Over the last 18 months, 16 multinational financial firms started operating in Israel, or increased previous business through strategic partnerships and investments. Newcomers include AXA SA, Bank of Montreal, Fosun, TD Bank, AmTrust, and Mastercard. The attraction? - Israeli technology. Plus two video reminders of the 4 multi-billion-dollar exits so far in 2018.
I reported previously about Israeli startup prooV and its service that allow companies to perform Proof of Concept (PoC) testing on new technology. The Business Intelligence Group has now named prooV a 2018 Stratus Award winner, for its unique cloud technology solution.
The Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) – a government agency - is opening a business center and accelerator program for Israeli startups to help them expand of their business to Japan.
Prince Constantijn van Oranje of the Netherlands, head of Dutch innovation organization StartupDelta, is in Israel with a delegation of Dutch investors. His aim is to attract Israeli hi-tech startups to Holland and to learn how to establish technology and innovation centers.
Hong Kong’s Finance Minister Paul Chan visited Israel with a delegation of 20. He signed an agreement with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to promote cooperation in the field of Fintech. Other initiatives explored included the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Biotech.
Seattle-based market research company Pitchbook rated Tel Aviv University at number eight (up from nine) in its list of global undergraduate programs that produce venture capital-backed entrepreneurs. Israel’s Technion came 14th and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was 35th.
PepsiCo is buying Israel’s SodaStream, producer of DIY soda makers, for $3.2 billion. Pepsi says it wants to offer healthier options in SodaStream’s environmentally friendly re-usable bottles. SodaStream will remain based in Israel and is paying large bonuses to all its 3,000 employees. Meanwhile, PepsiCo selected 3 Israeli food-tech startups for its 2018 Nutrition Greenhouse incubator program.
In 2017, Israel's national expenditure on civilian research and development increased by 5% to a record NIS 57.8 billion (almost $16 billion), or 4.5% of Israel's gross domestic product (GDP).
Having just received S&P’s AA- credit rating, Israel’s rating has never dropped in the last 30 years. It has the second fastest growing economy in the OECD over the last decade. Unemployment is at a record low. Israel has over 350 R&D centers for major tech companies. And much more.
Tourists contribute over NIS 20 billion to the Israeli economy. The 3.6 million tourists in 2017 was 25% higher than 2016 and 2018 is up even more. New projects include Jerusalem’s cable car, the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem train, plus Eilat’s new airport, ecological beach and education center. And in Aug 2018 alone, a record 2.7 million passengers were scheduled to travel through Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.