large business ecosystem, the financial players and the internationality of the city,”
“It is still very much a possibility, but a lot depends on the mood of Israeli and international companies as they consider Europe for their operations, whether they still see London as one of the key hotspots. I think they will.”
Asked whether he felt Israeli companies were going cold on the UK, he said: “I think that was the case a few years ago, with the Brexit vote, but now at least there’s clarity, that’s very important. People are trying to cope with it.
“For a while, there was a possibility of an anti-Israel UK government, that was a worry, but now the government is very pro-Israel, and that’s a good thing.”
Margalit said investors were asking what appetite the UK government now has to push public-private partnerships, and in which areas.
“The question is how dynamic and hungry on the business side are some of the leaders? What kind of initiatives are they pushing? We were strongly encouraged by the visit to Jerusalem of [Chancellor] Sajid Javid, if that’s going to be the tone.”
Actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow attended JVP’s launch of the NYC Cyber Center last week, which backers hope will be a “launching pad” for innovative companies.
JVP has invested in more than 140 companies in Israel, the US and Europe since 1993, and Margalit used the launch event to talk to Paltrow about digital privacy and the #MeToo movement.
The new cyber centre is a 40,000-square-foot hub for start-ups specialising in cybersecurity, protecting big banks, insurers and other companies from hackers.
Margalit said many of the world’s top cybersecurity companies established themselves by protecting governments and major multinational institutions, but recognised that the focus was now on protecting digital rights and privacy.
Paltrow said new products and opportunities presented a “double-edged sword”, asking: “How would we all live if we knew everything we did and said was public to the world? This raises a very interesting philosophical point.”
Turning to Paltrow’s outspoken stance on sexual harassment in Hollywood, Margalit said: “As an entrepreneur you have to be brave, but as a father of three daughters, and as a leader of a firm where half the partners are women, what you did in the #MeToo movement was very courageous and has had an effect on