Lights, Camera, Investments: Hollywood Stars Unleash their Star Power on Israeli Startups
Written by Zoe Stevens
In recent years, Hollywood stars have increasingly ventured into the world of venture capital and are investing in startups at a high rate. Among the popular destinations for investment, Israel has become a notable hub due to its thriving startup scene, strong government support for entrepreneurship, and culture of innovation. Many Hollywood stars have recognized the potential of Israeli startups and have made notable investments, including several big names.
Cutting-Edge Technologies in Food Production:
Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor and environmental activist, invested in Aleph Farms in July of 2021, an Israeli startup that specializes in producing cultured meat using 3D bioprinting technology. Aleph Farms has raised $105 million in funding and aims to provide a more sustainable and ethical way of producing meat, which aligns with DiCaprio's advocacy for environmental issues.
Ashton Kutcher's venture capital firm, Sound Ventures, also invested in an Israeli startup called MeaTech 3D in October of 2021. The company is focused on developing a new way to produce lab-grown meat using 3D printing technology. MeaTech 3D aims to replicate the taste and texture of real meat while being more sustainable and ethical than traditional meat production. At a hi-tech gathering in Tel Aviv, Kutcher stated, “Coming to Israel is sort of coming back to the source of creation” (The Jerusalem Post ).
The Intersection of Sports, Entrepreneurship, and Wellness:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the renowned Greek NBA superstar, has recently made headlines for his investment in the Israeli startup Antidote Health. Antetokounmpo is a leader in the NBA in protecting his name, image, and likeness and continues to expand his brand with Israeli innovation. Antidote Health, a pioneering company in the field of personalized nutrition and wellness, aligns perfectly with Antetokounmpos’ dedication to health and wellness. By investing in this Israeli startup, he not only showcases his entrepreneurial spirit but also recognizes the potential of cutting-edge technologies and advancements in the health sector. Antetokounmpos’ involvement with Antidote Health highlights the intersection of sports, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, further solidifying his status as an influential figure beyond the basketball court.
Current Israeli Presence in Hollywood:
Not only are stars investing in Israeli innovation, but Israeli companies are making a name for themselves in Hollywood. Deepdub, a Tel Aviv-based startup, specializes in AI technology that automatically generates high-quality dubbed audio tracks for movies, TV shows, and other media content. The company has raised $26 million as of May, 2023. Ofir Krakowski, CEO, aims to bridge the cultural divide and language barrier that exists in entertainment. Krakowski said in an article by Ctech by Calcalist that Deepdub “has contributed to a recent American picture from a major studio that was released in Israel and around the globe for one of the voices in the film. We have dozens of titles that are screened for both American and global audiences, as well as Amazon and Roku and other well-known platforms that stream the content.” While major movie studios utilize similar dubbing software, Deepdub’s competitive advantage is making it the fastest, most cost-efficient, yet secure service that the industry has seen. Hollywood is expanding to more audiences as Israeli companies such as Deepdub innovate impressive new ways of watching content.
Why are Hollywood stars showing an increasing level of interest in Israeli startups?
Investing in Israeli companies provides Hollywood stars with a smart way to diversify their portfolios while supporting innovative organizations that have the potential for significant financial returns. Israel's startup ecosystem offers a highly skilled workforce, supportive government policies, and a culture of innovation that has led to the creation of successful startups in fields like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. In addition, many Israeli startups are working on technologies that have the potential to improve people's lives and solve global problems, providing a sense of purpose for celebrities looking to make a positive impact.
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