AI Startups in Israel Facing Challenges Amidst Conflict

AI startups in Israel, which have been known for their technological advancements and successes, are now facing challenges in the aftermath of the recent violent attack by Hamas. Despite the difficult circumstances, these startups are striving to continue their business operations and support their employees who have been called to the front lines of the conflict.

“Tough times. Gut-wrenching and blood-curdling stories. Our 9-11. But we’ll prevail,” said Yoav Shoham, co-founder of AI21 Labs.

Shoham, who is also a professor emeritus at Stanford University, is personally hosting a family in his home who were directly affected by the attack. Similarly, Uri Eliabayev, the founder of Machine & Deep Learning Israel, asked for his comments to be edited to sound appropriate in English as he wrote them “while running to the shelter.”

Despite the challenging circumstances, many researchers and data scientists in the AI field are actively working on projects to address the current needs of the war. They are developing tools to fight disinformation and fake news, as well as locate and find the people who have been kidnapped. The dedication and commitment of these individuals are evident as they work at 200% of their capacity.

AI Startups: Key Players in Israel’s Tech Sector

Israel’s tech sector, particularly AI startups, has been a driving force in the country’s economy. AI21 Labs recently joined the unicorn club with a funding round of $155 million, Pinecone raised $100 million, and Gong is another Israeli-founded unicorn that leverages AI technology to transform revenue teams.

The number of Israeli generative AI startups has also doubled in the past five months, with companies growing from 67 to 144, according to Remagine Ventures. The growth potential of AI in Israel is promising, with Israel’s economy and industry minister, Nir Barkat, stating that AI presents the biggest opportunity for the country’s technology-heavy economy.

Even global tech giant Nvidia has recognized the potential of Israel’s AI landscape. In May, they announced the construction of a data center in Israel, showcasing their investment in the country’s AI technology. Unfortunately, a planned AI Summit by Nvidia in Tel Aviv was canceled due to the recent attack.

AI Startups Overcoming Challenges

While the current situation has left many in shock, AI startups like and Coho AI are determined to maintain their regular operations despite the difficulties and uncertainties.

Ronen Dar, CTO of, highlighted their commitment to business continuity and supporting their employees who have been mobilized to the reserve forces. Itamar Falcon, CEO of Coho AI, emphasized the well-being and safety of their employees as their top priority, while also acknowledging the impact on business and growth trajectory.

These startups are not alone in facing the challenges posed by the conflict. The global AI community has shown tremendous support and solidarity, reaching out to provide encouragement and assistance. Local R&D centers of global companies in Israel have also played a role in supporting these startups by offering resources and talent.

“There’s genuine understanding and sympathy for our unprecedented situation,” said Falcon. “Their support goes beyond mere words, and we’re deeply grateful for their compassion and support.”

Despite the difficulties, the Israeli AI community remains resilient and hopeful for better days ahead. The challenges and solidarity experienced during this time will undoubtedly shape their future endeavors and collaborations.

“Someone said as a joke that now Israel is probably the biggest Hackathon in the world. I wish we all knew better days,” added Eliabayev.

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