Israel: the Technological Start-up Nation

In my years as manager and later on the CEO of Dell Technologies Israel, I have come to appreciate and expect great things from this oddly characteristic market. The unique harried and relatively “new” feeling of being an Israeli has provided its citizens with very a specific, brash and productive environment in which the most innovative start-ups are being developed as we speak.

The Israeli region is a relatively small market with only 8.5 million inhabitants, but it does have a lot of market opportunities in respect to technological innovation. Israel has a vibrant start-up economy and is a leading world player in the number of founded start-ups, the investments they receive, and the innovative solutions they build. As the original ‘start-up nation’, it is a very rewarding market to provide customers with the best technological solutions and position ourselves as a world leader in R&D and digital transformation.

Safe Haven for Tech Start-ups

Israel has a vibrant culture of innovation that permeates through every part of society and business. It has, for instance, the largest number of start-ups per capita in the world, measuring at around one start-up per 1,400 people. Supported by their strength in numbers, Israeli start-ups are continuously looking for new technologies to create advanced solutions and become a leader in their country’s industry. This phenomenon has caught the eye of major international tech companies, who find their new solutions enlightening and frequently vie with each other to acquire them. This has led to a fruitful interaction between the local start-ups and global tech giants, who both benefit greatly from this culture of innovation.

The speed of innovation in this country can be certainly attributed to the fact that Israelis are notorious for their impatience. Though, when you couple impatience with problem-solving and innovative thinking, you can generate some unique solutions to daily problems. Staying up-to-speed with the relentless modernization of technology is at times challenging, but it also offers an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of this digital transformation and to witness how we can offer cutting-edge solutions to our customers in Israel and around the world.

Strengthening Bonds with Start-ups

Dell Technologies often plays a supporting role for rising start-ups in Israel because we strongly believe in the reciprocal benefits this situation brings. Helping start-ups grow from a small storage solution company to a global player in four to five years, for instance, is very rewarding because we can grow along with them and learn from their agile way of enhancing their products and coming up with new and exciting solutions.

A lot of start-ups in the early stages of their company life are looking for cloud solutions, but as they start to grow they usually turn to a hybrid or private cloud because of the high cost of relying solely on a public solution. In every part of this journey, Dell Technologies can assist them with our end-to-end solutions, which are always relevant to their current stage of business development. As a trusted partner we are highly appreciated because we provide them with the full range of our technologies.

To strengthen these bonds, we are also involved in many incubator initiatives, such as CityZone, Israel’s first smart-city innovation lab. Based in Tel Aviv, the innovation lab will enable early-stage start-ups to develop technologies and solutions relevant to the real needs of the modern city. We have chosen to join this project because it enables us to better understand the future of the city, the challenges it poses and how we should try to tackle them, thereby advancing smart-city technological solutions. We are also looking to replicate this initiative outside of Israel and in other smart cities across Europe and the US.

Focus on R&D and Digital Transformation

The focus of Dell Technologies on R&D is equally well appreciated in Israel, as it has the highest R&D intensity in the world, with gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP at 4.7 percent compared to 2.7 percent in the United States and 2.01 in Europe. The government of Israel itself is naturally a major player in this regard and focusses hard on the development on industrial R&D in the region. That is why we have found a unique partner in the Israeli government to help develop local R&D projects and contribute to this industry and the Israeli economy as a whole.

The first main area in which Dell Technologies is innovating in Israel is Smart Cities. To accomplish this we rely heavily on its ecosystem of local start-ups. As I mentioned above, we helped to build the CityZone Smart City innovation lab to host start-ups who develop solutions for Smart Cities in Israel and around the world. These key challenges will include the loneliness of the elderly, monitoring security incidents and sanitation hazards, encouraging cooperative and autonomous transportation and smart-city cyber protection.

Another important sector is the Israeli financial and banking industry. In this sector Dell Technologies is leading the pack with the aid of FinTech start-ups, who help our banking clients be more competitive and faster in the financial market. Moreover, we are very involved with the growth of these start-ups and actively supports them to develop their solutions. As a result of these partnerships, Dell Technologies has created several game-changing financial solutions, such as the full-scale digital bank Pepper for the Israeli bank Leumi, and other digital transformation projects for Hapoalim Group, Harel Insurance and Clal Insurance.

Many clients of Dell Technologies in Israel are in the process of digital transformation and I believe it is our mission to work together with innovative, local start-ups to present them with our joint solutions and convince them we can offer the best way to move forward on this journey to a digital enterprise.

About the Author: Lior Pony