Notes from Israel (Part VI)

In 2009 as part of SMU's Technology Study Mission (TSM), my peers and I left for a 10 day trip to Israel to study their VC/Startup industry to figure out how we can replicate their success as a Startup Nation here in Singapore. We spoke to government officials, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs during the trip. The following posts in this series are my verbatim account from notes taken during the trip.

Israel Venture Capital Research Center
  1. Incorporated in 1997
  2. Private Company
  3. Provides statistics about high-tech industries in Israel
  4. There is a lack of information about private companies and the industry
  5. IVC Research Center provides the answer to foreign investors
  6. Reaffirmed that Israel has no local and regional market. Local too small, regional 
     (rest of Middle-East) not on friendly terms
  7. Not much different from Singapore. In order to survive from Day 1, businesses 
     have to think global
  8. Lots of companies start but lots of companies also fail
  9. Over the past 15 years, lots of capital has been raised and exited
  10. In 15 years, exits were in total of:
          - IPO: $5.5Bn
          - M&A: $27.7Bn

Israel's Success boils down to:
  1. Entrepreneurial spirit / culture (Chutzpah - Willing to take risks)
  2. Record of proven exits (IPO & M&A)
  3. Strong presence of Major MNC
  4. Strong Human Capital! The brightest brains are returning back to Israel
  5. Commercialization of its defense industry
  6. Modern Infrastructure
  7. Russian Immigration (1991 - Highly skilled in science) 
     contributed to the source of innovation 

Giza's CEO:
" In the army, after going through war, it's less frightening to start a company"

  1. Started in 1992
  2. Part of the 'Yozma' program
  3. Focused on early stage innovative technology
  4. Takes a global approach

Personal Thoughts:
  The government's Yozma fund plays a very important role.
  Giza shared that lots of ideas are ahead of time. 
  They've invested in 2000 a company that deals with semantic web,
  but had to close it in 2003 as it never took off. 
  Today, the very same idea is gaining traction again.

  Giza has one of the strongest outreach to Asia (Taiwan and Singapore)