After 21 days + 8 flights + 4 states + 14 landing pad events + hundreds of interactions, SOSA sat down with one very exhausted Omri Wislizki, Australian Landing Pad Manager for Tel Aviv to gain insights into the Australian-Israeli ecosystem and to hear his experiences from the Australian roadshow.
But first, a little bit about the Landing Pad program.
In 2016, the Australian Federal Government launched its Landing Pad program in Israel, officially marking Israel as a partner in innovation and positioning it alongside the global family of Landing Pads in San Francisco, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.
So Omri, what’s the purpose of the Landing Pad in Tel Aviv?
The Landing Pad Program serves an imperative role for Australian startups because it gives them the opportunity to scale into global markets through our partners. In Israel, this is achieved through SOSA where we connect them to the 3 pillars of the industry – the community, investors and multinationals. Servicing a Landing Pad in Israel, which has one of the most advanced ecosystems in the world, means that startups in Australia can come here and explore their options backed with a network of support.
Although Israel is not a market to scale in, every startup in Israel is born global from day one. Everything that companies do from the beginning: from hiring, building codes, developing strategies and receiving investment money to the language they use, all focus on the global scale. At the end of the day, if you’re ready to scale, you need to know how to do it and there’s no better place to learn than in Israel.
As powerful as technology is, having a base operation in Tel Aviv is critical if you are serious because investors and MNCs are only happy to connect through introductions and prefer to meet in person. If your startup is in Australia, it makes connecting to this ecosystem extremely challenging.
As well as attracting ecosystem leaders and investors, we also get a lot of attention from members of parliament which is great for extending our network. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg are just a few of the Australian officials that have visited our Landing Pad office at SOSA, not to mention over 40 visits from members of parliament, students and ecosystem leaders. In fact, the Australian Stock Exchange, through the Landing Pad, is now working with SOSA. All it takes is a simple introduction.
Fantastic. So how do startups get involved with this opportunity?
Startups who want to apply need to go to our website and fill in the application form. We are mainly interested in their vision, traction, scalability, their disruptive technology/ business model and the market relevance of the city in which they choose to launch their product.
We have one program that offers Australian startups who are in the product stage 90 days of acceleration and business development opportunities from the startup community, investors and MNCs, but we also have another program called The Startup Mission. We implement 4-5 missions a year and work with a third party (usually state government or innovation program in Australia). We bring up to 10 entrepreneurs for a week-long professional boot camp where we work on their startup and products as well as introducing them to the investors, MNCs and the community in Israel.
CryptoPhoto is an example of a startup that excelled through the Landing Pad and in the end got connected to Check Point Technologies, the world’s leaders in Cyber Security. Some startups are connected to MNCs who work on their proof of concepts together, whilst some receive validation on their product and business model.
All these opportunities sound priceless! We would also love to hear about your experiences from your roadshow tour of Australia, how was it?
Australia is amazing! Beautiful food, beautiful people and a great innovation ecosystem. It was a jam-packed three week roadshow that took me to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. In that time, I got to attend Australian accelerator + incubator programs such as CICADA Innovations and H2 Ventures, mentor office hours, speak at Universities and even made it into regional Melbourne to visit Runway Geelong. These are just some of the highlights of my trip but I think the best part for me was the conversations with the people and being able to leave an impression on them. At every event, the audience engaged and asked questions, wanting to know more about the startup ecosystem in Israel and the Landing Pad which suggests to me that Australians are very motivated to learn more about innovation and connecting to global ecosystems.
Another incredible experience for me was presenting at TechCrunch and StartCon in Sydney which are both large-scale entrepreneurship conferences and being able to represent the Landing Pad. That was really special because it not only created huge exposure for us but again, the crowd was so curious and by the end of it, I had no voice because I had talked to so many people that were interested in this area…
We hope to keep helping Australian startups through our program and to create more impact and value for them through the opportunities in Israel. The relationship between Australia and Israel is a beautiful one and it’s fantastic to see each country support one another in creating a global community on innovators.