With more than 260 startup accelerators in Israel as of this summer, entrepreneurs heading early-stage startups for nearly every imaginable market segment have a place to grow their businesses, catch the eye of investors and perfect their product and strategy.
It’s not unusual for Israeli startups to go from one accelerator to another, picking up additional contacts, backers and experience along the way to striking out on their own, according to Koby Simana CEO of the IVC Research Center in Tel Aviv, a private research firm that tracks trends in Israeli high-tech, venture capital and private equity.
Below, ISRAEL21c highlights eight of the most unusual accelerators operating in Israel’s business scene today.
- Hamadgera (The Hatchery), the first-ever kibbutz startup accelerator, opened in October 2015 at Kibbutz Revivim with strategic partners including Microsoft, Deloitte, WIX, Activetrail and Moblin. Participating entrepreneurs receive free room and board for the three-month program, which focuses (naturally) on accelerating startups in the fields of cooperatives and the sharing economy.
- Cann10 in Rosh Ha’ayin is run by an Israeli authorized medical cannabis farm and an Israeli holding and services group. Selected entrepreneurs are given facilities, knowhow and professional mentoring toward commercialization of drug-delivery systems, new strains and breeds, medical devices and other novel products related to medical marijuana.
- Cockpit by El Al, in collaboration with the Microsoft Israel Accelerator, offers investment, mentoring and support from El Al and Microsoft professionals to startups with new technologies aimed at revolutionizing the travel and aviation industries.
- TheNest caters to small businesses started by new immigrants. It’s an outgrowth of TheHive accelerators in Tel Aviv and Ashdod sponsored by Rashi Foundation subsidiary Gvahim. Hosted at Wix in Tel Aviv, TheNest helps participants overcome the language barrier, unfamiliarity with the local market and regulatory red tape. The first 15 projects included a French immigrant’s online gourmet market; a frozen yogurt-making kit designed by two American immigrants; and an Italian immigrant’s personal concierge services for new arrivals, foreign homeowners and tourists.
- Excel Ventures was recently launched in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by Birthright Israel to accelerate joint startups of young Americans and Israelis. Excel Ventures is funded by the Steinhardt Foundation, the Schusterman Foundation and the Paul Singer Foundation with the cooperation of other entities such as Ernest & Young and the Rise Community.
- Brainnovations is the startup accelerator of the nonprofit Israel Brain Technologies, focusing exclusively on bringing brain-related innovations to the market. Housed at Google Campus Tel Aviv, Brainnovations includes among its 14 sponsors Teva Pharmaceuticals, Boston Scientific, Rainbow Medical and Poalim Hi-Tech.
- Startup East is the first Israeli-pan-Asian startup accelerator and micro-fund. Participants get access to services and mentors in the fields of IP, finance, HR and law, as well as marketers, distributors, localization, translators and social platforms; introductions to investors and VCs in Asia; access to Asian incubators and accelerators; networking, partnerships, events, hackathons and exhibitions.
- Acceleration Inclusion in Israel (A3i), described as “the first leading assistive technology accelerator worldwide,” is dedicated to ventures that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Based in Ra’anana, A3i operates in partnership with PresenTense, Beit Issie Shapiro, The Ruderman Family Foundation and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.