1. Nicola Mendolsohn, Facebook Vice President: "Facebook was amazed by the amount of talent in a small country like Israel [5,000 tech companies]. It was a momentous decision for Facebook to open its first R&D center outside the US in Israel. We chose Israel in the knowledge that the best talent is found here. Onavo, the Israeli company that we acquired [for $150MN] will help Facebook achieve its vision of linking the largest number of users possible (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 16, 2013)." The German global software giant, SAP invests $75MN in a new building for its Israel Center (Globes, Oct. 15).
2. Intel Capital, Intel's investment arm, is expanding its portfolio of over-60-Israeli-companies, investing $10MN in three additional Israeli companies (Globes Business Daily, Oct. 24).
3. The Boston-based HarbourVest led a $35MN round of private placement by Israel's Outbrain, joined by the Menlo Park-based Lightspeed Venture, Geneva-based Index Ventures and leading Israeli VC funds (Globes, Oct. 24).
4. Israel is a global leader in the development of water technologies. Export of water technologies was $2BN in 2012, 170% increase in six years, expected to reach $2.2BN in 2013. 280 Israeli companies develop water technologies, 150 are export-oriented (Globes, Oct. 22).
5. Wall Street Journal (Ben Rooney), Oct. 24: It is extremely hard not to be a bit star-struck by the Israeli technology scene.... 'It is Silicon Valley for the rest of the world' said Saul Klein, a London- based venture capitalist.... 'On a scale of one to 10, the innovation I see in Germany would be close to zero. In Israel, it is a 10,' said Mark Tluszcz, co-founder of Mangrove Capital Partners, a Luxembourg- based venture firm.... What's the secret? Reasons include the role of the Israeli Defense Forces, and in particular the high-tech Unit 8200; the unique cultural values of a country forged from centuries of oppression; and Jewish mothers.... The link with America remains as strong as ever. If you look at the flight schedules into Tel Aviv, there are just three direct flights a week from Beijing, and another three from Seoul. There are at least that many a day from the U.S."
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The Ettinger Report
"Second Thought: A US-Israel Initiative"
First published in Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #185, October 28, 2013