By: Hana Larock
With perhaps the most dynamic start-up ecosystem in the world, it’s no secret that Tel Aviv is a destination for hi-tech professionals. If you’re in Tel Aviv on business, then your daytime schedule is undoubtedly overflowing with meetings and visits to Israeli tech companies, but why stop networking there?
One of the most attractive things about the ecosystem here is that, much like the city itself, it’s non-stop and interconnected. People go to work with their colleagues by day, and in the evening, they get together with their peers for networking events, business dinners, meetups and much more.
Check out some of these options for while you’re in town:
Top Ten Networking Activities in Tel Aviv
Drinkabout Tel Aviv
Drinkabout Tel Aviv is where start-up entrepreneurs and members of the tech industry get together at the end of the week with their peers, unwind and maybe mix a little business with pleasure. While it’s definitely a networking opportunity, even if you don’t make any business connections, at least you get to toss back a few drinks at a cool bar with like-minded people.
Campus Tel Aviv
Campus is a worldwide network of spaces sponsored by Google dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial spirit. Campus Tel Aviv hosts public and private events covering a wealth of startup-related areas and runs various programs dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs find their way:
- [email protected] brings Google employees and other entrepreneurs to answer your questions from and give feedback on your ideas.
- [email protected] puts on various workshops, training and accelerator programs to teach you how to turn your idea into reality.
- [email protected] brings together people from different communities and sectors and connects large corporations and innovative startups that can solve each others’ problems.
A co-working space is not a cubicle you share with a co-worker — it’s an opportunity to get together with fellow nomad workers before you have a designated office space of your own. Tel Aviv has some of the best co-working spaces on the planet, some of which are so comfortable and resourceful, you might be okay with putting off your business proposal a little longer.
Sosa, Mazeh 9 or The Library are good place to start your venture.
You’re no doubt familiar with the term business lunch, but the Tel Aviv version isn’t your granddaddy’s business lunch — you know, the kind where you have to awkwardly go out to lunch with your boss and co-workers while you try to order something that’s not too expensive, but not too cheap.
Business lunch in Tel Aviv means going to some of the best restaurants in town as they serve up indulgent set menus at reasonable prices while you conduct some business on the side or discuss entrepreneurial endeavors and ideas with peers on the same wavelength as you.
Meetup groups are the perfect solution to every introvert’s problem. If you know you want to put yourself out there and sell what you got to professionals, but you would never go out of your way to do so, then let Meetup take care of that for you. Each neighborhood of Tel Aviv seems to have their own groups, but you can check out bigger ones like Aspiring Entrepreneurs or TLV-SG Bridge to Innovation, which helps startups connect with the Asia-Pacific. There’s a group for every idea, every type of business. Find yours.
The best way to have a creative and productive day is to start off with a creative morning.
The CreativeMornings concept is simple: those who join participate in a free breakfast every month, where a motivational speaker comes to give you some ingredients to spice up your career path. It’s sometimes called “TED for the rest of us.”
While CreativeMornings is a worldwide initiative, organizer Natalie Shell likes to add a little Tel Aviv spice to the events.
Along with speakers from the region, the coffee and pastries that typify Israeli mornings and an idyllic seaside location, “to ensure we get a mix of both the expat and the local community we ask our speakers to speak in the language their story was meant to told in. This makes sure we get a mixed group and there are always new faces at our event.”
In addition to being a great networking and learning experiences, Creativemornings is a chance to be inspired and get the creative juices flowing. Attending one of these events will also get you in on the worldwide CreativeMornings community, where you can get a little bit of motivation from a fellow member, speaker, or podcast, right when you might need it most.
Tel Aviv Startup Tours
If you know you want to get involved with the industry but you’re not quite sure how, then give a Tel Aviv Tech Tour a try. These interactive tours have the sole purpose of introducing you people like you who are very interested by Tel Aviv’s technological atmosphere.
If you want to keep it official, the municipality offers a startup tour for groups that focuses on the inherent connection between Israeli culture and the startup ecosystem. The tour includes visits to Rothschild Boulevard, the Herzlilienblum Museum, Independence Hall, the Library and an actual Tel Aviv startup.
The Delicious Israel tour will take you to the Banking Museum for a history lesson; shine a light on the process of building a startup with visits to co-working spaces, funders and emerging Tel Aviv startups; and take you to meet the scientists and engineers that do the dirty work behind the scenes. During the tour, you’ll get to meet some notable individuals in their markets, who can teach you some basic lessons about how they made it to where they are now.
Check out Jerusalem and the rest of Startup Nation
Tel Aviv maybe the startup and tech hub of Israel, but the less-heralded Jerusalem scene has carved out its own identity just an hour down the road with a unique ecosystem comprised of over 400 startups, including more than 100 launched in 2014 alone.
It’s also home to one of the premiere venture capital firms in Our Crowd, a number of accelerators, hubs, co-working spaces, the world renowned Hebrew University and a number of R&D centers representing big names such as Teva, Cisco, Intel, IBM, J&J, Siemens and more.
You can also find thriving startup and innovation scenes in Herzliya, Yokneam, Haifa and other cities throughout the country..
Try contacting Made in JLM to find out more and organize meetings with possible connections in Jerusalem. If you’re looking for a structured tour that will teach you all about the Startup Nation, Bizrael is an outreach organization that organizes custom tours for groups, trip packages and a consulting program that will help you connect with Israeli startups that interest you.
Twin Tech Towns
Twin Tech Towns is a unique initiative by XYO founders Zoe Adamovicz, Marcin Rudolf and Matthäus Krzykowski aimed at strengthening the connection between Berlin (where they originally developed their company) and Tel Aviv, where they work now.
Zoe, Marcin and Matt got the idea for TTT after Digital Turbine purchased their company and they were relocated to Herzliya to run DT’s Israel office. Soon enough, they’d fallen in love with the Israeli startup scene and TTT was born.
In addition to spreading the word about events and meetups in both cities, they also have some intriguing programs of their own, including “Lunch with a Mentor,” through which aspiring entrepreneurs can get a one-on-one meeting with figures who can offer up advice, connections and much more.
TTT currently has backing from Geektime in Israel and Gruenderszene in Berlin.
Launch Your Own Tel Aviv Startup
If you fall in love with the Tel Aviv tech and startup scene like so many have before you, why not just join it? Israel recently launched a new visa program designed specifically for entrepreneurs who want to develop their company in Israel. Aspiring entrepreneurs who qualify will get a 2-year visa that is extendable if they choose to base their company in Israel and access to a wealth of resources from the government, including “workspace, physical and technological infrastructure, professional support,” according to the Economy Ministry.
About the author
Hey all! My name is Hana LaRock and I’m originally from Stony Brook, New York. I’ve lived abroad for the last two years and I like to travel to other countries whenever I get the chance. I graduated the University of Hartford in 2013, and during my time there I spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University. I currently live in South Korea where I work as an ESL teacher for young children. When I’m not teaching, I work as a freelance travel writer. Find me at www.hanalarockwriting.com.
Featured image: Ksenia Smirnova/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0