Daniel Taub, Israel Ambassador to UK
The Israeli ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub says that Israel is the original startup and created through a crowdfunding campaignYouTube

Israel's ambassador to the UK believes the country was essentially a startup, built with a crowdfunding campaign and that a lot of its startup success is based on a combination of dissatisfaction and luck.

Speaking at the final of the Start TLV competition organised by the Israeli embassy to find the UK's best startup, Daniel Taub said that in many ways the nation was the original startup.

"Israel is a country which in its own way is a start-up. It started out as a group of relatively young people who had this idea of creating this state for all sorts of very important reasons. They did what we might call a crowdfunding exercise to get support from around the world."

He said however that rather than education, investment or hard work, one of the most underestimated aspects of the country's success in the startup world was simply luck.

"I think for Israel there are a number of other things that have contributed [to its success as a startup nation] and one of them is luck and luck is an extraordinary factor," Taub said. "Often the things that you thought would be most damaging to your economy have worked out in a bizarre way to our favour."

Satellites would be shot down

To highlight this, he referenced a recent meeting with the head of Israel's space program, who told him that due to Israel's "geopolitical situation" launching satellites in the direction of the earth's rotation (which is typical practice) was not possible "because of our neighbours" because "they would be shot down".

And so Israel has developed small, ultralight satellites which can be launched against the rotation of the earth.

"[And] lo and behold, over the last decade that is the type of satellite the world has been looking for so there was no clever design here, there was simply luck," he said.

Taub added that a dominant Israeli characteristic was "dissatisfaction" and that "nobody is ever happy with the way things are".

Winners

At the final of the Start TLV competition, three UK startups pitched their ideas to a panel of five judges for the chance of winning a trip to the prestigious DLD conference in Tel Aviv in September for the chance to meet investors and VCs (venture capitals).

The eventual winner was RMI Education which is a company that has been operating for only six weeks and whose stated mission is to "help schools improve the quality of education by increasing budgets and reducing costs".

Taub said the startup was "something on the cusp of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship".

The two other startups competing for the prize were Somewhere – a visual platform for sharing your work – and Digital Bridge, a company which has created an app to allow people to easily visualise decorating changes made to rooms.