The famed 8200 Alumni Association’s The Hybrid accelerator in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Economy aims to promote and support Arab entrepreneurs in their efforts to bring startups from the idea stage all the way to becoming multinational high-tech giants.
Connecting Arab entrepreneurs with 8200's web of excellence
The accelerator program is now entering its fifth year, and has made it a mission to promote and support the Arab high-tech sector in Israel. The 8200 unit is the Israeli military’s highly advanced elite intelligence unit. If the name sounds familiar, it could be because many of the unit’s alumni have gone on to lead successful startups in their post-army careers, while also feeding the Israeli tech ecosystem with top tier tech-oriented talent.
“The Arab community has an abundance of talented hi-tech professionals, mostly working in corporations. Our goal is to be the bridge to the competitive world of entrepreneurship in Israel”, says Noa Gastfreund, the program’s Managing Director. “Hybrid connects the extensive network and skills among Arab entrepreneurs with those of 8200 Unit’s alumni, making Israel a more diverse startup nation”.
The Alumni Association continues to provide The Hybrid accelerator’s growing portfolio with coaches, mentors, significant networking opportunities with 8200’s vast web of investors and potential collaborators. The 8200 Alumni association does not take equity or steal talent from the growing startups and operates as a nonprofit organization, which shows the importance of programs like this one, where the gain is for local communities rather than strictly feeding the corporate machine.
Alongside promoting startups from the Israeli-Arab communities, the program also puts focus on supporting female founders from these communities, because as we know innovation knows no gender. To give you a taste of some of the interesting startups rising from the program, we need to look no further than Mirrori, which developed an AI-driven virtual beauty assistant, providing advice to women based on their facial features and their own beauty products inventory.
Another female-led venture from program’s recent cycle is Petwork, which develops a rich social space for pet lovers, providing tailored location-based information about all the different services and activities nearby, recommended by the community. For example parks, vets, barbershops, etc.