OPINION: Driving innovation forward: Israel’s 76-year legacy

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OPINION: Driving innovation forward: Israel’s 76-year legacy

'For a world restless to address pressing shared challenges, Israel has the solutions', writes Avi Hasson

Throughout Israel’s dynamic 76-year history, harsh reality has fostered a unique national mindset and culture of innovation. It has seen Israel transform coastal dunes into cities, deserts into fertile farmland, and rudimentary industries into one of the most sophisticated and successful innovation-driven economies.  

With limited natural resources, Israel was compelled to lean into its human capital, leading to an emphasis on education, research, and development from its early days. The nation’s compulsory military service also plays a crucial role, in instilling leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, while exposing young individuals to cutting-edge technology.

This ecosystem is bolstered by a culture of resilience and a willingness to take risks. The result is a vibrant, determined, and impatient innovative environment that has given rise to technologies and solutions impacting lives worldwide. Whether you realize it or not, Israeli innovations are part of our daily lives, driving forward changes that promise a more secure, sustainable, and technologically advanced future for everyone.

Government initiatives have likewise been pivotal, with programs designed to fuel research and development. For example, the establishment of the Israel Innovation Authority, alongside investment incentives, has provided a fertile ground for startups to thrive. Moreover, Israel’s tech transfer offices, situated in its world-class universities and research institutions, ensure that innovations swiftly transition from academic research to global markets.

The result of Israel’s necessity-driven innovation, robust government backing, and a culture that champions risk-taking and resilience is creativity and inventiveness. This environment has cultivated a range of companies making tangible impacts worldwide. From revolutionizing water generation to pioneering road safety, these technologies are significantly enhancing our lives. Facing global challenges, the practicality and ingenuity of Israeli tech offer viable, diverse, and far-reaching solutions for a more sustainable and safe future.

Here are some of the most impactful Israeli technologies making the world a better place:

BioBee’s biological control agents are used globally to combat pests and diseases in agriculture, significantly reducing the reliance on chemical pesticides. By enhancing crop protection naturally, BioBee helps improve food security and supports the livelihoods of farming communities. Its products are used in over 50 countries, including the U.S., to manage pests in various crops, promoting sustainable agriculture practices.

Avi Hasson, CEO Startup Nation Central
Photo: Miri Davidovitz

TIPA’s eco-friendly packaging solutions are particularly impactful in reducing agricultural and packaging waste. By offering a viable alternative to conventional plastics, TIPA contributes to waste reduction and environmental sustainability. Its packaging solutions are adopted by brands in the U.S. and Europe, across fashion, food, and consumer goods sectors seeking sustainable packaging alternatives.

Netafim’s drip irrigation systems are a game-changer for regions, with limited water resources, enabling farmers to grow crops more efficiently. This technology significantly reduces water waste, making agriculture more sustainable and productive. It’s particularly impactful in arid and semi-arid areas, where water conservation is critical. Used globally by farmers in countries including the U.S., India, China, and Brazil, Netafim’s technology supports both large-scale agricultural producers and smallholder farmers.

Eco Wave Power’s technology offers significant potential for coastal communities, especially in regions where other renewable energy sources might be less viable. By tapping into the constant energy of waves, this technology provides a reliable and clean power source, contributing to energy security and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The company is engaged in agreements and pilot projects in countries like Gibraltar and Mexico.

MDClone’s platform is significant for regions with limited medical resources, enabling healthcare organizations to make data-driven decisions and optimize patient care. By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare services, MDClone helps address critical healthcare challenges, including patient care management and disease prevention. Used by healthcare organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Israel, MDClone’s platform supports healthcare delivery and research with data-driven insights.

Amai Proteins is transforming global food industries with its innovative sweet designer proteins, which are designed to replace sugar. Utilizing advanced computational protein design and biotechnological production, Amai produces proteins that are not only healthy and tasty but also cost-effective and compatible with various foods.

The company’s proteins have been successfully tested in beverages and dairy products by top food and beverage multinationals, demonstrating excellent sensory profiles and thermostability suitable for pasteurization.

Originating from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub incubator, Amai collaborates with major partners like Danone, Strauss, SodaStream, and PepsiCo, Co, displaying potential for significant global impact and adoption.

The startup nation’s strengths are even more apparent in the periods following conflict. Israel’s impatient innovators rise to the occasion and historically we have seen a boom of technology emerging from the ecosystem in the aftermath of war. This is already happening, with numerous startups pivoting to develop technologies imperative to defense.

This boom presents significant opportunities for savvy, forward-thinking investors and businesses. For a world restless to address pressing shared challenges, Israel has the solutions.

  • Avi Hasson, chief executive officer, Startup Nation Central, a Tel Aviv-based nonprofit organization that promotes Israeli innovation around the world. Hasson previously served as Israel’s chief scientist and the founding chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and as an investor in Israeli technology companies.
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