India and Israel: The Holy Land for Start-ups?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel this week, in a path-breaking visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in history. While the visit has resulted in several positive advancements and collaborations in the areas of agriculture and defence, how does this affect you, the intrepid engineer in the making, who is probably cursing himself/herself for pressing this link?

Well, amongst several other meandering topics, start-ups were also high on the agenda. In what will come as a welcome boost for both Indian and Israeli entrepreneurs:

  • An Israel, India Innovation Initiative Fund of $40 million for tech innovation was launched by the two Prime Ministers
  • The Start-up India Hub Innovation Challenge for early-stage start-ups in agriculture, water, and digital health, was also launched jointly by the two Prime Ministers Applications open on the 10th of September.

India is globally recognized as being the pioneer of frugal innovation, or jugaad, and creating devices that cater to the masses. Israel, meanwhile, is known for producing cutting edge technology and being at the forefront of technological development. Some of the most famous inventions made in Israel include voicemail, the world’s first mobile phone, and Antivirus software. Thus, such a collaboration is a win-win for both India and Israel.

In fact, a recent report by Accenture and Nasscom estimates that by 2025, up to $25 billion of revenue potential can be unleashed for businesses in India and Israel through cumulative cross-border investment into the two countries’ start-ups. “One-third of all American startups with billion-dollar valuations have an Indian or Israeli founder. This number is far greater than all such companies founded by entrepreneurs from the entire European continent”, says the Accenture and Nasscom report.

One-third of all American startups with billion-dollar valuations have an Indian or Israeli founder. This number is far greater than all such companies founded by entrepreneurs from the entire European continent

-Accenture and Nascomm Report

Simultaneously, the Indian Angel Network (IAN), has opened up shop in Tel Aviv. They plan to invest in early stage Israeli start-ups, and bring this technology to India, while at the same time, Israeli investors who join the IAN will look to invest in Indian start-ups. An MoU has also been signed between ISRO and the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) on cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link and electric propulsion for small satellites. This will be a major boost to Indian space start-ups.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Israel has proven to be a welcome boost for the Indian start-up scene, and is hopefully a prelude for a long and fruitful partnership between Indian and Israeli entrepreneurs. So, put on your thinking caps, and scourge for the next great idea, for we’ve got a new friend across the Red Sea.

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