Aleph
Published in

Aleph

An Open Letter To Entrepreneurs — Covid-19 Edition

This is a time for empathy. It is also a time for action.

Dear Entrepreneurs,

This is a time for empathy. It is also a time for action.

We are about to celebrate the holiday of Passover. After over 200 years of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were locked in their homes the night before their salvation. The plague was rampant outside and they were with their families indoors.

Over the last few weeks, I have been asking myself what was going through the minds of the Israelites on that fateful night? They must have been frightened as many around them were dying. I trust that they also had empathy for the afflicted. They must have feared the unknown, a colossal change in history about to take place. I think they may also have been dreaming of what a better tomorrow in their new homeland, Israel, would look like.

Since the onset of this exponential pandemic, fear has gripped much of the world. Sadly, a significant number of people have come down with the virus. It is difficult to understand exponentiality. It is frightening to grapple with an enemy we cannot see. It is frightening to see your loved ones and friends fall ill. At the same time, many people have lost their jobs and incomes. They are afraid for their financial future, afraid for their families. The loss of livelihood is existential and is real. We can see it and we know its impact on mental health, on family dynamics and on the vibrancy of the economy.

Therefore, first and foremost, this is a time for empathy. We must reach out to people we know and to those we do not know and listen and be attentive to their needs. And we must act. Maimonides says that the people of Israel are known for their charity and generosity. It is the DNA of the nation. So it is a time to act generously and charitably. Give of your time, your self, your talents and your money to help others through this tornado.

It is also a time to dream, to innovate and to plan for a better tomorrow. A people with no hope not only has no future, but also has no present.

We are super proud of our team at Aleph for the Anti-Viral A-List campaign to help match people laid off from work with companies that are hiring. There is growth at a number of companies even during this difficult period. This crisis will accelerate a number of trends that some of our portfolio companies have targeted and that other entrepreneurs in the Israeli ecosystem are also targeting.

We are proud of our teams at Healthy.io and Fabric, that are part of the emergency effort to keep systems running in Israel and elsewhere. We are proud of the team at Nexar and other companies that worked on Code-Orange, and the team at Bringg, keeping deliveries running and people fed. And team SparkBeyond, that is mapping the outbreak and predicting flash points. And team Anodot, that created a CoronaTracker to track reported cases and notify users when their region’s numbers change significantly. And Windward, which built a live, interactive map to quantify shipping operations worldwide. And Placer.ai, which launched a Retail Impact Tracker to allow anyone to quickly analyze the impact on top brands within the retail sector. And Centrical, which is providing a new work-from-home solution, to help businesses sustain continuity.

Our country and entrepreneurs don’t run away during a crisis. Rather, they run right at it, ask what they can do to help, and that is inspiring.

This will also be a time of opportunity. The best entrepreneurs thrive in hard times and constraints drive innovation. Just like the ancient Israelites, dreaming of the future next year in Israel, the next great companies and helpful and valuable innovations are percolating in the minds of technologists and entrepreneurs. We want to be there for you and are open for business.

We wish you and your family health, prosperity and happiness. We are happy to be helpful to anyone thinking through business challenges. We have seen three downturns (2000–2001, 2008 and now) and think we have a point of view on how to help get through this very messy situation. We will do our best to provide resources to help those unemployed in finding jobs.

Feel free to call on us.

Praying and hoping for better times of health, peace and prosperity.

Michael

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store