Amazon Criticized For Aggressive Poaching In Israel

Enterprise IT

Ouch. Amazon has come under fire for its aggressive poaching activity in Israel, with startups threatening to abandon AWS, the company’s surging cloud platform.

Shai Wininger, the cofounder of Lemonade, an insurance startup with $180 million in funding, is leading the attack, criticizing the tactics Amazon has employed to snap up employees. He is not the only one riled up, as several other members of the country’s startup community have expressed similar concerns.

Many are exploring their options to abandon the Amazon Web Services cloud service in retaliation.

As reported, these complaints are the latest evidence of the growing tension between Amazon and emerging technology companies — with AWS squarely in the crosshair.

Shai Wininger, for example, took his frustration to social media, writing posts on Facebook and LinkedIn about Amazon’s poaching activity, saying that not only is this a breach of confidence from the company, but the obscene amount of money that is being offered could end up damaging the market.

“Just learned that Amazon is actively targeting and trying to poach Lemonade Inc. employees. I wonder if that’s their idea of supporting the start-up ecosystem. Reconsidering Amazon AWS.”

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels was quick to take notice once the posts started gaining traction, and responded by saying that it could be a sourcing agency issue:

“Let me dive into this. It may be a sourcing agency vs Amazon proper. I find that sourcing from our customers would be extremely counter-effective.”

Talent wars.

Amir Konigsberg, CEO of Twiggle, a startup based in Tel Aviv, also weighed on this, pointing that the problem is not Amazon stealing employees, but the aggressive nature of how the company is going about it.

In other words, Amazon has been systemically reaching out to groups of employees working on specific projects within startups, thereby putting them at the risk of losing an entire team at once.