The Secrets of Internet Businesses in Israel
Why, how and where to run an internet business in Israel
by Spencer Shaw
Written on 30/Apr/2012
Contact the author on 0207 193 5429
California has Silicon Valley, the UK has Silicon Roundabout, and Israel has Haifa, Herzliya and Tel-Aviv. There are as many business start-ups in Israel as there are in all of Europe. Talking about Israel’s start-up scene is not new and the Start-up Nation book by Dan Senor has become a very popular read.
Technology Hubs are becoming big in countries with a thriving tech and entrepreneurial scene. For example, Tech Stars in the USA give fledgling start-ups up to a cool $1m to invest in their businesses with incredible freebies such as free hosting (i would love that). My dream has always been to live in Israel and to perhaps run Jewpro from there, so when I was given the opportunity to interview the dynamic Boaz Sapir from the social and entrepreneurial technology hub called The Hub Tel Aviv, I was as excited as a Jew in a discount store. I wanted to know what could be available to me if I decided to make Aliya.
The Hub is the Israel version of the The Hub in London. It is an open plan space for technology and social entrepeneurs to grow their businesses. A very cool place to work.
Q: Hi Boaz, How would you describe in a few sentences the Israeli start-up scene?
A: Very vibrant. A lot of people want to try and start businesses. Many people only want to work for start-up and not the established companies. Everyone talks about start-ups. Everyone has heard about successful start-ups.
Q: What have been the most recent Israeli successes?
A: There are many. Shaker (Virtual Pubs), Face.com (Face recognition software) and Boxee (PC to TV software)
A: How is starting a tech business in Israel different to the UK
Q: It is natural for any tech person who is good and talented to start their own start-up. They are expected to do so. Working for a big organisation is seen as less prestigious than start-ups
The Israeli Government support the technology incubators. There is criteria to join the incubators which is set by the office of the Chief Scientist. If you can prove a technological innovation or break through, grants and Investments which are only repayable on success are given.
Q: Where in Tel Aviv are the incubators and hubs?
A: There is The Hub Tel Aviv, Tech Loft, The Library (Hasifria), Sharon Tower and The Junction (Genesis Venture Capital Fund). Private office space is $3-4k for 2-3 people.
Q: Why are Israelis so good at starting businesses?
A: Business is done in the spirit of young people. It is very normal for success stories. Israelis are very flexible and adapt fast to changes. They function well in uncertainty which is related to the general conditions of growing up here.
Technology is treated with a high regard. Every Jewish mother wants their kid to be a computer scientist and no a doctor and lawyer. This is now the best way to make a decent living.
Q: What does the future hold?
A: There was a crisis in 2011 when the venture capitalists ran out of money. In 2012 things changed and the scene re-invented itself with start-ups running on low cost on a cloud infrastructure.
If you would like more information regarding The Hub Tel Aviv contact Boaz Sapir on email@example.com (+972 54227 7173)