E.ON goes Tel Aviv

A peek into Israeli startup market

12. November 2018 Tel Aviv

Israel, a tiny country with a population of around 8.5M, is often known as “The Startup Nation”. With over 4000 startups operating in an increasingly maturating startup ecosystem, Israel has largest number of startups per capita in the world - around 1 startup for every 1400 people.

According to statistics from 2017, Israel has about 4000 startups and 40,000 people working in the high-tech industry. Startups contribute 15 percent of the export GDP and raise 2.5 times more venture capital per person than the US and 30 times more than European countries. This makes Israel the second most innovative country globally.

There are a number of resons that have contributed to a unique startup ecosystem in Israel. Doron Shpasser, who is supporting E.ON activities in Israel, names a few:

  1. The People
    o The mandatory army service for women and men are contributing a lot of experience, knowledge and maturity to young entrepreneurs.
    o Entrepreneurial spirit is deeply ingrained in everyone, like survival skills. It is easy to access information and networks, enabling each individual to contribute his or her smallest ideas.
    o There are a highly qualified and well-trained workforce as 24% of the labor force has a university degree. But most importantly, these people are trained in prestigious schools such as Technion, Weizmann Institute, Tel-Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University.
    o The migration of 1 million people, mainly high-level engineers and scientists from the former Soviet Union to Israel in the 1990s also significantly added to the workforce.
  2. The Environment
    o In Israel there are no boundaries – Chutzpa (comes from Idish language) or Audacity is the name of the game.
    o The Israeli emphasis is on ideas, speed and rollout. If that means the innovations are slightly unformed, so be it. If that means some entrepreneurs crash and burn, no problem. It’s the Israeli approach to failure. We don’t see failure as a big deal.
    o Forget six degrees of separation – in Israel, courtesy of strong military and business networks, most people in the technology and venture-capital sectors know each other well.

As much as big corporates seek to get their share in Israeli startup ecosystem, the startups themselves are looking for new partnership opportunities. “Israel is such a small country. We are limited with a number of customers. What is more, startups are looking to grow, to scale. Everyone is happy to have a big players like E.ON as a reference,” Doron Shpasser explains.

Making the first steps in the Israel market, E.ON is currently focusing on grid, customer solutions and cybersecurity – an essential pillar of the startup boom in Israel. Starting with a corporate challenge in Tel Aviv in December this year, E.ON is looking for the first Israeli startup to start a paid pilot with their IT security team.

Impressions of the Event

  • Participants:
    Vaiva Seskeviciute
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