The contentious Israeli elections are now behind us. While there was a close race between the incumbent Likud party and political newcomers the Blue and White party, led by Israel’s former top generals, the current prime minister Bibi Netanyahu will most likely be able to form a new coalition. Time will tell how the coalition will impact what ministers occupy what seats and how that will impact the Israeli economy in the near future. Israeli business leaders and entrepreneurs focus on what they can control, and that means working to maximize their opportunities on a daily basis, regardless of the election results. As the second fiscal quarter begins now is the time many Israeli businesses make a push before the start of the summer. The Clearview Partners team will cover several of the trends we see gaining momentum in the coming months.
Cannabis is becoming more legitimate
This has been a global trend but accelerated in Israel with the government’s support and the sheer number of startups in the space. Former Israeli prime ministers such as Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert are advising cannabis startups such as Univo and InterCure, giving this industry another boost in terms of international credibility. Globally as the stigma around cannabis fades away, we’ll see more investment in this growing space.
Sportstech is growing
Sportstech and esports are going to continue to grow not just in Israel but in other sportstech hubs such as Los Angeles that have drawn Israeli entrepreneurs. Israeli entrepreneurs are helping solve some of the bigger problems in this space around monetization and the use of data. Israel has a legacy of building major gaming companies and entrepreneurs are parlaying this expertise to win in this industry. Locally the esports gamers community is gaining traction; a major esports tournament is being held this spring in Israel further cementing Israel’s presence in this space.
Foreign money is starting to raise more concerns
Chinese money was one thing; if Chinese investors don’t invest in Israel there are other sources of money from neighboring countries in Asia. We’ll probably see a reduction in Chinese funding in the coming year, but what might be concerning closer to home is the revenue coming from the offshore drilling that is scheduled to begin this year. The amount of money that the gas drilling will produce could fundamentally change aspects of Israeli society. Such a concentration of wealth in so few hands has the potential to create even wider income gaps.
More international cooperation
One of the achievements that Bibi Netanyahu touted was that international business cooperation with Israel increased under his watch. There is some truth to this, as more countries in Africa, East Europe, and Asia are cooperating openly with Israel on innovation. There is also less rhetoric from the Gulf states as business is happening in that part of the world. Not that we’ll see any major breakthroughs, but we’ll see more cooperation between Israel and countries trying to build their versions of the Startup Nation.
Spacetech industry will launch
If the original idea behind Space IL was getting more young people interested in science a byproduct is the growth of Israel’s space industry. Israel has traditionally been strong in satellites (for security reasons) but with the Genesis project Israel has officially entered the space race. Despite the failed crash (there will be further attempts) this is an industry which will grow. Aside from grassroots initiatives in Israel where entrepreneurs and investors meet more foreign money will go into this growing industry.
The second quarter of 2019 could shape up to be an exciting time in the Israeli business sector. For many in Israel now is the time to focus before summertime when summer vacation begins. If you’re planning on visiting Israel now is the perfect time to enjoy the spring weather and the optimistic business environment.