Inside Startup Nation: How the AT&T Foundry Harnesses Israel’s Rich Tech Ecosystem
Israel is known for its innovative people and technology. Its nickname is “The Startup Nation.”
Many international companies come here to tap into this can-do mentality. And in 2011, we opened our second AT&T Foundry in Ra’anana, Israel.
I’m the director of our innovation team here. My role includes leading the team to push the envelope around security and other technologies. We’re not just here to create new and exciting things. We’re here to make a significant business impact.
You may wonder how this country – with a population of about 8 million – became second only to Silicon Valley as one of the top startup destinations in the world? And how does the Israel AT&T Foundry help harness that power? There are four components that I believe provide a blueprint for Startup Nation and its strong tech scene.
There’s a motto in Israel: if you ask 3 engineers how to do something, you will get 4 different answers.
Solving for hidden answers is part of Israel’s culture. The same is true at the AT&T Foundry. With our radical approach to innovation and 12-week sprint cycles, our goal is to go from concept to commercialization faster than ever.
Co-working spaces in Tel Aviv epitomize the quick startup culture growth here. The same is true with our space. Our unique innovation centers were built on openness and speed. There are dozens of co-working spaces brimming with entrepreneurial energy.
And this kind of openness breeds collaboration. In fact, you expect different ideas. Someone may have a better solution.
After high school, many begin service in the Israeli army. This experience offers skills needed to be successful in a startup environment. Many innovators meet each other in computer or intelligence units.
Surprisingly, this is a relatively un-hierarchical environment. Creativity and intelligence are highly valued. Teams are responsible for collaborating to solve complex military problems.
Through this, young adults gain the confidence needed to take on challenges and deliver on them. Eventually, making vital business decisions becomes second nature. If we’re going to quickly solve challenges to be successful, confidence is key.
The AT&T Foundry is a unique program in Israel’s ecosystem. We were one of the first to open an innovation center of this kind in Israel.
We have a seasoned team of innovators. There are now multiple accelerators in the country. We bring in multi-national startups and developers to collaborate. We all work together and share ideas. We explore what works for us—and them.
It’s a small community, so we all know and help each other. It’s a win/win.
What’s the secret to the Israel AT&T Foundry’s success? It comes down to our team.
Teamwork makes all of this possible. This includes our work with host sponsor Amdocs. I always say, we have one goal: drive business impact and innovation for AT&T. When you have the best people in the industry, they bring great ideas.
An example: AT&T Flow Designer started in the Foundry way before the Internet of Things (IoT) surge. We saw a trend emerging and created a platform for anyone to build IoT apps. Today, many of our projects focus on the future of security for the cloud. Think, agile cloud software vs. physical hardware systems.
The Israeli tech scene is a rarity outside Silicon Valley. I’m proud the AT&T Foundry’s part of it. It’s a rich ecosystem at the forefront of innovation.
And how do we measure success? The results speak for themselves. We’ve deployed dozens of new products – and met with over a thousand startups. The Israel Foundry innovators have established powerful relationships within the community here. They are seen as trusted advisors.
Some of Israel’s finest startups and developers help our AT&T Foundry team harness our global strength as a tech leader. The future is now in Startup Nation.
Gadi Porat - Director, AT&T Foundry, Ra’anana, Israel