How I Came To Know The Start-Up Nation

Tags: Arts and Culture, Diaspora, Science and Technology, Israel Engagement, Education

By Lucile Dukore

In 2009 Dan Senor and Paul Singer wrote a book about the entrepreneurial spirit and, essentially, about the Israeli economy called- "Start-up Nation". For those of you who haven't read it, it gives a brief history of Israel and why start-ups do so well here.

Because of that book, today a lot of people refer to Israel as the start up nation, and it was one of the reasons why I came to see this country in the first place.

When I first came to Israel it was, like a lot of people, on Birthright. Yes, it was an amazing experience and yes, I made a lot of truly amazing friendships that I hope to carry through the rest of my life but it also did something much more- it opened my eyes to the world of uncertainty, risk and high tech.

Photo by David Bachar

Israel is (for lack of a better term) infested with small companies that form at the drop of a hat, or over the dropping of espresso into a cup.

If you walk through Tel Aviv you will be hard pressed not to find a business meeting occurring at a cafe (actually- cafes in plural as these meetings occur at almost every single cafe available in the city) or people discussing which Venture Capitalist (VC) they want to ask for money.

Founders Square

So when you're brought to Tel Aviv as a tourist, most people are focused on the beaches, beautiful women, and, sometimes, the places where the country was first formed like Independence Hall.

I was focused on the, what I term, “fake” business men- people on telephones wearing jeans and a t-shirt but discussing business in English and how much money their first round of funding brought in.

So when I returned to Israel, not as a tourist but on a program to get my masters degree, I tried to find out as much information as I could about what starts ups are, how this culture was formed in the first place, why it seemed that Tel Aviv was working better as a Silicon Valley than the actual Silicon Valley, and why no one cared to dress up for work like we do in the states.

The answers were simple and unified: Israel.

Now, the Start-up Nation book will tell you more information about how and why Israel's high-tech start-ups became what they are but I had to get my answers from the source.

The Junction- A Tel Aviv Incubator

So I asked a friend and became a participant on the StarTAU International Business Week which was in its early stages (I participated in the 2nd one).

The week was planned to perfection and although I didn’t participate in everything, the events that I chose to go on opened my eyes to the volatile world of Israeli Start-Ups. As it turns out, I still can’t get enough.

Every chance I get I tell people to pay the money and go on this business week because it’s an amazing experience that showcases Israel in terms of business and everything in between.

So why do I mention my experience with StarTAU? Because Israel is more than just a spiritual homeland and more than just milk and honey.

Making the desert bloom with drip irrigation from Netafim

It’s a place where scientific discovery thrives and a place where technology blossoms on every street corner (even down in the Negev Desert).

In specific I mention StarTAU because they continue to keep me up-to-date on a number of great Start-Up events occurring in Israel. For instance a big upcoming Start-Up event, the Tel Aviv University Innovation Day on June 6.

TAU Innovation Day

This unique annual event that takes place at Tel Aviv University, is a large-scale mega gathering featuring a start-up avenue (booths of leading companies), guest keynote speakers and a main entrepreneurship gala at the end of the day.

I’ll be including personal interviews and videos from amazing new Start-Ups so that you can feel as though you are apart of the action.

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Tags: Arts and Culture, Diaspora, Science and Technology, Israel Engagement, Education