ISRAEL — THE “START-UP NATION” — DEVELOPS AS A HIGH-TECH NATION

Startup Nation Has Grown Into Tech Nation, Intel Israel R&D Chief Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 6, 2017 — Israel should start defining itself as a technology nation and not a startup nation anymore in light of the fact that it is managing to grow more mature companies over time…

Israel Reaches for the Skies and the Moon: Ferry Biedermann, CNBC, May 31, 2017 — A telltale white plume streaked across the sky over Israel Monday morning, revealing the country's latest missile test.

Mobileye Acquisition to Start Israeli Auto-Tech Boom: Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2017 — From a business standpoint, the multi-billion dollar Intel-Mobileye deal on the Israeli auto-tech industry had the effect of a level 8 earthquake on the Richter scale shifting the tectonic plates.

The Indian PM’s Historic Visit: Ephraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, June 27, 2017 — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at the beginning of July in the first-ever trip to this country by an Indian prime minister.

 

On Topic Links

 

Mossad Recruits Start-Ups for Real-Life Spy Tech (Video): Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2017

Can Israeli Water Technology Save the World?: Jeevan Vipinachandran, Times of Israel, June 19, 2017

Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping the World Fight Water Shortage: Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels, May 24, 2017

How Israeli Startups are Driving the Car Technology Revolution: Andrew Tobin, Times of Israel, May 17, 2017

 

 

STARTUP NATION HAS GROWN INTO TECH

NATION, INTEL ISRAEL R&D CHIEF SAYS                                                                            

Shoshanna Solomon

                                       Times of Israel, June 6, 2017

 

Israel should start defining itself as a technology nation and not a startup nation anymore in light of the fact that it is managing to grow more mature companies over time, a top Intel Corp. official in Israel said at a conference on Tuesday. “We are in a new era,” said Ran Senderovitz, VP, general manager at Intel Israel Development Centers at the Technovation Conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. “We must define Israel not as Startup Nation but as Tech Nation. To define Israel as a Startup Nation is like saying we are Peter Pan — we are this kid that never grows up; we are eternally young. The fact that multinational companies invest in Israel is proof that we can not only create technologies but also grow them in the longer term.”

Companies like Intel, Google, Apple have been snapping up Israeli firms and setting up research and development centers in Israel to make sure they are on top of new technologies being developed in the so-called Startup Nation — the name comes from a book by Den Senor and Saul Singer — which creates some 1,400 new startups a year. But rather than selling off early, as was once the case, entrepreneurs are holding on to their companies for longer in the hope of getting better valuations at a later stage of development.

 

Some 1,400 startups get created every year in Israel and some 800 shut down, said Aharon Aharon, the newly appointed chief executive officer of the Israel Innovation Authority, formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. “Do entrepreneurs really know what they are getting into?” he asked attendees at the Technovation 2017 Conference. Aharon formerly headed the activities of Apple in Israel.

 

“Irresistible passion” in an idea and not looking for a quick exit is key, he said. Entrepreneurs should believe their product is going to be a game changer; they must also be willing to take on sacrifices. “You can’t take your children three times a week to the playground or train to be iron woman” if you want to succeed with a startup, he warned. In addition, entrepreneurs should have deep knowledge in one of two things: either know the technology well or know the market and who the competitors to this technology will be.

 

Entrepreneurs also need to know when to take a step back and bring in the experts they need to complement their abilities, as well as be ready for the “roller-coaster ride” of successes and failures the company will encounter along the way. “If you have no stomach to absorb the roller-coaster ride don’t start. You must understand what you are getting into.” Charisma – and the ability to talk and convince customers and investors — is also a key quality entrepreneurs must have. “Good looks are for Tinder, not for a startup,” he said, referring to the popular online dating app. The ability to take tough decisions and be alone when taking them is also a must, he said. This could mean firing your best friend who no longer suits the needs of the company, or changing direction of the product to fit market needs.

 

And patience. “On average startups need seven years to succeed,” Aharon said. It took Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems set up in 1999, some 15 years before its IPO in New York and some 18 years before its sale, in March this year, to Intel Corp. for $15.3 billion. Louise Phelan, VP CEMEA at online payments processing firm PayPal, who grew up in Ireland in a family of 17 children, said women especially need to overcome a confidence problem when entering the labor and technology market. When you get up in the morning make sure to “take a spoon of confidence” along with your coffee, she advised. “Believe in yourselves.”

