700 Club Special
Yossi Vardi Biography
The 700 Club
Yossi (Joseph) Vardi is chairman of International Technologies, which is engaged in private hi-tech investments for its own account. He is one of Israel’s hi-tech veterans, with 37 years of founding and helping build some 40 hi tech companies in Internet, software, telecommunications, electro-optics, energy, environment and other areas. Several companies Vardi co-founded became successful public companies, among them Alon — Israel’s largest energy company, Advanced Technologies (Tekem — which was at a time the largest software company in Israel), International Technologies (Lasers), and Granite Hacarmel.
Vardi backed some of Israel’s leading Internet companies. He is the founding investor and the former chairman of Mirabilis Ltd, the creator of the highly popular instant messaging program ICQ which pioneered the Internet-wide instant messaging phenomena, making it one of the most successful and popular Internet products of all times, with currently close to 400 million downloads. The company was acquired by America Online (AOL), to which he still serves as an advisor. He also serves as a strategic advisor to Amazon and AOL. Among his other recent high-tech projects, he was involved in the creation of Answers.com, the first investor in Download Accelerator, which has over 125 million registered users and delivers millions of files daily, an early investor in Gteko which was sold to Microsoft, in Airlink — a manufacturer of wireless data links, Scopus, BrightCove and number of other companies. He is a venture partner and one of the initiators of Pitango — one of Israel’s largest venture capital funds, and on the advisory committee of 3i . He is a member of the board of Amdocs.
Veteran of a long civil service career, he previously served in the Government of Israel as Director General of the Ministry of Development (being then the youngest ever appointed — at the age of 27), as the North-American Director of the Investment Authority and as the Director General of the Ministry of Energy, leading the oil related negotiations in the Israeli — Egyptian peace talks.
After leaving the government, and on its request, he led the peace economic and regional cooperation negotiations with Jordan, as a special advisor to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance, as well as heading the Israeli effort for preparing the Israeli plan for regional cooperation. He participated in the Wye peace negotiations with Syria, and in the economic discussions with the Palestinians. He also chaired a number of government-appointed commissions and committees, among them the Public Commission for the Regulation of the Electricity Sector, the Public Commission on Raising Venture Capital in the Stock Exchange, the Fertilizers Development Council, the Oil Explorations Concessions Council, and others. He also advised the Government on initiating both Yozma and the Bi-national Industrial Research and Development Fund.
He is an advisor on Middle-Eastern economic affairs to the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in the U.S, and serves on the board of governors of the Weitzman Institute. He is a member of the World Economic Forum. He is the chairman emeritus of the Jerusalem Foundation. He served on the advisory board of the Bank of Israel, on the board of directors of the Development Corporation for Israel (State of Israel Bonds), on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University, the Open University and was the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Israel Chemicals, Chairman of Israel National Oil Company, Negev Ceramics, Transportation Enterprises and others. He served on the Boards of Directors of a number of Israel’s major companies. Among them, lsrael Electric, Elite, Bezek (Israel's national telecommunication company), Sonol, Scitex, Oil Refineries, Haifa Chemicals, Dead Sea Works, Dead Sea Bromine, Arkia Airlines, Koor Communications, Chemicals and Phosphates, Maarive and Hamashbir Hamercazi.
He acted as an advisor to the World Bank, United Nations Development Program, the Mexican government, and to the CEOs and the chairmen of Occidental Petroleum Corp, Signal Corp, Allied-Signal Corporation, Wheelabrator Frye Corporation and Siemens-Albis A.G.
He is co-author of Electric Energy Generation: Economics, Reliability and Rates published by M.I.T. Press, He has also published various scientific papers on energy and operation research.
His entrepreneurial accomplishments have been chronicled by numerous local and foreign business publications. He received numerous awards for his achievements among them the Prime Minister’s Israel Hi Tech Award for life achievement, Entrepreneur of the Year and the Rominisiaru Prize for Economics from Tel Aviv University, and CEO!’s Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame.
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