Israel has been named the first ever Startup Nation, as it has produced some of the world’s leading startups and VCs. We know that for a ecosystem to flourish, the three biggest elements are market, capital and talent, but how is it that Israel can produce more startups than other bigger countries, with only 7.1 million people living in Israel?
One of the local VCs, iAngels, hosted a group of twenty Nordic and Russian angels from both FiBAN and DanBAN in Tel Aviv. iAngels have a wide portfolio of startups and scaleups, some of which they presented to the delegation. The delegation met with three of their portfolio companies, SeeTree, Octopai and Binah.ai, who all got to present their business case to the investors. In addition, group of angels met with local VCs, startup and scaleup companies such as the highly successful social trading platform and Israeli unicorn, eToro. iAngels get hundreds of applications per month and they cherry pick the best ones for their platform. iAngels also invest bigger rounds and take a board seat in companies - in those cases, they do approximately two months of due diligence. As a part of that, someone from their team works with the company for a short time to analyze the company, especially the CEO.
Besides meeting with ecosystem players, the delegation visited Jerusalem. The overlap of different cultures and ethnicities was distinct, as were the heavily equipped army troops.
The overall atmosphere in especially Tel Aviv is also very encouraging for entrepreneurs. “Once I had moved to Tel Aviv, I heard everyone around me setting up their own companies or telling me about their previous ventures. That really pushed me to try this out!” explains Simon Schwall, CEO of OKO, a portfolio company of Techstars. Even when they are young, Israeli entrepreneurs might have had several companies of their own. This is because companies are shut down quite rapidly, if the idea doesn’t fly. This way both human energy and investments go to the most potential companies.
Senor, Dan & Singer, Saul: Start-up Nation - The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle.
This text was written by FiBAN's International Affairs Manager Reetta Ilo and DanBAN's Managing Director Sisse Melsen
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