In my day job as Managing Director of a Tel Aviv-based venture capital fund focused exclusively on seed-stage mobility companies, I regularly play host to automotive and technology delegations from around the world. In these sessions, I am often asked about the regulatory environment in Israel for implementation of emerging technologies. Surely, a small country that is innovating on the scale of Silicon Valley must have progressive policymakers working hand in hand with the tech sector.
The answer is not as simple as most of our visitors generally perceive. While the government of Israel has done much to encourage innovation, foreign investment and more, and while Tel Aviv emerged as an early battleground amongst operators of shared kick-scooters, the good news is far from uniform. All one need to is open the Uber app in Tel Aviv to see how Israel is missing out on the conveniences being enjoyed by commuters the world over because of backward regulations.
And these days I am learning how frivolous municipal regulations can harm consumers, the economy and the environment.
Exhibit A: We are fortunate to be building a new home in the city of Ra’anana, where we have enjoyed living for the last six years. Given my career investing in technologies, combined with our understanding of the economics and concern for the environment, it is only natural for us to want to include solar panels to generate electricity for our new home. Anyone who knows us will know we have a plug-in car — how much better to feed it with rays of the sun than with fossil fuels from the Israel Electric Corporation?
Should be simple. But it’s not.
What government goal could be more important than saving money on energy costs and saving emissions from the environment?
Red roofs. What?
Yes, that’s correct, the city of Ra’anana requires new homes to have red roofs. Why? To give it a “villiagey” feeling.
We have been led to understand that this is an issue the city council is to take up shortly. We hope that it is very shortly – in time for us to act on it!
Otherwise, we will be paying for dirty electrons in order that our kids’ drones can photograph the perfectly uniform red roofs of Ra’anana. And our kids’ future will be the dirtier for Ra’anana’s silly red roof regulation!