According to the Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center, Israeli high-tech companies overall raised a record $3.4 billion of capital in 2014, of which $2.36 billion came from venture capital investors. That compared to U.S. start-ups which attracted $48.3 billion in total from venture capitalists in 2014, the most since 2000, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Although the U.S. has a population 38 times larger than that of Israel, they raised just 14 times what Israel raised.
Drilling down more deeply, Israeli start-ups based in New York alone raised a total of $1 billion in the 12 months ending February 2015, according to IsraeliMappedinNY, a website that tracks new ventures. For the record, there are currently more than 235 Israeli start-ups with U.S. operations based in New York alone.
To get a sense of the dynamic start-up scene in Israel, where 1,000 new companies were established in 2014 alone, one only need look at some sterling examples. For example, Wi-Charge has a technology that delivers up to 10W of power over a distance of up to 30 feet to multiple rechargeable devices using an infrared light beam. This technology provides smart home and mobile devices a source of unlimited and safe power. This will effectively provide unlimited battery life for all things wireless. The company expects to deliver products to the market in the first half of 2016.
Another start-up, Unispectral, currently operating at Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s TTO, has developed a new camera lens so sensitive that it can actually see through things like the human body. People are comparing it to a tricorder from Star Trek. While currently doctors must physically examine patients to attain a proper diagnosis, they soon might be able to simply wave a smart phone over patients’ bodies to discover what is going on inside.
For an example of a successful Israeli technology firm now reaching well beyond the start-up stage and making it big, one can look at RADWIN, Israel’s leading provider of train-to-ground wireless communications solutions. They recently announced the completion of the onboard Wi-Fi deployment for the Moscow Metro. RADWIN’s FiberinMotion® train-to-ground solution was chosen by MaximaTelecom-the system integrator and service provider-to deliver high-speed Wi-Fi services onboard Moscow Metro. The world’s busiest by daily ridership, Moscow Metro serves over 9 million passengers daily. The Wi-Fi services are provided onboard 650 trains and 5000 cars along 600 Km (400 miles) of tracks. RADWIN’s train-to-ground solution delivers 90 Mbps per each train.
These are simply three examples of what we believe is the manifestation of the comment made a few years ago by Johnson & Johnson’s Dr. Garry Neil, Corporate Vice-President for Science & Technology when he said: “For every problem in the world recognized as insoluble, there is one Israeli or more energetically working on it.”
Technology companies worldwide are constantly asking themselves what new technologies they need to develop or acquire in order to keep their companies competitive over the coming years. Many of those technologies can be found in Israel, as suggested by the $3.4 billion invested in Israeli high tech companies and the acquisitions of such firms on a regular basis. While many international companies have already realized this and have chosen to devote resources to sourcing Israeli technologies, those that have not would do well to follow suit and benefit from this dynamic ecosystem.
EDI, intimately familiar and connected with the vibrant local scene for over 20 years, stands ready to assist international companies to do just that.
Sherwin Pomerantz is president of Atid-EDI Ltd., an economic development consulting firm with 26 years’ experience in assisting overseas companies and public entities in their export promotion and foreign direct investment attraction efforts.