Israel’s Top 5 Startup Accelerators in 2021

Quick Summary - Israel’s startup ecosystem has some of the world’s best startup accelerators. And it’s not surprising as Israel still ranks as the #1 country for startups owing to some unique programs. Israel has the most startups per capita in the world. By extension, Israeli tech startups have easier access to more resources than can be found outside of Silicon Valley.

Israel’s Top 5 Startup Accelerators in 2020 | PerceptionBox

Tin comparison, San Francisco generated $45.9 billion in startup investments to Israel’s $8.3 billion. London generated just over $5 billion in 2019 as the #1 startup city in Europe. That’s notable in that London has a population equal to that of the entire nation of Israel.  

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Israel’s Technological Incubators Program

Practically from the time you come up with a business idea this program provides you a path forward. Created in 1991, the Technological Incubators Program now has 27 not-for-profit incubators operating throughout Israel. This is a government-sponsored initiative of Israel’s Innovation Authority that works in collaboration with universities, multinational corporations, and a wide range of investors.

Startups participating in this program can be awarded a conditional grant of up to NIS 3 million (~US$600k) for a period of up to 2 years, among other options. Additionally, participants receive access to workspace, administrative services, business, and legal guidance. Moreover, the program helps introduce startups to customers and other investors. However, the incubators ask for a 20-50% share of the equity. Considering all of this is open for startups still in the “idea stage” – that’s an incredible deal. The only barrier between your idea and getting started is this link.

The special function of Israel’s startup accelerators

Israel’s startup ecosystem changes the dynamics for seed and very early stage funding. Investments in startups are largely underwritten by the government, The Technological Incubators Program provides investors favorable terms to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into profitable businesses. Another factor is that Israel is itself a small market, with only 9 million people, Israel’s accelerators focus on helping startups enter the global market.

In consequence, the already blurry lines between incubators and accelerators almost make the terms synonymous within Israel’s ecosystem. More than in the United States and Europe, these organizations often incubate and accelerate. In the USA, it’s more stratified, with some incubators being little more than co-working spaces, and in any case incubators rarely offering more than $25k in seed money if they offer anything at all. Thus, American accelerators tend to be distinguished by how much they offer in seed funds and how long their program lasts.

So, when it comes to evaluating Israel’s top accelerators, our assessments weigh based on the relative prestige of their advisor and investor networks. Consideration is also given to their project and exit history via Pitchbook.

Israel’s top 5 startup accelerators in 2021

#1. 8200 EISP – Jumping from #3 in our 2020 review to the top of the list, 8200 EISP shows itself to be the most active accelerator in its online activity. Recognized by Geektime as the best Israeli accelerator in 2019, 8200 EISP has been nominated as best accelerator for 2020, as well. In August of 2020, it named Yarden Abarbanel as its new CEO.

It is backed by the alumni of Unit 8200 – what has been called “the foremost technical intelligence agency in the world and stands on par with the NSA in everything except scale.” This is a non-profit organization that provides workshops, networking, free office space, and more to startups. You need not have served with the unit or the IDF to participate in their program. Their main office is in Tel Aviv.

Areas of Interest: Medical, HealthTech, TravelTech, Smart Cities, Mobility and Micro Mobility, Cyber and Security, FinTech, PropTech, AgriTech, Retail and eCommerce, EduTech, Marketing and AdTech, HR-Tech, LegalTech, InsurTech, DevOps, and Social Media.

#2. NFX – Jumping from out of the blue to replace Coca Cola’s Bridge, NFX is probably best defined as a VC firm that’s nearly indistinguishable from an accelerator. NFX has backed over 300 startups including the likes of Patreon, Lyft, and Plarium. In their own words, “NFX is the venture firm for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. When we invest, Founders have access to our entire team – not just one partner. To extend the power of the network, we also build software, distribute insights, and cultivate an invite-only founder Guild.” They have offices in San Francisco, Pala Alto, and Herzlia, Israel.

If you’re a startup founder, you’ll want to check out their YouTube channel – a veritable goldmine for startups. For that matter, their Non-Obvious Guide to Fundraising deserves a platinum. Very impressive, all the way around

Areas of Interest: Consumer and Enterprise software, Games, Computational Biology, and more.

#3. Nielsen Innovate – As an early stage incubator and investment fund by the Nielsen Company that focuses on market data, in all its variations. Established in 2013, it is based in Caesarea, Israel. Their program provides office space, administrative support, strategic guidance, mentoring, an extensive network of products and services, technical business development, and access to follow-on funding.

Areas of Interest: Analytics, artificial intelligence, big data, retail, ecommerce, market research, consumer behavior, internet, media, virtual reality, campaign measurement, advertising and marketing sectors.

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#4. The Hive by Gvahim – Created in 2011, this accelerator operates six-month intensive programs in Tel Aviv and Ashdod. It is a non-profit organization devoted to helping new immigrants, returning citizens, and entrepreneurs with startups in Israel. One of their requirements is that the startup must be focused on a software or hardware solution, though individuals can apply. They also look at how innovative, ambitious, and scalable your project is.

Participation in their program requires a modest fee (up to 1600 NIS or ~$500). Its allowed to participate in the startup’s activities but takes no equity or royalties.

Areas of Interest: eHealth, CleanTech, EdTech, FinTech, AgTech, FoodTech, IOT, Mobile Apps, Social Media, SaaS, and Industrial Technologies.

#5. Sigma Labs – A “By Founders, for Founders” startup accelerator with offices in Tel Aviv and Haiffa, specializing in FinTech and InsurTech. Unlike the Hive, Sigma Labs wants to see full-time teams of at least two people. Their three-month program is followed by 4 months of free office space in Tel Aviv or Haifa. They do have a program fee of 2% Warrants exercisable into shares of the company according to the recent company valuation, plus the right to invest up to $400K in your next round of funding at a 20% discount to the terms set by your lead investor.

Areas of Interest: Early-stage pre-seed companies, with at least 2 team members, where one of the founders has the requisite technical capabilities.

Israel’s long list of accelerators

For a more comprehensive list of startup accelerators in Israel, checkout 972VC. You’ll also find incubators, private equity and venture capital firms in their directory, too!

IT Teams - The main challenge for Israel’s tech startups

With so many tech companies concentrated in a small country, assembling an IT team from scratch can be exceedingly difficult. With the full range of IT skill sets being in high-demand working with an IT staffing agency can help you solve several challenges. Perception Box can help you source the software developers, engineers, or designers you need for your project, or even assemble a full-team for your project.

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