Learning from Israel's technology ecosystem's success


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Learning from Israel's technology ecosystem's success

  1. 1. Israel’s success How did Israel create its ecosystem Orna Berry, Ph.D. Corporate Vice President and General Manager for Israel Center of Excellence October 2013
  2. 2. Start-up nation • Israel is cited as the country with the highest density of startups in the world.. • Attracting VC investment per capita at 2.5 times greater than the US • Having more companies listed on NASDAQ than the entire continent of Europe combined
  3. 3. In 2010, Israel invested 4.3% of GDP in R&D, compared with 3.9% by Finland, 3.6% by South Korea, and over 3% by Sweden, Japan, Denmark, and Switzerland. • Science and technology is one of Israel’s most developed sectors. • The percentage of Israelis engaged in scientific and technological inquiry, and the amount spent on research and development (R&D) in relation to gross domestic product (GDP), is the highest in the world. • Israel's percentage of the total number of scientific articles published worldwide is almost 10 times higher than its percentage of the world's population. • Israel boasts the highest number of scientists, technicians, and engineers per capita in the world with 140 scientists, technicians, and engineers per 10,000 employees (In comparison, the same is 85 per 10,000 in the United States and 83 per 10,000 in Japan). • Israeli scientists have contributed to the advancement of agriculture, computer sciences, electronics, genetics, health care, optics, solar energy and various fields of engineering.
  4. 4. The Israeli ecosystem model Academia MoD Industry Venture
  5. 5. MoD culture and professional role • MOD (military of defense) - Culture of service is mandatory for most young Israelis the Israel Defense Forces – Exerting responsibility in a relatively unhierarchical environment where creativity and intelligence are highly valued – Minimal guidance from the top, and are expected to improvise, even if this means breaking some rules
  6. 6. .. Creates unique technological environment • Every year hundreds of technology soldiers of technology divisions go through unique training programs focusing mainly on advanced security areas. • These graduates later join the academia and continue to the industry as founders, junior and senior executives. • Their alumni spreads across academia and the industry. • Tight connections between the army, industry and the academia lead to a constant cycle of innovation. • Due to the country’s small size, Israeli start-ups target their market globally rather than focus on one area or challenge of a specific market.
  7. 7. Government role is to establish the policies to enable and support the ecosystem In the late 1960s, the notions of high-tech and the “knowledge economy” were not part of the lexicon. The Israeli government made a crucial strategic decision: - It would jump start and breed a science-based sector by providing broad financial support for commercial R&D - This policy would make up for market failures The first manifestation of the new strategy was the creation of the Office of the Chief Scientist in 1969
  8. 8. The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) The key instrument is the Matching Grants Program - This is administered by the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor, the main government body in charge of innovation policy Firms submit proposals for R&D projects The OCS reviews the applications according to set criteria These include: - The technological and commercial feasibility and merit - The risks - The potential of these projects for generating expertise
  9. 9. Government Initiatives From the early 1990s, a series of novel programs were set up The most important were: - The Technological Incubators Program - The Yozma Program for jump-starting the venture capital sector - The Magnet Program for creating consortia of industry and academia
  10. 10. The Venture Capital Scene Foreign VC investments, increase the opportunity for more multinationals M&As of local companies The venture capital industry was born in the mid1980s and has rapidly developed since. In 2012, 70 active venture capital funds, of which 14 are international VCs with Israeli offices From 1993-2008, local VC raised almost $14B Actual VC-backed investments reached a high of 2.7% of GDP in 2000
  11. 11. Claiming Success Government policies as well as the deep connection between Government-MoD-Industry- Academy have managed to unleash the potential embedded in Israel’s abundant human capital For example: - Trained young cadres of ICT specialists in the defense sector - The immigration from the former Soviet Union and technologists’ massive recruiting into the high-tech industry