Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, JVP Media Quarter, Jerusalem—
How can New York City’s “Silicon Alley” draw inspiration from the success of Israel’s "Silicon Wadi?”

That was exactly the question New York City Councilmembers had on their minds during a visit to the Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) Media Quarter, one of Israel’s most successful hi-tech hubs, combining technology, culture and social activism.

The delegation, headed by Speaker Christine Quinn, came to JVP to learn more about Israel’s impressive track record in hi-tech and ways of implementing those lessons in New York City.
The visit was part of the delegation’s week-long tour of Israel sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC).

Israeli hi-tech pioneer Erel Margalit, founder of JVP, told councilmembers that the key is blending different disciplines. “In the Nineties,” explained Margalit, “Israel was building the technology infrastructure for the world. In the last several years, the world has changed. The new hero is the individual, the consumer. And in order to serve the individual, you need other disciplines of creativity to join the engineer and programmer: artists, writers, psychologists – spiritual people. Because the next revolution is not a technological revolution, it’s a cultural revolution, and New York has it all.”

Quinn, mentioned by many as a leading candidate for the city’s 2013 mayoral elections, said she was impressed by Margalit’s vision. “The thing we heard that was very useful to us particularly here in New York is: look at the assets you already have... your young people, your theater… and figure out how you bring that all together to create a bigger and better energy that will propel your investments and your companies forward.”

Councilmembers got an up close and personal look at several JVP portfolio companies during the visit, and toured JVP Media Labs, its technology incubator.

Quinn told Margalit that she was so excited by what she had seen at JVP she was going to do some “fist-pumping.”

“One of the things we’re focusing in on a lot in the city council is how we can generate more jobs in the tech arena,” said Quinn “How we can really make New York after Silicon Valley the tech-hub of America, and there is so much we can learn on how to do that from folks in Israel.”

Both Quinn and Margalit said there would be plenty of cooperation in the future.

“New York’s elected officials understand the critical role innovation and technology play in advancing economic opportunities and in creating cutting-edge jobs for the people of their great city,” said Margalit, who has a Phd from Columbia. “Combine the energy of the Big Apple with the innovation of the Startup Nation and there’s no telling how big a piece of the hi-tech pie New York City can create.”