New Israeli accelerator Lighthouse Innovations shaking up start-up scene
Israel is known as the start-up nation. From Waze to StoreDot, Israeli start-ups are changing the face of the high-tech world. Start-ups like these don't just become successful. They usually need help with marketing, development, and, of course, money. They need investors and a whole lot of mentoring to get their idea off the ground. A platform that often helps aspiring start-ups is the start-up accelerator. An accelerator is a program that provides start ups with education on marketing, technology, and other essential parts of running a business, while also providing office space, a creative environment, funding, and help attracting investors. Sounds great, right?
The problem is that most accelerators rush start-ups out of the accelerator on a graduation date, even if the start-up isn't really ready. Accelerators are also exceedingly difficult to get into. Accelerators are a great system, but they're not so easily accessible. A new Israeli start-up accelerator, Lighthouse Innovations, plans on changing that.
Lighthouse Innovations is a beacon of light (pun intended) for start-ups that are hard up on cash. Companies selected to join Lighthouse only have to pay a small membership fee of NIS 290 ($75) a month. Qualified start-ups will have that fee waived. Another huge plus is that there's no set graduation date. Yep, a start-up can stay as long as needed and doesn't have to participate in a demo day until they're ready.
Not only is Lighthouse Innovations affordable, it also provides a ton of services to start-ups. They provide mentoring on technology, marketing, and customer relations from top names in Israeli high-tech, including Lior Cochavi, Yonatan Klinger, and Shlomo Nataf. These mentors also provide connections in the business world. The accelerator also offers high-speed wifi, cloud storage, and secretarial services. Also offered are legal services, private conference areas, and other perks which will cost extra, but early start-ups are unlikely to need most of that.
The accelerator does have one main requirement for start-ups in their system: they must be community-oriented and take part in the environment around them. Amos Talmor, one of the leaders of the accelerator, told The Times of Israel that “The idea is to build an ecosystem and environment that promotes innovation, and a hub that that will provide broad-based activity to support entrepreneurs.” Focus groups and rap sessions are offered on business, management, and other topics to all the participating start-ups.
The funding for the project is coming from Talmor and other investors and entrepreneurs. Their building will fit 350 people and about 100 companies. The accelerator is not intent on making back the money they invest, but they will engage with companies, possibly making back some of the investment. They hope that their different approach, which focuses on a freer and creative environment, will help start-ups really develop to their full potential.
The accelerator is already being flooded with requests and plans to open in April in the Ra'anana industrial zone.