Israel’s Economy is Growing Faster than EU – The answer to BDS

The IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) 2015 Survey of Countries GDP by Capita* is out. Guess which major Western countries, including the European Union, were below Israel, which ranked 22 overall.

Also interesting to see the progression of Israel’s GDP over time as compared to two of its regional neighbors, Greece, an EU member, and Saudi Arabia, an oil producing powerhouse.

Israel GDP Historical Growth vs. Saudi Arabia and Greece.
Israel GDP Historical Growth vs. Saudi Arabia and Greece.

Continue reading “Israel’s Economy is Growing Faster than EU – The answer to BDS”

Imagine The Future is Now – Israeli Innovation

This amazing 2 minute video shows you incredible new technologies that are happening today thanks to Israel technology innovations. Things that were best left to Hollywood are now actually working in the real world here in 2015.

Levitation of objects, really?

Israel: Where Imagination Becomes Reality

Posted by StandWithUs on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Israel Innovation – Wearable Pregnancy Monitor

Watch this video. Do the world’s boycotters want to miss out on the next greatest Israeli invention?

Have a look at another great Israeli technology innovation, this time in the medical field – a lightweight wearable baby monitor.

This easy to wear device is in clinical trials. Once it is make commercially available, it could revolutionize the pregnancy experience.

✡ Israel = Life ✡ WATCH: Israel may have just answered the prayers of pregnant women everywhere. A wearable monitor to ease fears — and help ensure a healthy birth! Amazing!

Posted by The Israel Project on Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bringing an iPad to Israel? Don’t bother… Apr 25 Update!

Thinking of having an iPad shipped to Israel? Asking your parents to shlep one back on their next trip?
Think twice…

Israel has officially declared Apple’s iPad unwanted for now. Israel Customs has begun confiscating iPads from travellers and incoming mail shipments. Even (and especially) if you go to the red line to declare your new Apple toy, it will still be confiscated.
Israel’s government communications office hasn’t given any specific reasons other than that the USA model includes WiFi support that is not allowed in Israel.

Update: Israel iPad Ban Lifted April 25
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/04/25/why-israel-lifted-its-ipad-ban/
Israel lifted the ban on importing iPads. Apparently, Israel’s Communications Ministry was contacted by Apple’s technology labs to verify that wi-fi technologies present in the device will not affect military or other Israeli concerns.

Israel Economy for Start Ups – Signs of Improvement

I attended an entrepreneur’s conference last week in Herzlya at the offices of Sun Microsystems. At the meeting we heard from one VC, Blumberg Capital, who specializes in seed round investments of internet companies.
The partner of the firm who spoke, Bruce Tarragin, said that they were closing a deal in Tel Aviv now, and had already closed another deal earlier this quarter.

The Capital Market Bulls Return
There had been several months, since last October, with virtually no dealflow that was actually leading to investment. Now, there seems to be a reawakening of the capital markets. The negative sentiment of the market has been replaced with a feeling that we have already reached bottom, and now there are good ideas out there that are worthy of investment.
Are VCs too pricey?
There was a separate thread to this meeting that perhaps internet startups had precluded the need for capital investment in today’s age. Now, with the relatively cheap servers and cloud computers available, coupled with veteran entrepreneurs who have weathered many storms, there are internet ideas that can be launched with virtually no capital.
Mr. Tarragin pondered if VCs would eventually have to change their model to enable smaller ventures to participate in their capital programs. Typically, a VC will offer capital to a start up along with a seat on the board and a regular routine of hand-holding. This interaction drains the resources of the VC and reduces their ability to seek out new deals. Therefore, the traditional VC model was to buy a chunk of a new company for an investment of at least 3-5 million dollars. Nowadays, an internet company can get off the ground with very little, and often can get to prototype/beta to market with self-funding of the founders. New startups often cannot justify an investment of such great magnitude, and VCs are having to find creative ways to pad the projected budget to make the investment look attractive and still show a ROI based on projections.

It’s All About Who You Know
Mr. Tarragin also mentioned that his firm sees many thousands of business plans being sent to them yearly. They usually meet with only a couple hundred in person. The best chance of getting a meeting with the VC and a chance to show off your idea is by having someone the VC knows and trusts submit your executive summary or refer you to them.
The deal Blumberg is closing on now was refered to them by the founders of Check Point, a company they invested in early, and one of the most successful Israel hi-tech stories.
He said that the business plans VCs are finding most interesting these days are the ones that have a revenue model based on actual sales, such as software licensing, SAAS, and not exclusively relying on banner ad-based sales. [ed. I suppose they would have passed on Facebook and Twitter…].

