Italy has selected seven startups to take part in the first accelerator program for Italian startups in Israel, a three-month program that will start next month and take place in Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.
The initiative is a joint venture set up by the Italian Embassy in Israel and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, the innovation arm of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group,
an Italian-based bank with some 12 million customers.
The seven startups were chosen via a tender process published in January this year out of a total of 40 applicants from a variety of sectors including health, smart mobility, food tech and clean tech that are seeking to develop their new business ideas in the so-called Startup Nation.
The selected projects will be hosted from January to March 2020 at the Eilat Tech Center (Arieli Group), which operates innovation programs for academic/research institutions, governments, municipalities, industry brands and investment/capital funds. ETC is a part of the Arieli Capital group, a US holding investment firm with offices in Israel and New York.
As part of the program, mentors and tutors will work with the budding entrepreneurs to tackle challenges. The startup founders will have networking meetings with successful Israeli companies in related sectors, and get funding from the Italian embassy in Israel. The embassy has earmarked 100,000 euros for the program.
The selection committee was composed of the Chief Scientist of the Italian Embassy in Israel, Stefano Ventura; Dani Schaumann of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center; Danny Biran, former vice president of the Israel Innovation Authority; Jeremie Kletzkine of Startup Nation Central; and Dan Fishel of OurCrowd.
“Thanks to the accelerator program, seven young Italian startups will have the opportunity to develop their business idea for three months in ‘Startup Nation’s extraordinary and dynamic ecosystem,” said Gianluigi Benedetti, the Italian Ambassador to Israel, in a statement.
The program is a new way of making use of “the synergy that exists between the two economic systems: our world-class manufacturing ecosystem and the Israeli ecosystem focused on innovation and venture capital,” he said.
“Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center has been actively collaborating with Israel for several years through various initiatives with innovation hubs, investors and institutions, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy,” Guido de Vecchi, general manager of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, said in the statement. “This initiative is an excellent opportunity to offer a select number of startups access to a real international scale-up opportunity in a process aimed at enhancing the Italian innovation ecosystem.”
The program’s final event, to be held in Tel Aviv, will include an expo and a pitch event, hosting representatives from government, industry and investors from Israel, Italy/Europe and US, the statement said.
The program was set up under the Italian-Israeli Agreement for industrial, scientific and technological cooperation and aims to develop Italian startups within Israel’s tech ecosystem, one of the “most innovative” countries in the world, the statement said.