In normal times, the venture-backed accelerator Fusion LA brings batches of Israel startup teams to Santa Monica twice a year for networking, roadshows and mentorship. In their down time, founders can compare Southern California beaches to Tel Aviv, try out local restaurants and visit Disneyland.
But with most in person interaction halted by coronavirus, there was little point in taking a 15-hour flight to LAX. So most of the recent cohort stayed in Israel, pitching their business plans in a virtual showcase Tuesday.
Fusion LA, a Santa Monica early-stage accelerator that provides nascent software startups from Israel's booming tech scene an entree into the U.S. market, is upping its initial investment to $110,000. That's up from the $20,000 checks it has written since the program started in 2017.
"We're betting on Silicon Beach to be the next big hub for Israeli entrepreneurs," Yair Vardi, founding partner of Fusion LA, told dot.LA.