Oracle sets up Tel Aviv startup accelerator for cloud edge

US software giant to provide support, services and mentorship to Israeli startups in multi-million dollar global plan

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Big data company Oracle said Monday it would open a Startup Cloud Accelerator program in Israel, the second of several it plans to open soon in a multimillion dollar global program. The center, based in Tel Aviv, will help promote local innovation in cloud technology, the company said.

“The next five to ten years promise innovations and growth that will drive new business ideas enabled by cloud,” said Oracle senior vice president of Product Development Reggie Bradford at a press conference at Oracle’s offices in Petah Tikva. “Oracle understands that startups are at the heart of innovation, and through this program we aim to give startups access to extensive resources and support when they need it most.”

The accelerator will help the company keep tabs on new developing technologies and at the same time get startups to use Oracle’s software and services early on for their platforms, he said, as Israel “is the second most important market for startups after Silicon Valley.”

Oracle, one of the world’s largest software developers, is vying for a lead position in the enterprise software segment, competing with the likes of Microsoft and SAP and Salesforce. All of these see the huge potential of “the cloud,” or the delivery of computing resources, from applications to data centers, on demand over the internet on a pay-for-use basis. Oracle is seeking to position itself as a global leader in this field, said Bradford.

Oracle Senior Vice President of Product Development, Reggie Bradford (Courtesy: Sally Farag)
Oracle Senior Vice President of Product Development, Reggie Bradford (Courtesy: Sally Farag)

“Despite all of the conversation around cloud growth and its importance to the future, only six percent of enterprise workloads are delivered through the cloud today, so we feel like, from a timing standpoint, there is a gigantic opportunity in front of us,” he said. “We are well positioned today to be working with the next generation of startups to help us identify how to continue to grow and develop the capabilities that we have.”

“We are all facing the challenge of innovate or die,” he said. “We feel like the next five to 10 years of innovations are going to be tremendous and the key to those innovations are going to be led by the cloud.”

Oracle, which has been active in Israel for the past 20 years, is one of the many multinational companies that have acquired local startups and/or set up R&D centers, technology hubs and accelerators in Israel to tap into the nation’s thriving startup ecosystem. Google, Apple, Deutsche Telecom and Bosch, among other companies, have set up research and development centers in Israel, with 278 multinationals operating a total of 327 R&D centers around the country today, compared with about 250 such centers four years ago, data compiled by Tel Aviv’s IVC Research Center shows. There are about 1,000 new startups set up in Israel every year.

Run by members of the Oracle research and development team, the program will provide six months of mentoring from technical and business experts, state-of-the-art technology, a co-working space, access to Oracle’s customers, partners and investors, and free use of Oracle Cloud software, the company said.

Registration for startups to apply to the program is already open, Bradford said. Oracle will be seeking to enlist five startups from any sector per each accelerator program, and there will be two programs a year, he said. Qualified startups will also be able to then access an Oracle alumni program, with free cloud use and business development opportunities together with the company.

Left to right: Ilan Spiegelman – VP Marketing Oracle Israel Reggie Bradford, SVP Oracle Uzi Navon – Oracle Israel Country Leader (Courtesy: Sally Farag)
Left to right: Ilan Spiegelman – VP Marketing Oracle Israel Reggie Bradford, SVP Oracle Uzi Navon – Oracle Israel Country Leader (Courtesy: Sally Farag)

Oracle’s Israeli Excellence Center was set up in 2003 together with the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry to support the growth of early stage startups.

Some 36 companies have already taken part in the Oracle Excellence Center, with more than $150 million in estimated exits, the company said. Oracle also has a local R&D team which is composed of eight development centers that have joined Oracle by acquisitions, including the two startups the US giant acquired in 2016: Ravello, which enables enterprises to use public cloud as an extension of their data center, and Crosswise, a cloud marketing company.

Oracle launched its first startup cloud accelerator program in Bangalore, India, in April last year.

“After a successful launch in Bangalore, India, we’re committed to building a supportive ecosystem for startups across the globe,” said Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s president of product development, in a statement. “Cloud is enabling incredible innovations across every aspect of business and across every industry. We want to support this next wave of technology revolution being powered by the cloud.”

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