News / Toronto

John Tory leading Toronto tech industry mission to Israel

The goal is to look for partnership opportunities from red-hot tech companies in Israel.

SecureKey CEO Greg Wolfond will represent one of more than 50 local tech companies accompanying Mayor John Tory on a city delegation to Israel this week.

Contributed

SecureKey CEO Greg Wolfond will represent one of more than 50 local tech companies accompanying Mayor John Tory on a city delegation to Israel this week.

Toronto’s growing tech industry is eyeing Israel to learn about the country’s innovations and business opportunities.

Mayor John Tory will lead a group of local councillors and industry business leaders on a weeklong mission starting Friday. The delegation will visit key cities such as Ramallah, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, while touring tech giants and incubators including Aleph, IBM, WeWork, Cyberspark, MassChallenge and Barclay’s Accelerator.

It’s a “sell Toronto to the world” mission similar to others Tory has conducted in California, Texas, Japan, China and, most recently, London England.

Israel may be “literally a dot on the map” but the technology coming out of the country has earned it a reputation of “the startup nation,” said Ben Zlotnick, CEO and founder of Incubes, a Toronto-based business accelerator.

“They’ve built up multibillion dollar companies in such a short period of time,” he said, noting Toronto businesses will look to learn and partner with Israeli companies to scale up tech capabilities.

While Israel has made strides in technology and innovation, Toronto also continues to boost its national status as the leading tech market.

A recent Scoring Canadian Tech Talent report from CRBE found Toronto to be the top Canadian city in tech labour and job growth, with about 25 per cent of all tech talent located here.

Part of the reasons for such growth is a strong digital presence allowing companies to market their products and services to a wide audience, said SecureKey CEO Greg Wolfond, who’ll be part of the Toronto delegation.

But that also calls for stronger cyber authentication and online security, and Toronto tech companies will look to discuss strategies with their counterparts in Israel.

“Internet is really great because it makes things easier, but it’s also really scary because of the bad guys out there looking to steal,” he said.