Governor Charlie Baker and Massachusetts business leaders are using their current trade mission to Israel to broaden the already close economic ties between that nation and the commonwealth in key areas such as cybersecurity and digital health.
Baker, reflecting on the common values and strengths shared by the Bay State and Israel—technology, innovation, intellectual intensity—is encouraging Israelis to think of Massachusetts as their “home away from home.”
Nearly a dozen AIM member companies, including Raytheon, Eversource, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard, IBM, GE, UMass, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Goodwin, Sanofi and Cyberark, are participating in the economic development mission to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Today, several dozen Israeli entrepreneurs planning to expand into the US in the next 24 months indicated strong interest in selecting Massachusetts as the destination for their young firms. Their demonstration of enthusiasm occurred at the US-Israel Growth Summit at Tel Aviv University, which was sponsored by Raytheon and attracted nearly 300 Israeli business leaders. To encourage the Israelis to choose the Bay State over Silicon Valley or New York City, a panel of four Massachusetts-based Israeli-founded company executives, including AIM member CyberArk CEO Udi Mokady, shared why they moved their businesses to Boston.
Why is Boston so attractive to Israeli entrepreneurs? Talent, customer access, a strong tech ecosystem, research capabilities, reasonable time difference between Boston and Israel, and cultural fit. In fact, more than 200 Israeli-founded businesses can be found in Massachusetts today, with more than 9,000 direct employees and more than $9 billion in direct economic impact. The number of Israelis living in and around Boston exceeds 200,000.
Massachusetts executives also have a lot to learn from Israeli counterparts, especially in the areas of cybersecurity and digital health. Yesterday’s agenda included a visit to Israel cybersecurity firm Team8, comprised of former officials of Israel’s elite military unit known as 8200. The company’s CEO/co-founder emphasized that the best way to approach cybersecurity challenges is to understand the psychology of the people behind the malware and attacks.
Meetings between and among Massachusetts and Israeli government and industry leaders this week have been productive. Discussions are underway about possible collaborations, partnerships, student exchange programs, internships and investments that will benefit Israeli and Massachusetts companies.
One such collaboration was announced today when Massachusetts and an Israeli company formally agreed to work together on cybersecurity research, training and academic exchanges. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Israeli non-profit private organization CyberSpark signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging that the organizations would collaborate on research focused on healthcare technology cybersecurity and practical training in cybersecurity for American and Israeli students.