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Israeli Startup Culture’s Influence on the Big Apple

One of the places to find a significant number of Israeli startups outside of Israel is New York City, known for being a place of abundant opportunity; this is well-shown in 2,000+ Israeli startups springing up in the city
Illustrative photo of New York City. (Kobi Gideon / FLASH90)
Illustrative photo of New York City. (Kobi Gideon / FLASH90)

Perhaps one of Israel’s trademarks is being a startup-friendly and entrepreneur-friendly country. And perhaps one of the places where you can find a significant number of Israeli startups and companies outside of Israel is none other than the Big Apple – New York City. NYC is known for being a place of abundant opportunity, and this is well-shown in 2,000+ Israeli startups springing up throughout the mega-city.

Yali Saar, CEO of Tailor Brands, told Israel21c in their February 2016 article, New York says ‘shalom’ to Israeli startups about the plentiful opportunities the Big Apple presents:

“New York has always been a place for companies to raise capital, but historically there weren’t a lot of early-stage VCs. Now we see more VCs and angels expressing interest in early-stage companies.”

Saar further expanded on why among all American locations, New York presents the best options for Israeli companies to embark on a global strategy and expand beyond Israel as compared to going to the West Coast:

“Specifically for Israeli companies, the market in Israel is too small and they have to think of a global strategy. They can either go to the West Coast or to New York; New York is a better option because the time difference isn’t as big and you can take a direct flight overnight.”

Perhaps the expansion of Israeli startups is an ideal avenue for Israeli professionals to present Israel from the right angle and as something that people working in other countries may not have seen before. This could potentially be an effective way to not only expand business ties between Israel and people of other nationalities working in New York City, but to present the Israel that one simply cannot see through the media.

And perhaps a prime example could be the case of an experience that Lior Vaknin, founder of Israeli Startups NYC, told Israel21c in their January 2015 article Importing Israeli startup sauce to NY, about a Harvard-educated data scientist who came to the very first gathering of Israeli Startups NYC.

In the article, Abigail Klein Leichman reported that “Brad” (the data scientist) knew very little about Israel prior to attending this gathering. The little he did know was what he had read in an article about the Tel Aviv startup scene.

Leichman went on to report that just two months later, “Brad” took a flight to Israel to uncover the Israeli startup scene for himself.

Leichman further reported:

“’I went to the meet-up to find out more information because I was curious about what others outside of the US are doing in the tech sphere,’ says Brad (for business reasons, he wants to stay anonymous for the time being).

In an effort to counter the all-too-common negative propaganda against Israel that many people see through media coverage, Leichman went on to report about what Vaknin wants people like Brad to understand in regard to Israel:

“He wants meet-up participants like Brad to understand that Israel is a whole lot more than what they see on the news. ‘We have our issues like any other country, but we have a lot of good stuff we can give to the world.'”

“Brad” told Israel21c about how impressed he was by Israelis’ devotion to the startup scene:

“‘I was really impressed by the thriving ecosystem there despite the small population. I was fascinated by how disproportionately devoted to tech and startups Israel is,’ he says.”

“Brad” further described the warm receptiveness he felt from people when he visited Israel:

“I suppose it speaks to the Israeli mentality, personality and drive. I was also impressed by how receptive everyone was. They were very welcoming, and I never felt excluded for not being Israeli.”

About the Author
Allison Barksdale is a senior convergence journalism major at Abilene Christian University who has a heart for Israel and enjoys writing about Israel's numerous contributions in her spare time.
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