912 Israeli startups in EU employ 24,223 local workers, data shows

More than a third are in information and software fields; report comes at event to mark 25th anniversary of EU-Israel business relations

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative image of the European Union and Israeli flags (Maksym Kapliuk; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of the European Union and Israeli flags (Maksym Kapliuk; iStock by Getty Images)

There are 912 Israeli startups operating in the 27 countries of the European Union plus the United Kingdom, employing 24,223 European residents, according to a first-of-its-kind map of Israeli tech firms active in Europe.

The report was compiled by EIT Hub Israel, an organization set up in 2019 to bridge the Israeli and European tech ecosystems; Israel Europe R&D (ISERD), an inter-ministerial directorate to promote Israeli participation in European R&D activities; and CQ Global, a recruitment firm. It examined the companies’ activities in various countries, in addition to assessing their contribution to employment and surveying their executives’ expectations.

The report was presented on Wednesday in Tel Aviv at an event honoring the 25th anniversary of the establishment of business relations between the EU and Israel, in which the ambassadors of the European countries were in attendance.

An examination of the activity of Israeli companies in Europe shows that more than a third of them come from the information and software technology sector, and the others from internet, telecommunications, biomedical, and cleantech.

Map of startups in Europe (EIT Hub & CQ Global)

In Germany, for example, 240 Israeli startups provide employment to 3,135 Germans; in France there are 183 companies with 1,985 employees. These two countries and the UK employ 55% of all Israeli startup workers in Europe, the data showed. Forty-nine percent of all startups operating in the EU conduct sales and marketing activities locally and 15% have research and development operations, the data showed.

The authors of the study also conducted in-depth conversations with startups operating in Europe, which showed that 37% of them anticipate growth in the coming year. Sixteen percent of the startups received EU assistance in setting up and expanding operations. The major reasons they set up activities in Europe included the attractive market for their products, proximity to customers, legislation, support programs, and EU partners.

According to Yotam Tzuker, head of business development at CQ Global, the geographical proximity between Europe and Israel, combined with the long and extensive history of political, social, and economic ties, creates great potential for entrepreneurship and technology.

Yoni Levenfeld (right), Adi Barel and Yotam Tzuker, editors of the EIT Hub, CQ Global and ISERD report on Israeli startups in Europe at the presentation of report in Tel Aviv, April 21, 2021 (Idan Canfi)

Israeli startups are known for their activities in the US, but there has been significant growth in European countries as well, he said. Even so, economic collaboration between Israel and the European Union has not come close to fulfilling its potential, particularly with regard to the tech sector, a report by the EU showed in January.

The data for the new report was collected over a period of several months by a team of analysts from online data sources provided by nonprofit Start-Up Nation Central and IVC Research Center, which track Israel’s tech ecosystem.

Adi Barel, the managing director of EIT Hub Israel, said that the report is a strategic step in mapping the potential of Israel-Europe relations in the fields of economics and innovation and it sets the scene for further developments and collaborations.

The aim of the report is to deepen ties between Israel and Europe and increase the scope of business opportunities in the fields of innovation, she said.

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