TechNation: Israel’s Brain-drain Grows Worse, Government Figures Show

Science, engineering education is best route from rags to riches, treasury finds ■ Online used-car sales platform Vroom raises $76 million

High-tech workers in Israel.
High-tech workers in Israel. Tomer Appelbaum

Israel’s brain-drain grows worse,  government figures show

Israel’s brain-drain continues to grow despite the government’s efforts to lure Israelis with advanced degrees back home, figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics released on Monday showed.

The CBS found that last year 11% of all people with doctorates from Israeli institutions of higher education had been living abroad for three years or more, up from 10.9% the year before and 10.3% in 2012.

Israelis with doctorates in the sciences and engineering are more likely to go abroad than those with Ph.D.s in the humanities and social sciences. Math Ph.D.s were the most likely to leave, with the CBS saying more than 24% were living abroad three years or more followed by 19.3% of all computer sciences Ph.D.s.

All told, 5.6% of all Israelis who received academic degrees between 1980 and 2010 had been living overseas for at least three years. Since 2010, the government has spent hundreds of millions of shekels on incentives to encourage Israeli Ph.D.s to come home, but the CBS found that the number doing so had fallen 23% in the last three years. (Lior Dattel) 

Science, engineering education is best route from rags to riches, treasury finds

Children from Israel’s lowest income groups are four times more likely to reach the highest income levels if they have a college degree than if they only complete high school -- and engineering and computer science graduates have the best prospects of all. A study by the treasury chief economist released on Monday said the chances of children of parents in the bottom 20% of income earners rising to the top 20% was 23% if they completed at least a bachelor’s degree, versus just 6% of they only completed high school. For  children of the lower income bracket, the odds of getting into high-paid engineering professions remain slim because they are so competitive, but those that do have an especially high chance of climbing into the top 20% of income earners, the study said. The top fields for income mobility were those with a math bent – engineering, computer science, statistics and physics.  (Tali Heruti-Sover)

Online used-car sales platform Vroom raises $76 million

Vroom, an online seller of used cars whose founders include two Israeli entrepreneurs, said on Monday it had $76 million in new funding from investors led by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., L. Catterton, General Catalyst Partners and Israel’s Pico Venture Partners. Vroom, whose total funding since it was formed in 2013 is $295 million, cuts the entire car-buying process online from selection to financing and sells mostly low-mileage cars often still enjoying their original maker’s warranty. For Pico, which has just $40 million, the round was too big for it to participate in alone and it recruited allied investors. Israeli cofounder Alon Bloch was Vroom’s first CEO, but he was replaced in June last year by Paul J. Hennessy, a former priceline.com CEO and Vroom’s last Israeli connection was severed last September when it closed its Rehovot research and development center and fired its staff employees. Elie Wurtman, a cofounder, said Vroom was doing $1 billion of business annually. (Eliran Rubin)