The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the foremost gathering of international leaders in the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy, is headed to Tel Aviv, Israel, from November 10–13, 2020. Israel is known as the world’s Start-up Nation for boasting 6,000+ active start-ups (second only to Silicon Valley) that are busy reinventing everything from AI to alternative energy, and because no place on earth has such a dizzying mix of technologies and innovators in one space.
The GWS selected Tel Aviv for 2020 because it’s becoming ground zero for health and wellness technologies and investment—from digital healthcare innovations to engineering the future of healthy, sustainable food to new technologies for the fitness, beauty, travel, mental wellness and workplace wellness markets.
The Global Wellness Summit announced today that its 2020 conference will have the most powerful focus on health and wellness tech innovation (not only from within Israel, but globally) in its 14-year history, and that it will feature a Tech Innovation Pavilion for the first time, so attendees can get up close and personal with the most cutting-edge wellness start-ups.
“It’s never been more important for both big multinationals and leading wellness companies to study the most innovative start-ups if they want to stay ahead of the game in the fast-growing wellness space. And Israel, with so many brilliant new companies, is definitely one of the key places to look at,” said Amir Alroy, co-founder of Welltech1, a new Tel Aviv-based wellness innovation hub and microfund. “The GWS will not only put Israel’s creative health and wellness solutions on the world stage, it will introduce Israel’s powerful investment landscape to global wellness companies.”
Why Is Israel the Perfect Turf for Wellness Innovation?
While a small country of only eight million people, Israel is the world’s Start-up Nation for many reasons:
▶ 600 new start-ups are established every year.
▶ 500 multinational corporations (including Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.) have set up incubators or venture capital arms there.
▶ The country ranks #1 in the world for R&D and VC investment as a percentage of GDP and raises venture capital per capita at two-and-a-half times the rate of the US and 30 times that of Europe—with a record $6.5 billion in high-tech start-up funding in 2018.*
▶ Because so many unicorns (companies with $1 billion+ valuations) are Israeli founded: from Salesforce and SodaStream to GPS navigation system Waze, to real estate tech start-up Compass, to online home design platform Houzz, to home insurance disrupter Lemonade.
▶ A storm of forces has come together to create this thriving start-up and health/wellness tech ecosystem.
▶ There is the experience that entrepreneurs acquire during their mandatory army service, the emphasis on learning and world-class academic institutions, widespread immigration, and the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit.
▶ In addition to a powerful private funding landscape, the government’s Innovation Authority makes Israel one of the only countries that funds start-ups without taking equity: giving grants to entrepreneurs (from Israel and elsewhere) to develop innovative technology without taking on debt. Israel distributed an estimated $500 million to start-ups in 2018 and recently established Digital Health as a crucial growth engine with its own budget.
Israeli Health & Wellness Start-Ups – A Few Success Stories
There are hundreds of health/wellness start-ups across Israel, and they have an outsized presence on annual global rankings for “best inventions.” The diversity of issues that they’re working to solve for is staggering, whether OrCam, which uses artificial vision to tell blind people what they’re looking at, to Upright Technologies’ wearable device that corrects people’s posture, to WaterGen’s Genny appliance that pulls moisture from the air to create drinkable water, to Missbeez, an on-demand massage and beauty platform.
Israeli start-ups are radically reinventing healthcare, from AI-based diagnostics to fertility-tech. Zebra Medical Vision uses AI to provide lifesaving, affordable medical scans that detect anomalies; Healthy.io converts smartphone cameras into clinical-grade medical devices; while Beyond Verbal analyzes a user’s voice to gather insights on their health and emotional state. Israel is a Femtech phenom, from Vayyar’s 4D technology that detects early-stage breast cancer to Nuvo, a pioneer in maternal-fetal connected health.
Israel is home to 750 companies in food tech, and the Innovation Authority recently opened FoodNxt, a lab to help Israel lead the world in inventing better nutrition. Israel (where animal welfare is paramount) is a pioneer in meat substitutes: Aleph Farms engineers of cultured beef, developed the first slaughter-free steak, and were first to grow meat in space; other standouts include Future Meat Technologies, ZeroEgg and SuperMeann. Israeli start-ups such as DayTwo are cracking the microbiome, while companies such as Nutrino are out in front in virtual personalized nutrition platforms.
Numerous Israeli companies are fit-tech leaders reinventing the workout: Fitness22, a very successful online community/app, helps people get into the best shape of their lives; Moonrun, an at-home running device (using suspension and gravity), offers a low-impact solution to boring treadmills; Hyfit’s portable workout system with embedded sensors sends live motivational messages and feedback.