Reggie Bradford, senior vice president of Oracle, announcing Startup Cloud Accelerator in Petah Tikvah on Jan. 16, 2017.
(photo credit: SHARON UDASIN)
With the hope of identifying innovators who can advance next-generation cloud capabilities, multinational computing giant Oracle launched its Startup Cloud Accelerator program in Israel on Monday.
“We’re all facing this challenge of innovate or die,” said Reggie Bradford, Oracle’s senior vice president of product development and a serial entrepreneur.
The kickoff of the six-month acceleration program, which will be facilitated by technical and business experts from Oracle and the industry, took place at the company’s research and development offices in Petah Tikva. The launch in Israel is the second of its kind, with the first inaugurated in Bangalore, India last year.
“Our vision is to be the home of the start-up in the ‘start-up nation’ [Israel],” said Uzi Navon, leader of Oracle Israel.
The California-based corporation hopes to find budding entrepreneurs in Israel that will help Oracle become the leading cloud company in the world. Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote Internet servers, rather than physical infrastructure, to store and process data.
“We want to be able to take the start-ups and connect them to our enterprise partners,” Bradford said.
By the year 2020, the global millennial population will be 75 million and comprise about half of the international workforce, 70 million of which will be Generation Z members graduating from universities, Bradford said. Meanwhile, at that point, there will be some 20-30 billion Internet-connected devices, with cloud supercomputing transforming innovation for businesses of all sizes and artificial intelligence fueling everything, he said.
This impending reality spurred Oracle’s decision to accelerate start-ups focused on improving worldwide cloud capabilities.
Five Israeli start-ups will be chosen in cohorts twice a year, for six-month immersion programs. While the requirements are not sectoror stage-specific, Bradford stressed that selected start-ups would need to be making an impact and addressing a targetable market, with a defined yet malleable product road map. In addition, the founding team must have been working together for at least six months, he said.
The selection process involves pitch and interview sessions with Oracle and industry executives, Bradford said.
“Oracle goes and finds the best R&D centers and engineers anywhere they are in the world,” he said. “That’s been in our approach to R&D specifically to Israel.”
The Israeli program is kicking off just as the Bangalore Startup Cloud Accelerator is beginning its second round. Thus far in the Indian program, about 80% of the startups in the first cohort have secured funding for their businesses, with one selected to present at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, Bradford said.
As Oracle starts to recruit candidates for its Israeli program, Bradford stressed the company’s commitment to the region, noting that the Tel Aviv area has the second-biggest start-up market in the world.
“Hopefully we demonstrated our commitment to this sector,” Bradford said. “I was an entrepreneur in the same chair, facing the same adversity and challenges and then I was acquired.
“The reason I’m still here is I see at Oracle a commitment to change, to disrupt ourselves,” he said. “I would like for you guys to view Oracle as a company that is very much here toward the future.”