Israeli startup moguls accuse Amazon of poaching staff


(JTA) — Four Israeli tech leaders have accused Amazon of poaching their best developers.

In a Facebook exchange, the executives said that in seeking to build its own workforce, the Seattle-based online retail giant is recruiting Israeli employees who work for its own clients.

“Just learned that is actively trying to poach Lemonade employees,” Shai Wininger, the president of the Israeli insurance start-up Lemonade, posted on Facebook. “Game on!” A number of Israeli clients use Amazon’s cloud.

Wininger tagged Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer. Amazon, according to CTECGH, an Israeli online tech news journal, 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.

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

Liad Agmon, the CEO of web developer Dynamic Yield, 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.

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