5 reasons to bring your startup to Jerusalem: The City of Gold

We all know that whatever one’s background, a tour to the Middle East is not complete without a stop in Jerusalem. What’s been less known (and is changing) is that Jerusalem has developed over the last 10 years into one of the premiere places for hi-tech in the world. According to a piece featured in Time magazine in 2015, Jerusalem was the number 1 emerging tech hub in the world. A more recent article in the ‘Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2017’ by Startup Genome also ranks Jerusalem highly in terms of startup ecosystems and conduciveness for growth.

Here are 5 reasons why Jerusalem is hot and only getting hotter:

  1. HR: You need good people for your company - maybe you can’t afford engineers with 20 years of experience, but you don’t want employees who are inexperienced to the point where you’d need to babysit them. Talented, quick and bright young people looking for entrepreneurial opportunities are to be found in this city, ones who will learn quickly and help get your company off the ground. Jerusalem boasts a large student population and talent resources from which companies can recruit: in addition to the prestigious Hebrew University Engineering and CS programs, there are a number of other colleges in the city that focus on all aspects of technology, ranging from cyber security to full stack developing.
  2. Mentorship: In recent years, a good number of startup accelerators have been established in Jerusalem, some local, others international. There are accelerators that are part of universities and others that are independent. What this creates is an environment where a bright person with a good idea can find some critical guidance to building the next world-changing product.
  3. Funding: One of the most difficult aspects of starting a company is securing funding. Fortunately for those considering basing themselves in Jerusalem, due to the infrastructure (such as the accelerators) there are many funding options available. Many venture capital funds are either based in or visit Jerusalem on a regular basis, not wanting to miss out on the next great thing. There are also government grants and angel investors to be found.
  4. Accessibility: A little-known secret is that Jerusalem has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, ranked 11th in a study by the Public Transport Research Group. You can travel to the city center in 15 minutes or less from virtually all neighborhoods, with buses or the new light rail system. And it’s about to get better: The Israeli government has invested billions of dollars in a state-of-the-art fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Set to open in March 2018, this train will take 28 minutes to reach the heart of Tel Aviv. You could grab coffee with your Tel Aviv buddies and get to downtown TA before they do!
  5. Last but not least, let us not forget one of the sure things in life — taxes. While in Israel there are relatively high individual tax rates, the corporate tax rates are much lower. Guess what: in Jerusalem they’re even lower! The Israeli government created a preferred ‘Zone A’ where corporate tax rates are even lower. At only 7.5%, this is one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world.

Chaim Finson grew up in Jerusalem and most recently worked as a director of a nonprofit at Cornell University. He is passionate about technology and equally passionate about his home city, Jerusalem.