German and Israeli Innovation – The Best of Two Worlds

.. Medium-sized Mittelstand firms, and the hidden champions in particular, are strongly exposed to global markets in which rapid innovation is an increasingly indispensable factor for survival. However, studies have shown that innovative activity has been on the decline in the Mittelstand for a number of years. Several technologies (e.g., the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and Industry 4.0) and, indeed, the broader field of digitalization are all becoming vital parts of doing business. However, the potential for collaboration is still mostly untapped. A window of opportunity therefore presents itself to combine the best of two worlds by connecting the German Mittelstand and the Israeli startup ecosystem.

Israel’s startup ecosystem is among the world’s most developed. With supportive government initiatives stretching back to the early 1990s, the world’s highest research and development (R&D) spending level relative to the gross domestic product (GDP), and increasing private venture capital funding, it has long since cemented its status as a global innovation hub. Today, many of the scene’s 6,000-plus startups are maturing, seeking markets beyond the country’s borders and partners that can boost their international profile. Israel is transforming itself from a startup nation to a scale-up nation, looking abroad for specific collaboration projects for the technologies and products it has developed. Moreover, many of the country’s agile high-tech startups offer technologies or services in areas that fill gaps in Mittelstand companies’ own innovation profiles, such as cybersecurity, machine learning and big data. …

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