Israeli startup moguls accuse Amazon of poaching staff


(JTA) — Four Israeli tech leaders have spoken out against marketing giant Amazon’s hiring practices in their country, which they say includes poaching their best developers.

CTECH, an Israeli online tech news journal, reported Wednesday that the criticisms were launched when Shai Wininger, the president of the Israeli insurance start-up, Lemonade, posted his complaint on Facebook.

“Just learned that is actively trying to poach Lemonade employees,” Wininger said on Tuesday. “Game on!” He tagged Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer. Amazon, according to CTECGH, is seeking 100 Israeli employees to focus on functions for Alexa, its cloud-based voice service.

Vogels replied that the problem might be with the headhunters it had hired to find tech developers. He said it was against company policy to hire staff from clients; a number of Israeli clients use Amazon’s cloud.

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“I find that sourcing from our customers would be extremely counter-effective,” he said.

Liad Agmon, the CEO of Dynamic Yield, a web developer joined in the Facebook exchange and said he was considering taking his business elsewhere. “It’s a data point I’m seriously considering as part of our internal debate whether to stick with Amazon or switch to Google cloud,” who said he spent $2 million a year on Amazon Web Services.

Also accusing Amazon of unscrupulous hiring practices were Amir Konigsberg of Twiggle, a commerce site, and Eyal Gura, the president of Zebra Medical Vision, a medical imaging service.