Oracle opens new R&D center in Petah Tikva

Software co. plans to up investment in local seed firms.

Enterprise software giant Oracle Corp. opened its new research and development facility in Petah Tikva on Tuesday as it looks to build on its recent investments in Israeli research & development. The new center will be responsible for the Demantra product line, an Israeli company it bought in June last year investing an estimated $41m. in the company and the new R&D center. "Demantra got to a certain stage that even though our products were the most advanced in the market it was very difficult for us to really grow the company effectively," said Bart Feldman, VP R&D Oracle Demantra Products at a press conference marking the opening. "Since becoming part of Oracle, there has been a huge growth in demand for Demantra products and for them to be integrated in all of Oracle's other products. The drive of demand for the center is astounding and with that growth there are going to be many opportunities here." With its demand management software, the Oracle Demantra products coming out of the center will cover its customer relations management (CRM) and supply chain management lines. These, Feldman explained, are designed to help companies understand the demand that's running their businesses and how they can grow their revenues through promotion planning and promotion optimization. The Petah Tikva operation, he said, would soon release the first version products integrating Demantra software in the Oracle ERP (enterprise-resource planning) and CRM applications. The R&D center will house approximately 30 employees. Also at the opening, Oracle Israel CEO Moshe Horev said the company intends to expand its cooperation with the Office of the Chief Scientist in investing in seed stage R&D start-ups in Israel. The program, in which Oracle matches the dollar investment by the chief scientist in participating companies, has invested in four start-ups to date and Horev said the company is looking to invest a "few million dollars" in another 10 to 15 companies in the coming year. Chief Scientist Eli Oppper called the Oracle partnership a model relationship and the structure with which his office seeks to work with large international corporations to encourage R&D in Israel.