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Top tech exec: Israeli high-tech sector needs infusion of state funds to remain viable

Tel Aviv skyline (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Israeli tech sector has been the main growth engine of Israel's economy for years, however, in a new report, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) warns that an additional infusion of state funds will be needed to preserve Israel's long-term viability in the high-tech industry.

In the report, IIA CEO Dror Bin stated: “Despite all the local and global challenges over the past year, the slogan that Israeli tech delivers manifested itself in reality as the sector is resilient and continued to grow in 2023 albeit at a slower pace.”

“However, going forward the tech sector’s high dependency on foreign investments and increasing competition, backed by massive government investments in other global innovation hubs, require the Israeli government to double-down on their investments in Israeli tech,” Bin explained.

“In a sector reliant on foreign capital for growth, this is a significant threat, and we must ensure that a funding shortage scenario does not materialize,” Bin warned.

Israel's tech sector is dominated by smaller start-ups and investments that are critical for future development. Currently, about 80% of all venture capital investments in Israeli high-tech startups come from foreign investment.

The Israeli tech sector was notably tested in 2023 due to the Netanyahu government’s controversial judicial reform plans. These reforms sparked widespread protests and uncertainty, impacting investor confidence and creating a volatile business environment. The Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas and the subsequent war further compounded the challenges faced by the tech sector.

Known internationally as the Start-Up Nation, Israel is ranked among the world’s leading tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley. Despite Israel's ongoing war across multiple fronts, in a February Ernst & Young poll, approximately 60% of multinational companies expressed confidence in its ability to recover.

In March, Dr. Avi Hasson, IIA founder and CEO of Startup Nation Central, expressed cautious optimism about the future of Israel's high-tech industry. He said he believed the judicial reforms and the war in Gaza would significantly undermine the local tech industry. While wars come at a high human and economic cost, he emphasized that they also have the potential to generate innovation in various technologies.

"There is another important element: War produces ideas and innovation. Technologies that were developed, perfected, and tested in war can be converted to, say, picking peppers. And I say: just as there is always 'baby boom' after wars, we will see a significant change here," Hasson stated.

Despite the challenges, Israel's tech sector raised $3.1 billion in funding, according to a Startup Nation Central report published in late March.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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