Israel, a country of technology and contrasts

The last week of March we participated in a business mission, organized by Endeavor Argentina, to Israel. The main objective was to get to know the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem, one of the most powerful and innovative in the world. This objective was fully achieved and allowed us to understand, from the first source, the true reasons for the success of a nation marked by religion, the Holocaust and the modern miracle of turning a desert into a world technological power.

The trip had a very intense agenda where we could learn the reasons why companies such as Amazon, Google, eBay, Alibaba and Microsoft, among many others, have innovation offices in Israel.

Among the companies that we were able to visit, we would like to highlight the following:

  • Microsoft ILDC Israel R&D Center and Microsoft for Startups, where we got to know the ecosystem of technology companies that are present in Israel, the technologies and innovation focuses of those companies and the opportunities that Microsoft sees in the future for Israel.
  • Moovit, world leader in public transportation applications. There we could see how a social application can enable models of optimization and urban planning, allowing its users to make efficient use of public transport in their city and / or country. Surprisingly, we learned that Chile is one of the countries that, in collaboration with the local government, has integrated its public transportation in the application.
  • Weizmann Institute, Israel’s leading scientific institute, which although it is not a company, was worth knowing first-hand what is being done in the cradle of several Nobel laureates and world leaders in natural and exact sciences.
  • Elron Electronic Industries, an Israeli technology holding company involved in the creation, financing and development of more than 30 medical technology companies, is considered one of the cornerstones of Israel’s high-tech industry.
  • IDB Group, one of the main Israeli holdings with companies in areas such as agriculture, cybertechnology, medical devices and real estate.
  • The Floor – Fintech Global Innovation Center, an undertaking that operates a reverse innovation platform where, through strategic partners, they find Fintech opportunities, which they seek to capture with solutions created by them. Together with its banking partners, The Floor is shaping the “Bank of the Future” by leveraging exceptional technologies and expertise.
  • OrCam, an Israeli company that focuses on promoting technological solutions for the visually impaired through a gadget that attaches to optical lenses and serves as an artificial vision device.
  • Mobileye, a company that develops advanced technologies for the automotive industry and one of the leaders in the development of autonomous automobiles. Sold to Intel for $15.3 billions last year. This was one of the companies that most surprised us because it seeks, through automotive safety devices, to establish the foundation for the autonomous cars of the future.
  • United Hatzalah, an undertaking of Social Innovation in the area of public health that has expanded worldwide. This is one of the world’s largest independent, non-profit, all-volunteer emergency medical service organizations, providing the fastest and most free emergency medical response in all of Israel.
  • Hatzerim, an Israeli Kibbutz specializing in agriculture and the birthplace of Netafim, an Israeli company that began in 1965 in the Negev desert, and was one of the main responsible for Israel’s “miracle” in agriculture. Netafim developed technologies that produce more, with fewer natural resources, becoming a world leader in agricultural technology and a pioneer in drip irrigation systems.

But this trip was not only about companies and technology, we also had the opportunity to meet important political and social actors that allowed us to understand a little more the reasons why a country that has gone through so many things, is an example of entrepreneurship and development. Some of the characters with whom we had the opportunity to talk were:

  • Tamir Pardo, former director of Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, who told us about the geopolitical and security problems his country is facing and with whom we could understand, a little more, why this nation lives in constant risk.
  • Enrique Cymerman, Israeli journalist of Portuguese and Spanish origin who works as Middle East correspondent for IC (Portugal), La Vanguardia (Spain) and Mediaset España, GloboNews (Brasil), Canal 2 (Israel) and I24news in French and English. We talked to him about the current situation in Israel and the Middle East.

Alan Hofman, representative of the innovation authority and head of the international collaboration division of the Israeli government. Alan is responsible for the country’s innovation policy and leads all initiatives that connect and foster entrepreneurship and innovation between Israel and its partner countries.

Finally we had the opportunity to get to know some of its culture, visiting places and museums where the religious, political and social history of Israel, and of the Jewish, Catholic and Muslim world, have developed. All this allowed us to understand, a little more, the reasons why this country is an inexhaustible source of military technological innovation, cradle of companies that develop solutions that seek to solve relevant problems for humanity and leader in entrepreneurship in the Middle East and the world.

Francisco Sandoval

General Manager@ I2B Technologies