These are the faces, hearts and souls of what I call the Unicorn Economy of Israel.
I shot these photos at recent startup event in Nazareth that took place at the Nazareth Business Incubator Center, where Fadi Swidan runs multiple accelerator programs to help the region’s startup community succeed.
I think we are too stuck in the glamour of unicorn companies; ones that have a valuation of $1 billion or more. WAZE getting acquired by Google is a good example of this.
As sexy as unicorn companies might sound, I think they set a series of false expectations, and give an entrepreneur-to-be all the wrong reasons to start a new company.
Maybe we should be paying more attention to what’s going on up north and see where we can not just focus on one magical company that hits the big time, but looking at an entire regional economy.
Go North — Come and Discover Nazareth
The more time I spend in Nazareth, the more I see and meet some incredibly amazing startups.
The entrepreneurs I meet are well educated. Many are in their late 20s and early 30s, and about 50% are women, something I don’t see as much in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
They are graduates of Technion, Tel Aviv University, and Hebrew Universtiy in Jerusalem. Many have master’s degrees, and some are Ph.D. candidates or have completed their degrees.
They are hungry.
They have a desire to succeed.
Many I meet with share with me a vision to create a global, Israel-based company, serving the 420 million Arabs who represent a large market opportunity.
I am not here to predict the future; my crystal ball is not that good.
What I can tell you is that based on what I have personally seen and experienced in the Nazareth region, there are some unicorns — or rather a unicorn economy on the horizon.