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TikTok launches new program for Israeli startups

With one billion users worldwide and Israeli startup companies growing by the minute, TikTok has launched a special program to assist Israeli entrepreneurs.
DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images

TikTok Israel is expanding its activities and reaching out to startups. The company called for Israeli startups in the business-to-consumer/direct sales, or B2C, sector to participate in a new eight-week program that will provide the young companies with tools to achieve growth on the billion-user platform. A pilot of the program started earlier this year.

Participating startups will obtain guidance, help in creating content tailored to the platform and access to the TikTok content creator community as well as data on trends among various populations

TikTok set three conditions for eligibility. One is that the startups be backed by an Israeli VC fund. Another is that they practice paid-performance-marketing as their main engine for growth meaning that marketers are paid only after goals are gained. The third condition is that the companies have not previously paid to advertise on the platform.  

Among the companies that have joined or completed the program are WoodSpoon, Finaloop, Lumen, Antidote Health, Lin Health, Worthy, Augmented Intelligence, Upright, Woojer and Bookaway.

TikTok created its program in response to growing interest in the application’s marketing potential among Israeli companies in various fields including fintech, e-commerce, education, tourism and automotive. Established tech companies such as Fiverr, Wix, Monday, Playtika, Mixtile and Next are already active on the platform. Young companies have also started to increase their activities on the application in an effort to connect to new audiences.

Assaf Sagi, CEO of TikTok Israel, told Al-Monitor, “TikTok is a platform that has created a new way of consuming content and building relationships between brands and consumers. In doing so, it generated huge market potential for many companies that can interact with their target audiences in more authentic and accessible ways."

A source close to TikTok Israel told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Tiktok has been in the country for about two years. This program is the maturation of processes that were intended from the beginning."

Marketing consultant Eliav Alaluf told Al-Monitor that the program is a “smart move” by a company that “looks a few steps ahead.” He said that in recent years, Tiktok has made significant progress in attracting various audiences. Alaluf noted that while TikTok might seem like a venue solely for young people, as they are the ones who produce most of the content, most TikTok viewers are actually aged 31 and over.

Alaluf explained that TikTok is the perfect framework for professionals and companies to detect the latest trends in music, fashion, lifestyle and social issues. Israeli startups that appeal directly to customers stand to benefit enormously.

“I expect that it will not be long before we also see much more B2B [business-tobusiness] and B2B2C [business-to-business-to-consumer] activities on Tiktok.”

In another part of the same program, TikTok is also working to partner with venture capital funds. Along with the marketing potential in appealing to new audiences, the venture capital through TikTok field, called VCTOK, is showing signs of growth and starting to attract the attention of venture capital funds.

As an example, the hashtag #founder has been used over 230 million times, #investor over 1.2 billion times, #techtok 12.4 billion and @entrepreneur over 22 billion. TikTok helps funds to find new talent, locate new investment opportunities and find new audiences for their investment portfolios. Funds that are already using TikTok include Index Ventures, Arra, Seb and Redpoint.

Israeli entrepreneur Ofer Shoshan, a venture partner in the investment platform OurCrowd, told Al-Monitor that as an investor, TikTok is becoming an important platform by reaching a younger audience and young entrepreneurs.

However, Shoshan expressed doubt over the efficiency of TikTok's program for venture funds. “I believe that at this point and in the end, TikTok is first and foremost an advertising arena that can generate significant revenue for startups much more than a capital raising platform."

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