How Did Israel Become a Hub for Innovation?

As an Israeli, an entrepreneur, and the general manager of the Microsoft Ventures accelerator program, I’m constantly asked to explain the secret behind the massive success of Israeli startups. Even though there are successful entrepreneurs in almost every corner of the world, it seems that a disproportional amount of successful startups are located in Israel.

In the past year, Israeli startups enjoyed exits—meaning acquisitions and initial public offerings—worth about $15 billion, an all-time record, according to Forbes. Some of the Microsoft Ventures alumni contributed to this outrageous number: AppsFlyer raised $20 million, Webbyclip $4.2 million, Medisafe $6 million, and Appixia, KitLocate and ConferPlace were acquired.

How did Israel become this hub for innovation and entrepreneurship? Even with my 20 years of experience in the startup ecosystem, I don’t think there is a definitive answer to this question. Though a unique combination of circumstances, culture, and a strong will to...

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