Israeli blockchain startups face employee crunch amid Hamas conflict

“If you have a lot of employees in the reserves,” Yanowitz says, “that means half your staff is gone and not working”

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Blockworks co-founder Jason Yanowitz once worked at an Israeli tech startup called Sisense. Amid the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas this past week, Yanowitz thought back to the many Israeli founders in the blockchain tech space who he knew would be affected.

“A lot of the employees are in the reserves,” he says. “A lot of folks are getting called up to the reserves right now,” resulting in an employment shortage for many companies that may be struggling to maintain operations amidst the conflict.

On the Empire podcast (Spotify/Apple), Yanowitz points to a startup resources effort launched by Zoe and Michael Burian, who have lived and worked in Israel, in an effort to support startups in the region. 

The form is posted on X, formerly Twitter, by Shalva Gozland, a healthcare investor at Insight Partners. She claims that more than 400 “talented professionals across various domains are volunteering their time and expertise” to help Israeli startups and venture capitalists while their employees are away for reserve duty. 

Yanowitz mentions Chaos Labs, an Israel and New York-based startup that has some employees currently living in Tel Aviv. The business provides an “automated economic security system for crypto protocols,” according to a PR statement released earlier this year.

“If you have a lot of employees in the reserves,” he says, “that means half your staff is gone and not working.”

Yanowitz explains that volunteers can provide their skill sets and other details via the form. “You can actually put in, you know, I’m a data analyst or I’m a salesperson. I’m willing to allocate five hours of my week to stepping in to basically fill the time gap for these folks in the reserve.”

“I know a lot of crypto companies who have been impacted, who have a lot of employees who are going to the reserves right now,” he says.

Podcast co-host and Web3 investor Santiago Santos adds that a number of his portfolio companies are either directly based in Israel or have team members living and working there.

“It’s a thriving ecosystem,” particularly in the realm of cybersecurity, he says. “A lot of talent is there.”


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