Jerusalem Day: Israel's budding tech hub

Published date09 May 2021
And it isn't trying to. But the holy city has been making major strides in recent years to earn its own marks of distinction in the start-up nation. If tech work was once a relatively lonely endeavor in the capital, the city is now teeming with entrepreneurialism and excitement, with vibrant communities working together to push the city forward.

"You can feel the momentum driving Jerusalem's entrepreneurs when you walk through the streets of the city. The unique makeup of Jerusalemites, fostered by the complex realities of the city, equips its residents with the muscle, creativity and ability to think outside of the box and solve problems," says Elie Wurtman, Managing Partner of PICO Venture Partners and one of the city's tech pioneers. "Some of Israel's biggest exits and success stories, including Waze, Mobileye, IronSouce, Check Point and Lemonade are products of Jerusalem's well of creativity. Several of our fund's most promising portfolio companies were established and are based in Jerusalem and I believe that the inimitable spirit of the city's human capital will continue to drive their success."

Several new developments of recent months point toward the city's continued growth, explains Roy Munin, CEO and cofounder of Made in JLM, a nonprofit grassroots movement dedicated to developing the start-up ecosystem.

First, the Abraham Accords and normalization with the United Arab Emirates have opened the doors to new opportunities for the city's Arab residents. Among other things, Emirati investors have taken interest in the city's plan to develop a new "Silicon Wadi" hi-tech park in the Wadi Joz area of eastern Jerusalem, which will offer hundreds of thousands of square meters of office space and create about 10,000 jobs in the eastern part of the city in the coming years, Munin says.

Second, the trend toward remote work provides an opportunity for multinational corporations to expand their presence in Jerusalem. "We are seeing more companies setting up small presences at WeWork and other co-working hubs," says Munin. "The Jerusalem Development Authority has grants available to help encourage a company with, say, four junior employees in Jerusalem, to grow to 6-10 employees and build a team here."

Third, Munin says, the government's massive Nimbus project, which will move much of the government's IT infrastructure to the cloud, is a huge opportunity for the city. "Many of the city's government offices, like the Tax Authority and National Insurance...

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