Michigan-Israel Biz Group’s Website Maps State’s Startup Ecosystem
Efforts by Michigan’s economic development officials to strengthen ties to Israeli companies over the past few years have apparently borne fruit. The Great Lake State is the first in the nation to partner with Israel’s Start-Up Nation Central on a free website that aims to map Michigan’s startup ecosystem and build bridges to the Israeli business community.
Called startupmichigan.tech, the website contains profiles of 365 startups, 49 investors, and 44 technology hubs and incubators, and includes startup funding data. It also allows users to search the database for details about companies and investors, and solicit introductions to others in the ecosystem. The platform, licensed from Start-Up Nation Central, is financially supported by the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA), the state, and philanthropical foundations. In addition to New Zealand and Thailand, Michigan is the platform’s third licensee.
Mike Dergis, treasurer of MIBA, says his organization was formed in 2017 to facilitate economic and business relationships between Michigan and Israel. Israeli companies have increasingly established offices in metro Detroit in part to go after auto industry customers.
Startupmichigan.tech, Dergis explains, is designed to be a one-stop-shop for those who want to make connections in Michigan’s startup ecosystem.
“At its heart, it’s a free tool for economic development,” he says. “It supports the growth of the startup community by making it more visible, it’s a tool for investors inside or outside of the state, and it’s also a business attraction tool for companies outside of the US looking to expand.”
The website officially launched in late May, and while MIBA creates profiles for the startups it knows about, it also encourages companies to “claim” their profiles and expand the information contained therein. MIBA staff will reach out to unclaimed startups twice per year to update details, Dergis continues, and says the goal of the website is to identify every tech startup in Michigan and get them into the system. “We want it to take on a life of its own,” he adds.
Dergis is pleased with the amount of interest expressed in the website so far, and he encourages startups that don’t see themselves listed on it to reach out.
“There’s a lot going on in Southeast Michigan around mobility, cybersecurity, defense—which Israeli companies do really well,” Dergis says. “If they have a market here and a need to land in the US, Michigan is a great place.”