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349 October 7th Horror To Hope: A Tech Startup For Every Fallen Israeli with Izhar Shay & Ophir Shay, Next October Co-Founders

Monday 15th July 2024
FYD EPISODE 349 Izhar Shay and Ophir Shay Next October

On this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different, we are joined by Izhar and Ophir Shay, a father and brother to Israelis who have lost their lives in the Hamas attack. Today, they share how they chose to honor their fallen, in what can only be described as, Different.

Izhar Shay is an entrepreneur – a venture capitalist, very successful in the startup community and startup nation in Israel. And he’s a former Israeli Member of Parliament who served as the Minister of Science and Technology. His son, Ophir Shay, is also an entrepreneur, and he has a background in marketing and customer support. Both men have served honorably in the IDF.

In Israel, it is customary to plant a tree for fallen Israelis taken in war or terrorism. But Izhar and Ophir chose to honor them by starting a startup called Next October, a nonprofit on a mission to create and build a new successful Israeli startup for every person murdered or kidnapped on October 7. It’s an extraordinary vision. How you can take horror and turn it into hope and prosperity.

You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.

Ophir Shay and Izhar Shay on Coping with Loss and Grief

When asked by Christopher on how they are doing, Ophir expresses optimism amidst difficulty, mentioning progress with connecting companies and families.

Izhar then reflects on the challenge of answering “how are you doing?” following a family tragedy on October 7, losing their youngest son, Yaron, a soldier. Christopher empathizes, sharing his experience of loss and the struggle with such questions.

Izhar details Yaron’s life, highlighting his values as both an Israeli and American citizen. Yaron is remembered as a remarkable individual, cherished by his family, and honored for his service.

Memories of Yaron and His Passions in Life

Izhar and Ophir continue the conversation about Yaron’s life, one that is filled with different passions, be it in music, watching and playing different sports, and tattoos.

Izhar further reflects on Yaron’s passion for sports, spanning across continents and connecting people. He highlights Yaron’s dedication to his favorite teams and how his commitment was recognized even in his funeral.

Christopher reciprocates, sharing his lifelong passion for sports, particularly football and hockey. He recounts a story about NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, emphasizing the joy of being an enthusiastic fan and celebrating one’s passions.

Both agree that sports serve as a unifying force, fostering connections and bonding within families and communities.

On accepting New and Old Communities

Continuing on that line of thought, Christopher shares his experiences of bonding with his nephews over football, and introducing them to different activities, and in effect, different communities. He notes that music and sports communities tend to be more accepting, as while options might differ vastly from person to person, it’s still an avenue to get a conversation started and to have something common to talk about even if it’s the first time you have met the other person.

Ophir agrees with this sentiment, and also adding that at the end of the day, it’s about embracing a new community, or even finally embracing one that you’ve been part of all along. Nothing is stopping anyone from being hardcore fans of their teams, as long as they show mutual respect for others and the teams they support. And isn’t that the point of it all in the end?

To hear more from Izhar Shay and Ophir Shay, and how their startups honor their fallen sons and brothers, download and listen to this episode.


Izhar Shay

Cofounder of Next October.

Former Minister of Science & Technology and MK.

High-Tech Entrepreneur, Venture Capital Investor, Director & Chairman.

Founder, Start-Up Stadium, the largest online community of Israeli entrepreneurs

A former columnist at “Globes”.

Founder of the “High-Tech Ba’Pkakim” podcast and radio show.

Ophir Shay

Cofounder of Next October.


Connect with Izhar Shay and Ophir Shay!

Next October website | | Izhar’s Linkedin | Ophir’s LinkedIn

More on Next October

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe on Apple Podcast / Spotify!