Israel day 4 summary

Day 4 of our Israel mission kicked off with a 2 hour bus ride north to the Galilee region to meet with Sarai Kemp from Trendlines. Trendlines is a “licensed incubator”, meaning it is funded by the Israeli Government. Of the 20 incubators in Israel, Trendlines have two – one for agtech, the other for medical.  They also have an in-house innovation centre (Trendlines Labs), plus a venture fund that only invests in their portfolio companies (and the fund made its first investment a few weeks ago). Of the 250 opportunities they review each year for their incubator, they currently only select and invest in 4 startups annually. Trendlines agtech incubator typically invests US$1.24M per company, broken down as US$670k via a Gov grant (which is repaid on revenue and exit) and $US120k from Trendlines, and US$450k as services-in-kind. In return, Trendlines takes 50% equity in the company (other digital incubators in Israel average 20-30% equity stake). So far Trendlines has had 7 exits.

Our agtech startups also had a chance to pitch to Trendlines for some true Israeli-style “honest and direct” feedback.

For lunch we boarded the bus and headed to Sallama for a cultural Aldiwan Badouin experience.  The food was absolutely amazing.

After lunch we boarded the bus and headed to OpenValley co-working space in in Ramat Yishai, Israel.

While at Open Valley, we had a detailed presentation from FieldIn, a local agtech company that helps crop growers make pest management more effective and safer with an end-to-end software solution.

We then took the bus back to Tel Aviv and headed out for a guided walking tour of Sarona, to learn about the history of Israel and Tel Aviv.

Insights and lessons from Israel day 4:

  • Israel has 300+agriculture research groups within their academic institutions.
  • Of the 6000 high-tech companies in Israel, approximately 4000 are startups, and the single biggest sector is life sciences, under which agtech and food-tech also sit.

Quotes of the day:

  • “the only thing that impacted the productivity of agriculture production in Israel has been the introduction of new technology, not infrastructure.”
  • “Once you give a blind person their sight, they can never go back.” This was in the context of startups selling to reluctant customers by giving them the service to get them hooked on the benefits.
  • Pitch feedback quote: “Give me less information and more wow. Make me want to know more.” They also want to hear what makes you unique.

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