How Jerusalem Is Building a World-Class Startup Ecosystem

Our member spotlight on Jerusalem shows AI and Life Sciences startups are making waves on the global stage.
Sean Ludwig
on July 10, 2019

Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most historical cities in the world. As such, you might expect its business culture to be stodgy and outdated, but that’s simply not the case. The city’s burgeoning startup ecosystem has a diverse array of companies, but the sub-sectors of AI, Big Data, and Analytics and Life Sciences are two dominant forces.

In the area of AI, the autonomous car technology startup Mobileye took the global spotlight when it was acquired by Intel for $15 billion in 2017. The city also has the largest AI-focused R&D center in Israel.

In Life Sciences, Jerusalem is one of the top 10 ecosystems in the world with more than 150 LS-focused startups clustered in a relatively small area. In fact, Jerusalem is tied at #1 with San Diego for density of Life Sciences startups. The ecosystem has been supportive of Life Sciences with workspaces that specifically cater to startups in the field, including the BIOHOUSE inside Hadassah Hospital and the BioGiv Excubator lab space (which offers an academic IP-free zone) at The Hebrew University.

One incredibly notable Jerusalem-based Life Sciences startup is OrCam, the first and only Israeli digital health startup worth more than $1 billion. OrCam’s primary product is a wireless smart camera that can read text, recognize faces, and more, which can greatly help the blind and visually impaired.


Highlights about Jerusalem’s startup ecosystem featured in the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report:

  • Jerusalem’s startup ecosystem is valued at $2.6 billion.

  • The average early-stage funding per startup totals $267,000, just shy of the global average of $284,000.

  • Jerusalem offers tax benefits and grants of up to $165,000 for technology companies and up to $1 million for Life Sciences companies.

  • The ecosystem ranks at a 10 out of 10 for Output Growth Index, which measures growth in total startup creation, calculated in an annualized growth rate.

Our local member is the Jerusalem Development Authority, which has been promoting and assisting businesses and entrepreneurs since 1988. The JDA takes an active role in growing and fostering talent. It is also one of the partners that make up the joint initiative Jnext, which has a goal of “developing and promoting entrepreneurship and the innovation ecosystem in Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem should be a light to the world from a creative and innovation perspective,” Oded Barel-Sabag, Executive Director of Jnext, said. “It is a place where new solutions emerge that can solve real-world problems in health, automotive, and any industry that can make life better.”

Do you want to develop and promote Jerusalem’s startup ecosystem? We’d love to chat. Please get in touch with us about becoming a startup ecosystem ambassador!

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