Global social-networking site Facebook hosted its largest developer event in Tel
Aviv on Tuesday, a day after it announced it would open its first office in
Israel and acquire a Tel Aviv start-up.
The event, which was also
Facebook’s largest in the world outside the US, had been scheduled before
Monday’s announcement that Facebook would acquire Onavo and open an office in
Tel Aviv. However, the gathering also underscored the company’s more aggressive
orientation toward Israel.
Indeed, while Tuesday’s conference was
Facebook’s fifth in the country over the past year, it was by far the biggest,
drawing 650 developers to a conference center at Hatachana compound.
don’t know if you’ve seen the news in the last 24 hours, but we made a little
announcement yesterday,” joked Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for
Europe, Middle East and Africa, as she opened the conference.
actually see Israel as an absolute hot spot for innovation,” she
“You bring together the greatest creativity...
anywhere on the planet.”
Mendelsohn drew applause from the audience when
she reiterated that Onavo’s office would stay based in Israel.
Onavo in the country was a significant shift for a US-based tech company,
according to Jonathan Medved, a top technology venture capitalist
“These guys are all about the ‘campus,’” he said, explaining that
companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple traditionally placed a great deal
of importance on having a central headquarters location.
“But [large tech
companies have] all come to the realization that you can’t go forward without
Israel, and you can’t continue to buy Israeli companies and ship them over to
Silicon Valley,” he added.
Indeed, another Facebook executive, Julien
Codorniou, said on Tuesday that “slowly but surely the company is moving” away
from a campus-centric model, opening up offices around the world.
comments by Facebook officials came during an event called “FbStart,” a daylong
conference for tech developers in Israel. Flanked by signs proclaiming
motivational slogans, such as “The Foolish Wait” and “Fail Harder,” tech
developers and Facebook representatives discussed ways in which the Facebook
platform could help start-up companies market their applications, particularly
on mobile devices.
Participants cited several apps developed by Israeli
companies, such as Get Taxi and Facetune, as examples of successful use of the