Home > The Business Kibbutz The culture that leads the Jerusalem venture ecosystem

The Business Kibbutz The culture that leads the Jerusalem venture ecosystem

Meet an extraordinary story of urban transformation – and discover a “secret sauce” that could be used to transform your city as well.

Jerusalem is best known as an ancient city at the spiritual center of three faiths; not what you’d associate with hi-tech venture. It is therefore unexpected and extraordinary that the city was listed in 2015 as #1 in a Time Magazine ranking of emerging tech hubs worldwide.

This is doubly significant given the complexities facing the city and its entrepreneurs: from economic depressions to the “Brain Drain” of young talent leaving to move to Israel’s center, from bouts of violence to the under-representation of the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) and Israeli Arab communities in hi-tech, this is not an easy city. And yet in the years 2012-2016 the city has experienced a technological renaissance, with an explosion of new startups founded, accelerators created, and VC funds established. As of 2016 there are more than 400 start-up companies in Jerusalem, 200+ of which were founded in 2014 and 2015 alone; Tech investments have increased fourfold, from US$70 million in 2012 to US$272 million in 2015; and there has been an unprecedented surge in tech events all over the city, from only a handful a year to more than 350 in 2015.

The article seeks to identify the contributing factors that have led to these facts. It claims that the recent success of the Jerusalem tech ecosystem has been due to a unique “Business Kibbutz” model, in which the relevant layers of the tech ecosystem combined forces to create a highly connected and supportive tech scene, leading to a sense of local pride and a strong integrated community. Jerusalem’s technological success can be emulated by other cities, and serve as a model for ecosystem and community building, based on the creation of a business atmosphere where the city’s startups, R&D centers, academic institutions, service providers, investors and the municipality all work in collaboration to promote each other and the city’s tech ecosystem as a whole.

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About the Authors:

Hanan Brand – Founder and Chairman, Made in JLM.

Helen Wexler – Head of Jnext, Jerusalem Development Authority.

Wendy Singer – Executive Director, Start-up Nation Central.