Silicon Valley-Israeli Technology Innovation
Recently we had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussing 2012 in relationship to joint ventures, partnerships and acquisitions between Silicon Valley giants and Israeli tech companies. It was informative and eye-opening! It should not be surprising, however. After all, Israel has been innovating since becoming the State of Israel less than seven decades ago. They made the desert bloom, not just through revolutionary solutions to water and energy concerns, but across the spectrum of technological innovations. The evening panel discussion enumerated the incredible entrepreneurial spirit that has made Israel second only to the U.S. in tech start-ups and venture capital. All in a country about the size of Florida with a third of that state’s population! The panel discussion, while highlighting M&A activity, focused on the ongoing transfer of knowledge and expertise between U.S. and Israeli tech companies. The panel members included the heads of M&A for Cisco, Google and Facebook, along with an investment banker and lawyer. The number of acquisitions, the speed at which they were accomplished, and the careful planning for each, was impressive. But it was the strength of ties between companies in Israel and the U.S. that was highlighted over and over. U.S. tech companies closely follow the start-up and growth of new Israeli enterprises. And it is normal for Israeli innovators to move freely between Israeli and U.S. companies, sharing knowledge and building bridges. So it is not surprising to find out that many tech innovations have blossomed in Israel to give fruit worldwide. There are so many innovations – from Intel chips to the field bandage that was credited with saving Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s life, or agricultural solutions for rural development in Africa, or to Pillcam, Copaxone and other medical/technical solutions – that any list would be incomplete. As we left the evening panel discussion, we shared our excitement about the bright future of U.S.-Israeli knowledge and expertise transfer. No matter the kind or direction of transfer, the contribution – to advancing technology and improving mankind’s ability to prosper in balance with the earth – will be worth watching … and participating in.