For the First Time in Haifa: The Global Business Sector will turn the City into an International Innovation Epicenter Through a Joint Investment of Over 50 ILS Million


The ILAB Group, which includes Mati Haifa, led by Eran Alfonte, the communications giant Mellanox Technologies, led by Eyal Waldman, internationally leading VC Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Israel Initiative 2020, led by Erel Margalit, won the Israel Innovation Authority competitive bid to develop technological innovation in Haifa.

Haifa, Israel, November 18, 2019 Last night, the Israel Innovation Authority announced the winners of the Haifa tender to develop technological innovation in the city, the ILAB Group. The group includes local project Mati Haifa, communications giant Mellanox, internationally leading venture capital fund JVP, and the non-profit Israel Initiative 2020. The group will receive a NIS 25 million grant for 4 years from the Israel Innovation Authority and will match that amount, reaching NIS 50 million, with the aim of promoting and integrating extensive technological entrepreneurial activity in the city. This will turn Haifa into a major innovation center in the areas of digital health, energy, environment, advanced industry 4.0 and smart transport. In addition, the ILAB Group will invest in encouraging entrepreneurship and prosperity of diverse populations, which make up the city’s unique cultural fabric.

The goal of the ILAB Group is to transform the downtown area of Haifa into a vibrant entrepreneurial, social, cultural district, as has been the case in major cities around the world attracting companies and startups. All this while creating an affinity for the Haifa ecosystem, and leveraging Haifa’s human capital, leading research institutions, hospitals and global companies.

It is the first time that leading Israeli high-tech business entities Mellanox and JVP Venture Capital Fund are investing in the field of technological entrepreneurship development in Haifa. The ILAB Group will focus most of its activity in the downtown area to turn it into a new center of entrepreneurship in Israel. Among other things, the ILAB Group will work to strengthen the entrepreneurial community in the city and the urban infrastructure, supporting 150 start-ups by establishing dedicated work spaces and launching unique acceleration programs. In addition, the group will set up an innovation center in the downtown area for startups that will include shared work spaces and innovation labs.

Beyond the partners’ financial investment, each company itself offers added value for startups and entrepreneurs. They will enjoy JVP’s and Mellanox’s international business relationships, Mati’s investment and financing capability in seed phases, as well as its entrepreneurial complexes, access to Mellanox’s new innovative technology platforms, and Israel Initiative 2020’s proven experience in driving regional branding and economic development processes.

Eyal Waldman, Founder and CEO of Mellanox Technologies: “Mellanox Technologies started 20 years ago as a startup company and still maintains that spirit. We appreciate the vision, courage and entrepreneurial spirit that underpins technology ventures in their early stages. We believe that through ILAB, Mellanox will help realize Haifa and Northern Israel’s technological potential by contributing from its experience as a startup and through its extensive global network.”

Erel Margalit, Founder and Chairman of JVP and Israel Initiative: “Haifa is not only the capital of the north but also the first city from which Israeli high-tech emerged. We will bring Haifa back to the forefront of the global high-tech scene and position the city as one of Israel’s innovation capitals. The connection between investors and companies JVP, Mellanox, Mati Haifa, and academic institutions such as the Technion and the University of Haifa, will not only bring investment and startups to Haifa, but also breathe life into downtown Haifa and make it a place that young people not only want to work in but stay and create the next big thing. We are proud to be the first venture capital fund to launch investment activities in Haifa.”

Eran Alfonte, CEO of Mati Haifa, founder of the project: “The needs of local entrepreneurs and startups need to be rethought. The combination of the Innovation Authority’s budgets along with the capital coming from leading businesses and efficient resource management is what is needed for local startups in Haifa to prevent negative immigration of young people and spur unprecedented technological entrepreneurship.

The ILAB Group includes Mati Haifa, Mellanox Technologies, JVP and Israel Initiative 2020. Mati, the anchor to Haifa’s DNA, nurtures the city’s entrepreneurs, provides tools for success and has offered financial, business and technological support over the past three decades. Mellanox Technologies has invested in the ILAB Group, and is a flagship of high-tech in Israel, retaining thousands of employees in Israel and around the world, invests in additional startups and encourages entrepreneurship and innovation in the periphery and the Arab sector. Mellanox Capital is the investment arm of Mellanox Technologies, which invests strategic companies from Israel and abroad. Israel Initiative works to create new growth, innovation and economic centers across Israel with a focus on the periphery, based on the unique model that was proven successful in Jerusalem, Beersheba, and more. JVP is an internationally leading Venture Capital fund, ranked as one of the best in the world. It has, since its inception 25 years ago, invested in hundreds of startups in Israel and around the world, and is also is credited for tens of Israel’s most successful exits.

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