Francois Hollande, President of France, led a delegation this week of 260 senior French business executives and government officials to Israel for the 2nd annual France-Israel Innovation Day. The objective was to connect French companies with innovative Israeli start-ups. The group included luminaries such as Patrick Kron, Chairman of Alstom; Loic Armand, Chairman of L’Oreal; Stephane Richard, Chairman of Orange; Olivier Roussat, Chairman & CEO of Bougyes Telecom; Guillaume Pepy, President of SNCF (French National Railways); Yannick Bollore, Chairman and CEO of Havas, etc.
Prior to addressing the audience, President Francois Hollande, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres spent a few minutes meeting four Israeli startups:
French President Francois Hollande, accompanied by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, examine the "Snakebot" from BRML, during the 2nd annual France-Israel Innovation Day
- BRML (BioRobotics and BioMechanics Labs): Demonstrated the “Snakebot”, a robot in the shape of a snake, developed by Technion Professor Alon Wolf. It is able to perform tasks in extreme conditions, including difficult surgical procedures.
- PrimeSense: 3D sensing technology using infrared for gesture recognition across devices, including the Xbox Kinnect. The company, which has raised $85 million in venture funding, is also the subject of intense acquisition rumors for $345 million from Apple.
- Viaccess-Orca: Franco-Israeli IPTV middleware company with R&D in Israel, demonstrated its DEEP product, a 2nd Screen (television + mobile devices) content platform for PayTV and OTT operators.
- Cyvera : Cyber-security system protecting against zero-day attacks and eliminating exploitation risks from unpatched computer systems, based on the human immune system.
In addition, three agreements were signed between French and Israeli partners:
- Orange will launch an office in Israel for enhancing outreach with the Israeli mobile developer community
- Havas will collaborate with Technion, Israel’s most prominent technical university, focusing on leveraging Big Data for consumer insights
While Israel has enjoyed continuous economic growth since 2002, Hollande is confronting a sluggish economy, youth unemployment of 26.1% and public approval ratings of 15%. He sought to emphasize the role of startups in boosting macro-economic growth. “We recognize the importance of empowering entrepreneurs to increase their potential and realize their dreams”. The last word went to his popular minister for SMEs, Fleur Pellerin, who said “I hope we can remind everyone that entrepreneur is a French word”.
Vive le France and vive l''esprit d''entreprise!!