A year after Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced its plan to establish a start-up incubator and R&D center in Israel, the company today inaugurated the incubator in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The incubator, located in the Electra Tower in central Tel Aviv, was due to open in August, but was delayed by a few months until all of Google Israel's employees in Tel Aviv moved to the new premises, a process which was completed yesterday.
The incubator, Campus Tel Aviv, will be run by Google Israel relations manager developer Amir Shevat and Google new business development manager Eyal Miller. Campus Tel Aviv will occupy a full 1,500-square meter floor in the building, and will be entirely devoted to entrepreneurs, with the goal of encouraging innovation in Israel.
The Campus will give entrepreneurs access to Google’s teams and other experts, and will provide access to a wide range of smartphones and tablets for developing and testing mobile apps. The heart of the program will be the Launch Pad, a two-week boot camp for training new start-ups.
The program works with partners, including tech incubators, accelerator programs, and educational institutions. The Launch Pad will operate in a range of fields, including user interfaces, product strategy, marketing, business development, and Internet measurement tools. The first programs will collaborate with Silicon Valley incubator Upwest Labs and The Junction, an Israeli open house for entrepreneurs. Also participating in the venture are the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, and the IDC Elevator and MEET organizations. Later, programs will be established for start-ups supported by the Tel Aviv Angel Group. Registration and participation in the Campus Tel Aviv's activities are free.
Netanyahu, who came to the Campus Tel Aviv and inaugurated it by cutting a virtual ribbon, congratulated Google's staff for the initiative and support for Israeli innovation. "We are committed to promoting and supporting entrepreneurship, which is not only important economically, but also socioeconomically, especially in the reality in which we live. Nonetheless, we must invest more. Although entrepreneurship and technology have boosted us to the top of the pyramid, we have a problem with the achievements of Israeli pupils in international tests, and we are dealing with matter and investing billions in this area," he said.
Google Israel, Africa and Greece managing director Meir Brand said, "The expansion of activity, the establishment of the Campus, and the move to new offices in Tel Aviv indicate the company's intention to develop and grow in Israel."
Google Israel R&D Center managing director Yossi Matias said, "The Campus Tel Aviv joins Campus London. It is Google's step to provide support for Israeli technological innovation, both because of the importance of encouraging entrepreneurship and the centrality of Israel in fostering these values. Israel's leadership in initiating innovation is part of its DNA."
Google's incubator is the latest in a growing wave of joint incubators, technology accelerators, and workspaces opened in the past few years for Israeli start-ups and entrepreneurs. Google will cooperate with some of them. In March, Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) inaugurated a technology incubator, which has already graduated its first class.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 10, 2012
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