Why Israel is investing $24 million in its cyber-security industry

By Connor Forrest

Recently, Israel announced that it would be investing 90 million shekels ($24 million) in its cyber-security industry, according to Reuters.

As reported by the Times of Israel, Israel is largely regarded as the second biggest cyber-security market in the world, winning 16% of all cyber-security investments made around the globe. With the new investment, the Israeli government could help bolster its position as a cyber-security leader and continue to make the country an attractive place for security startups.

According to the Reuters report, the money is coming as part of a three-year program targeting companies that are dealing with R&D around high-risk activities. These companies will be able to receive up to 5 million shekels, or $1.36 million, per year, the report said.

Aharon Aharon, head of the Israel Innovation Authority, told Reuters that the program hopes to give security companies a place to test their technologies, while also helping bring their products to the global market more quickly and achieve better market penetration.

A big part of Israel’s cyber industry is startups. As the Times of Israel reported, some 70 security startups were founded in 2017 alone. Israel is still far behind the US in terms of its startup deal share, but Israeli firms like BioCatch, Aqua Security, IRONSCALES, and D-ID have been recently making headlines.

Another aspect that plays into Israel’s security ecosystem is the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Because of the IDF’s central role in Israel, and the country’s conscription policy, there are many citizens coming out of the military that choose to put their newfound intelligence to work by building a security startup. The IDF’s Unit 8200 has also served as somewhat of a startup accelerator and incubator as well.

The Israeli government, as seen with this investment, is also a major catalyst for new cyber businesses in the country. However, schools like the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev also play a major role in the perception of Israel as a security powerhouse, constantly releasing new security research in growing industries.