What Makes the Israeli Startup Scene so Special?

Posted April 17, 2014 by

stock-photo-Israel Flags WEBDubbed the “Startup Nation,” Israel is known the world over for its high density of startups in fields such as technology, communications, security, biotech, and more. Second only to Silicon Valley in California for multiple platforms such as programming talent and pull on venture capital, Israel has more than 5,000 documented startups across the nation … and growing.  So what makes the Israeli startup scene so special that it can rival mainstays like Silicon Valley, London, New York, and Toronto?

Resiliency.

In the face of ever-present adversity – from the literal threat of destruction by neighboring countries to the daily challenges of keeping a startup running – Israelis have shown an intense resilience than cannot be taught in Ivy League schools or in the hallways of online giants like Google and Facebook. It is a unique trait learned from required military service (for both men and women) and daily life in a small country only in existence for slightly under 70 years.

Israel’s business marketplace is also quite unique in that for its small size, it has attracted a wide range of interested companies like Apple and Microsoft that put down roots to hire top talent in their R&D offices. The local Israeli startup scene then benefits from having those larger companies so close at hand when it comes to developing an exit strategy.

2011 Admissions aerial poster image.  (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)Another up-and-coming startup scene similar to Israel’s is Boulder, Colorado. Surprised? You shouldn’t be: both Tel Aviv (the main startup city of Israel) and Boulder have an unusually high density of startups for their size and location; both places are small, lending an intimate sense of “everyone knows everyone”; and both have large internationally recognized companies like IBM with local offices, among other reasons

To grab a hint of what the Israeli startup scene looks like, check out MappedInIsrael.com, which is a 100% crowd-sourced real-time map of existing startups, coworking facilities, job opportunities, and more for the tech industry in Israel. (Boulder’s equivalent is BDNewTech.com, in case you’re looking for local opportunities.)