Back in 2014, Israel may seem like one of the most unlikely places for a fintech investment. However, the times they are a-changin’. There’re over 600 fintech startups currently active in Israel now. The finance technology (FinTech) industry has become one of the fastest growing high-tech sectors in recent years. According to Bank Innovation Israel, Israel boasts the highest density of startups per capita in the world. This bears testimony to Israel’s commitment to fintech.
There are many reasons behind this surge. Firstly, Israel has a small yet technology-friendly population, who are willing to embrace new technological innovations. Secondly, a horde of Israelis used to work in the global financial services industry, primarily on Wall Street and in London, and they have taken their knowledge and expertise back to Israel. Thirdly, the Israeli government is encouraging the fintech sector to grow by introducing preferential policies and taxes. Even the high number of immigrants could be considered a contributing factor. Nearly 90% of Jewish Israelis today are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants. These immigrants are used to starting from scratch and facing adversity, and this kind of mentality translates well into building innovative startups.
The rapid development has attracted a never-ending stream of foreign investment, securing the country a spot at the forefront of global fintech innovation.
According to a report by the Israeli business news outlet Calcalist, the authority there is hoping to foster local competition by licensing more fintech companies. Additionally, preliminary research by the Israeli Securities Authority has shown that at least dozens of companies could receive a work permit in Israel with minimal changes to their business models or technologies.
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