What do Bill Gates, Carlos Slim Helu, Mark Cuban, Donald Trump, and Warren Buffett all have in common?
Of course, they’re all multi-billionaires. But there’s something lesser known about these five: They stand amongst an ever-growing number of people that have or are currently investing millions of dollars in the Israeli tech industry. More specifically, Israeli tech startups.
The next question is, why? What makes the Israeli tech industry so unique that these well-known billionaires are readily investing in meaningful amounts?
Bill Gates attributes it to the people. The unique experiences and skillsets in Israel set it apart from similar types of companies in Silicon Valley. He has been quoted as saying, “While startups in Israel are similar to those in Silicon Valley, there are specialists in Israel in fields like information security who get much of their experience from their service in the army. The science and technology curriculum in Israeli universities is also of a very high standard,” he continues, “The level of technological integration in the country is evident. The use of fast speed internet, lap tops and cell phones is advanced here and puts Israel at cutting edge of world technology.”
Warren Buffett, on the other hand, attributes it to the Israeli government. In an interview with an Israeli paper, Buffet commented on the positive climate for investors provided by the Israeli government. He said that Israel is “a nation of entrepreneurs with fantastic capabilities. You [Israel] need to continue providing the best and most comfortable conditions for investors. This is the responsibility of the government, which ensures a positive climate for investors.”
Carlos Slim Helu, however, invests because he views Israel as a pioneering leader in the tech industry. He was quoted saying, “We like to have our finger on the pulse of everything regarding new technologies and I know that in this Israel is a world leader, so we are interested in Israeli developments.”
Ready to play in the big leagues? Regardless of your reason why, the tricky question is: how? For the everyday investor, getting access to profitable, potential investment opportunities can be quite daunting, especially from oversees.
To combat this, a number of investment-based companies have sprung up to help international investors benefit for Israel’s famous ‘tech boom’. Until now there have been only two options for this.
Firstly, an individual could join a venture capital fund and leave to the discretion of the fund managers to choose the companies in which to invest your capital. In addition to handing over control of the portfolio, the major drawback is that only ultra-wealthy and well-connected investors have access to these types of opportunities.
Alternatively, you can go the route of the angel investor and hand-select in which companies you invest. The main downside to this is that in order to access early stage startup investments, you need a broad network of contacts within the startup ecosystem.
These are the challenges that lead to the vision behind OurCrowd, using an equity-based crowdfunding model for startup investing. This allows any accredited investor to access exciting startup investment opportunities and take part in the “Startup Nation.”
Regardless of whether or not one chooses to dive in and invest in Israeli startups via any of the available channels, it’s worth keeping an eye on the developments in Israel’s startup scene. After all, that’s what the most successful investors in the world are doing.