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Reggie Bradford, an Oracle executive, visits Israel regularly in order to scout and mentor emerging start-ups..(Photo by: COURTESY: ORACLE)
Head of Oracle’s start-up program hints at further expansion in Israel
By MAX SCHINDLER
09/07/2017
With the Oracle start-up program, the company will host five Israeli start-ups for six months to get support from in-house business managers and technical experts.
Just a month ago, Oracle – the American cloud computing company – selected five Israeli start-ups for its accelerator program, providing mentoring and technical support.

The head of its start-up incubator arrived back in Israel this past week, further exploring the country’s start-up and hi-tech scene.

“With the next generation of cloud computing... with software, platform and infrastructure, we need to create capabilities where we get Israeli start-ups to partner and work with us,” said Reggie Bradford, senior vice president of Oracle’s Start-up Ecosystem and Accelerator, as he spoke to The Jerusalem Post about why he kept returning to the country.

Addressing the Multinational Conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday, titled “Invest in Israel,” Bradford expounded on why Oracle was attracted to local hi-tech firms and start-ups, along with potential pitfalls of wanting to sell a start-up too soon and then exit.

“The reason why we came to Tel Aviv... is that I saw and had read about Start-Up Nation and about the success rate here and the number of start-ups per capita, and I had to see it myself. And I just felt with the people a kindred spirit and a never-say-no attitude and a tenacity that matched my own,” Bradford said.

Traditionally, Oracle sold its cloud computing products straight to businesses. Cloud computing is the term used for information stored and processed on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet, rather than physically on a personal computer.

Now, the company hopes its Tel Aviv accelerator and Israeli partners will help the company maintain its competitive edge as cloud computing rapidly changes. With that need in mind, Bradford hinted at Oracle’s plans for further expansion and partnership with Israeli hi-tech start-ups.

“You’re going to see more coming out about where we will expand capabilities. Ultimately we’ll be working with a lot more start-ups in the Israeli cohort,” Bradford said, declining to go into more detail until expansion plans are finalized.

Bradford also mentioned that he discussed with Israeli hi-tech pioneer Yossi Vardi the possibility of Oracle opening up a Palestinian development center in the West Bank.

Outside the United States, Oracle has a large research and development center in Bangalore. But Bradford chose Israel as the first international place to expand Oracle’s start-up accelerator outside India.

The California-based company has had separate offices in Israel for some 20 years now.

In 2016, the company had acquired Israeli start-ups Crosswise and Ravello in multi-million dollar deals.

With the Oracle incubator program, the company will host five Israeli start-ups for six months to get support from in-house business managers and technical experts.

The program, launched in January, allows companies to work from an Oracle co-working space and get access to Oracle cloud computing, clients and investors in an attempt to develop their product and grow.

More than 200 Israeli start-ups applied for the twice-annual program, with an acceptance rate of 2.5%.

The five Israeli start-ups include 3DSignals, which seeks to analyze sounds coming from machines to alert users as to malfunction; Nsof Networks, a cybersecurity company; Bonobo.ai, an Artificial Intelligence firm that analyzes text data from organizations and offers analysis; Toonimo, which simplifies complicated audio-visual online services; and Zooming, a softwareas- a-service company that seeks to provide AI answers to customers with product-related questions.

Bradford – who has previously founded or from the beginning helped three start-ups that were eventually acquired for more than $100 million each – made his first visit to the Jewish state some 15 months ago. This is his fourth trip to Israel. He plans on returning with his family next year.

The Oracle executive has worked for more than 20 years in the industry.

Prior to going the company, Bradford was the founder and CEO of Virtue, which was later acquired by Oracle in 2012. Before that, Bradford held senior executive roles at Tandberg Television, N2 Broadband, and WebMD.

In terms of advice for young, striving Israelis seeking to develop the next big start-up, Bradford recommended that they remain flexible.

“Focus on solving a problem that no one has. Surround yourself with people who have some expertise and credibility in solving that problem. And the third is to be open to pivot... in terms of the solution you bring to the market that will ultimately be acquired.”
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