Despite the economic downturn, Israel’s startup scene is as strong and vibrant as ever. Just as the innovation hasn’t stopped, neither has the need for outside funding to develop these exciting technologies. Several conferences and forums have been organized in the past few weeks to maximize the access of Israeli startups to the funding they need. One that hasn’t happened yet, but will on June 4th in LA, is the The Israel Conference.
Considered the first of its kind, The Israel Conference will have more than $20 billion in capital represented when it brings together over 50 Israel-facing companies to showcase Israeli excellence in technology and products and to expand business and investment opportunities between Israel and California.
Presenters and panelists include Yossi Vardi (“the Father of Israeli Hi-Tech”), Erel Margalit (founder of Jerusalem Venture Partners, a venture capital fund) and Jeff Pulver (social media guru and VoIP pioneer) . The presentations will cover a wide range of topics from a look at VCs and the CEOs they back (why they were funded and the results today) to green tehcnology (how innovation in that field is helping the earth and changing our lives) and sales opportunities in a slow economy (where the money is, what the current market is like and how Israeli companies are maintaining a competitive edge).
Some of Israel’s overall edge and Caifrornia’s role in it can be attributed to the following:
- Israel has over 8,000 patents from a population of just 7 million.
- Within the past 15 years, major companies have risen that were developed in Israel and have their corporate office in California with job creation in the hundreds of thousands, world-wide. A number of these are Fortune 500 today with corporate offices in California such as Check Point, Zoran, and Amdocs.
- Israel has the largest number of scientists in the world per capita at 145/10,000 compared to the US with 85/10,000.
- In 2008, over $2B in capital was invested over 480 Israeli high-tech companies, an increase of 18% over prior year with 50% coming from funds outside of Israel, mostly from the US.
- Over the past 3 years, Israeli firms raised $2.3Billion in IPOs on exchanges around the world while over $18B was spent on acquisitions of Israeli High Tech companies.
The conference will also feature a presentation by Bob Rosenschein, the CEO and Founder of Answers.com, one of the Top 20 fastest growing Websites. I recently had the chance to interview Rosenschein and will post about that next in this series.