The Israel Innovation Authority, which serves as the government’s tech investment arm, has been allocated an additional NIS 390 million ($114 million) on top of its usual budget to increase investments in early-growth startups amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. The new funds will enable the IIA to extend its application deadline for fast track grants until November 19, 2020. The cash infusion brings the IIA’s total budget in 2020 to NIS 2.25 billion ($660 million) compared to NIS 1.7 billion ($500 million) in 2019. So far the IIA has received 250 applications for the fast track funding channel and has approved 142 of them.
"The Fast Track incentive program is one of the most effective projects we have launched in response to the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It aims at helping expedite the recovery of the high-tech sector,” said IIA CEO Aharon Aharon. “The Authority is, therefore, supporting high-functioning companies which have a good chance of transcending the crisis but are currently facing difficulties in raising funds or making sales. We have substantially expanded the support mechanism for companies so that they can utilize our grants in order to maintain operations, and have taken it upon ourselves to guarantee that we complete the evaluation and decision-making process within four weeks.”
The fast track channel provides support for companies that are developing innovative products, with substantial assets and a high long-term chance of success, but a short runway. The IIA pledges to complete the decision-making process within four weeks of the application and to provide significant benefits to companies owned by women and minorities.
The IIA’s investment grants enable companies to remain above water throughout the crisis and continue to serve as Israel’s main growth engine as it looks to exit the crisis. It first rolled out the plan in April.