Tech Startup Lessons from Israel: Entrepreneurs Thrive with Collaboration, Government SupportFebruary 13, 2017
In an effort to better understand the Israeli ecosystem of innovation, the Detroit Regional Chamber recently attended a five-day, fact-finding mission to the country led by Deloitte and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. It was held concurrently during Gov. Rick Snyder’s Israel trip to enhance business ties with Michigan.
The delegation included chief information technology officers and executives from AT&T, Consumers Energy, General Motors, Henry Ford Health System, and nine additional organizations across the state.
During the week, the delegation met with key decision-makers from 12 leading technology startups and attended the 2017 CyberTech Conference in Tel Aviv to hear from cyber experts from multi-national corporations, startups, private and corporate investors, and venture capital firms. Gov. Snyder provided opening remarks at the Conference (pictured).
The group also met with Avi Hasson, Israel’s chief scientist, and received an up-close look at AT&T’s latest innovation center in Raanana, GM’s Advanced Technical Center in Tel Aviv, and Israel’s Startup Nation Central, a nonprofit focused on getting innovation in front of leading companies around the world.
Other stops included meetings with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Talpiot Program, an elite training program for students who excel in science and technology; and CYBERBIT, a global leader in cybersecurity and intelligence.
Building Relationships to Maintain Michigan’s Mobility Leadership
In sheer size comparison, Michigan is 11 times larger than the entire country of Israel. Despite that, estimates put Israel’s startup companies at nearly 1,000 in a given year.
Driving this entrepreneurial boom is a combination of Israel’s mandated military service and the resulting talent development, and robust seed funding from the government and venture capital firms for startups.
Public and private collaboration, along with a dedicated source of government funding, is an area where Detroit and Michigan can draw lessons.
“With more than 90,000 engineers, Detroit is also an innovation center with a similar ecosystem. But where our companies are built to drive innovation internally to meet the needs of their own customers, Israel is more externally focused,” said Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Chamber.
“The trick is, how do we take our innovation culture and flip it around to encourage more collaboration and information sharing, especially as we look to be a leader in solving issues around global mobility moving forward?” Robinson added.
He said one thing is clear:
“Israel is a market Michigan must have a close relationship with not only because of the volume, but also the quality of innovation taking place. They have a culture that asks partners, ‘bring us your problems’ – and there are no shortage of challenges in delivering autonomous driving to the world,” he said.
“The Chamber and MICHauto are committed to further enhancing the connections between our established automotive industry and venture capital community with the technology ecosystem in Israel. Doing so will be a win-win for both of our communities,” Robinson added.
For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313.596.0352.
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