On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s six-day visit from January 14 to January 20, the India Israel Business Innovation Forum was also launched today to take the collaboration between the two countries further. The event saw one of the largest business delegations ever from Israel to participate in an event in India.
Over 100 delegates from 74 Israeli companies from various industry sectors such as water, agriculture, foodtech, cybersecurity, homeland security, defense, software, IT and others have joined the forum. Additionally the Israel Innovation Authority is leading a delegation of 20 Israeli startups, in collaboration with Invest India and Startup India.
Barak Granot, Head of the Israeli Economic and Trade Mission in New Delhi said: “We are excited and highly optimistic about India Israel Business Innovation Forum. With a leading economy, a striking concentration of innovative people and countless Israeli tech startup, Israel is the best place for Indian businesses to grow. Ranked at the top of the list of the world’s most innovative capacity and entrepreneurship, Israel’s creative, skilled, and the ambitious workforce is one of the most obvious reasons leading executives to turn to Israel to do business and scout for innovative solutions.”
The India Israel Business Innovation Forum, therefore, aims to provide technology solutions and business opportunities to Indian startups, corporates, entrepreneurs, and investors. The summit will also witness more than 10 business collaborations/MOUs being forged between Indian and Israeli companies.
Key among these include an MOU between Ashok Leyland and Israeli startup company Phinergy, which is a leading developer of clean energy systems based on metal-air technology; an MOU between the Department of Electronics and IT, Government of Andhra Pradesh and Israel Electric Corporation wherein the Israel Electric Corporation will provide knowledge, services and capacities to the State of Andhra Pradesh in the field of critical infrastructure as well as a collaboration between TechM and ContextSpace Solutions Ltd for a joint cyber solution.
Additional MOUs will be signed between Reliance Industries and mPrest – a global provider of mission-critical monitoring, control and big data analytics software – for the power utility, industrial IoT, smart cities, critical infrastructure and defense sectors and between Dhampur Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd and clean energy company Ayala Water & Ecology with a scope of $500 Mn.
Furthermore, a collaboration between Best Group and Cortica Ltd has been forged with a focus on security, automotive, Industry 4.0 machines etc.
When asked to point out some of the key differences between the Israeli and Indian startup ecosystems, Wendy Singer, Executive Director of Start-Up Nation Central told Inc42, “There is a lot in common in terms of the DNA of Israeli and Indian entrepreneurs. With that, each country brings to the table its strengths and weaknesses. There is no question that Israel has no market. This makes it a high-impact fit because India is looking to create a market for some of its high companies. On the other hand, Israel doesn’t really have huge companies. With the right connectors, Indian companies can look at specific Israeli technologies.”
The two day event will also see the Prime Ministers of both the countries addressing selectively invited guests. The event will also see panel discussions on agri-innovation, startups, health, tech transfer and venture capital for innovation among others.
With regards to the sectors that Indian startups are thriving in, Start-Up Nation Central Wendy Singer stated, “Start-Up Nation Central decided at some point that we could not be deeply mapped in every single sector. So, we chose three focus sectors: digital health, agritech and industrial IoT. Within these sectors, we did a deeper mapping to understand what is really happening in terms of innovation.”
“Our approach to India is to apply some of the key Israeli technologies in those sectors to the big challenges in India. Essentially, we want to connect Israeli entrepreneurs with corporates and governments in India that are interested in finding solutions to particular challenges. Our aim is to make the Israeli ecosystem aware of the tremendous opportunities in India and vice versa,” she added.
Commenting on what the summit aims to achieve, Ziva Eger, CEO Invest In Israel stated, “ This summit is only the first phase in getting coordination between the two industries and the two nations. It reflects the potential of our joint venture. When you see the companies from both sides, you see businesses that are hungry to get and give each other business. We have a lot of technology and innovation coming from Israel while we have a great market and companies in India. this summit is only the beginning to getting together on the same road and having a future.”
She also added that incentives to Indian companies who do real business would include tax rebates, subsidised salaries of employees labor, and a host of tailor made programmes depending on their investment model.
A Quick Look At The Growing Collaboration Between India And Israel
Last year in July, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel, among other agreements, the two countries also two countries also launched a bilateral innovation challenge for startups in Israel and India – India Israel Innovation Bridge. PM Modi had launched a five-year technology fund – The Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund, or I4F to grow the business relationship between both countries. Also, both the countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a $40 Mn Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund.
Managed by the Israel Innovation Authority and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India, the programme is jointly managed by Invest India (on behalf of DIPP). The Bridge is a tech platform to facilitate bilateral cooperation between Indian and Israeli startups, tech hubs, corporations and other key innovation ecosystem players.
Later in September 2017, the platform hosted a bilateral innovation challenge for Israeli and Indian startups to combine forces to develop solutions for critical challenges agriculture, water and digital health. In December, 18 teams from various sectors like agriculture, water technology and digital health were chosen as the winners of the India-Israel Innovation Bridge.
The 18 winners were given the opportunity to take their ideas to the next level with the support of the two governments and an opportunity to participate in ‘the Co-Creation Summit’, which will bring together stakeholders from both startup ecosystems to facilitate collaborations.
With this further follow up collaboration post the India-Israel Innovation Challenge, the India Israel Business Innovation Forum will open more doors for Indian companies and startups in Israel-which is one of the most fertile startup ecosystems in the world.