 

Technology leaders should make sure to constantly learn and develop by seeking feedback; they should also make sure to know when to take decisions, to learn from failures and move on from them. “Just as we celebrate successes, we must also celebrate failures,” she said. “In life, 10 percent is what happens to you and 90% is what you do about it,” she said. And most importantly, make sure you look after your people. “Technology doesn’t change the world,” she said. “People change the world. Look after your people who are critical to your success.”

 

The CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, Gil Shwed, spoke about the need to be dedicated to your company. For the first three years after setting up the cybersecurity firm he heads, he “cut off friendships, had no family,” he said. Only after the IPO in June 1996, three years after the company was founded, did he start to rebalance his life with friends and family, he said. He now works “just” eight to nine hours a day.

 

The temptation to sell out early was great, especially when the founders got a $3 million offer from BRM at the very early stages of the company, Shwed said. “But we believed in the company and did not even enter negotiations,” he said. Check Point’s market value on the Nasdaq at close on Monday was almost $19 billion.

 

When running a company, Shwed said, it is important to give your workers a feeling that they are doing something important and making a difference. And he channels any unrest he may feel after so many years at the head of his firm into the company itself. “My drive is to do better,” he said. “I push to get better results.”

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ISRAEL REACHES FOR THE SKIES AND THE MOON

Ferry Biedermann

CNBC, May 31, 2017

 

A telltale white plume streaked across the sky over Israel Monday morning, revealing the country's latest missile test. No announcement was made on what propulsion system was tested but experts say it was for an intercontinental ballistic missile or a missile defense rocket. Either way, it was a manifestation of Israel's activity in aerospace, a field in which it is developing significant new capabilities, including in the commercial sector.

 

The country has developed missile systems, such as the Jericho and the Shavit, which has been used to launch its own military satellites into space, anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome and the Arrow, and is dominating the international export market for military drones. One man who sits at the nexus of Israel's space and drone industries is Yariv Bash, co-founder of SpaceIL, the organization that seeks to put Israel on the moon, and CEO of drone startup Flytrex. With the latter he's seeking to put into place complete solutions for automated drone delivery. While the former, SpaceIL, is a finalist, one of only five in the world, in Google's Lunar X Prize competition for a privately funded moon landing.

 

Bash spoke to CNBC about his passion for all things flying and how he expects the aerospace industry in Israel to develop. "I like to say that I found other people to pay for my hobbies. Seeing something hover above you in the air or seeing a spacecraft leaving the atmosphere, these are two of the most amazing feats you can do as an engineer."

 

What does Flytrex do, what are you currently capable of? "Our systems are capable of delivering up to three kilograms up to ten kilometers away. We can deliver everything. We have a complete system that allows you to drop packages from the air in a safe way, hovering at twenty meters above ground and lowering the package on a wire in a completely safe way that enables you to lower a package to someone."

 

Where Flytrex is currently seeking to operate, Bash will not divulge but he says that he expects that within the next quarter the company will be operating in an urban environment and he will seek a new funding round within the next few quarters. At the beginning of this year, Flytrex was reported to have raised $3 million from several angel and VC investors.

 

How do you see the Israeli drone and aerospace industries develop? "It's like cyber[security]. Israel became a superpower when it comes to cyber startups because of the military capabilities and then you had personnel leaving the military and starting their own companies. I think it's a bit the same with the drone industry. We have a very successful military industry and drones are becoming more civilian. You see a lot of people leaving the military or the aviation industry today and beginning their own startups, joining other startups, to accomplish something on the industrial, commercial, civilian level."

 

How does Israel's international reputation in drones help Flytrex? "I have to say that with our clients I haven't seen them think well, the Israelis are great in military drones so Flytrex might be a good company. I think it mostly helps, the reputation, when you approach government officials. If you want to fly in certain countries you need to be in contact with the local civil aviation authorities, like the FAA in the United States. I think that when it comes to that, most of the countries, most aviation authorities already know Israel as a drone exporter and they most likely went through Israeli documentation and have approved Israeli drones before. They're more familiar with Israel, which really helps when you start the process with them."

 

With SpaceIL you've had a setback (when SpaceX's Falcon rocket blew up in 2016, delaying SpaceIL's launch date and possibly ending its X Prize chances). What will that mean? "It is rocket science, things sometimes explode and go off track. It did postpone a bit our efforts but we're building a spacecraft. It's amazing. Even if it's going to take a few more months than we anticipated, it's still an amazing project. In two months from now you'll be able to come to Israel and see the spacecraft being built. We'll be launching in 2018. We don't have a specific date yet but we're getting very close to the launch date, which is making things a lot harder and a lot more exciting."

