Why Health and Wellness in Israel
As this decade comes to an end and we look to the future, we see a world which is going to be increasingly led by millennials who prioritize health and wellness. A global consensus has emerged around the importance of wellness; mind, body, and spirit, as a priority for this generation. One of the overarching themes is a healthy lifestyle which creates a sense of wellbeing and optimizes one’s performance in all aspects of life. As we age and our bodies naturally change, a wellness focused lifestyle preempts diseases and cures them when they ultimately happen.
Like many trends Silicon Valley has picked up on how wellness can significantly improve one’s standard of living, but also how technology can capitalize on this market which according to the Global Wellness Institute is valued at $4.2 trillion. As a vertical, contemporary wellness refers to the technology which looks to offers solutions around physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing. This is a wide swath of opportunities startups address, ranging from meditation apps such as Headspace, online personal health subscription services such as Hims/Hers, and mental health apps such as Talkspace. While returns are important, there is an underlying theme which is driving investment in this vertical and that’s the creation of technologies which offer a net positive to society alongside lucrative fiscal returns to investors.
Wellness Tech Nation
When looking outside of Silicon Valley for opportunities Israel is one of the most powerful and robust tech ecosystems in the world. As mentioned in IEEE Spectrum “Tel Aviv contains more startups per capita than any city in the world other than Silicon Valley, according to the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report published by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Prior to 2019, Tel Aviv contained the most startups per capita, even beating Silicon Valley.”
Israel’s prowess in building high-growth startups has been well documented and when looking at the Israeli ecosystem a solid indicator of the ecosystem’s successful exits is covered in this report by the IVC Research Centre and law firm Meitar “Israeli exits in the first half of 2019 (H1 2019) reached a record of $14.48 billion ($7.58 billion excluding $6.9 billion Mellanox Technologies acquisition).” What has changed over the past few years (and where we see the opportunity) is Israel’s strength in building companies in the cyber, SaaS, and deep tech areas has expanded to other emerging verticals such as wellness.
The country’s entrepreneurs have been known for building strong companies in the enterprise space as Israelis are natural problem solvers, and some of the most pressing challenges have been with those technologies. A new globalized generation of millennial and centennial Israeli entrepreneurs, those who worked at and have been exposed to global tech brands are now building companies which address challenges many people on the planet face such as their personal wellness and health.
There are cultural aspects which make Israel a natural fit for the wellness community. Israelis are generally an open minded and well-traveled people (ex., the widespread adoption of yoga in the country as a result of Israeli backpacker’s time traveling in India), an active population because of the legacy of fitness instilled in the IDF, and the Mediterranean lifestyle. Growing up in a country such as Israel whose citizens had to deal with numerous existential threats, brought its own unique form of stress which needed to be managed. Entrepreneurs in the country today are mission focused and building companies to address wellness that are socially impact driven.
The Israeli health and wellness opportunity
Enter Welltech1; the first fund focused on investing in and accelerating Israeli startups in the health and wellness space. We launched this initiative with the goal of accelerating our portfolio companies’ viability, assisting them with additional investments, and connecting them to global partners immersed in the wellness market. When looking at areas in the wellness space which offer major opportunities, we are addressing nutrition, mindfulness, stress management, fitness, preventive medicine, and beauty. Our personal thesis is to approach this vertical in holistic terms as well; it’s not just about investing in strong entrepreneurs but also helping build companies which make a positive impact on the globe.
Along with investing in the next crop of Israeli wellness entrepreneurs we serve as an ecosystem partner to provide global companies with an innovation platform and assist them in identifying emerging technologies with our scouting services here on the ground in Israel. One of the biggest challenges global companies have in an ecosystem such as Israel is finding the signal through the noise, and as community builders we have our finger on the pulse of where the trends are headed. That is why we believe now is the time for global organizations to establish an active presence in the local market so that they can be exposed to the massive amount of talent and ideas the Startup Nation offers.
As one of Welltech1’s founding partners Galit Horovitz, stated earlier this year in a JPost article about what Welltech1 offers entrepreneurs and corporates, “what we are providing to the start-ups is knowledge, mentorship and a supporting community. We’re bringing our experience and knowledge to help start-ups grow and providing a scouting service for global partners who don’t have someone on the ground.” Examples of portfolio companies in which Welltech1 works with are fitV which personalizes workouts by providing real-time feedback using machine vision and AI-based solutions, and CalmiGo which offers a drug free solution device which provides the immediate relief of anxiety by regulating a user’s breathing pattern.
In looking towards 2020, Amir Alroy, a partner at Welltech1 states in the previous mentioned article that “the wellness trend has developed significantly in the last 10 to 15 years. Today, it’s an industry and a lifestyle, and the market is now ready to accept a wellness innovation hub.” It’s because of this commercial interest that the Welltech1 team is proud to be bringing the 2020 Global Wellness Summit to Israel. This conference will showcase Israel’s leading technology in the wellness space and look to gather the global wellness community around the Startup Nation.
The next decade will be driven by interconnected trends such as impact focused investments which produce a double bottom line and create a net positive for society. Wellness in Israel is an example of a vertical which offers significant opportunities. In 2020 as Israeli entrepreneurs build wellness companies and the ecosystem develops, we believe now is the time to invest in and capitalize on this opportunity.
Welltech1 invests in and accelerates wellness startups with the goal of increasing viability, seeking additional investment and connecting to global partners immersed in the wellness market. Welltech1 provides startups with the know-how to scale, a dedicated professional team of wellness experts, business advisors, and global partners a gateway to accessing the global $4.5 trillion wellness market. To learn more click here.