Israel doesn’t have a lock on innovation, but for its size, there’s no country with more of outsized influence on the global ecosystem. And the world has realized it: In the first half of 2016 alone, startup companies in the country of 8 million people sold for $3.32 billion.
With more than 40 Israeli companies based here, many in Georgia have heard the story of the “Start Up nation’s” richness of ideas and knowhow, but the participants on a Conexx business mission to Israel in November got to experience it first hand through the access provided by the organization.
Led by the Atlanta-based Conexx: America Israel Business Connector, 16 participants from industries such as finance, IT and medical learned about many different sectors of Israeli business that are complementary to Atlanta’s growing strengths, including cyber security, fintech, medtech and much more.
The tour began with a trip to Be’er Sheva, Israel’s cyber security hub in the southern Negev desert. The Conexx delegation met and heard pitches from cyber startups at the new Advanced Technologies Park. Along the way, participants learned about Israel’s most treasured resource — water —and how Israel is not only providing enough drinking water to her citizens, but is also producing enough for exports, all accomplished through Israeli innovation.
The delegation made their way to Jerusalem, Rehovot and, of course, Tel Aviv, Israel’s startup center. Participants were able to hear pitches from multiple companies in a variety of sectors. One of the stand-out visits for the group was meeting Benny Landa, Founder of Landa Digital Printing and the father of commercial digital printing.
New to this year’s mission was a focus on women in science, technology and medicine. Participants were able to hear from an incredible panel of Israel business women representing institutions including hospitals, medical technology companies and IT companies. This trip also featured four high-ranking Georgia State University faculty members. It was the first trip to Israel for the researchers, two biochemists, a neuroscientist and immunologist, who had the opportunity to explore Israeli medical innovation.
“This mission was a special endeavor for us,” said Conexx President Guy Tessler. “Many people have travelled to Israel for personal reasons, but most have never experienced Israel from a business point of view. Many business leaders in the Southeast just don’t know about the incredible opportunities that exist in Israel. Conexx is trying to change that.”
The 2016 mission was a great success not only for Conexx, but for the participants who made the journey, some of whom were following up on previous visits.
Delegation member Jorge Fernandez, Vice President of Global Commerce at Metro Atlanta Chamber, introduced some of the leading sectors in Atlanta to Israeli companies.
Through the many meetings and pitches, business relationships have been formed and follow-up meetings have been scheduled.
See the full list of trip participants here on the Atlanta Jewish Times website.
Read the newspaper’s day-by-day blog of the trip, including photos, here.