Traditionally the term geek has been synonymous with glasses, a pair of suspenders and a star wars collection, yet in Israel is seems that the term geek has become equated with millionaire. With hundreds of companies in the last few years being sold for hundreds of millions of dollars each, it seems everyone is cashing in on the high tech boom. Some of the most notable among these successful startups are: Wix IPO raised $127 million, Google buying Waze for $1 billion, and the most recent being Viber which was acquired by Rakuten for $900 million. It all begs the question: how did they do it?
The answer is rather simple. Start with a great idea and then connect. Endless books and articles are written on the reasons behind the high tech boom and the plethora of creative ideas flowing out of Israel. These ideas range from things as simple as an app that fogs up your mobile phone screen, so you can swipe it off, to navigating car or bus drivers across the globe, thereby saving them time and aggravation. With all that is published on the topic, this article is not going to go into too much detail about how a great idea is formed. In a nutshell, the reason seems to be attributed to a winning combination of circumstances.
These circumstances have been suggested to include the high education levels in Israel and early and intimate exposure to advanced technologies during the mandatory army service. In addition to this, there is incredible support from the government in raising international funds and lowering relevant taxes to help businesses thrive. Yet, a great idea, at the end of the day, is only potential. Now that the idea exists with limited to no resources, the outreach and networking begins.
This is why, by connecting to both peers and potential investors Israeli developers are able to become so successful. One of the cornerstones of Israeli culture is networking, and many companies exist to help startups get off the ground. Companies like Gvahim and Meetup have conferences to connect startups with each other as well as potential employees to help them expand their networks and grow. There are also companies like Tevelglobal, a global angel investor community and fund, who connect potential investors on an international scale, between countries like America and Israel, to provide opportunities for angel investing. Then there is the groundbreaking and highly popular idea of Crowdfunding startups. Companies such as OurCrowd, founded by Jon Medved, one of the most recognized venture capitalists in the tech world, have created a totally exceptional model of equity-based Crowdfunding of startups which allow any accredited international investor to fund startups from their conception. Startups in Israel are able to learn from each other and are now able to fund their idea from early on in the process thereby ensuring optimal conditions for them to thrive.
Through this winning combination of creativity and networking opportunities, it looks as though soon anyone with a great idea will be able to cash-in on the Israeli tech boom.