Youth innovators hear from Israeli tech expert

Israeli innovator Gil Ben-Artzy, a leading player in building the relationship between Israel and the Silicon Valley, spoke and answered questions at the Next Is Now conference on Sept. 28.

Israeli Gil Ben-Artzy speaks to a group of middle-school students in San Francisco. photo/courtesy of consulate general of israel

The two-day conference, which spotlighted digital media and technology for elementary- and middle-school students, was held at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco. It was designed to encourage and inspire youth to lead, create and innovate while merging technology with design.

Ben-Artzy was a good fit for the conference. He began pursuing his interest in technology when he was 9, and started programming at 16. After working for a tech incubator in Israel, he went to Yahoo in 2005, helping to open the company’s first research and development center in Haifa. Later he started his own venture, UpWest Labs, which helps Israeli entrepreneurs build their startups between the tech hubs of Israel and Silicon Valley.

At the conference, Ben-Artzy explained to a group of 100 middle-school students a bit about Israel and some of the tech innovation going on there. He told the teens about the Google Instant technology designed in Israel, as well as the Israeli company and its contributions to Facebook. He encouraged the kids to get involved in tech, and specifically to start writing computer code.