As Israel observes Hanukkah – a celebration of the light among the darkness – it’s time to highlight the tech trends creating sparks within the Startup Nation.

Note, these trends are based on our deal flow – what our team sees on the ground.

Trend 4/8: Medical Marijuana Tech

How a trend is born: 

Medical & recreational marijuana is lighting up the market – by some estimates, total sales of ‘Mary Jane’ may reach as high as $100 billion in the US alone in the next few years. The legal cannabis industry is poised to grow faster than smartphones according to the Huffington Post.

And tokers can exhale a sigh of relief knowing that this rapid growth is due largely to new groundbreaking laws enacted in recent years that enable the production and sale of marijuana.

Who’s who: 

Israel can be thought of as the perfect breeding ground for medical marijuana companies, as it’s the place many people call the medical marijuana research capital of the world. The three main business categories within the cannabis industry are growers, grow services, and technology companies. Studies in Israel have revealed that marijuana use could actually protect the brain, not damage it. This makes Israeli companies key contenders to be cannabis cash cows.

  • KanaboSeed: This joint development project (pun intended) devised a technique to help breeders modify crops to emphasize specific traits. KanaboSeed is a partnership between BreedIT, an Israeli software developer, and Seach Ltd. [Hebrew], a licensed grower in Israel.
  • Tikkun Olam: Featured strongly in the mainstream media and with a name a mother could love, Tikkun Olam, which is also the term for a Judaic concept translated as “repairing the world,” is doing just that. Tikkun Olam Ltd. is only one of eight licensed growers in Israel, and were one of the first to get in on the game.
  • EdenShield: Applied to greenhouse nets, screens, or the plants themselves, EdenShield produces a novel plant extract from the Israeli Judean Desert that makes crops odorless to pests, preventing multi-billion dollar crop damage. This certainly comes in handy when you want to keep your pricey plants safe and sound. OurCrowd invested more than half a million dollars in EdenShield during 2014.

What’s next:

Remember prohibition in the 1920’s? Innovators at that time took proactive steps to get ahead of the curve, such as setting up exclusive liquor importing contracts early on, and making bank for their investors – but also themselves. Though probably years away before the regulatory environment around marijuana cools, the technological innovation and commercialization train has already left the station and is quickly gaining speed.


Check back with us each night of Hanukkah to learn about another tech trend sparking the Startup Nation!

Find out more about investment opportunities in Israeli startups.

Thanks to OurCrowd’s Etan Efrati for contributing to this piece.