Israel as a startup nation is still quite young, almost in the founding mode itself. Between ten and fifteen years ago, the state, with its nine million people, was mainly an agricultural country, which had only developed into a veritable innovation center with increasing technological know-how. With a charisma that is not inferior to Silicon Valley and China.
For a few years now, the intensive exchange between Israel and its technology hub Tel Aviv and Baden-Württemberg has been growing rapidly: be it at the Startup Autobahn Stuttgart, in the Urbanharbor in Ludwigsburg, where the Co-Shift consulting startup will be together within a few months With the trade and economic department of the Israeli Consulate General Munich, German and Israeli founders have already twice invited to pitching and networking – everywhere Israeli startups in the southwest are now omnipresent.
A current highlight is the ‘Startup BW Summit’ of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs. The summit, which took place for the first time in 2017 under the title ‘Startup Messe’ at the Stuttgart Exhibition Center, was very international this time and had a partner country with Israel for the first time. After all, 20 of the 75 foreign startups represented there were invited from Israel.
Active Israeli Ministry of Economy
Wiebke Fischer, senior Israeli Trade Commissioner at the Consulate General, knows his way around German-Israeli cooperation. For seven years she has been working for her employer, the Israeli Ministry of Economic Affairs in Jerusalem. “Worldwide, we currently have 46 ‘Economic and Trade Missions’, and the trend is growing,” she says. In Germany there are these economic and trade missions in Berlin and for seven years also in Munich. Each of the economic and trade missions is assigned to the Department of Foreign Trade and has an Israeli diplomat at its head. In Munich this is Yifat Inbar.
From the Bavarian capital, Fischer acts for southern Germany and Austria. The lawyer initiates and accompanies Israeli-German activities for Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg. Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Hesse and Austria. Especially in Baden-Württemberg, she is very often on the road. “Israel is unique, because not least because of its geographical location, it needs a lot of know-how and innovation for its own survival and its own security,” she says.
German organization meets Israeli improvisation
Fischer helps with her trading commission to bring together Israeli startups with German companies. The aim is to incorporate Israeli innovations across industries into German companies. “In addition to Israel’s strong traditional industries such as agriculture, food or fashion, the automotive sector, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, of course, are all technological solutions in focus since this development of Israeli startups began about ten to fifteen years ago,” says you. “Much of Israel comes from research and development. Of course we have that in Germany as well. But the know-how in many technologies comes from the Israeli military and is adapted for the civilian world. ”
Why does the cooperation work so well, especially between Baden-Württemberg and Israel? To make digital innovations, it takes a bunch of crazy ideas, say Fischer and the networkers of Co-Shift unanimously. “There are more in Israel than in Germany. But apart from crazy ideas, you also need precision and accuracy. That in turn gives it more in Germany, “says Fischer. She outlines the cooperation: “German organization meets Israeli improvisation.”
Israeli startups and German mentality continue to work, because Israeli improvisation makes the paths from the research and development process to the first prototype and use in the company significantly shorter than ours in Germany. “This rather improvised business behavior in comparison to the traditional German, which “very organized, very long-term, very prudent acts – this connection fits very well.” That’s what she says from her years of experience, in which she regularly organizes trips to Israel for German companies.
Above all, Israeli startups in the southwest are looking for partners
Israeli startups in the southwest are less concerned with establishing a branch, subsidiary or office in Germany. Rather, they wanted to use a local representative who works for the Israeli company in the market, with the aim of selling the product. “Israeli start-ups definitely do not want to be bought in the first step,” says Fischer.
Instead, they want to use the companies – whether Bosch, Daimler, Trumpf or smaller companies – to integrate innovative technology into the German company in the context of contract-based joint ventures or similar agreements. But now there are Israeli start-ups that go one step further – such as the company Inspekto, which specializes in artificial intelligence in the field of quality control and has even established itself as a German company.