The new accelerator programme leverages Israel’s startup ecosystem and wealth of talent
In partnership with Barclays, Techstar’s latest accelerator leverages the region’s strength as a cybersecurity leader to accelerate ten startups from around the world in a 13-week programme.
Considering that Isarel’s first accelerator ever, The Junction, launched only in March 2011, startup growth has been fast. There are now a reported 207 accelerators in Israel and over 3,000 startups in the region.
Since the beginning stages, Israel has been a hotbed for tech startups: Google acquired Israel-based social mapping firm Waze in 2013, in a deal reported at about US$1 billion. Japan’s Rakuten paid US$900 million for Viber, the messaging app founded by four Israelis. Facebook bought Israeli start-up Onavo in October 2013, said to be worth about US$200 million.
The area is also seeing increased interest from VCs. 2015 was a record breaking year for VC funding, where the first half saw 342 companies attracting $2.1 billion, up from 334 companies nabbing $1.6 billion in the first half of 2014, according to Business Insider.
Hong Kong’s own billionaire Li Ka Shing donated US $130 million to Israel’s Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology.
Israel’s rise as a cybersecurity hub
More recently, Israel is leading in another sector: Cybersecurity, with large companies like Check Point Software Technologies leading the way.
“When looking at the Israeli cyber ecosystem it is clear that something good is happening in this small country. [There are over] 250 Israeli cyber[security] startups, out of which at least half are companies that were established in the past five years,” Kobi Samboursky, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Glilot Capital Partners tells e27.
Glilot Capital is a seed and early-stage venture fund that invests in Israel’s startups and entrepreneurs. It is collaborating with Techstars to provide mentorship in the programme.
“We recognise a few key reasons that lead to [Israel as a cyber security hub]. The first reason is that Israel has a very strong existing IT security sector, led by companies such as Check Point. Secondly, the strong flow of talented entrepreneurs from leading IDF [Israel Defense Forces] cyber units. Third, the major presence of relevant global players, and last, the powerful entrepreneurial spirit and developed startup ecosystem,” Samboursky continues.
He says Gilot is leveraging Israel’s unique advantages in order to create successful companies that will achieve a significant track record.
“The strength of all Techstars accelerator programmes is based on its network and its mentors. By partnering with Barclays, a global bank, we are ensuring that the Barclays Techstars Tel Aviv Accelerator is a truly unique cyber security and fintech offering in the startup nation,” says Liron Rose, Manging Director of the Tel Aviv Techstars program.
The chosen startups will have access to Barclays Techstars Accelerator programme offices in London, New York and Cape Town. Each startup will receive US$120,000 investment and mentorship from the network.
There’s still time to apply for the Barclays Techstars accelerator in Tel Aviv. Applications close January 2, 2016.
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