When American-born Israeli tech guru Hillel Fuld comes to Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Nov. 23 and 24, he will be speaking about both himself and his late brother, Ari. Ari Fuld, a vocal supporter of Israel, was stabbed to death on Sept. 16 in Efrat, Israel, by a Palestinian teen. Hillel Fuld will speak about his brother’s advocacy and his own career in the tech industry.
Hillel Fuld, 39, never planned to get involved in the world of startups and venture capitalists. He studied political science at school and started blogging about technology for fun about 12 years ago.
“So I’m writing my thoughts about technology, just kind of generating what I thought was pretty basic, but apparently was pretty valuable content,” said Fuld about how he got into the industry. “A lot of entrepreneurs began to reach out, and I just kind of spiralled into what it is today.”
Fuld describes himself as wearing five and a half hats. He provides free advice to startups, and a few of those offer to pay him for further guidance. He continues to blog at leading tech publications and hosts a daily video blog about Israeli tech. He works as an influencer and ambassador for global brands like Google, Oracle and Huawei. He has his own startup and is looking into funding others. On top of all that, he also gives talks all around the world about technology and Israel.
All of those experiences will inform Fuld’s speech here in Canada. As an observant Jew, Fuld will also speak about vocalizing his religion online. For example, a few hours before his interview with The CJN, he got a message from a woman he’d been following on Twitter for years, but never actually interacted with.
She “wrote me a message saying that my presence and my posts about religion and faith have inspired her so much that she kept her first Shabbas this past weekend,” he said. “My content about Judaism does not present an obstacle, but on the contrary, is part of my brand.”
Israeli tech is also part of Fuld’s brand. He said that the current trend in Israel is to move away from being a startup nation, to what he calls a “scale-up nation.” So instead of creating startups to sell to companies like Google or Facebook, it’s about creating companies that will reach multi-billion dollar valuations in their own right, such as Wix.
Yet he said that he thinks “the most exciting thing you’re seeing is impactful tech – tech that is making the world a better place, whether it’s cancer treatment, whether it’s bringing water to Africa or magical devices that are dealing with curing AIDS in Africa, or many, many other examples that are very, very deeply impactful.”
Just as Fuld is able to use the Internet to advocate for technology, his brother used it to advocate for Israel. Fuld said his older brother worked tirelessly to fight for his country and understood the value of online debates.
“It’s not about convincing the person you’re debating with. It’s about thousands, tens of thousands of other people that are watching from the side and learning more information about the conflict, more information that they just didn’t know before,” said Fuld, who has received hundreds of messages from people about what Ari Fuld meant to them. “After the murder, it became very clear (that) at least hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives are impacted by Ari in a direct and indirect way.”
Fuld will also speak at Chabad Flamingo in Thornhill, Ont., on Nov. 21. Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Chabad Flamingo is inspired by the two Fuld brothers.
“Effectively harnessing the power of social media, (Ari Fuld’s) fierce patriotism, passion and pride in Israel and all things Jewish were an incredible source of inspiration to thousands around the world,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “His story must be told, and his legacy must live on. How better than through his brother, Hillel, who similarly channels technology and cutting-edge methods of communication to make an oversized, tremendously positive contribution to the continued development of our beloved homeland.”