From day one, Israel’s Industry 4.0 vertical has been focused on helping solve global industries’ biggest challenges. The American Heartland fueled the first Industrial Revolution, and this culture of technological innovation hasn’t stopped since. While cities like Tulsa aren’t always known for their reception to change, the reality appears to be much different. A city born from Americans' journey westward, Tulsans have long understood the value of change. In recent years, it has been a test-bed for emerging energy technology. As one industry leader put it in this article, “it’s technology, and it’s Oklahoma technology” that’s driven the adoption of new approaches to energy production.

Now, the region is embarking on yet another technological transformation: Industry 4.0. With cities like Tulsa seeking Israeli tech, the growth in the sector is projected to be massive in the coming years. As we transition into a post-pandemic world significant opportunities in engaging with Israeli tech exist, as this report indicates that the “Industry 4.0 market is estimated to be valued USD 71.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 156.6 billion by 2024.”

The city offers access to the type of customers Israel based Industry 4.0 companies are interested in working with, and these customers are open to talking. From leaders in manufacturing to access to mid-market firms, Tulsa based customers present a unique opportunity for Israeli Industry 4.0 companies. The city offers talent from energy to cybersecurity relevant when hiring, as well as access to resources such as capital. Most importantly, there is a desire and real effort on the part of Tulsa’s tech ecosystem, the Tulsa Innovation Labs, 36 Degrees North, and venture capital firms such as Cortado Ventures, Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund, and i2E to help Israeli companies succeed in the city.

Redrawing the map

With the pandemic raging many professionals on the coasts have left cities like New York and sought greener pastures in regions where they can build their businesses. Aspiring professionals are looking for opportunities in a post-COVID world they may have not considered before. Even before COVID Tulsa was building an innovation ecosystem and is now working to draw Israeli companies for hiring and US market entry through its inTulsa program.

Tulsa is similar to other cities in the region who are making the transformation from traditional industries into tech, and are seeking tech solutions in fields such as oil and gas where they can save money and improve processes. Co-Founder & Managing Director of the Tulsa Innovation Labs Nicholas Lalla says, "the Tulsa Innovation Labs is the lead strategist in helping build the Tulsa tech ecosystem. Our areas of focus cover virtual health, energy tech, drones, cyber, and analytics; most of these verticals can fall under the category of Industry 4.0 and are key in helping build Tulsa’s ecosystem.”

Despite a global economic downturn, the city has seen significant investment from top companies over the last year. These investments come in crucial Industry 4.0 sectors, such as distribution and manufacturing centers.

Customers and Talent

Many Israeli startups in the Industry 4.0 space are familiar with the Fortune 1000s who have set up shop in the Startup Nation. There are companies in the US however, who are generating billions of dollars in sales annually, the “2nd tier”, who are open to connecting with Israeli founders. Connecting with the executive leadership of a large potential customer is something that is possible for Israeli companies who come to Tulsa.

As Itay Reshef, COO Americas at GOARC, a digital safety company that has developed a technology for industrial organizations and has hired in Tulsa states “when I was invited to Tulsa by the Atento group my initial expectations were low when thinking about the business potential in an average US typical Midwest town. I was impressed however, to find a renewed city which greatly invests in infrastructure and in motivating the next generation and early-stage companies to get involved and integrate into the city. Tulsa is an interesting destination for early-stage companies in industry 4.0 who seek to develop their business activity and establish a frontal operation base in the Midwest.”

Tulsa has focused on building a sales, customer success, and SDR hub, and the city also offers talent from the oil and gas industry for growing Israeli Industry 4.0 companies. Tulsa firms have expanded their outreach to Israeli companies, connecting them with high-quality talent at competitive costs (compared to the coasts), potential customers, and assisting them in ultimately opening offices in town.

Written by Jonathan 'Yoni' Frenkel heads Partnerships at Atento Capital.

*Sara Moore assisted in the writing and editing of this piece