Combining the phrases “Israel” with “start-up nation” in the same sentence has almost become a cliché.
Back in the mid 1980s, Israel’s commercial fame centred around the theme of growing tomatoes in the desert. Although that agricultural tech is still very evident, hightech / cleantech / biotech / nanontech etc is what drives the numbers today at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem.
That said, every week, I am stunned afresh at what Israeli companies achieve. So, I have compiled a brief list of items that I have spotted in the past few days, technologies which will quietly impact on millions around the world.
1) Israel and the Galaxy S3
Samsung’s new smartphone, Galaxy S3, is clicking up the sales around the world. How many of the new users are aware that part of the security package was developed by Discretix Technologies Ltd, located 25 miles north of Tel Aviv? The company ships over 4 million of its devices monthly.
2) Israel and Google
Google’s r&d centre in Israel has long been considered a success for the company. Chairman, Eric Schmidt, reiterated the triumph in an appearance this week in Tel Aviv. That same evening, he appeared on a national news programme, where he stated categorically that one of the reasons for his latest visit to the Holy Land was to evaluate additional Israeli tech firms to purchase.
3) Israel and Euro 2012
While Europe’s 16 leading football nations thrill their fans in Poland and in the Ukraine during June, behind the scenes there are hundreds of companies supplying products and services to the players.
Delta Textiles, based in Carmiel in northern Israel and known as an excellent employer, was contracted some time ago by Nike to manufacture high quality socks. It is not just the topsplayers from France and Portugal, like Ribery and Ronaldo, whose smelly metatasarls are benefitting from Israeli machinists. By the end of the year, it is assumed that Barcelona, Manchester United, Inter Milan and several other great European sides will also be sporting this attire.
4) Israel and Boeing Aircraft
Elbit is one of Israel’s leading defence manufacturers. With the help of its sales, the country is consistently one of the world’s leading exporters of such systems.
The company has just secured a contract to supply “a low-profile head-up display (LPHUD) that will be part of the Advanced Cockpit System for Boeing fighter jets.” At the first level, the contract is valued at US$80 million with further opportunities available.
5) Israel and Facebook
Face.com was created in 2007 and has developed a capability for facial recognition of photos. Five years later, the company has been purchased by Facebook for a reported US$100 million. Last year, Zuckerberg’s team invested US$70 million in Snaptu, another Israeli start-up.
By way of an afterthought, I recalled how Israel has a lot of critics if not haters around the globe. They will boycott anything to do with the country. I wonder if they have asked the question how the world would function without access to these and similar capabilities.