Israel Meetups – Get Your Business Idea Off the Ground

You can’t find work in your field?  You have a great idea. Now may be the time to start a business!  What do you do next?

Get started right here in Israel– find partners, brokers, investors, more – they’re all here.  No need to look to USA (or India)!

There’s a whole sub-culture of parlor meetings and entrepreneur meetups happening all the time in a city near you.

Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, in particular, have a healthy number of forums where entrepreneurs can meet potential angel investors, and even present to interested parties for business development and other networking opportunities.

I’ve attended a fair number of these events.  Some have been quite rewarding.

The Tel Aviv crowd is generally (and here I’m generalizing) a more Israeli crowd. The investors usually are more sophisticated, e.g. they are representing funds or larger private equity groups. Whereas, the Jerusalem scene is generally filled with speculating angels, often accomplished anglo olim businessmen who still have a taste for startup investment.

Startups in Israel have attracted so much attention from many interested capital parties that one would assume that the streets are paved in gold. In reality, with the current world economic conditions, raising money these days from venture funds is nearly impossible. This reality has offered the ‘angels’ to take a more prominent role in helping new ideas to market.
The internet may be considered ‘old news’, but life sciences, renewable energy, and homeland security are extremely hot now.
I’ve attended several meetups in the recent months and although the mood has been somber compared to the ‘good old days’, there is a lot of activity now in networking and exchanging of information between interested parties.

How do I get started?
That depends on what you’re looking for… If you are generally interested in “getting in the game” whether as an angel investor or as an entrepreneur with an idea, the best place to get started is by speaking with your entrepreneurial friends and see whom they are speaking with and try to expand your network through the personal touch. A ‘warm’ connection is almost always better than a cold network group connection.

Next, go to meetup.com, which is a great place to ‘shop’ for interesting parlor and networking meeting groups in your area. You’ll want to sign up for an account and add to your profile with your networking needs. Search for Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, or Haifa, (even Bet Shemesh!) and you’ll see a dozen or more networking groups that meet on a regular basis on a wide variety of topics.

Please share with us any of your business networking ideas.

More specifics to come…(you’re going to need a business plan)

Financial Crisis – Hi Tech in Israel Affected

This article was posted yesterday on techexposures.com and it definitely gives us something to think about what’s in store for the hi-tech industry in Israel during the coming months.

The Financial Crisis – Internet startups will suffer

I attended a conference of about 40 CEOs and founders of start-ups last week in Herzlya, Israel.  The focus of one of the meetings was to discuss the current financial crisis and how it will affect the operations and viability of these companies.

One of the CEOs commented that he had just raised several million in capital for his start-up and that the money had hit their account only three weeks ago – just on the cusp of Wall Street’s meltdown.  He said he felt like Bruce Willis in Die Hard as he ran as fast as he could from a burning skyscraper that was about to explode.  He remarked that had the deal been delayed for even a week, he probably wouldn’t have been able to close the round, or that the terms would have been severely altered.

In attendance were also partners of some big name VCs.  One of the VCs (who is headquartered in Silicon Valley) told us that he has already instructed his Israeli portfolio companies to begin firing employees.  In his words,

“It is not enough for the CFO to tell me that they didn’t hire the 3 that were in budget.  They also have to fire existing employees”.

He believes that this (recession) downturn will last throughout 2009 and into Q1 of 2010.

Another VC thought that the amount of deals in 2009 would be lower, but that there will still be dealflow, and that this is actually a good opportunity for raising smaller sums (e.g. $200K).  The bigger VCs have traditionally avoided investments of less than a few million dollars.  Now it appears that many VCs will be ‘competing’ with angels and private equity groups to find the gems out there for $500K or less initial investment, with an eye on sustaining them until a Series A round can be raised in better market conditions.

The affects of the fallout from Wall Street in the coming months are too early to measure, but it’s clear that most sources of new funding will dry up at least until the credit crisis has passed.  Existing companies will have to squeeze their purse strings tight, and possibly begin proactively laying off to ensure enough capital remains to keep the mother ship afloat.