The Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) on Wednesday announced its partnership with Start-Up Nation Central, a Tel Aviv-based non-profit organization that connects companies around the world to Israeli innovation.
Under the name Israel Start-Up Nation, the team will compete on the cycling world’s biggest stage for the very first time, as the first ever Israeli team to compete in the Tour de France. Tour de France is the world’s third most watched sporting event, after the summer Olympics and FIFA’s World Cup. This way, the team will showcase Israeli innovation before billions of television viewers.
Participation in the Tour de France represents the enormous progress made by ICA over the past five years. ICA was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem as Israel’s first professional cycling team, with a clear vision to usher young Israeli cyclists to the highest level of the sport. The team members are also ambassadors for the Jewish State, demonstrating a vision of peace through sports.
The team is owned by Israeli Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams and Israeli businessman Ron Baron. Taking a minority interest in the team this year is Canadian Kevin Lam, via his company, Reinvent.com.
“The dream of competing in the Tour de France, almost unthinkable only 5 years ago when we launched the team, is now coming true,” said team co-owner Adams. “A professional team with world class Israeli riders alongside the finest international talents, racing with pride in one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. Around 3.5 billion viewers in hundreds of countries across the world will see the Israeli flag and hear the message that this is a country bringing unrivalled innovation to the world.”
“By partnering with Start-Up Nation Central, we are showcasing the Israeli tech ecosystem on a global stage, sending a clear message that this is a country with so much to offer the world. I have no doubt that cutting-edge Israeli technology will give our team a competitive advantage as we race against the very best in world cycling,” Adams said.
“Our goal is to get Israel’s powerful tech ecosystem behind the cycling team, as it becomes a formidable competitor, and leverage the knowledge gained from testing these technologies on Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team to benefit other athletic teams,” said Start-Up Nation Central CEO Prof. Eugene Kandel.
With a population of 9 million people, Israel has cultivated the most start-ups and the highest venture investment per capita in the world. “This is a potential force multiplier that the Israel Cycling Academy can tap into,” Prof. Kandel said.
ICA and SNC will collaborate to connect the athletes to the innovators and entrepreneurs that will be able to make a material impact on their performance.