By @SimonCocking. Irish Tech News recently attended the DLD Startup conference in Tel Aviv, there was an impressive array of tech, innovation and startups on display. We took a few moments to gather the impressions of some of the other members of the Irish  – Israeli trade delegation trip. Here we hear from Brian Seidman, who has over 20 years’ experience in the US and Ireland successfully creating, managing, advising and assisting private and public (NASDAQ and LSE) companies. 

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How was the trip for you?

It was a very productive trip for me, and I am confident all other members of the delegation. It was my first visit to Israel, and it was highly productive because the entire trip was very well planned and produced by the Ireland Israel Business Network, allowing us to meet and engage with leaders from all aspects of the Israeli technology community – from company executives, to service providers to VCs – and speak with them about how and why Ireland is a great place for their companies and clients to set up and grow, similar to how American companies view Ireland.

What do you feel Israel is doing well?

Israel does start-up and early-stage development – incubation and acceleration – very well. They have developed a true value added eco-system that provides what start-up and early-stage companies, whether it be access to capital through the presence of many of the world’s leading VC’s and technology companies, to incubators and acceleraters that are not simply “co-working” spaces, but real eco-systems with the networking, services and expertise that give their companies the best chance for success.

What key insights did you gain?

I would not necessarily call it an insight, but perhaps a confirmation of the importance of a comprehensive eco-system to the development, growth and best chance for success of start-up and early stage companies. It is easy to talk about entrepreneurship as a key, important economic sector or strategy, but unless that talk is backed up with real resources, a real eco-system that can provide investment, support, guidance AND expertize, it is just talk. That doesn’t mean local entrepreneurs, wherever they may be, cannot succeed without comprehensives eco-system that provide such full faceted support, but it is certainly much harder and much less likely that entrepreneurship will flourish.

How might they be applicable back here in Ireland?

I believe it is very applicable to Ireland. Ireland has a very real start-up and early stage scene, it has critical mass both in terms of its status as a leading technology hub (including in R&D) as well as in talent, VC firms are paying attention to and investing in indigenous start-up and early-stage companies as well as strongly entertaining the idea of locating non-Irish portfolio companies in Ireland. I believe that Ireland has all of the pieces to create a comprehensive eco-system for success similar to Israel, it is a question of bringing them all together in a comprehensive fashion, making sure they are really available, and making sure that entrepreneurs are aware of their availability.

Anything else you’d like to add ?

A key part of the trip was selling Ireland as an FDI destination to Israeli companies, similar to how Ireland has been so successful with US and other tech companies. From Mattan Lass’s point of view, and I think I am relating this properly, Israeli companies do not view Ireland in the same way that say US companies do – as a great place to set up EMEA headquarters, and not just for sales and CS, but for R&D as well (I can speak personally to this – I was sent here to set up and run my company’s platform, and it is a pretty sophisticated platform, and we did just that in Ireland). Israelis believe companies come to Ireland solely for the taxes. They also want to go direct to the US and not to Europe simply to set up an office in a target country. Israeli companies do not view Ireland as either an EMEA HQ thru which to conquer Europe, or as a natural bridge from which to enter the US. We are early days in selling Ireland as an FDI destination to Israel companies – getting them to see Ireland from say the American perspective, and Mattan is confident that it will happen, but will take further trips, networking etc. And I agree. But, as an American who has 20+ years in start-ups, early stage and public companies, who has a very American view of Ireland re FDI, and think all of the benefits are true (and obviously not just taxes), I find the Israeli position “interesting” to say the least.


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