“If we can’t get in through the door, we’ll find a way in through the window”

October 16th marked the first annual Industry 4.0 Conference in Israel, with the message that Israel is an exciting hotspot for productive activity in the Industry 4.0 sector coming through time and time again throughout the day. Mr. Grant Allen, Managing Director of the ABB Group and CEO, Head of Ventures at ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) and II4 Keynote Speaker was one of the first to reference Israel in terms of the I4.0 ecosystem. He said that the ABB Group view Israel as a “fantastic match”, with many assets that drive value and intelligence for ABB’s customers, and that in terms of the hot rate for understanding the assets ABB sells, and in contrast to the Valley, Israel demonstrates a far greater level of understanding.

The conference comprised a series of thought-provoking panels, noteworthy case studies of top Israeli start-ups, and B2B meetings between global corporates and start-ups. During the course of the day, both Start-Up Nation Central and Grove Ventures, the initiators, instigators and sponsors of the event, were pointed out by many of the participating speakers for having been instrumental in drawing attention to the flourishing local Industry 4.0 ecosystem.

During the panel discussion on “How to Build a Successful Collaboration”, the excitement of coming to Israel and seeing the consistent stream of new and stimulating happenings was cited by Mr. Murray Grainger, Managing Director and Head of Honeywell Ventures. Merck’s innovation center was opened in Jerusalem precisely because of the vibrant atmosphere in Israel, according to Steve Miller, Director of Product Owners - Software & Automation at Merck. CTO and Pharma GM of Applied Materials Amos Dor mentioned how when looking at Israeli start-ups, he expects advanced technology, fast delivery and the very unique Israeli nature that comes with the Israeli start-up.

When asked “Why Israel?”, Dr. Phillip Ulbrich, Vice President Innovation Scouting and Co-Investing, E.ON and Managing Director of E.ON :agile, paid the Holy Land a massive compliment, by stating how Israeli companies are always very willing to adapt to a company’s pain points, and how they always listen, which he really appreciated. Anton Papp, Investments and Corporate Development, Rockwell Automation, stated how Israel has all the right ingredients, including the ecosystem and the business models, and how his company really wanted to be a part of that. Later on in the day, David Gilmour, Vice President, Business Development at BP Group Technology, told how Israel formed a critical part of the innovation ecosystem, and how his company is very much open for business in Israel.

Perhaps the biggest compliment of the day came from Andrew Bolwell, VP, Chief Disrupter, and Global Head of HP Tech Ventures, stating that his experience of working in Israel is that everyone seems entrepreneurial, and has a can-do spirit – with the approach of “if we can’t get in through the door, we’ll find a way in through the window.”

Even without affirmation from external thought leaders, the numbers speak for themselves: Israel’s Industry 4.0 sector is growing. Despite Industry 4.0 being a relatively new and young sector, 40% of companies are mid-to-late stage companies, many of which have also fundamental shifted their business models in order to pivot into the Industry 4.0 space. In the first half of 2018, Israeli Industry 4.0 companies have already raised an incredible $193 million.

Read more information about the Industry 4.0 ecosystem and its growth in our newest report.

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