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November 16, 2016
City of Toronto Innovation mission explores Israel's venture capital success
  
On Tuesday, Mayor John Tory and Toronto’s business and technology delegation visited Tel Aviv to meet with Aleph, one of Israel's leading venture capital firms. The group discussed the potential for Israeli-based startups to expand to Toronto.

"Israel's ability to raise and invest significant money in its startups is greatly accelerating their growth and impact," said Mayor Tory. "It is truly impressive that a country with a quarter of the population of Canada is able to raise twice as much money for its startups. It's time that we build a better system at home that accelerates our talented innovation sector."

Canada and Israel both had an excellent venture capital financing year in 2015. Canadian venture capital funding achieved a 10-year high in 2015 of $2.25 billion (Canadian), according to figures from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. Israel achieved its highest ever annual venture capital, investing $4.43 billion (U.S.) in 2015, as reported by Israel Venture Capital Research.

"We can learn a great deal by studying places that have put supporting entrepreneurs and innovators at the core of their economic agenda. The incredible amount of venture capital flowing to Israeli firms is an example of how smart policy can build -- or in the case of Canada -- rebuild what is a crucial component of successful innovation ecosystems," said Mark Hazelden, a mission delegate and Senior Director, Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

While in Tel Aviv, the delegation also toured WeWork, a successful shared workspace startup, to examine how the City of Toronto can use smart planning to bolster small businesses and support entrepreneurs.

Since forming in 2010, the U.S-based company (https://www.wework.com/) has quickly grown internationally and currently operates in 32 cities in 13 countries. WeWork opened its first Canadian location in Montreal earlier this year and recently announced plans for a Toronto location. WeWork provides co-working spaces and services for entrepreneurs. One of the company's cofounders is from Israel.

"Successful innovation communities have a mix of entrepreneurial density, capital, diversity and engagement from government. Investments in the community, like that of WeWork, show Toronto is playing within the global innovation ecosystem," said Ben Zlotnick a mission delegate and CEO of INcubes.

The delegation also visited Haifa to discuss how Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, can build on existing collaborations with Toronto's innovation sector.

On Thursday, the delegation will travel to Ramallah and will meet with the Ibitikar Fund. The fund (http://ibtikarfund.com) invests in innovative early stage Palestinian companies.

Mayor John Tory is leading a Toronto business technology mission to Israel from November 12 to 19. City Councillors James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Josh Colle (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence) and Christin Carmichael Greb (Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence) are part of the mission alongside nearly 50 Toronto business and technology delegates.

The City of Toronto's Israel mission delegation will learn about Israel's technology and business innovations and will connect directly with its technology and investment communities to help generate business opportunities in its markets.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media Contact
Shane Gerard
Strategic Communications
416-397-5711
sgerard@toronto.ca

Keerthana Kamalavasan
Office of the Mayor
647-460-7507
Keerthana.Kamalavasan@toronto.ca

 

 

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