In 2012, the Israeli DevTech community came together for the first time at the ID2 conference to share ideas and best practices and to connect with other like-minded people. Eight years later, the Israeli DevTech community has grown tremendously and it was time to bring the ecosystem together for a meaningful event in 2020. The effects of the global pandemic made it impossible to gather safely in-person, and so we searched for ways to create a dynamic, interactive virtual gathering that would bring the community together to meanigfully interact, exchange ideas, and connect. We recognized the great breadth of our community members’ knowledge and experience and wanted to leverage it for our gathering.
The content and the structure of the DevTech Unconference was built off of insights we gained from surveys that were submitted by our community members. Over the three days, our community took part in interactive sessions relating to various international development sectors and focused on the trends and challenges in innovating for development. Participants joined workshops led by professionals, brainstormed solutions for startups’ challenges, and networked with others interested in a common sector or target market. We learned a lot in the UnTed talk sessions, an 8-minute presentation by participants, startups, or ecosystem partners who shared their expertise and experience in the field with other participants. We also benefited from the experts’ office hours during which we could ask any question to industry leaders.
From the initial feedback we have received, the event exceeded expectations and provided practical tools and valuable networking opportunities for stakeholders in the Israeli DevTech ecosystem. Since it was impossible to attend all 38 sessions over the course of the three days, here are some of the key takeaways according to the unconference participants:
When pitching to funders, always validate key assumptions with data and evidence- Ophelie Namiech, Mindset PCS
Successful fundraising campaigns should take a funnel based approach, targeting many potential funding sources- Ariel Beery, Co-Velocity
The Israeli government is eager to engage more companies with development banks- Eyal Medan, Ministry of Economy
Having an on-the-ground partner is essential for entering emerging markets. The community connections and data they can provide can be invaluable- Hilly Hirt, Israel Innovation Authority
Development finance institutions can offer much more than cash. A relationship with a development finance institution can offer context, reliable information, resilience, a soft landing pad, endorsements, and a strong network- Zafrir Assaf, Blue Laurel
NGOs and private companies can partner together to solve international development challenges by leveraging their collective strength- Arieh Doobov, JDC-TOV
Entrepreneurs must be passionate, willing to make mistakes, and fully understand their problem-solution fit- Chen Shmilo, 8200 Impact
Business models need to incredibly adaptive in order to scale in developing countries- Dalia Silberstein, Nomada Impact
SDGs are there to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries, they should be used to set your messages, define your targets and shape your engagement strategy- Keren-Or Rosner, SDG Israel
Here’s a brief summary of the Devtech Unconference in numbers:
140 participants connected to the platform
9 hours of content
38 unique sessions
8 hours: Average time that participants spent on the platform
With the conclusion of the DevTech Unconference, we hope that our 140 participants gained valuable insights, found the content stimulating, connected with new members of the ecosystem, and that the Unconference will ultimately help us better solve global development challenges. Thank you again to all participants, speakers, and our 22 partners for bringing their time and expertise to the DevTech Unconference. Without them, this would not have been possible.
Google for Startups, Start-Up Nation Central, Social Finance Israel, Volcani International Partnerships, IsraAID, SDG Israel, Tel Aviv Yafo Municipality, TechForGood, SID Israel, 8200 Impact, Keilot Kenya Ltd, The Trendlines Group, Olam, Israel Innovation Authority,
Mindset-PCS, Ehrlich Group, The Israeli Forum for Impact Economy, GITA- the Global Impact Tech Alliance, JDC (The Joint), and UK Tech Hub
Listen to our team's closing remarks for the DevTech Unconference 2020!
“I have to be honest, I've been to other digital
conferences, but none of them has come close to
what you have done. Great job!”
“I liked that people were encouraged to play an active role in the discussions. It was organized very well from both content and technical aspects and I found the platform easy to use.”
“The sessions were laid out with overall topics, and then the comments of the various participants and the ability to interact with other participants were terrific. I felt like you took a leap into less-familiar formats (high level of participation, limited time-per-day across three days, etc) and that how you did it worked quite well - congratulations and thanks for an interesting and highly productive event.”