Israel’s tech sector, one of the world’s most dynamic, remains an important driver of economic growth and innovation for the country. Perennially ranked as one of the most innovative countries in the world, Israel continues to produce an astonishing rate of high caliber, high technology startups. In fact, despite possessing a population of just over 8 million people, apart from the United States, Israel hosts more startups than any other country in the world. From fintech, edtech, health, agriculture, and transportation, Israeli startups are using technology to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
While the global successes of Israeli startups are well known, it is important to note that Israel’s role on the global technology stage is not simply limited to commercial accomplishments. In addition to launching some of the most successful and innovative startups of this century including Waze, Viber, Wix, and Mobileye, Israel is also a major force not only in driving global innovation, but also in expanding the use of new technologies to improve the well being of many of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Given Israel’s status as a global innovation and technology powerhouse, countries all over the world are lining up to develop partnerships which will facilitate the ability of their citizens to learn from and collaborate with some of the globe’s most innovative tech entrepreneurs.
In Asia, a recently signed agreement between China and Israel will facilitate the opening of Israeli innovation centers across the country. Japan, one of the world’s most innovative countries in its own right, signed an industrial R&D agreement with Israel in 2014, the first such agreement in its history. Across Europe, public sector led initiatives such as the UK Israel Tech Hub, Germany’s EXIST Startup Germany, and the Israel-Italy Joint Innovation Program for Industrial, Scientific and Technological Cooperation in R&D are paving the way for greater technological cooperation. Not be left behind, Latin American nations, including Uruguay, Colombia, and Mexico have also signed R&D agreements with Israel. African nations have also displayed a strong desire to collaborate and learn from Israel, a desire underscored by the recent “Israeli Technology and Innovation for Africa” program held during this year’s United Nation’s General Assembly Meeting.
Yet, perhaps the most impactful work is being undertaken through the direct use and application of Israeli technology abroad. Amidst historic droughts, U.S. states including California have turned to Israeli expertise to mitigate the effects of water shortages, with Israeli desalination company IDE Technologies successfully operating a Carlsbad plant since 2014. In India, Israeli agricultural expertise and technology has been instrumental to developing greater crop diversity and food security among the subcontinent’s inhabitants. Israeli developed technologies have also been instrumental in saving lives after major natural disasters; the use of Israeli mobile respiratory devices to treat survivors during last year’s earthquake in Nepal, and Israeli startup Watersheer’s instrumental role in ensuring the supply of potable drinking water in the days following Japan’s earthquake and Tsunami are important examples. Israeli created sterile, inflatable tents were also key tools used for treating patients during Africa’s 2014 Ebola crisis.
Indisputably, Israeli technological advances and innovative startups are having a major global impact not only commercially, but also in terms of their influence on economic development and humanitarian assistance. Recent figures estimate that nearly $2.8 billion was invested in 361 startups during the first half of 2016, with the investment total representing a 35 percent year-over-year increase. If previous performance is indicative of the future success and impact of Israeli developed technology, we can be sure that the next wave of Israel’s startups will continue to play a major role in shaping our global future. Undoubtedly, the world will continue to take note and be a better place for it.