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Israeli startups develop New-York economy

Israeli-founded companies operating in New York directly contributed $18.6 billion in revenue in 2018, a new study by the independent New York – Israel Business Alliance has revealed. The economic benefit to the state by 506 Israeli companies surges to $33.8b. when considering money spent on local goods and services, representing approximately 2% of New York’s GDP.

The publication of the report accompanied the arrival of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in Israel on Thursday, seeking opportunities with Israeli businesses that can strengthen the state’s economic development agenda. The companies directly employ 24,850 residents of New York, and indirectly employ a further 27,502 based on additional demand for locally-sourced goods and services. Five Israeli-founded unicorns – start-ups valued at $1b. and above – call New York home today: Compass, Lemonade, Payoneer, Taboola and WeWork.

“While Silicon Valley may be perceived as a dream destination for start-ups, New York is where Israeli start-ups are best positioned for success,” New York – Israel Business Alliance founder and president Aaron Kaplowitz told The Jerusalem Post. “Today, there are more direct flights between Tel Aviv and the New York metropolitan area than all other American cities combined. Conducting business in Eastern Standard Time also allows for the most business day overlap. If you want to dream, maybe Silicon Valley is right for your company. If you want to succeed, today New York is the place.”

Between 2014 and 2016, the report said, Israeli companies in New York secured $3.5b. in venture capital funding, and were responsible for more than one-fifth of all capital raised in the state in 2016 alone. Growth continued from 2016 to 2018 as direct revenues of companies grew year-over-year by 9.5%, significantly faster than the 4.2% growth recorded among the rest of the state. Israeli companies also enjoyed 2.5% job growth during the same period, while the rest of the state grew by 1.2%. 

“I wanted to understand trends better and also identify growth sectors,” said Kaplowitz. “When you look at the areas where New York is committing its resources, and when you look at Israeli expertise, I expect continued growth.”

While Israeli companies have been active for some time in established New York industries – such as real estate, financial services, fashion and marketing – notable growth has more recently been witnessed in sectors including artificial intelligence, drones, cybersecurity, life sciences, renewable energy and agriculture

The surge in activity in these priority sectors relies on a perfect match between Israeli strengths and New York-based assets, including the establishment of a 50-mile drone air corridor in Central New York and the state’s position as one of the leading agricultural regions in the United States. “Part of the key to understanding Israel’s success abroad is understand the people and the land,” Kaplowitz explained. “The Israeli population is highly educated and comprised primarily of first or second generation immigrants – natural risk-takers – who acquire leadership and technical skills during their military service.”

“The land is limited on resources and located in a tough neighborhood with minimal cross-border trade opportunities. When you combine the people and the land, Israel becomes one big incubator that exports cutting-edge technology beyond its immediate borders. And in the words of Governor Cuomo, New York is open for business.”

Eytan Halon