From Unit 81 To SPAC, With A Strong Purpose Of Saving Life

Omer Keilaf,
Co-founder & CEO Innoviz

Omer’s family was involved in a major car accident when he was a young boy. His mother, who was a ballet dancer and owned a studio, didn't get back to her barre, and his sister was seriously injured. It took them many years to overcome this experience.

Years later - Omer drove the motorcycle, and when finishing with this - he told himself that he was lucky enough to avoid the statistics of 1.3 million people dying in the roads every year and that 80% of the car accidents are caused by human mistakes.

With this significant  purpose - he goes to sleep and wakes up to another day, bringing safety to mobility - trying to decrease the number of car accidents and save lives.

Omer shares how when establishing Innoviz, they faced a big challenge dealing with a technological gap they weren't aware of; They understood that the problem they thought they needed to solve initially was not at all the right one. 5.5 years later, in April 2021 - Innoviz went public through a SPAC merger in Wall Street, with a valuation of $1.4 billion.

Omer shares his path in Unit 81 of the IDF, and how his character was built along the 7 years he spent there. He took from there many lessons and attributes - commitment and creativity were few of them. In the beginning ,when he first thought about Innoviz - he had 26 ideas. Innoviz was only #18 on the list. He has decided to solve a problem that wasn't solvable, but if someone can do it - it’s his team.

In Unit 81 he spent 2 periods - the 1st one taught him how to be an amazing integrator - to challenge the experts under unbelievable pressure and tight deadlines, so that the only thing that pushes you forward is the strong passion that you derive from what you do, knowing how important it is.  Their slogan was: Capability, Passion, Commitment - making the impossible-possible. The 2nd period - he was leading tech projects, the decision maker. What he learned from there - is the power of communication and transparency - a culture he brings into Innoviz, creating trust and making everyone approachable.

Omer shared the way he sees a 1st time experience - when your eyes are fresh, you feel confident, ask questions, make your voice heards and not necessarily take things as they are - that’s where you have an impact and can lead to a healthy change.

As team leaders - you have to educate and explain things - that’s where you learn as well. Omer earns his points when he is able to share something new he has learned. His job as a CEO is to learn new things>>see the blind spots>>solve problems and>>connect the dots. Not to spend time in meetings.

Omer, 2*Orens, and the whole Innoviz Team are on a very important mission, committed to save life. You can feel it from Omer’s vibes when he speaks about what they do and the problem they are solving. Omer shows honest, mindful, empowering and humble leadership, wrapped in a very calm and balanced personality.

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