Everyone knows that Israel is the start-up nation, blessed with creativity, out of the box innovation and solutions and a keen entrepreneurial spirit.
But why does this reputation seem confined to technology?
It shouldn’t be. In fact it’s not.
I grew up in both in an Israeli and American environment. The child of US olim in Israel who often visited America, I saw America’s practical and effective way of doing business, while also seeing the Israeli way, sometimes including in-your-face boldness, filled with cutting edge innovations and tech-driven achievement.
I always wondered, is Israel’s winning ‘chutzpah’ a phenomenon unique to high-tech? I became one of many Israelis forging new paths with the “start-up nation” spirit in thoroughly mainstream industries.
We live in a world of cumbersome, impractical and costly travel insurance — where in order to protect oneself, one needs to pay a lot and put up with much red tape and paperwork resulting in complicated policies where health, baggage and trip cancellation are all bundled into one. Hard to understand and harder still to collect payment on.
I asked myself: How do we simplify and make this cheap and consumer-friendly?
A few years ago, I experienced the dreaded travel incident: my suitcase was one of the two million pieces of luggage that get lost, stolen, delayed or damaged every year. My headache began after I realized I would have no clothing or swimsuit for my trip, and would have to replace everything. After spending 45 minutes, waiting in line for three separate individuals, the airline that lost my luggage and filing a lengthy, time consuming claim, the headache was compounded when I received the news that I’d eventually receive $250 as compensation for the lost luggage — barely an eighth of the value of my suitcase’s contents.
The minute that I returned home from my trip I started researching baggage insurances; when I could find nothing even approaching consumer-friendly, I came up with an idea and founded Blue Ribbon Bags. Here is the entire concept in ONE sentence: Blue Ribbon Bags charges $5 per person per suitcase per round trip or one way ticket, and should it get lost along the way, the passenger receives $1,000 per bag. You are entitled to this four days after the loss occurs. There are more details but that is the essential story. You pay $5 for peace of mind and should a bag get lost… you quickly receive $1,000 no matter what the contents may have been.
Apparently, I was not the only traveler looking for a service like this. Shortly after launching the company in the United States, it was booming. It was only natural that with this success we launched internationally, with our FIRST international location being my other home and a source of inspiration, Israel. I have no doubt that savvy Israeli passengers will appreciate this approach.
So here I am, at the 20th International Mediterranean Tourism Market Trade Show in Tel Aviv show to launch Blue Ribbon Bags in the nation known worldwide for its pioneering technologies and businesses.
Israel is a land of potential and promise where tremendous ideas have been born and evolved. Cutting edge technology is vitally important. But there’s every reason in the world to extend breakthrough thinking to a much wider commercial arena. I’m doing my part.
Read Start-Up Israel to keep your ear to the ground about innovative Israeli high-tech.