The Israeli Digital Health ecosystem has become a vibrant and thriving space, blooming with innovation centers, government initiatives, accelerators, local investors, and a pulsating start-up community comprising of more than 500 digital health companies. 2018 was a clear indication of this, noting a record-breaking level of funding raised by start-ups over the last year, which totaled $428million. Clearly, Israeli digital health companies have plenty to offer the health and wellness community; the question is how best to do this, or more significantly, where?

Taking Israeli Digital Health Abroad

Israelis looking to penetrate new markets abroad could easily be forgiven for landing on the obvious North American options of New York, Boston or San Francisco as their initial landing pads, given that all of the above are renowned for local companies seeking to incorporate innovative and disruptive technologies into their existing solutions. However, a hidden gem exists which is beginning to shine brightly with potential opportunity: that of Houston, Texas. While often paired with the phrase “we have a problem”, there is far more happening in Houston besides the NASA Johnson Space.This huge Texan metropolis is America’s fourth largest city and is home to 2.3 million residents. It’s a well-known and much vaunted saying that “everything is bigger in Texas,”but the truth behind this cliché is somewhat proven by the fact that Houston is also home to the largest medical complex in the world, the Texas Medical Center (TMC).

Texas Medical Center: A City within aCity, Plus Start-Up Nation Central

Founded in 1945 by M.D. Anderson, the mission of the Texas Medical Center was initially to cluster non-profit health facilities and advance the levels of medical knowledge and care. Today, TMC acts as an umbrella organization, providing organizational support and infrastructure to more than 50 non-profit medical institutions, including the Texas Children’s Hospital (the largest children’s hospital in the world),
the MD Anderson Cancer Center (the largest oncological hospital in the world), and a variety of nursing programs, as well as pharmacological and dental schools.The numbers certainly speak for themselves as TMC employs more than 100,000 people, and receives an average of 3,300 patients a day, bringing in more than eight million visits annually —nearly the same figure as the entire population of Israel. Recognizing the broad swathe of possibilities for Israeli digital health start-ups in Houston’s TMC, Start-Up Nation Central established a presence there in 2018, offeringIsraeli start-ups a focal point for market entry, connections and a range of TMC activities.

TMCx: The Super-Connector of Accelerators

For Israeli start-ups in the digital health field, TMC is an oasis of potential. Specifically, in addition to being the largest medical complex in the world, TMC also operates an innovation hub, where start-ups can use the abundant resources of the Texas Medical Center to develop their digital healthcare capabilities and connect with medical technology companies. Known as the TMCx accelerator, it operates two cohorts per year, each cohort running for four months.Cohort start-ups are chosen according to the solution they offer, and how they suit the needs of the various institutions that exist beneath the TMC umbrella. The accelerator provides access to more than 200 advisors from the more than 50 hospitals on the TMC campus and aims to promote pilot programs in addition to long-term collaborations. Most notably, since TMCx began, threeIsraeli companies have already participated in the program. In fact, for the latest cohort, not only did many more Israeli start-ups apply than ever before, but three were accepted into a total of 23 other digital health start-ups from across the globe. That’s no mean feat for the tiny start-up nation and indicates just how much the Israeli Digital Health ecosystem is a fertile breeding ground for the global digital health market.

To learn more  about TMCx and/or to explore the opportunities available at the TMC, contact Sharon Shapira

Sharon Shapira manages the Digital Health Sector Strategy and activities at Start-Up Nation Central. An intelligence analyst in an elite IDF intelligence unit, Sharon was responsible for analyzing and processing intelligence in one of the unit's top divisions. She holds a BSc in Biotechnology (cum laude) from Tel-Aviv University.