Israel is quickly becoming an innovation giant. With just over 7.7 million people, Israel has an estimated 4,800 startups, many of them high tech. These companies are sources of groundbreaking innovation that is catapulting Israel to global tech prominence. The combination of Israel’s culture, environment and keen strategy has led to a tech boom that rivals Silicon Valley.
It’s not only the sheer number of entrepreneurial companies; it’s their astonishing, innovative edge. One of the most popular and widely known Israeli tech startups is Waze, a mobile phone traffic and navigation app that’s creating a “driving community,” and is used by nearly 50 million drivers worldwide. Waze has been so successful that it was recently acquired by Google. Or Cam is a startup that has developed technology that allows blind people with intact optic nerves to see. Phinergy has created a lithium car battery that triples mileage for electric cars. These are just a few examples of thousands of startups that are making Israel a “startup nation.”
Israel’s tech boom is good for Israel and for the global economy. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lists 616 companies, meaning Israel has one public company for every 12,500 citizens. By comparison, the U.S. has one public company for every 47,000 people. Israeli companies’ continued success is a model for the rest of the world, and a tribute to their enduring spirit in the face of significant challenges.
Israel is a flourishing high-tech hub in an increasingly inhospitable region. Yet the country is surprisingly self-reliant. At an October 7 Tel Aviv event promoting the International CES®, I moderated a panel of leading Israeli innovators. The discussion revolved around why Israelis are so entrepreneurial. The panelists’ responses revealed that Israeli tech prowess comes from a combination of intelligence, creativity, productivity and independence as well as their staunch determination to press on in the face of daunting opposition.
The panelists praised Israel’s education system. Dr. Yoelle Maarek, head of Yahoo! Labs Israel, said Israeli education is excellent, largely because the students participate actively. She compared her experiences teaching in France, the U.S. and Israel, and said Israeli students are the most eager to learn.