Israel has long been a global resource for innovation, though over the past year, Israeli tech and talent demand has skyrocketed to new levels; multinational corporations establishing R&D presence and cloud region in the country, the chip wars, and you can’t forget the massive amounts of funding flowing into the Israeli startup ecosystem. All of this activity has highlighted a need for strong business networking in the “Scale-Up Nation”.
One country recognizing the need for deeper networking infrastructure in the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ is the UK; through its British Embassy based, The UK-Israel Tech Hub, and in partnership with global law firm Taylor Wessing. As part of the new joint venture, a new VC club will be launched to help facilitate bilateral relationships between investors in both countries, as well as expand British VCs’ scouting opportunities in Israel.
Rapyd is the poster child for success
Now, obviously, this mutual collaboration isn’t a first between the countries, and their private supporters. UK investors and VCs have been investing and “importing” Israeli tech for years. Many Israeli healthcare startups view the UK as an integral market for anything healthtech related, there is academia collaboration, and more. However, UK-Israeli business has apparently woken from a slumber, after representing only 3% of the $10 billion invested in Israeli startups in 2020.
On the other hand, the Israeli VC game has blossomed over the past year, and Israeli investors are looking to expand their portfolio and gain access to new investment opportunities. The exclusive, invite-only VC Hub will be a platform for knowledge exchange, business intelligence, and most importantly insight into strategic Israeli companies.
British Ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, said: “With the UK being both the number one destination for Israeli entrepreneurs in Europe and the second-largest foreign investor in Israel, we know investors on both sides want to step up engagement. We are delighted to support and facilitate the growing demand via this program, which will promote familiarity and trust-based relationships”.
The UK-Israel Tech Hub will leverage its strong ties in the Israeli tech ecosystem to provide the ideal networking platform for both Israeli and UK investors to best collaborate. The Hub has identified a variety of sectors of interest to UK investors, as well as to leading UK corporates (BP, AstraZenca, Rolls Royce, RBS, and more), including: fintech, cyber, healthtech, smart cities and mobility, in addition, to climate and social change efforts.
Avi Eyal, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Entrée Capital (IL VC and a VC club member): "There is a tremendous wave of digitalization and innovation between our two countries that has occurred over many decades... The proximity to Israel, similar legal systems, and English as the default spoken language all help to break barriers to doing business together. A company such as Rapyd is an ideal example of a UK company with operations in Israel, taking on the world. - only made possible due to the unique UK-Israel relationship."
Entrée Capital is just one of many Israeli VCs seeing the positives of strengthening relationships with UK VCs and investors. Others include: Hetz Ventures, Ourcrowd, Collider Ventures, Discount Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, StageOne Ventures, Maniv Mobility, Rhodium, 10D, JVP, HP Tech Ventures, Israel Growth Partners, Viola Fintech, Lool Ventures.
Toby Coppel, Co-founder and Partner, Mosaic Ventures (UK VC and a VC club member): "Our passion at Mosaic is to partner early with inspiring, ambitious tech founders: renegades who reimagine the world and shape it their way. Israel has an abundance of pioneering entrepreneurs - for example, we have partnered with Eran Shir and Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz at Nexar, who are unleashing car camera vision at scale, for better driving and better managed public spaces."
Other than Mosaic Ventures, on the British VC side we find some familiar backers of Israeli tech, including: Playfair Capital, Remagine Ventures, HSBC Ventures, Anthemis, Clean Growth Fund, Bethnal Green Ventures, Notion, True, Hearst Ventures, Downing Ventures, AXA Venture Partners, Seedcamp, Local Globe, Oxx, Sustainable Ventures.