Silicon Roundabout, Wadi, Plateau, Dock, Health – just some of the growing number of start-up hubs popping up around the globe. Wix.com is headquartered in Tel-Aviv and we’re often asked how a small country like Israel can have such a prominent start-up culture. It’s no fluke that Tel Aviv sits alongside Silicon Valley and increasingly London’s Silicon Roundabout as one of the most entrepreneurial regions in the world.
Each hub is successful for a variety of its own independent reasons and shaped and influenced by that country’s culture. This ABC of start-up cultures can provide an insight to each hub’s secret to success:
In Israel it’s often said it’s all about “attitude”, or ‘chutzpah’ as it’s often called. There’s a ‘can do’ culture made up of Israel’s melting-pot nation.
Meeting with Facebook’s VP after their buyout of Onavo for $150million, Israel’s President Shimon Peres said: “Israelis always strive to learn, investigate, and break borders.
Israeli Chutzpah does not rest, entrepreneurship is in our DNA.” The Israeli’s proactive approach to getting things done is helped by the physical closeness of their tech cluster.
A tight-knit community of people has been created who eagerly share knowledge, make introductions and offer advice. Wix’s CEO and co-Founder Avisahai Abrahami says that when Wix was still in its early stages he was constantly amazed how helpful colleagues from other Israeli ventures were in offering key introductions and timely advice.
This was always done with a sense of commitment, not just obligation. Now, Wix’s doors are always open for entrepreneurs to come to brainstorm and get advice over a cup of coffee. As Avishai says: “We were helped when we were starting out. Now it’s our turn.”
Then, there’s Silicon Valley, the traditional home of technology entrepreneurialism. The American Dream was built on the ability to be able to achieve anything, and sell oneself, regardless of background.
This “boldness” is the reason that some of the world’s best known and ubiquitous technology companies were born there. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are good examples of this confidence and boldness – both young, and entirely unafraid to promote their ideas and go for their dreams.
Dorsey has more Twitter followers than some A-list pop stars, putting him firmly in the limelight and creating a confident face for the company, which is vital when building a brand.
Being more risk averse, the UK doesn’t have a traditional start-up culture. Yet the growth of Silicon Roundabout and other UK hubs is due to the Brits strong culture of inventiveness. This “creativity” is generating some unique businesses which are creating a huge buzz in the tech scene.
A well-known success story, Moshi Monsters, cleverly caught onto kids’ love for nurturing and has proven an international hit, expanding its brand far beyond the technical sphere.
More recently, Metail, raised £2.6million in funding with its unique virtual fitting room service. If the UK continues to combine its creativity and tech talent, it will cultivate a new culture of experimentation in this already thriving hub.
So what’s the secret? It would be great to come up with a recipe for start-up success that entrepreneurs in other tech hubs could learn from. Yet it’s my belief that a start-up culture can’t be copied.
An essence of all of these traits – attitude, boldness and creativity – must feature in every hub. I think that what can turn a growing hub into the next major tech scene is how they take these essential traits and combine them with their own particular strength, to build a start-up culture that’s unique to them.
Omer Shai is CMO of Wix.com
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