Mr. Allan Barkat owns the Liliyot Restaurant which provides training to teenagers between 16 to 18 years of age. The training program is 2 – 3 weeks and its paid. Each program has 15 students and a social worker to manage their training. Nearly two-thirds of the students pass out successfully. These teenagers are mostly the ones who had a troubled life because of drugs and violence. This their second chance for a normal life. The restaurant functions as a Profit organization but spilts its 50% of its profits for Not-for-profit activities. The restaurant also provides software job oppportunities for disabled people. Liliyot has five restaurants in Tel Aviv. The management has a retail store in Jaffa with a girl who was a drop out. Mr. Barkat started of as a hi-tech entrepreneur and then became a Venture Capitalist and finally a Social Entrepreneur.
Better Place is an amazing company which believes it will pioneer the transformation of transportation. They will replace the Internal combustion engines which run on petroleum products with electric motors which use green and sustainable energy.
The idea was first conceived by Shai Agassi who later founded Better Place. The company was supported by Shimon Peres in its initial fund-raising. The company has been able to gain close to $750 million is three fund-raisers.
The Better Place Visitors Center located at Pi Glilot compound Ramat Hasharon Tel Aviv, Israel. We were first greeted by the Global Business Development Manager Mr. Scott Mortman. Mr. Mortman also gave us an introduction about the history of Better Place followed by goals and challenges of the company.
According to the Better Place official website, the company offers several products & services along with the Electric Vehicle. Following are the products or services:
- Switch Stations
- Charging spots
- EV driver services
- EV Network Software
We were then showed a short movie on Better Place. The video described the way the Better Place switch stations and charging spots would work and how the driver services would help analyze the battery consumption and help the driver navigate to the nearest switch station.
Each of us was then give a chance to take a test drive of the Electric Vehicle (EV). We could see the amazing acceleration of the vehicle and a monitor indicating the consumption of the battery power as per the acceleration. When there is no acceleration and the vehicle is in motion then it produces electricity thus increasing the battery life.
After the test drive we met with Mr. Yariv Nornberg, Policy Manager, Better Place. Mr. Nornberg told us an interesting fact about the Visitors Center. The center is located on the top of what once was an oil reserve. He answered the questions of the team in detail.
Following are the major points based on his answers:
- The maintenance cost of the Electric Vehicle (EV) are low because there are less moving parts.
- The insurance costs are also low because the car cannot be stolen.
- Better Place is currently located in Israel, Denmark and Australia.
- China is also interested in studying the technnology and has partnered with Better Place
- Batteries will be used for other purposes after 5 years of battery life.
- Lithium Ion Battery is safe and can be manufactured easily about 3 billion units
- Nissan is first of its car manufacturer and Better Place is working with other car manufacturers for partnership.
- Target customers of Better Place are leased cars and taxies.
The third day in Israel was the start of the course work. So I went out for walk along the beach in the morning just to freshen up before the long and exciting day ahead.
We first visited the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. There was no one trading in the stock exchange. It was completely computerized and all we saw some monitors displaying the stock changes. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange representative Mr. Kobi Avramov gave us an insightful presentation of the history of the Stock Exchange.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was unofficial started in 1935 and which eventually became official in 1953. In 1999, the stock exchange made all its transactions fully automated.
The trading system is also called TACT and has the following attributes:
- Fully Automated
- Central order booth
- Price & time priority based
- Anonymous tracking
We also learned about the changes in the Capital Gains Tax in Israel. There was no Capital Gains tax prior to 2003. In 2003, the tax was introduced and set to 15% which was then increased to 20% in 2006 and recently was raised to 25%.
We also learned about the TASE Globalization in the last decade. From 2001 to 2007, Israel received significant investments. There was a major market crash in 2008 due to recession and a second crash in 2010. However despite these crashes, MSCI upgraded Israel from emerging to developed market in May 2010.