 

So, SpaceIL will continue, even if it can no longer win the prize? "For us it's all about Israel reaching the moon, planting out flag there and exciting the next generation… We're actually an education non-profit. Our main vision is impacting every kid in Israel… We'll be recreating something that in the '60s was called the Apollo effect. After the Apollo program kids went in increasing numbers to be scientists and engineers. Here in Israel that's our main vision and we're working to generate thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of new engineers for Israel a decade or two from now." SpaceIL is a $70 million program that has received much of its funding from two billionaire donors, Israel's Morris Kahn and the US's Sheldon Adelson, says Bash.

 

Will there be commercial spin-offs from SpaceIL? That's why the Israeli space agency donated $1.5 million. They believe SpaceIL could sprout a new industry for Israel, just like the aviation industry or the civilian cyber industry. We're a non-profit. Once we go to the moon it will help our engineers and trainees to open up new companies and start new business, they will not be competing with us.

 

 

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MOBILEYE ACQUISITION TO START ISRAELI AUTO-TECH BOOM

Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu

Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2017

 

From a business standpoint, the multi-billion dollar Intel-Mobileye deal on the Israeli auto-tech industry had the effect of a level 8 earthquake on the Richter scale shifting the tectonic plates. Not only was it the largest acquisition in Israel's history, but it also provided a concrete financial criterion for the developing sector and was registered on business seismographs all over the world. BM (before Mobileye), the industry attracted attention mostly from professional parties and knowledgeable people in the global auto industry, as well as a few small-to-medium fish in the venture capital industry. AM (after Mobileye), the business ocean's deep water sharks and whales are gathering round.

 

Every earthquake of these proportions naturally has aftershocks that continue for a long time afterwards, the results of which in this case are evident. Since the deal was announced in March, Israeli companies concentrating on various aspects of the smart vehicle vision have raised over $120 million. Most of the companies found more money available than they were planning on raising, and had to politely turn down some serious investors. Specialist venture capital funds also raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors all over the world seeking to build a portfolio of investments in seed-stage Israel auto-tech companies and ventures. An airlift of auto industry executives is also continuing under the radar – the very top management level – and that is only the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

Behind the scenes, these aftershocks are starting to generate structural changes in the young and developing industry: consolidation of the existing players, the entry of new companies from parallel sectors, major strides forward by existing companies, etc. Before trying to map some of these changes, it is worth noting that the earthquake epicenter itself, i.e. Intel, has not necessarily calmed down and stabilized.

 

Last week, Intel unveiled an "autonomous vehicle laboratory" in Silicon Valley, in which it is exposing and focusing research and development in many technological areas of the smart car vision extending far beyond Mobileye's computer vision and mapping. We therefore recommend that analysts ignore this earthquake, and continue following Intel's automotive activity in Israel. It is a real possibility that the Mobileye deal was merely Intel's first acquisition, and will serve as a core for the acquisition of a group of Israeli companies with complementary solutions.

 

The dimensions of the Intel-Mobileye deal were also a wakeup call for the Israeli defense industries – the dumb giant of the Israeli economy. "Globes" has already commented about the indirect connection between former defense industry figures and the developing auto-tech industry, but other than a few minor civilian automotive spinoffs, most of the defense industry giants have until now preferred to stay off the superhighway and focus on tanks, missiles, and aircraft. There are quite a few reasons for this. First of all, it is mentally difficult for companies accustomed to working with government customers with products costing from tens of thousands to millions of dollars per unit to get used to the auto industry's stringent cost policy, in which every dollar counts.

 

This situation is now changing, and a good illustration of this appeared last month in the form of a very rare visit to Michigan by a "commercial" delegation organized by the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority for 13 representatives of the largest defense industries in Israel. Michigan, of course, is the center of the US auto industry, and the purpose of the delegation's visit was described, among other things, as presenting solutions and products in sub-systems for military vehicles, robotics, and autonomous propulsion. There is a high correlation between civilian and military uses of smart car technologies. Matters such as autonomous propulsion, artificial intelligence, machine vision, connectivity, encryption, and protection of information transmission to and from a vehicle are also an integral part of the smart battlefield vision in which governments throughout the world have been investing trillions in recent years.

 

Anyone gaining a foothold in advanced core technologies in such sectors and successfully making the necessary mental and business adjustment is therefore likely to benefit from a two-way business track. Defense companies can grab a share of the rich global vehicle market, and civilian companies can win military contracts amounting to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. It cannot be ruled out that we will see cooperative efforts or intensive activity involving local defense industries in civilian uses of their technology, and perhaps even separate stock exchange offerings by subsidiaries in this sector.

