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Why is Israel the Startup Nation?

Eduardo do Valle

Amit Geron/Publicity, Nexar/Publicity, Getty Images

The ideas and innovations that have turned Israel into a hotbed of startups and technology

 

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It takes 20 minutes to get from Ben Gurion Airport to downtown Tel Aviv. It’s enough time to practice your Hebrew using the language learning app Babylon while also exploring Israeli technology even before arriving in the city.

 

The second largest concentration of high-tech initiatives in the world, Silicon Wadi is the birthplace of companies like the traffic report and GPS navigation app Waze and the website platform Wix. Giants like Facebook and Amazon have offices on Rothschild Boulevard, which used to be a deserted region up until a hundred years ago.

 

'Israel had to innovate in order to survive,' says Daniel Schnaider, author of the book Pense com Calma, Aja Rápido (2018). A veteran of the country’s intelligence service, Schnaider, who was born in Brazil, says that weather conditions and necessity drove this innovation. Next, check out some initiatives that solve problems with creativity to this day.

 

Numbers

There are around 1,035 startups and coworking spaces in the region of Tel Aviv-Yafo, according to the website Mapped in Israel. In the country, there are over 10,000, affirms Schnaider. The author says that, in 2017, 127 startups were sold, totaling almost 23 billion dollars.

 

Oasis of innovation

Three areas that are being transformed by Israeli ideas

 

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Traffic

After Waze changed traffic all over the world, new companies are betting on drivers’ safety. Nexar, for example, records the route and provides real-time alerts to prevent collisions.

 

Health

Technology is revolutionizing medical exams. Sight Diagnostics can deliver laboratory tests from a few drops of blood. Meanwhile, Health.io can perform urine tests using photos taken with your phone: the pixels are analyzed to deliver a diagnosis.

 

Bureaucracy

With up to 94% accuracy, LawGeex is an automatic reader that identifies errors in contracts. Meanwhile, BlueVine, which offers an invoice factoring service, funded around half a billion dollars in 2017.