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Israel has a stellar reputation, much-deserved, as a startup nation. The New York Times bestselling book Start-Up Nation (Senor and Singer) is a testament to the country’s innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, compared to any other country in the world, it is reputed to have the most startups per capita. Most startups in Israel are located in the dynamic city of Tel Aviv. In StartupBlink’s 2019 report, Tel Aviv is ranked 6th globally.
With its history of conflicts and tensions, Tel Aviv has risen to become a leader in launching technology businesses. The thriving environment is brought about by many factors, which includes being a country with a small population and scarce natural resources. Because of this, Tel Aviv and the country of Israel has to rely on human resources and its people’s ability to think. The lack of natural resources has enabled the people of Israel to rely on alternative resources. This also taught them self-reliance. Another factor is attributed to Israel’s mandatory military service, which exposes young people to accountability and responsibility. In fact, website builder Wix and navigation tool Waze both started, albeit indirectly, from the Israeli armed forces.
Tel Aviv – A collaboration-driven Ecosystem
Collaboration is a keyword that drives Tel Aviv’s success, and this is the reason why hundreds of multinational companies from North America, Europe, China, and India are coming to Tel Aviv. They see the difference, and the difference is the nourishing atmosphere that it gives to Tel Aviv startups.
Incubators and accelerators are starting to increase because there is the availability of funding, and a large amount of these are provided by angel investors. Incubators and accelerators also facilitate an eco-system mentality with team building, peer support and access to experienced founders. Prototyping is also faster, and there is easier access to clients and investors.
The experienced entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv provide a bridge between the startup and corporate environment. There are thousands of annual events in the city that provide opportunities to network, learn, experiment, and recruit. You see a lot of Tel Aviv startup meet ups every time you go out for lunch or dinner. There are also numerous Tel Aviv co-working spaces that have sprung up the past few years.
The startup spirit is embodied in Tel Aviv. In fact, Tel Aviv Startups make up the greatest concentration of innovation in the world today, which make it one of the global hubs of startups and co-working spaces. Known with its moniker “Silicon Wadi”, Tel Aviv has become the city with top talent, vast resources, and a welcoming, collaborative spirit.
Advantages of starting in Tel-Aviv
Weather in Tel-Aviv is very pleasant, as it is located in a subtropical region. Often called a Mediterranean climate, it enjoys long, hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. No major storms pass through the city, so it is an ideal location for businesses and offices to thrive and have continuous operations without major disruptions.
People are open and willing to share their experience, contacts and time. People in Tel-Aviv have certain seriousness about them when it comes to building companies, but they are also fun-loving and energetic.
Because all Israelis enter the military at the age of 18 or 19, they learn how to tackle complex problems head on, build strong team teams, and learn to delegate tasks – all important skills in running a company.
The government of Israel funds young companies. They have funding programs for young entrepreneurs through the Economic Ministry and the Chief Scientist’s office. Their support have focused initiatives and smart regulations, but their main policy is to let the companies thrive and not to interfere.
The Tel Aviv city leadership welcomes startup offices to either relocate or start their business in the city. The city provides various types of support for this endeavor.
Disadvantages of starting in Tel-Aviv
Despite the worldwide reputation of Israel as a burgeoning hub for innovation, there is still the stigma of war and conflict, which is brought about by exaggerated news reporting.
The threat of other nations to steal its nickname as “Startup Nation” is real. Beijing and the cities of Northern Europe are starting their own startup ecosystems, and are encouraging startup models in their own countries.
Some of the successful startups in Tel-Aviv
daPulse – Project Management tool designed for startups.
Yotpo – plug and play marketing and reviews solution for eCommerce sites. We help stores generate dramatically more reviews and use them to drive traffic and sales.
mean.io – MEAN let’s you build simple and neat js applications based on Mongo, Express, AngularJS, and Node.
Ettorney – online platform for simplifying legal documents to help entrepreneurs save time and money on legal procedures.
Feedvisor – the world’s first fully algorithmic repricing platform, offering e-commerce marketplace customers a best in class, cloud-based solution to keep their prices competitive and maximize profitability.
Biggest startup ecosystem in Tel Aviv
With hundreds of accelerators and incubators to choose from, Tel Aviv has a myriad of choices for businesses to operate from. Here are some of them:
Hamadgera – this start-up accelerator is the first ever kibbutz accelerator.
UpWest Labs –this started in Silicon Valley and features a hands-on approach.
Cockpit by El Al – this is a travel and innovation hub
Brainnovations – promotes early stage startups
Zell Entrepreneurship Program – working with students for 15 years, it has evolved into a venture creation program.
Tel-Aviv Co-working spaces:
Sosa – South of Salame (Sosa) occupies 4 levels of a building in South Tel Aviv, and is a hub for personal interactions and innovative ideas.
Mazeh 9 – it is described as a dynamic establishment for ideas and activities of young people, and it supports community-based events, too.
The Library – aside from hosting networking events, it also provides professional infrastructure and facilities.
The Junction – those who join the Junction do not need to pay money, but they do need to pass out wisdom, connection, experience and ideas through dialogues and feedback. This pay-it-forward model is proving to be very effective in accelerating startups.
Annual startup events in Tel-Aviv:
The DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Conference – this is the biggest international start up conference which combines a total of 50 co-events happening in different parts of the city. Key figures from various fields will be on hand to network and share their ideas. The biggest names in the industry such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. participate in this annual event. Consider it a huge opportunity to start on your Tel Aviv startup meet ups.
Israel Mobile Summit – this is the premier mobile event in Israel, bringing together the most prominent and brilliant innovators in mobile technology, apps, and mobile gaming. It is an innovation showcase and an exhibition of the hottest and latest in the mobile technology industry.
Startup Grind – this annual event held in the summer brings together entrepreneur, startup enthusiasts and investors in a party atmosphere with music, food, and drinks. Sponsored by Google in 2016, the battle cry for this year is to Educate, Inspire, and Connect.
Tel Aviv is one of the most important startup hubs in the world. The sheer number of innovators, investors, incubators, and accelerators in this city makes it so vibrant and exciting. The city is considered a major destination for the startup industry, and all eyes are looking forward to its bright future.
About the author:
Ron Hadar is an Entrepreneur and High-Tech Attorney with experience in building and leading top performing teams focused on exceeding goals in the areas of sales, marketing, and business development. Founder of Ettorney – Legal Documents Made Easy.