I spent Wednesday afternoon in Palo Alto at the public portion of the weeklong IsraelWeb Tour. The event, organized by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce, takes Israeli companies to various Silicon Valley counterparts as they look for advice, insight, and deals.
Shuly Galili, executive director of the CICC, told me that the economic crisis is definitely affecting the companies on tour. The U.S. and Israeli entrepreneurial economies act similarly to a large extent, she said, although there's a lag of a few months before whatever is happening in the U.S. affects Israeli start-ups.
The standard plan for Israeli tech companies, Galili said, is to leave their development resources in Israel but open field offices in the United States for sales and marketing as soon as possible. Due to the softness in economy, that step is being delayed. "It's not good for consumer companies," Galili said, because the U.S. is the target market for almost all Israeli start-ups.
Still, the slowdown in Israel, as it is here, is forcing companies to adopt more robust business models earlier in their lives. It's building stronger companies, although they're having to be less aggressive in how they address the U.S. market.
I was impressed with the nine companies presented to the public at the event. All were showcasing relatively mature technology, although not all of their business outlooks were as bright as their technological innovations.
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