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Next Silicon Valleys: What makes Israel a startup nation?

With a population of about 8.5 million inhabitants, Israel is one of the countries with the highest concentration of startups per citizen. Nicknamed the new Silicon Valley, the country of the Middle East takes its chest for its technology. “One in three Israelis works in a high-tech company,” says Noa Avrahami, head of digital media at the Israel Export Institute, to Innova .

The Mediterranean coast of the country has delegations of the leading technology companies in the United States. Traveling by the highway 2 that connects Tel-Aviv with Haifa, in the north of the country, the Microsoft, the Intel, Motorola, Philips settle to the sides of this important road.

Traveling around the 90 kilometers that separate both cities, the Silicon Wadi, for its wide concentration of technology companies, is left behind until reaching the other point of the line, Haifa.

The leaders in innovation in Israel

At the foot of Mount Carmel, the Technological Institute of Israel is erected, which is joined by the University of Haifa and recently the Matam Park, the largest in Israel. “We want to be the leaders in innovation in Israel,” says David Etzion, deputy mayor of Haifa.

In these little less than 100 kilometers escorted by the Mediterranean to the west concentrates the seeds of the startup nation that has brought so much praise in the Old Continent. “Israeli technology is incredible,” says Avrahami.

Cybersecurity, national security, health or agriculture have recognized technological tools made in Silicon Wadi. “We all serve the army and many of the military technologies made a change and now they are vertical solutions in other fields,” says Noa Avrahami.

More than 300 startups

One of the vertical solutions highlighted by the head of digital media at the Israel Export Institute is sports. “We have more than 300 startups in this area,” he adds. Technological boost that is beginning to be noticed in the successes of the country at a sporting level.

In the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Israel collected two bronze medals in judo competitions. Aviv Hatzir, a businessman and retired judoka, launched a system based on data analysis of rivals in 2016.

So he created Boost, a chatbot that allows athletes and their coaches to ask questions about the athlete himself, his training or his rivals in a future competition. The system analyzes the question using artificial intelligence and gives the athlete an immediate response.

The data analysis combined with artificial intelligence is one of the star solutions of the new Israeli startups that have already crossed the Mediterranean and even the Atlantic Ocean. “Technology and sports are in full swing,” says Dron Hemo, director of North America and Latin America at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry.

Future Sport Israel

Under the title Future Sport Israel, Tel Aviv becomes the capital of the world of sports and technology with more than 80 executives from around the world. And more than 100 Israeli startups looking to unite their paths and make the leap to Europe and the United States. “Our main objective is to help Israeli startups to scale globally to be successful with all international companies,” Avrahami responds.

Spain is also one of the objectives where they seek to grow these new companies and where the employers of Spanish football looks for new innovations to innovate in La Liga Santander. “Spain is one of the most popular destinations of our companies,” says the head of digital media at the Institute of Exports of Israel.

Mentality change

Escorted to the east by Mount Carmel, the home of Maccabi Haifa FC, the Sammy Ofer Stadium, has put aside the goals and cards to welcome the new technology and not the famous VAR. The entrails of the “most technological stadium in Israel”, according to the authorities of the country, have become small windows of the technological muscle of Israeli startups.

“Israel is the center of technology, it’s about innovation,” recalls the head of digital media at the Israel Export Institute. The landing of technology to the world of sport has changed the preparation and development of the match or competition.

However, the introduction of new tools such as augmented or virtual reality have changed the experience of the amateur. Nowadays, millennials are not able to see a whole football game, Avrahami adds.

The irruption of the smartphone or the tablet as an everyday element causes sporting events to be seen on two screens. “The game is the main course, the repetitions arrive after dinner and are the desserts,” said Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA.

The future of sports entertainment goes through live statistics or live the game “with the eyes of Messi,” says the head of WSC Sports. “Tomorrow goes through 5G, I do not know when it will arrive, but it will and we will be able to see the game in virtual reality,” Avrahami says.

Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups
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