There’s a reason I fear walking past construction sites on the streets of Tel Aviv. It could have to do with the occasional hot sparks that fly free from soon-to-be buildings, the unsteady ladders leaning along uneven sidewalks, or the haphazard cultural mindset that feels built into every blueprint of every awkwardly calculated building. It could be because often when I look up, I see someone holding a power tool in one hand, and a cigarette in the other.
While fear is present in me as a passerby, construction site workers are the ones who are in the most danger. Since the start of 2019, twenty workers have died onsite. While perhaps safety laws and regulations have been lax in the developing country, the Israeli authorities are finally being forced to take action to recognize the need for enforced safety and security measures. It could also help that there is a budding startup sector, and so large investment opportunities, that have begun to take form in the startup nation.
Enter property technologies, or Proptech. The last decade has seen one billion worth of investments, and $200 million was invested in Israel in 2018. On a global scale, $4 billion dollars have been invested in the industry in 2018. With the increasing amount of construction, and so, accidents, the growing Proptech sector is seeing a rise in startup technologies aiming to find innovative solutions in lieu of the traditional tools, to create safer work spaces and regulations.
In Israel, about 70 startups exist in the space, tackling topics such as planning and design, safety, real estate insurance, inspection, execution, materials, and more. One of the major players investing in such startups is a venture capital fund Innogy Innovation Hub, which has offices in London, Berlin, Silicon Valley, and Tel Aviv.
Contech, an innovation program launched in Israel by the Israel Builders Association, is working with the government to support the startup ecosystem in bringing new technologies to the field of construction. With the emerging concentration on construction tech, it is hopeful that Israel will prevent more challenges and support the growth of safety standards in the field of construction.