It continues to promote the technology sector by providing funding and the relevant infrastructure — under one condition. The company founders and subsequent investors can do what they wish with a subsidized company, and can even relocate the head office abroad, but the R&D department must remain in Israel. Uziely says, “Apart from this, we have constant sunshine, which certainly helps.” He laughs. On a more serious note, he adds, “We want to be the Oxford of start-ups.” Those who want to learn come to Tel Aviv, he says, adding that this ambition is already becoming reality in a city that provides constant access to companies and politicians. In the end, he says, it’s all about the three Ts: “talent, tolerance, technology.” You cannot have one without the others. “I help you today; you help me tomorrow.” That’s how it goes The Office of the Chief Scientistin Tel Aviv.
“That is certainly the idea behind Mindspace,” chimes Libby Alpert. She previously worked with Global Marketing Operations at Gett and now heads up the marketing division at one of the several dozen providers of co-working spaces now operating in Tel Aviv. Mindspace is a little bit hipper than its competitors, “and we are more than an office community.” While Mindspace embraces the typical attributes of co-working spaces — high levels of flexibility, excellent equipment, collaboration — its numerous tenants who pro gram apps also come up with other ideas. Such as that of Noam Levy. His company NeoTop Water Systems manufactures small plastic balls that prevent water in open reservoirs from evaporating. Everyone in Tel Aviv is very focused on success, says Alpert. This can be gauged from the average duration of tenancies. Entrepreneurs usually spend around twelve months with their start-ups at Mindspace. After that, they either have become too big or have gone bust. People try things out, fail, and start from scratch again a little bit wiser. “That is part of our culture.” There are allegedly even investors in Israel who refuse on principle to invest in an entrepreneur’s first idea — believing that failure is the only way that people grow. “Tel Aviv is a fast-paced city and the entire office is one big networking machine,” says Alpert.
Following new ideas. Setting up new companies. Looking to international markets. These are essentially old ideas. When Tel Aviv was founded in 1909, the objective was to construct no less than “a new Manhattan” on the strand. Perhaps that’s what it is: Tel Aviv itself is one huge start-up. To this day.