Startup Nation Israel

Skyline Israel

Things we can learn from Startup Nation Israel

Alexanders expedition through Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem

When we talk about innovation, new technologies and inspiring startups, there is no way around Israel. What are the reasons for that? What makes Israel such an innovation hotspot? In this EARLY BRANDS interview, Alexander gives insights into the startup nation Israel. Get inspired by his onsite experiences and meetings.

Alexander Witte in Tel Aviv
Alexander in Tel Aviv – many exciting impressions concerning innovation, technologies and great startups.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: Alexander – you got many insights into the startup nation Israel and keep contact with innovative companies from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. What is Israel’s fancy label of being a “startup nation” about?

Alexander: In my opinion, the book-title “Start-up Nation Israel“ from Dan Senor suits very well. With more than 6,500 startups within an 8,5 million population, Israel leads the list of startups per capita. Moreover: after USA, Israel has the second most listed technology companies in the Nasdaq. The label “Startup Nation” can be compared with “Made in Germany” in the industrial era: a great quality message that perfectly fits with our dynamic innovation and knowledge era.

Key Facts about Startup Nation Israel
Startup Nation Israel: that includes many successful, technology-driven startups, courage to rock forward with innovation and to think internationally with broad innovation perspectives.  

EARLY BRANDS Insights: What are the success drivers for Israel as a startup nation?

Alexander: The Israelis perfectly master the mix. Education and IT-affine military IDF, Israel Defense Forces, are the origin and key for success. Companies continuously and quickly combine research and technology with market and customer needs. Moreover, cooperation, networking and deep trust in innovation networks is a great thing. Israeli boys and girls grow up with this spirit and they know how synergies rock forward already as teenagers. Thus, technologies, courage and pioneering spirit define their collaborative and successful future.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: In which innovation topics and technology fields is Israel particularly well positioned?

Alexander: Israelis are the “masters of deep tech” in our digital age. That means they are experienced in everything concerning high-tech and digital topics. More than 400 artificial intelligence and machine learning startups. 450 concerning to cybersecurity. More than 300 companies with strong focus on internet of things. 800 fintech’s. 250 big data companies. Plus clean tech. Plus more than 800 social media startups. Always in close communication and collaboration with each other. Always keeping one finger on the pulse of time.

Alexander Witte Israeli App Wall in der Startup Nation Israel
The Israeli App Wall within the Technion Institute of Technology. Current focus: cooperation with Intel to rock artificial intelligence topics forward.

It becomes clear as water: Israel’s focus is on future topics and technologies. Especially for deep technologies like artificial intelligence or cybersecurity, technological knowhow, experience and expertise from military is transferred into innovative applications for business and society – often supported by top research facilities like Technion Institute of Technology. For example: Intel collaborates with Technion to accelerate artificial intelligence topics – as strategic investment and innovation partner of the new AI research center in Haifa. Here, researchers and Intel jointly approach innovative applications for topic fields like health care, autonomous driving, connected environment and robotics.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: Do you have any examples for Israeli innovations we already use in our daily lives?

Alexander: Of course. There are many great examples. One of the most innovative navigation systems worldwide is Waze. It combines GPS navigation technologies with social swarm intelligence of road users and their smartphones. Thus, users always get the fastest way – depending on traffic and movement of the swarm. Another impressive example: OrCam. A small device that helps visually impaired and blind people to master their daily routines better and more independent. Vision computing, predictive text and voice control were combined to an innovative application. Also, the startup MobileEye is a great example. The startup enables Audi autonomous driving already today – for safer streets. Each of these three examples impressively shows how Israeli deep tech innovations are of great utility for our society. For social advance and a joint successful future.

Alexander zu Gast bei Omer Elad vom Startup OrCam
Alexander and Omer Elad from startup OrCam from Jerusalem. OrCam My Eye combines artificial intelligence with text and facial recognition and voice control technologies. Thus, visually impaired people get able to master their daily routines in an easier and more independent way.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: What is most fascinating for you concerning startup nation Israel?

Alexander: In a nutshell: the passion for innovation and improvement. Israel is an island in the near East. Only as from size as Hesse and without significant resources. But: exactly that makes Israeli people so creative. Courageous. Inventive. And so forward-looking.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: What impact does this have on Israel’s startups and technology companies?

Alexander: First: Israeli startups think internationally from day one. That means, they always focus on multipliable business models from idea generation to market-ready prototypes. Instead of Israelite isolated applications, worldwide markets and customer needs were focused. Second: international collaborations are realized in an open, fast and dedicated way. From technology transfer, research through to spin-offs and cooperation. Same with networking, venture capital and varied startup accelerators like The Dock für Logistik und Maritime Wirtschaft. It impacts the whole innovation ecosystem. Therefore, Israeli are a very likeable and highly interesting partner – for innovation in Germany, Europe and worldwide.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: Are there further aspects which support Israel’s innovational power? What can we learn from them?

Alexander: Often, German companies are eager to develop and implement everything on their own, in-house. From idea generation to implementation. Doing so, everything must be from high engineering perfection. In our increasingly fast hyper-competition this approach does not work anymore. In a cross market and cross industry innovation contest broad perspectives are needed. In Israel, it is given to combine external technologies with capital, creative ideas and own strength for innovative business opportunities. Thus, advantages arise much easier and much faster.

EARLY BRANDS Insights: Last but not least: What should necessarily be on a bucket list for expeditions to the Silicon Wadi?

Alexander: Curiosity. Get yourself be inspired. From the openness and hospitality of Israel’s people. Start your day with a refreshing bath in the Mediterranean at Tel Aviv beach. Get inspired by the varied galleries and museums, e.g. at Rothschild Boulevard. At sunset: celebrate friendship with cool drinks and great conversations at Suramare – above the rooftops of Tel Aviv.

Israel Suramare Rooftop Club
Startups from Tel Aviv are technology-driven and far ahead, but also creative and art scene is a special onsite experience. Have a look on the current video installations from Suramare Root Top Club, Tel Aviv.

Start-Ups aus Tel Aviv sind technologisch weit vorn, doch auch die Kreativ- und Kunstszene ist ein Erlebnis. Hier die Video-Installationen im Suramare Root Top Club, Tel Aviv.

Another recommendation: explore historic city Jerusalem with locals. You literally feel the energy of this magic place and its sense for so many world religions. Beside these concrete destinations, keep one eye on great startups, potential technology partners and VC’s. For inspiration and spirit of discovery.

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