Microsoft Israel is celebrating the first year of its Start-Up accelerator program with 13 new Israeli companies launching at this festive event at the Jaffa Port, while already starting to look ahead for the second year of the program.
Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
Microsoft Israel is celebrating the first year of its Start-Up accelerator program with 13 new Israeli companies launching at this festive event at the Jaffa Port.
When Microsoft Israel announced it is initiating the Start-Up accelerator program many companies had their suspicions on the real motives of the software giant.
Zack Weisfeld, Dir. Strategy & Business, Microsoft Israel:
So a lot of people who think that Microsoft is not relevant in the new entrepreneur world, so there is a lot of talk about open source and things that are not on the Microsoft stack or the Microsoft world, and many people don’t see Microsoft as so innovative and so fast, so we think that’s wrong and there is another side to Microsoft and through this program we actually connect to entrepreneurs all over the world and here in Israel and we do this start-up engagement program where we show that we drive a lot of value for these start-ups through costumer engagement, through connecting them business opportunities, connecting with experts and user experiences, mentors from the industry. So its not about the Microsoft stack or the Microsoft technology, its about making start-ups in Eco system more successful and we gain because we such a big player in the technology space and when the tide raises all ships, we’re a big ship so we are being raised with the tide as well.
Start-Up entrepreneur and a mentor in the accelerator program, Yanki Margalit, is really proud of the environment that was created for the new companies to flourish.
Yanki Margalit, Mentor:
When I met the companies and I saw the energy and I saw what they get out of it and I saw the whole Eco system and atmosphere around those companies Microsoft did a great job here. I almost hate to say it but they did a great job, they created really an atmosphere and environment which is almost completely clean interests and its wonderful. I wouldn’t take all the credit all but I do think if you look at hubs and accelerators and incubators and this whole Eco system that we have created in Israel, it’s a very unique setup, but we are of course influenced by others as well, I mean we have not invented it all, maybe we just practice it in a very good way.
Shefa Weinstein, who’s start-up Shopetti was one of the chosen ones at the accelerator program is a rarity being she is an orthodox woman and a mother of four, however she claims she fit right in.
Shefa Weinstein, CEO, Shopetti:
Coming into this, yeah, being the only female founder of the 13 companies is a little overwhelming, but there is always a bathroom stall available whenever you need!!! Its good, I mean, I am treated just like everybody else. There is no day off nobody gets a day off. Friday in the morning I am cooking, I got my laptop going, my kids are running around and then Shabbat ends and I go right back at it. But the 25-hours of just silence with my kids on the floor playing games it makes me a better mom.
Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
The success of the Israeli program has now encouraged Microsoft to initiate similar accelerators in other countries. And if you believe your start up could be one of the 13 to be picked for the next program, the deadline for submissions is in less than a month.
For JN1 I am Ron Jacobsohn at the Port of Jaffa.