Arizona Investors and Israel-based tech start-ups
Arizona-Israel Technology Alliance (AITA) helps to connect
Ryan Krafczik, Portfolio Associate
Arizona-Israel Technology Alliance (AITA), an organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening relations between Arizona and Israel’s business communities, recently hosted an event to acquaint Arizona with new technologies coming out of Israel. Leib Boel, president, and CEO of AITA, introduced the event and presented similarities between Arizona and Israel, including climate, water scarcity and specific industry sectors that are prominent in each region (namely defense and water/ag-tech-related businesses).
Leib noted that “Israel is surrounded by neighbors that are not the most welcoming, and as a result Israeli companies and entrepreneurs need to look globally to create successful businesses.” These Israeli-based businesses would like to have a presence in Europe and Asia, and particularly the United States. This desired presence spurred the launch of the AITA just a few months ago. Leib strongly believes that synergies between Israel and Arizona can lead to Arizona becoming a landing spot for many Israel-tech companies.
Audrey Jacobs, founding partner of OurCrowd – one of the largest seed investors in Israel, discussed how qualified investors could be a part of the accelerated growth of startups in Israel through the organization’s investing platform. OurCrowd offers direct seed investing and funds to provide investors with access to early entry points in Israel, alongside larger corporate and institutional venture capital firms.
OurCrowd fund manager, Avi Reichental, spoke about his fund’s holdings and its specific artificial intelligence (AI) investing strategy. A representative from portfolio company Airobotics, an automated industrial drone company that has a variety of use cases across multiple industries, discussed their technology and how the relationship between Arizona and Israel is just getting started. Arizona’s legacy mining industry was a big draw for Airobotics to invest in Arizona because surveying mine locations is currently one of its primary use cases. The firm chose Arizona as their American headquarters for many of the reasons Leib highlighted and that Arizona’s cost of living, a large pool of tech talent, and a business-friendly regulatory environment, would continue to win over Israeli firms.
The event revealed a significant opportunity for Arizona to welcome innovative and world-changing technologies coming out Israel, as well as introducing Israel-based companies to accredited investors in Arizona. Investors may benefit from investment opportunities in these startups through platforms such as OurCrowd, which focus on tech ecosystems where valuations and entry points offer greater potential for out-sized returns, compared to the frothy valuations coming out of Silicon Valley. AITA is in its infancy as an organization, but with Israel’s continued success and innovation with tech start-ups, the sky may be the limit for this alliance.
Ryan oversees the setup and maintenance of all of Versant’s accounts, and works with the firm’s Wealth Counselors to provide high-level services to the firm’s clients.