Why Florida Is Becoming a Global Tech Hub for Israeli Startups

Published on December 20, 2019

Florida is home to several technology companies and is growing as more programs to help them pop up in the state. Many young entrepreneurs begin looking to the sunshine state for a start where they can establish their company.

For Israeli startup companies, this holds true as well. Florida offers a great opportunity for companies looking to expand their markets into the United States, according to Rachel Feinman, Executive Director of the Florida Israeli Business Accelerator.

Emphasizing the importance of Israel’s leadership in the global technology sector, Feinman added that about 40 out of 50 multinational technology corporations have research and development facilities in Israel.

In addition to it [Israel] being a tech powerhouse, it is also an incredibly small country with an incredibly small market so Israeli startup founders are actually creating startups that are focused from inception on other markets,” she said.

How Business Accelerator’s Can Be Integrated Into Your Model

According to Feinman, it’s an extremely daunting process for a young company to either move or just to establish a presence in the U.S., making business accelerator’s extremely attractive. For Florida’s marketplace, this is where the Florida Israeli Business Accelerator (FIBA) comes in.

FIBA focuses on technology in the categories of Health, Urban, Security, Logistics, Enterprise software and sport.

Our focus is on really helping these companies with connections to capital, connections to customers and connections to the talent that they will need to be successful,” she said.

She said that they see Florida as a growing place in the technology world and are trying to help that growth and help the companies that they work with.

Part of it is frankly us selling Florida as a place to do business and doing that through the launch program,” said Feinman.

How the Legal Realm Helps Accelerate this Model

Feinman is a lawyer by degree and prior to her position at FIBA she worked as a business lawyer. “I’m very familiar with this world, but also as doing it as an attorney,” she said.

Previously, she mentored entrepreneurs at the Tampa Bay Wave and worked to help a few startup companies that were clients of hers at the time.

I felt like there was a lot of excitement and that we were really going to have an explosion in Tampa Bay around the tech startup scene,” Feinman said.

She said that her excitement for the startup scene led her to look for ways to be a part of it.

I didn’t go looking for FIBA, in fact, FIBA kind of came looking for me,” she said.

She said hearing about the opportunity and what FIBA does is why she chose to switch career paths.

I actually got to back now 15 or 17 years after I studied in Israel,” She said.

Feinman excitement to work with companies from Israel that are looking to make the leap to the U.S. began when she was first introduced to the country as a student:

To get to go back to Israel and I’ve gone now with two governors on their missions to Israel, we’ve arranged a FIBA trip to Israel and getting to work with Israelis on a regular basis was kind of icing on the cake.”

If we focused on a technology that really had no presence in the state of Florida I don’t think that we’d be doing a service to the startup companies and we wouldn’t really be doing a service for Florida either,” she said.

Feinman was excited to be a part of Florida’s growth outside the Tampa Bay area as well. In the future, FIBA is looking to help Israeli businesses find a niche in cities around the state of Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

In January, they are launching a program that focuses on about ten companies in only the healthcare and urban tech.

Sarah Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Tampa, Florida, she primarily covers new tech and events.

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