Israeli start-ups meet London techies

By Sandy Rashty, November 23, 2012

British investment interest in Israeli companies will be tested next week, when representatives of 15 Israeli start-ups companies are due to fly to the UK to meet their opposite numbers in the technology hub of London.

The Israeli business group, whose companies include a universal social contact book and one which specialises in text-to-video technology, will have the opportunity to meet British leaders in the gaming, mobile, social media and video markets.

The opportunity arose after an eight-strong panel at the British Embassy’s Tech Hub in Tel Aviv selected 15 companies — out of 128 applicants — to take part in an exchange programme between the UK and Israel, TeXchange.

Lucy Blechner, digital manager of the UK Israel Tech Hub, will lead the first four-day TeXchange trip on November 25, which will focus on internet companies with solutions.

“Israeli companies tend to go global from an early stage because there’s a smaller market in Israel,” she said.

“These companies are ambitious and usually want to open up in Silicon Valley [the USA’s leading technology hub], but we want to divert some of that flow into the UK. There are lots of benefits to bringing a business to Britain – even the time difference and travel distance makes it easier.

“The retail, media and advertising and financial service industries in Britain are very strong — and the London technology scene is strong – so there’s real value in business relationships for Britain and Israel.”

Ariel Efrati, a former IDF engineer, founded name-dialling service Call My Name last year and is one of the entrepreneurs coming to London.

He expressed a particular interest in the media and advertising strength of the UK market, and said: “For me, this wasn’t about qualifying, it’s about what I can get from the trip and meeting the parties that can significantly help launch the company in the UK”.

Mayer Reich, chief executive of intelligence software start-up, RankAbove, said: “Opportunities to forge partnerships like these are vital in the effort to expand the Israeli tech-footprint in Europe.”

Last updated: 1:45pm, November 23 2012