Jeff Pulver: I don't care what they say about crisis

"Just remember that even Google was founded during the previous crisis."

Famed US angel investor Jeff Pulver, who has invested in a number of Israeli companies, such as Innovid Media Ltd., SemantiNet Ltd. and Kayote Networks Inc., is one of those people who remain unfazed by the current economic crisis. "I don't listen to pessimistic statements, and I'm not bothered by the things other people have been saying about the financial crisis," he told "Globes", in an interview ahead of his visit to Israel to attend the "Globes" Israel Business Conference.

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"What is true is that when people start panicking, they freeze, and in cases like these, the chances of companies surviving are smaller. Investors too are using the crisis as an excuse since the opportunities are still there. Just remember that even Google was founded during the previous crisis, so I think that the crisis actually encourages creativity among entrepreneurs, especially when there are fewer resources."

A frequent visitor to Israel, Pulver is a popular figure among the Israeli entrepreneur community. He will be taking part in the conference panel session on "Internet, and mobile - telecommunications in a spin", which will look at the trends that are likely to shape the future of the Internet.

Pulver believes there are three major trends. "Social media in all its forms; the evolution of the semantic web; and the expansion of wireless communications. These trends will improve the ways in which people communicate, and they will enable us to benefit from a much richer Internet in the future." He believes there will be a greater understanding of people's needs, more customization in advertising, and a greater level of overall effectiveness.

Considered a stalwart supporter of the VoIP industry, Pulver was formerly chairman of integrated media services company Pulver Media Inc. a position from which he resigned in April after the company ran into financial difficulties, although he has yet to comment publicly on them. Today, he takes a more sober view of the industry's future.

"Technology can change the world, but there is much progress still to be made," he admits. "We need people with fortitude who will challenge the status quo in the sector, and if this technology is in the right hands, it will change the ways in which we communicate permanently. The VoIP industry is merely part of a more general puzzle."

You say the current crisis has not changed your position as a private investor. How do you decide who to invest in?

"I always look for people who have a dream, a vision and inspiration. Every company has two very important things - the investors and the founders, who determine the level of confidence the company deserves."

Jeff Pulver will speak at this year's Israel Business Conference at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, to be held on December 14-15.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 11, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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