Why Israeli Companies are Choosing New Jersey

Relatively similar in geographic size and population, both New Jersey and Israel are small but mighty. Nicknamed the “State of Innovation” and the “Startup Nation,” both share a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. Home to the fourth largest Israel-born population and the fourth largest population of Israeli ancestry in the United States, New Jersey has longstanding ties to Israel. Israeli companies that locate here can also find a cultural match within New Jersey’s thriving Jewish communities. New Jersey is 5th largest trading partner of Israel and the second-largest state in the Northeast in terms of attracting Israeli greenfield FDI.  Despite COVID-19, level of trade with Israel rose to a record level from 2019 to 2020, reaching the $1.33 billion mark. Discover why Israeli startups and multinationals alike are choosing New Jersey.

Global Reach, Local Roots

New Jersey is home to a robust international transportation network to move people and products quickly. The New York City-Newark-Philadelphia regional airport system offers 1,200+ nonstop domestic flights and 340+ nonstop international flights. Company executives can travel easily between U.S. and Israel locations, as Newark Liberty International Airport services 3 nonstop daily flights to Tel Aviv. Businesses here also enjoy proximity to New York City at half the cost and with more room to grow. New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem with a high density of early-stage and established life sciences and technology companies has attracted Israeli companies looking to be part of a thriving business community.

These assets are what drew major Israeli companies to invest here including Teva Pharmaceuticals and Cross River. Teva Pharmaceuticals, a leading global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Israel, has global product portfolio of more than 1,800 molecules and a direct presence in 60 countries. Governor Murphy announced Teva Pharmaceuticals USA chose Parsippany-Troy Hills to locate its U.S. headquarters in 2018, supporting more than 1,000 jobs including the transfer and creation of more than 800 positions. The expansion decision is a result of Governor Murphy’s meeting with company executives during his trip to Israel with the New Jersey delegation in 2018. Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president of North America at Teva cited New Jersey’s historical reputation in the life sciences sector, access to New York City and value for the money as top reasons why the company chose to invest here.

Cross River, a fast-growing financial services leader, announced the grand opening of its Fort Lee headquarters in April 2021. Since its founding in New Jersey in 2008, the company has grown to over 520 team members and plans to hire 100 more by the end of 2021. During the New Jersey business delegation’s second trip to Israel in 2020, Cross River hosted a reception to announce hiring commitments and the growth of its New Jersey and Israel locations (Cross River has a support team in Jerusalem’s high-tech park). Speaking to Cross River’s success, Phil Goldfeder, SVP Public Affairs, said “[…] We are surrounded by some of the most innovative technology and financial services companies, a vibrant entrepreneurial workforce, and government leaders who work tirelessly to support the growing fintech ecosystem.”

Opportunities for Innovation

New Jersey’s East Coast location offers strategic access for Israeli companies looking to break into the North American market. A New Jersey-based company can reach 38 million consumers within a 2-hour drive. Manufacturers can tap into a high density of suppliers, distributers and retailers along the supply chain. That’s why companies like TopGum Industries are choosing New Jersey to expand sales and innovate product offerings in the lucrative U.S. market. Choose New Jersey recently assisted TopGum in establishing a subsidiary in New Jersey to manufacture its functional gummy supplements. 

The concentration of top talent in New Jersey is also attractive for Israeli businesses – especially for fast-scaling technology companies. Israeli startup OwnBackup focused on cloud data protection opened a new headquarters in Englewood Cliffs in 2019. The company was founded in Israel in 2012 and employs over 500 people, housing its R&D team in Tel Aviv. The company recently raised $240 million in series E investment round, putting it near a valuation of $3.35 billion. Regarding the company’s rapid expansion, OwnBackup CEO Sam Gutmann said, “It was especially important to us that we harness this growth here in Bergen County […] allowing us to tap into an abundance of highly skilled tech talent in the surrounding region.”

Research University Partnerships

New Jersey’s research universities do not only feed the talent pool – they also produce world-class research and offer public-private collaboration opportunities. New Jersey universities have attracted the attention of Israeli companies looking to advance R&D and commercialize technologies. Israeli higher education institutions have also found success partnering with New Jersey universities for research and programming.

Choose New Jersey facilitated a successful collaboration between HackerU with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Our team was first introduced to HackerU at a SelectUSA Summit 2018 and Governor Murphy met with them during his 2018 trip to Israel.  Choose New Jersey connected HackerU with NJIT to explore opportunities for partnership.  Since 2020, more than 800 students have graduated from NJIT’s cybersecurity program that it runs in partnership with HackerU, an Israeli-based digital skills and cybersecurity training specialist.

NJIT further deepened the New Jersey-Israel connection in 2021 when it announced a partnership with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) to create a world-class Institute for Future Technologies in New Jersey. The two powerhouse universities in the fields of cyber technologies and environmental engineering will come together to offer dual degrees and exciting new research opportunities.

In addition, Choose New Jersey and the New Jersey-Israel Commission recently announced a collaboration between Tnuva and Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC). Tnuva, one of the world’s largest food manufacturers and a global supplier of kosher products is collaborating with FIC for product R&D. FIC is the world’s only “soft landing” food business incubator and accelerator that supports entrepreneurs and established food companies recognize their goals from concept to commercialization.

Tnuva already has a New Jersey footprint with their U.S. headquarters located in Lincoln Park. The success of this partnership can be attributed to Choose New Jersey’s visit to Tnuva headquarters in Israel during the 2020 business attraction mission, meeting with company officials about the benefits of growing their business in New Jersey.

Discover Your Second Home in New Jersey

The U.S. remains a growing and attractive market for Israeli companies. New Jersey, specifically, is the best entry point for your business to expand in North America. Our State is home to a highly skilled, highly educated workforce, market access and robust transportation networks. There’s simply no better place in the U.S for your company to succeed. If you’re ready to explore growth opportunities, Choose New Jersey is here to help you.

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