A new book called “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle,” explores the culture behind Israel’s economic success and maintains that those same factors which allowed Israel to excel would ensure its continued growth among the economic leaders of the world.
The book’s authors, Dan Senor and Saul Singer, who interviewed more than 100 leading figures in the Israeli high-tech industry as well as US high-tech leaders, point out that Israel is currently home to about 3,850 start-up companies. They note that 2008 saw 2.5 times more venture capital funds invested in Israeli start ups than in US companies. The scope of VC investment relative to the population is 30 times higher than in Europe, 80 times higher than in India, and 300 times higher than in China. Israel has 63 companies traded on the NASDAQ, the highest number of companies after the United States, and invests 4.5% of its gross domestic product on R&D, the highest in the world.
Singer said that people who presumed Israel’s success was primarily a function of its high-tech capacity failed to understand the scope of the phenomenon. “Israel’s success is not just based on its investment in R&D. You also need the ability to exploit that monetary investment, and Israel has that capacity,” Singer said, adding that Israel is one of few nations who are both innovative and entrepreneurial.
Sources: The Marker, NYTimes (blog), CNN (opinion)