25 of the world’s largest multinational corporations gathered in Tel Aviv on December 16th, for the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate meetup, in which the Israeli company Axis Innovation, introduced them to 15 handpicked Israeli startups. The catch: the 25 multinational corporations were vying for the attention of the startups.
While the event was aimed at introducing the startups to the corporations, it was the corporations who came to Israel to woo the startups that Axis Innovation suggested for them.
Senior representatives from firms such as AVG, Ford, IBM, GE, Tyco, GM, Coca-Cola, Singtel, PayPal, Yahoo, ProSieben and Kimberly-Clark participated in the second annual networking and deal-making meetup of its kind organized by Axis Innovation.
“It is no secret about the large influx of international companies and corporate investors interested in Israel recently," said Ed Frank CEO of Axis Innovation. "The unique breadth of innovation and creativity has made Israel, and particularly Tel Aviv, a global high-tech hub.”
“We put on this event to provide a platform for Israel’s leading startups and global companies to pitch to each other, network and support a full-face dialogue for partnerships to be created, subsequently benefiting both parties.”
The 2015 Corporate Edition is said to have been the biggest event of its kind and the only event in Israel, thus far, to target global corporate venture arms. Participating startups, whose identity is still being kept secret, even after the event, came from a variety of startup fields including big data, cloud, cyber-security, mobile, fintech and e-commerce. One of the highlights that Frank illustrated was what he termed “the internet of things”. The internet of things, according to Frank, is a new idea being developed in which one can put an internet connection onto a light bulb and you could use your phone to turn on and off the lights in the room.
“Another innovation that one of our companies is working on would give the ability to the consumer to put a small device on a water bottle which will flash if the person is not hydrating enough,” he said.
Frank said that while some of the applications may seem “a little scary for some, we take it in stride, and keep an open mind to the innovations of the next generation.”
One of the chosen startups created a revolutionary agriculture technology for farmers to use their own generated data for optimization and sharing best practices worldwide, while another devised a tool to help small and medium businesses build an all-inclusive online marketing campaign in two minutes.
Frank pointed out that all of the multinationals have a presence in Israel, but “often startups have a hard time knocking on doors and and getting those doors to open.” But with the help of meetups like the one sponsored by Axis Innovation, the multinational corporation come to the startups and ask the startups to work with them.
“With all the talk of the boycotts in the EU, the fact that these multinational corporations are coming here, to Israel, shows that they all understand that the next best product is coming from here,” said Frank.
“In order for our homegrown startups to really grow, they will need to partner in some way with these multinational corporations in their field. This is how they get larger and grow on the international market, and we are helping them to do so,” Frank concluded.