 

Another sleepy giant now responding to the Mobileye deal fallout is Israeli cyber security firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. , the pride of the cyber industry. A connection between Check Point, a software company, and the hardware-intensive auto industry ostensibly appears unnatural. In an era of connected vehicles, however, this situation could change dramatically. The auto industry estimates that a single autonomous vehicle will generate a stream of data amounting to four terabytes every 90 minutes. This prodigious stream of data, multiplied by tens and hundreds of millions of vehicles throughout the world, has to be processed, filtered, and also secured against malicious attempted break-ins. This goal requires integration of advanced hardware capabilities in a vehicle, and but also on the cloud to which the data from the vehicle will be streamed…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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THE INDIAN PM’S HISTORIC VISIT

Ephraim Inbar

Israel Hayom, June 27, 2017

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at the beginning of July in the first-ever trip to this country by an Indian prime minister. The visit reflects the significant expansion in relations between the two countries since they established full diplomatic relations in 1992. Since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in May 2014, his administration has shed its predecessors' reservations about regular public discussions regarding India's ties with Israel. It is worth noting that Modi's trip to Israel is not planned to be "balanced" with a visit to the Palestinian Authority, indicating that India has freed its relations with Israel from its historical commitment to the Palestinian issue. Indeed, India has modified its voting pattern at international organizations by refraining from joining the automatic majority against Israel.

 

India and Israel share high levels of threat perception and a common strategic agenda. Both have waged major conventional wars against their neighbors and have experienced low-intensity conflict and terrorism, and both are involved in protracted conflicts involving complex ethnic and religious components not always well understood by outsiders. Both also face weapons of mass destruction in the hands of their rivals. The two nations share a common threat from the radical offshoots of Islam in the greater Middle East. Israel regards parts of the Arab world –Saudi Arabia in particular — as hubs for Islamic extremism, while India views Saudi-Pakistani relations with suspicion. Moreover, India fears the Pakistani nuclear arsenal might ultimately fall into the hands of Islamic radicals.

 

For Israel, Islamic radicals in the Arab world and in the Islamic Republic of Iran constitute a constant security challenge. This challenge has become more acute with Iran's nuclear potential. The more recent Islamic State phenomenon has ramifications beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, as its offshoots threaten the stability of Egypt and Jordan — Israel's neighbors — and are increasingly sources of concern in south and southeast Asia. India has gradually overcome its inhibitions and engaged in security cooperation with Israel. Following diplomatic normalization in 1992, India's then-Defense Minister Sharad Pawar admitted to having already been cooperating with Israel on counterterrorism. This cooperation involves exchange of information on the finances, recruitment patterns, and training of terrorist groups, and is conducted away from the public eye. The November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks underscored the need for better counterterrorism preparations in India and elicited greater cooperation with Israeli agencies.

 

Arms supply and technology transfer have become important components in the bilateral relationship. Initially, Russian failure to deliver promised weapons at expected prices or schedules led India to turn to Israeli companies to upgrade some of its aging Soviet platforms, such as its Mig-21s and T-72 tank fleet. Difficulties in the development of weapons systems at home have led to the purchase of Israeli products and to partnership in developing advanced military technology. New Delhi purchased Israeli advanced radar and communications equipment, and turned also to Israel for portable battlefield radars, hand-held thermals, night warfare vision equipment, and electronic fences to improve border monitoring. A long list of Israeli military items, such as ammunition, UAV parts, and even missiles (Spike anti-armor, the Python-4 air-to-air, naval Barak-8 surface-to-air) are being produced in India…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

CIJR Wishes all our friends & supporters: Happy Canada Day?

 

No Daily Briefing will be published on Friday, June 30

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Mossad Recruits Start-Ups for Real-Life Spy Tech (Video): Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2017

Can Israeli Water Technology Save the World?: Jeevan Vipinachandran, Times of Israel, June 19, 2017—Water, the most precious resource in the world, is increasingly scarce. However even as global water shortages threaten the world, Israeli innovation in countering water scarcity could yet lead the world out of the abyss of water shortage and war.

Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping the World Fight Water Shortage: Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels, May 24, 2017—In the hot and arid Middle East, clean water is liquid gold. Faced with limited rainfall and a grueling climate, Israel has increasingly relied on seawater since it built its first desalination plant in Eilat in the 1960s.

How Israeli Startups are Driving the Car Technology Revolution: Andrew Tobin, Times of Israel, May 17, 2017—Israeli startups are revving their engines ahead of the country’s largest-ever “smart transportation” event. Over 200 local companies working in transportation technology will be at the EcoMotion Conference on Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. The plan is to give auto industry giants a look under the hood of “Startup Nation.”