Jewish Journal

Tel Aviv tech is having the Best Week Ever

by Simone Wilson

October 16, 2013 | 3:15 pm

Brogrammers unite

Could it be coincidence that the same week Facebook and Amazon announce they're coming to Israel — and the same week Tel Aviv throws its most dazzling high-tech conference yet — we learn that the Startup Nation is raking in more dough than it has since the dot-com bubble burst?

The IVC Research Center, the go-to source for data on Tel Aviv tech, reports today that in the third quarter of 2013, Israeli high-tech companies "raised $660 million from local and foreign investors, the highest quarterly amount since 2000."

That's a whopping 34 percent increase from last quarter, and a 35 percent increase from the same quarter last year.

I'm tempted to suspect this is Tel Aviv's most elaborate hasbara plot yet — perhaps to distract from this month's dirty mayoral race, or Tel Aviv University's recently outed TERRORIST SPY EAGLE — but the numbers kind of speak for themselves. Hasbara never came so easy. In fact, so blinded is Mashable by the city's Midas touch that reporter Todd Wasserman has come to believe that Tel Aviv has replaced Jerusalem as the capital of Israel:

Tel Aviv, Israel's capital and the site of much of the activity, was named the No. 2 startup ecosystem in the world, next to Silicon Valley, according to researcher Startup Genome. There are said to be 5,000 startups in the country, which has a population around 7 million.

Not sure about 5,000, but no doubt — Tel Aviv has startups coming out its ears. For a full visual of startup mania around here, I suggest you refer to this handy map of all Israeli startups, as compiled by an Israeli startup.

Naturally, local Zionists (or at least Tel Avivists, which is really becoming a whole new race/religion) are slo-mo basking in the victory. Yossi Vardi, widely recognized as the forefather of Startup Nation, told the Wall Street Journal that this week's annual Digital-Life-Design (DLD) Tel Aviv conference attracted a record 1,100 foreigners, and has set Rothschild Boulevard a-swarm with excited techies, coming together to share ideas and plan the future at hip bars and rooftop events.

"The city is on steroids," Vardi told the paper.

And here I thought I felt electricity on the air when Google bought Israeli traffic app Waze for upward of $1 billion earlier this summer. Now I'm afraid to set foot outside. At this brogrammer gentrification rate, Tel Aviv-Yafo — and its going rate for one-bedroom apartments — will be the spitting image of greater San Francisco in no time.

Please excuse the stereotype. See, it might be Tel Aviv tech's Best Week Ever, but there's still one problem:

“Here in Israel, no one really talks about” the absence of women in high tech, said Ranit Fink, vice president of business development for hot Israeli startup Cellrox — another rare female success story in the startup nation. “It’s just not on the agenda.”

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Simone Wilson is a 26-year-old journalist from Northern California currently living in Tel Aviv, Israel. She served as editor in chief of UC San Diego’s student newspaper, the...

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