US software giant Salesforce seeks Israeli startups for accelerator program

Four-month program will focus on financial and insurance technologies; selected firms will be mentored by US company’s experts

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

Hila Levy-Loya, Israel country manager for Salesforce speaking at the Salesforce Basecamp cloud and CRM event in Tel Aviv; June 13, 2018 (Courtesy)
Hila Levy-Loya, Israel country manager for Salesforce speaking at the Salesforce Basecamp cloud and CRM event in Tel Aviv; June 13, 2018 (Courtesy), Inc. a US cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, California, is opening up its accelerator program to Israeli startups in the field of financial and insurance technologies.

Companies interested in participating in the four-month mentorship program need to apply by the end of June. The program offers startups 20 virtual meetings with Salesforce experts for advice and two face-to-face encounters in the UK.

“These two fields are very attractive to us,” said Hila Levy-Loya, Israel country manager for Salesforce, which is one of the world’s top four software-as-a service companies. Levy-Loya spoke to The Times of Israel at the sidelines of a Salesforce cloud and CRM event in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, its chairman and CEO, the company pioneered the idea of CRM software in the cloud and has over 150,000 companies as its clients. The firm, whose shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, posted revenue of $8.4 billion in 2017 and employs some 30,000 workers globally. The company reported revenues of $3 billion in its recent quarter results, up 25 percent year on year and above the $1.5 billion of Oracle and $1.3 million of SAP.

Salesforce is investing heavily in product development and marketing and sales to keep up its growth momentum. It taps into startups and their technologies to stay at the cutting edge of developments, said Levy-Loya, in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, fintech and insurance tech, and more.

Earlier this year the company said it was earmarking $100 million for investments in startups in Europe and Israel via its venture arm Salesforce Ventures, in the field of cloud technologies.

The company has already invested in six Israeli startups, including CoolaData, OwnBackUp, Checkmarx and CloudLock.

“Israel is an attractive market for technologies,” Levy-Loya said, adding that the company has also acquired Israeli startups, including two in the field of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics firms Implisit and BlueTail.

At its event in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, attended by 3,000 customers, developers and startup entrepreneurs, the company said it was starting sales of end-user Hebrew support for its Salesforce Lighting software, its newest CRM platform.

The platform is easy to use and has more than 850 features aimed at increasing productivity for its users and supporting functions like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, the company said.

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