The Israel Startup scene is justly dubbed the “Startup Nation” by a book startup nation which describes how the whole country, from its foundation in the 1940s to its wars with neighbors, and the development of a high tech economy, is a marvel of entrepreneurial mindset.

In a semi-arid country with disputed borders, the only early asset of Israel are its people, a vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan crowd sharing three traits making them great entrepreneurs: Takhles (sense of purpose), Rosh Gadol (tendency to challenge authority) and Chutzpah (shameless audacity).

As a result, Israel has the highest venture capital per capita with $425,000 per 1,000 people, and its best startups have raised $3.4bn for 2014 alone.

The Israel startup scene is now rated #1 outside the Silicon Valley, and as many as 300 MNCs have setup a R&D center there, including Apple’s only outside the US.

In terms of speciality, Israel is now famous for its expertise in Cybersecurity, but also in mobile with success stories such as Appixia or Waze.

ISRAEL

GDP (in billions USD): 281
GDP per capita (in USD): 33,600
Population: 8,200,000
Population in 2050 (est.): 13,300,000
Internet Penetration: 73.4% %
Mobile Penetration: 65.5% %
Banking Penetration:  %
Credit Card Penetration:  %

PROS

  • Strong research & development capability
  • High level of venture capital available
  • Small local market + huge diaspora = strong capability to export tech
  • Entrepreneurial mindset fueled among other by strong army training

CONS

  • Not so good at turning technology into commercial products (quick and dirty mindset)
  • Geopolitical context never easy and sometimes unsafe, in particular for foreigners

TOP PEOPLE TO KNOW IN ISRAEL

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Yossi Dan

Cofounder, Chief Innovation Officer  

Challengy

Yossi Dan is an innovation expert, connecting people to knowledge through fun, technology and real relationships. He is living in Israel where he has worked for Adobe and has been running the Founder’s Institute Accelerator.

Linkedin

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Jeremie Kletzkine

VP Business Development

Startup Nation Central

Jeremie Kletzkine develops Startup Nation Central: a database of 5000 Israeli startups updated every year

Linkedin

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Roni Zehavi

CEO

CyberSpark Industry Initiative

Roni Zehavi is the CEO of Cyberspark business park in Beersheva, the top cybersecurity cluster of Israel.

Linkedin

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Angel Porgador

Professor, VP R&D

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Angel Porgador is Deputy Vice-President & Dean for Research & Development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where specialties include Desert Studies (energy on sands, irrigation), but also biotech and cybersecurity.

Linkedin 

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Steve Elbaz

Business Development & Marketing Manager

Aster Capital

Steve runs the VC arm of Schneider Electric, Solvay and Alstom in Israel. His expertise runs from startup scouting to investment and corporate acceleration.

Linkedin

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Jeremie Berrebi

CEO

Magical Capital

Jeremie Berrebi is a renown French-Israeli entrepreneur, having run Kima Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund, and now heading Magical Capital, a late-stage VC.

Linkedin