IBM kicks off first-ever accelerator program - in Israel
Jul. 9, 2014
The escalating conflict between Gaza militants and Israel hasn’t deterred tech giant IBM from moving ahead with pioneer programs in Israel. On Tuesday, the international company inaugurated its first-ever technology accelerator in the world at its headquarters in Petah Tikva, next to Tel Aviv.
Called Alpha Zone, the program teams IBM’s vast resources with start-ups, helping the newcomers develop their products and market them. IBM gets nothing material in return. Its program managers say their gain is contact with innovative minds and companies.
It’s not just IBM that is enamored of Israel’s technology ecosystem, said Dror Pearl, director of IBM Israel’s Global Technology Unit and a key figure in the management of the brand-new IBM Alpha Zone accelerator. “We planned to open the registration site for Israeli companies for a month, but after a few days we began getting applications from all sorts of countries — including some that Israel does not have diplomatic relations with,” said Pearl, displaying a map that showed applicants from Gulf states, Indonesia, and elsewhere.
There are good reasons for any start-up to want to be involved in Alpha Zone, said IBM Israel Country General Manager Rick Kaplan. With access to mentors, technology advisors, assistance from IBM research and development pros around the world, and a long-term plan to help companies get funding, the 24-week Alpha Zone program will enable IBM “to build deeper, earlier relationships with start-ups. This is a big moment for us, and another chapter in the IBM story in Israel,” said Kaplan.
For the full feature story on The Times On Israel click here.