Ukrainian Israeli Innovation Summit 2021 is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of friendship and cooperation between Ukraine and Israel. Still, close friendship is also about different curious moments. International cooperation is always a process of searching mutual understanding in terms of cultural and linguistic differences. Before starting the fourth conference, we have decided to recall a few stories that at first caused some confusion, but now we are just smiling!
When we had our first event in Tel Aviv, there was an idea to invite Yossi Vardi, the head of DLD and a well-known Internet entrepreneur. He is a creator of ICQ - instant messaging program that was very popular a few decades ago. It was so great that such an outstanding person agreed to take part in the event, that was held for the first time. As a result of the agreement, we provided the contacts to the team that was accompanying the speakers.
In a few days we received an email from Yossi: “If you really want to see phone sellers at your summit, no problem, I'll understand it! But if you are still interested in cooperating with the founder of the greatest startups in Israel, then please change the title of my position on the site. " We wrote it wrongly because of inattention of our colleagues: "Yossi Vardi, a founder of the website for selling cell phones." We have confused the speaker with his namesake.
The next funny situation that makes us smile has already happened in Ukraine. Girls from our help team in light Ukrainian costumes with a karavay (a round loaf of bread) and a nameplate in their hands had to meet Yuval Tal at the airport, a co-founder of Payoneer. It was getting colder on the street. The temperature was -5 C. Everyone wanted to meet the guest faster and head towards the location. One Israeli approached the girls after flying from Tel Aviv and introduced himself as Yuval Tal. He offered to go immediately and our girls were happy to hear that. Being concerned that the man was the invited guest, the help team took everything for granted. He was persistent and spoke confidently. Just before getting to the taxi, the man admitted that he was just joking. He explained that no one had ever met him like that before and he really wanted to feel and be met like a hero. Fortunately, the real Yuval Tal came out later and the situation did not get worse.
During the second summit in Kyiv, everything happened at the same time! Here it is about a sudden cold snap, a strike at the Israeli Foreign Ministry and a hot water cut-off in the city. This year there have been a plenty of curious situations! But the most memorable are those that emphasize the peculiarities and differences of the Ukrainian and Israeli mentality.
It turned out that a hotel where John Medved lived, a founder and CEO of OurCrowd, did not have an autonomous hot water supplying system, so the water in the room was incredibly cold. John called the administrator and urged the hotel staff to take all possible steps to provide hot water in his room as soon as possible. 10 minutes later his room was knocked on. What was John's surprise when he opened the door and saw a large bucket full of hot water and a ladle for bathing. This is how hospitable Ukrainian staff literally understood our speaker's request!
One of the key speakers, who was also a minor, was lost just before the opening of the conference. It happened with a young genius from Israel, Itay Pincas, the founder of SaleUp.
Moreover, he was included in the list of Forbes 30 Under 30. We were sure that the taxi took the guy to Unit.city. But nobody could even imagine that before entering the building boy’s plans would be changed by a guide of one of the groups of schoolchildren, who were on a tour through the innovation park at that moment. The woman considered Itay to be a member of the group and the guy decided that it was the representatives of the Organizing Committee who had arranged a tour for him. Not understanding a word, Itay spent two hours with schoolchildren from Western Ukraine and listened with great interest to the stories about different landmarks. And only after the excursion we managed to find him and return to the place of destination. This story emphasizes once again the similarity of our nations and a fast adaptation of the Israelites to the new circumstances.
Israelis are not accustomed to drinking sparkling mineral water that is salty and with bitter taste. Still, it is quite common for Ukrainians. It was a situation when Moshe Medved, a managing partner of Medved & Co, opened a can of water. His face changed and he said loudly: "The water is spoiled, it is sour!" He was excited and very surprised. Moshe came to other people with the question: "Have you already tried this water?" It was until we explained Ukrainian habits and why we consider mineral water to be useful.
Last year, during the quarantine, Israelis joined the summit online. Yossi Vardi joked during his speech that this year the key question should be: "Can you hear me ?!" In that exact moment, there happened problems with connection and the moderator couldn’t hear anything. But Yossi found a way out very quickly. He took the moderation of the panel and told the audience about his experience of living in lock down mode. He has a great sense of humor. He told how he lost 20 pounds, what products he ate and gave some recommendations concerning the right nutrition. Meanwhile, online connection was fixed and the conference continued as it had been planned before.
And there is one more story. One of our speakers accidentally met his classmate at the summit. It has happened almost 20 years after graduation. Nir Ben Lavi, at that moment he was an investor and a member of the supervisory board of HYPE Sports Innovation, but now he is a co-founder and CEO of the Pangea Cup, flew to the summit as a speaker. He accidentally saw his close childhood friend during a coffee break. He married a Ukrainian woman and opened an office in Kyiv. He has been living happily in Ukraine for more than 10 years. So, the Ukrainian Israeli Innovation Summit establishes close ties between our countries not only at the level of state relations and business, but also among people.
This year's Ukrainian Israeli Innovation Summit will take place on December 15 in Kyiv and will be held at Unit.city. To participate, follow the link: https://bit.ly/UIIS2021