The first accelerator program for Italian startups in Israel will be launched next month by the Italian Embassy in Israel and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo's Innovation Center. Ten startups have been selected through a tender process, which was published in January 2019. Seven of the startups will be hosted for three months at the Eilat Tech Center (Arieli Group) startup accelerator, which develops new business ideas in Israel's advanced innovation ecosystem.
40 applications were received and the evaluation committee selected the best startups from sectors that included health tech, smart mobility, food tech and cleantech. The committee included the Chief Scientist of the Italian Embassy in Israel Stefano Ventura, Dani Schaumann of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, Danny Biran, former Israel Innovation Authority VP, Jeremie Kletzkine of Startup Nation Central, and Dan Fishel of OurCrowd.
Italian Ambassador to Israel Gianluigi Benedetti said, "Thanks to the accelerator program, seven young Italian startups will have the opportunity to develop their business idea for three months in 'Startup Nation's' extraordinary and dynamic ecosystem. The program is a new means of leveraging the synergy that exists between the two economic systems: our world-class manufacturing ecosystem and the Israeli ecosystem focused on innovation and venture capital. This is an objective that the foreign ministers of the two countries also shared during the Rome MED Dialogue."
Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center general manager Guido de Vecchi said, "Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center has been actively collaborating with Israel for several years through various initiatives with innovation hubs, investors and institutions, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy. This initiative is an excellent opportunity to offer a select number of startups access to a real international scale-up opportunity in a process aimed at enhancing the Italian innovation ecosystem".
"This exciting partnership will connect the two fast growing innovation ecosystems of Israel and Italy and provide Italian startups with a unique opportunity to connect to the heart of one of the world's top high-tech scenes, the Israeli ecosystem. We have high hopes for the future of this partnership and believe the program will launch the participating companies forward and produce impactful new technology companies bringing the best out of these two great nations, Italy and Israel," said Or Haviv, Partner & head of Global innovation platforms, Arieli Capital.
The program's final event, to be held in Tel Aviv, will include an expo and a high-end pitch event, hosting the leading representatives from government, industry and investors from Israel, Italy/Europe and US.
The program was established under the Italian-Israeli Agreement for industrial, scientific and technological cooperation and aims to develop Italian startups in what is considered to be the most innovative country in the world: according to international rankings, Israel is ranked first in terms of startups per capita and patent applications, with 4.1% of GDP being invested in research and development. Moreover, the country is renowned for its outstanding ability to attract foreign capital (around 47% compared to the European average of 9%): in 2018 alone, Israeli startups raised roughly 6.1 billion dollars.
The program will run from January to March 2020 and includes a stay in Eilat, in southern Israel, including housing and co-working facilities. Mentors and tutors will be provided to tackle issues that affect all young companies and issues that are specific to the sectors of the individual startups. Numerous networking meetings with successful Israeli companies in the related sectors are envisaged. As provided for in the tender process, the Italian Embassy in Israel has set aside €100,000 that it will disburse to the selected startups in the amount of €10,000 each, of which €8,500 for the accelerator program and €1,500 to cover expenses.
Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center played a central role in publicizing the competition in the ecosystem of newly established businesses in Italy and in analyzing the startups involved. It also called in two of its main partners in Israel, OurCrowd and Startup Nation Central, to serve on the Evaluation Committee and also cooperated in the search for the accelerator.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 29, 2019
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