Innovating Better Access to Basic Human Needs

According to the theory posited by American psychologist Abraham Maslow, five categories of human needs influence a person’s behavior: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. These needs can be depicted in the form of a pyramid, with the most basic, physiological needs at the bottom, and the loftiest, self-actualization needs on top. It is only once the more basic needs are met, that people can free up the mental and physical capacity to work towards those on the rung above.

No one understands this more than the Israeli people. Living in a country established out of the heartache and devastation of the Holocaust, Israelis have mastered the art and the science of systematically meeting – and exceeding – those needs, by innovating a healthier tomorrow, today. In an effort to promote more active, healthy, and efficient lifestyles, the “Startup Nation,” policymakers and accelerators alike are encouraging the development of initiatives and innovations that focus on fields such as healthcare, food, and supply chain/logistics. The goal: make it easier for people to take control of their physical and mental health and wellbeing, by making medical services, physical activity, food products, and other everyday necessities, more accessible than ever before.       

Healthcare, in the palms of your hands

2021 may have been the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was also the height of health and wellbeing innovation. Over the course of that year, the country allocated $17 million towards a new digital health innovation program, led by the Israel Innovation Authority, in order to empower healthcare organizations – HMOs, hospitals, and research institutes – to develop digital infrastructure capable of allowing anonymized data-sharing and research and development collaborations. Additionally, HMOs expanded their digital healthcare options, enabling patients to receive medical care from the comfort of their homes – via phone appointments and application-based requests. Video appointments that integrate the patient’s use of dedicated handheld technology devices, such as Meuchedet’s Tito allowed patients to receive diagnoses and medications, even while in quarantine, and apps like Maccabi’s K helped lower the burden on doctors, by helping patients understand if their symptoms may or may not require medical attention. With over 1,400 digital health startups on Israel’s roster, the country’s telehealth and personalized healthcare services are only expected to grow and enhance Israelis’ quality of life.

Other health-related startups that aren’t directly linked to the medical field include those operating in the air filtration, HVAC, and wellness spaces. For example, Highroad portfolio company, Aura Air, won a tender to install its purification systems in 700 Israeli classrooms, as part of a pilot program to enable children to remain in school and Covid-free. Flexity, another Highroad portfolio company, is helping employees achieve greater work-life balance, through its one-stop-shop platform for personalized wellbeing activities, such as workouts, meditations, lectures, workshops, and even activities for employees’ kids. And Taliaz, a mental health telemedicine startup, integrates AI technology into its platform for managing patient records, in an effort to combat depression during the pandemic – and beyond.

Food security for today, tomorrow, and everyone

The cost of living is on the rise, and with it, substantially higher grocery bills, However, Israel continues to lead in the field of food-tech development. Descendants of the pioneers who made the Negev desert bloom, Israelis integrate expansive agricultural and technological knowledge, experience, and expertise, ensuring that what we eat and how we eat it is never an afterthought. From accessibility and nutrition to cost and shelf life, Israeli food-tech startups have the average citizens’ security and satisfaction in mind. It’s no wonder that over 400 governmental, academic, and corporate food-tech incubators, startups, and labs have opened their doors, nationwide.

Last year, Israel’s International Foodtech Center, located in the Margalit Startup City Galil, first opened its doors. Developed in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the center focuses on the application of food science and food and agriculture technologies, so as to promote food security, in Israel, and around the world. One of its portfolio companies,  DynaFresh, is endeavoring to optimize the shelf life of fresh produce so that less food goes to waste. Also working to achieve this goal is Highroad portfolio company Solidrip, which has developed a first-of-its-kind artificial root system that lets plants control how much water they get and when. By leveraging its breakthrough irrigation technology, the startup is enabling easier, more cost-effective, and much more efficient growing methods of green areas – critical in arid areas and warm climates. 

Leveling up supply chain & logistics processes

These days, consumers demand access to global products, and they want them delivered to their address… fast. That said, much goes into the fulfillment of goods, whether they’re being shipped from farm to store, or from warehouse to the consumer’s front door. To ensure that deliveries successfully meet timelines, remain in stellar condition, and are affordable, there’s a real need for supply chain and logistics management solutions that monitor and control operations, in real-time, and are equipped to evolve with the rapid rate of change, this dynamic industry regularly faces. With the global supply chain and logistics industry slated to surge to a whopping $37 billion by 2027 to meet rising consumer demands, it’s no surprise that Israel is leading innovations in this field as well.

There are currently over 150 Israeli companies involved in various aspects of the supply chain and logistics industry. These startups and corporations leverage the latest, most innovative technology and tools to ensure the expedient and efficient delivery of goods.

One blue-and-white solution includes Ladingo, a one-stop-shop logistics solution provider that enables limitless cross-border shipments, with full and transparent, real-time shipping rates, immediately upon entering any product’s details. Another is Fabric, a company that develops automated, AI-based infrastructure micro-fulfillment centers that empower retailers to build the custom fulfillment solutions they need, to meet their inventory, delivery, and Opex/Capex requirements. And Flytrex is taking fulfillment to new heights, by providing cloud-based on-demand, drone delivery services for e-commerce purchases. 

Bottom line

Israel is innovating a healthier future for all; one in which access to basic necessities, such as healthcare, food, water, and household/clothing items is made simpler and more affordable than ever before. In light of the past two years’ global health crisis and its associated recession and shortages, the “Startup Nation’s” innovation efforts are even more mission-critical, paving the way for a more health-conscious, resilient, and sustainable tomorrow, today.

Is your startup developing a next-generation health and wellness solution?
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