BrokerTech Ventures is launching the first step in international expansion with a partnership between the BrokerTech Ventures U.S. Accelerator and the newly formed Israeli InsurTech Accelerator, based in Tel Aviv. 

The accelerator will use BrokerTech Venture’s accelerator program to help local Israeli insurtech supporters build its own regional accelerator, while developing a connecting bridge between Israeli and U.S. startup founders and brokers. 

“Israel has a tremendous amount of tech talent,” said John Jackovin, executive director of BrokerTech Ventures. “Inherently, insurance is global. Boundaries are becoming less significant, so it’s really important for us to understand that companies do business all over the world. … We definitely see it as an opportunity to identify great young companies that might add value to our network of brokers and insurance companies in the United States.” 

The Israeli InsurTech Accelerator is the first broker-led insurtech accelerator in Israel and is led by Kobi Bendelak, co-founder and CEO of InsurTech Israel, and Ortal Vadler, relationship management specialist. The accelerator is supported by Ayalon Insurance Co., one of the largest insurance and finance groups in Israel, and the BrokerTech Ventures Accelerator program. 

Susan Hatten, chief operating officer of BrokerTech Ventures, contacted Bendelak this fall after hearing about his work with InsurTech Israel, and discussions quickly evolved to standing up a brand-new accelerator to serve regional insurtech startups around Israel. The Israeli InsurTech Accelerator is now accepting applications for its first cohort, scheduled to start in April, using the basic program developed by BrokerTech Ventures Accelerator in Iowa. 

“By virtue of it being in Israel versus the United States, there are probably some things that will change … but they have a good playbook to start with. They’re not starting from scratch,” Jackovin said. 

In mid-March, BrokerTech Ventures rearranged its first accelerator cohort to be completely virtual as pandemic-related shutdowns blocked insurtech startups from flying to Des Moines. The accelerator quickly learned to adapt networking over virtual tools, which allowed staff to adapt to remote meetings with partners in Israel, Jackovin said.  

“When you’re in person, there are certain things that occur that don’t naturally occur going virtual,” Jackovin said. “Forced distance made us realize that [while] certain things are definitely better in person, other things are way more scalable and way more efficient when done virtually.” 

“We are looking at BrokerTech Ventures someday becoming widely distributed across the globe. While Israel is our first foray into the international market, we are definitely looking at other regions in the world that might also make sense,” Jackovin added. 

Applications have closed for Des Moines-based BrokerTech Ventures’ 2021 cohort, but the Israeli InsurTech Accelerator is accepting applications until Dec. 31.