Senior figures from New York City’s business, technology, investment, and diplomatic scene gathered Monday night in the city’s SoHo neighborhood tonight (Monday) to celebrate the grand opening of the International NYC Cyber Center.

The initiative is headed by leading international venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office and the Economic Development Corporation of New York (NYCEDC). The flagship Cyber Center, created through a unique partnership between local government, the private sector and academia, is set to give rise to a new international cybersecurity capital.

The event included a fireside chat between Academy Award winner, and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow with JVP founder and chairman, Erel Margalit.

Welcoming participants, Erel Margalit, JVP founder and Chairman, said “New York City is the financial and cultural center of the world, the hub of media and information- it can also become the technology hub of the world. The JVP International Cyber Center is a launching pad for innovative technologies, for a new era of cyber, moving from protecting countries and enterprises to defending democracies and individuals, creating companies that will change the world of tomorrow. In partnership with city of New York, the leading universities of the city, we will transform NYC into the cyber capital of the world. This is the start of the next chapter in the success story that is New York City.”

In their discussion, Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Margalit spoke about a range of topics including the developing role of women in industry and the important role of cybersecurity technologies in protecting societies and individuals.

On the issue of cybersecurity in particular, Mr. Margalit noted that many of the companies at the forefront of the industry had established themselves protecting governments and major multinational institutions, but were now focused on protecting the rights of and the privacy of individuals.

Ms. Paltrow said she felt that new abilities to bring products and opportunities to consumers presented a “double edged sword.” She added, “How would we all live if we knew that everything we did and said was public to the world. This raises a very interesting philosophical point. I do believe in privacy, and we are entering a strange point in time when people know far more about us than we feel comfortable with them knowing, so we must work to ensure that protection of privacy as well.”

Speaking about the changing reality for women in the innovation industry especially, Mr. Margalit spoke of his admiration for Ms. Paltrow’s brave stance on the issue, and congratulated her on the example she was setting as a leading female entrepreneur. He told her that, “As an entrepreneur you have to be brave, but as a father of three daughters, and as a leader of a firm that has 50% of the partners as women, I have to say that what you did in the MeToo Movement was very courageous and has had an effect on many people.”

Ms. Paltrow responded by saying, “The whole movement has been very important for all of us, for women to come forward and talk about what they have been through, and to create boundaries in the workplace. At the time I didn’t know if speaking up would make a difference, but I have a daughter and for all my friends’ daughters, I felt it was time for these issues to come to the foreground. What I found especially, was that so many good men started to take inventory of their professional lives, considering if they had ever done anything or said anything untoward, and that was a very interesting by-product of the conversation.”

She stressed, “I feel very heartened that the world is heading in the right direction, and that when my daughter enters the workforce it will look very different than it did for me in 1992.”

Mr. Margalit ended by speaking about the centrality of Jerusalem to the vision of JVP, and invited Ms. Paltrow to make her first visit to Jerusalem. They ended by saying together the traditional Jewish adage, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

Speaking earlier, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been noted, “New York City has quickly become the international capital for cybersecurity and a leader in tech innovation.” She added, “As we build on this success, we’re excited to partner with JVP and launch a new cyber hub in New York City as part of our game changing Cyber NYC initiative. We look forward to collaborating on projects that help fuel the next generation of talent and create good jobs in New York City’s cybersecurity ecosystem.”

“Our vision to transform the city into the cyber capital of the world, combined with JVP’s experience in driving change through innovation, creates a formidable partnership that gives rise to the next wave of cybersecurity startup success stories,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “The opening of the new Cyber Center will link global cities and companies with New York City’s thriving cyber ecosystem and promises to create good jobs and innovative solutions in this booming field.”

Gwyneth Paltrow at the event
Gwyneth Paltrow at the event Shahar Azran