This is my first Medium post and i thought it would be a great ocassion to start with this. Im in Ben Gurion Airport at Tel Aviv Yafo, Israel. My trip with the Innovation Experience group from Argentina has just ended and i wanted to share some reflexions about the dreamed startup nation.
Im gonna start by telling you a little bit of how this trip began. I got an invitation from one of my closest friends, Juan Manuel, to join an adventure in Israel. He worked for a while as a telecommunications director at the Ombudsman Office in Buenos Aires, so he was very involved with technology and communication innovators and organizations. He couldnt make the trip, but I wanted to continue with the project.
Israel is, in fact, not a destionation I was thinking about. When you think of getting to know a place with the lastest innovations in the technology industries you surely think about San Francisco, Silicon Valley is in fact, the leader in the field.
The Innovation Experience offers you the opportunity to meet the israeli technology ecosystem. When we think in Argentina about an ecosystem, most of us would relate it to the environment., but here in Israel it is a concept That has been of the utmost national interest for at least four decades.
Let’s try to imagine that you live in a country that its surface is smaller than Tucumán, and You don’t have enough drinking water for your population, your neighbors are not at all in favor of you becoming a country and most of the world thinks that war is all you do. A little bit of a challange, isnt it?
Ok, no doubts Israel’s interest in technology is driven by national security, war industries, value generation for a land with few to none natural resources and the promise to never give up their fight to their right of being the State of Israel. But theres something we cannot deny: they are one of the biggest influencers in the technology and información revolution of this century.
We had the chance to visit many places in Tel Aviv Yafo, Herzliya, Beer Sheva, Haifa, Jerusalem, and we also had the chance to visit a kibutz (a small communist community) at Hatzerim were the Netafim headquarters are located.
We met with more than 20 entrepreneurs, venture capitals, big and small companies and universities, and here are some of my thoughts:
- The startup nation in many projects is looking for a one-billion-dollar exit experiment. They develop new technology needed for militar or consumer industries, that they already know, and try to make the best exit they can. Au contraire of our Argentinian thinking of building a profitable company.
- The so-called ecosystem really does work. It doesnt change along with the goverment, they have long term national agreements that they do respect. A clear example is the cybersecurity industry at Beer Sheva, where the Ben-Gurion University holds the Cyber Security Research Center and just around the corner you have the Beer Sheva’s vibrant cyber technology park where a company like IBM owns a Cyber Security Center of Excellence (CCoE).
- The global view is present in every project they develop. Living in an 8 millon population country makes the internal market not so attractive. USA market is one of their targets when they develop consumer products and it spreads to the whole world when Israelis think of security, militar, hard tech and many others.
- B2C developments are not as attractive as B2B or B2G, so their development in marketing and advertising is very poor. Most of the videos and material we received were really, really bad. Furthermore their low interest in marketing is shown at their powerpoint presentations and speech capabilities.
- Growing in difficult conditions were, for me, the most interesting projects. Netafim and Growponics are the future (and in many places the present) of agriculture.
No doubt Israel has great opportinities to keep on leading some verticals in the technology industry as long as their method of making sure everything works together keeps on working.
An over controlled future is being created at the center of the storm.