EMC, JVP Venture Capital Fund and BGN Technologies (BGU's technology transfer company) announced yesterday the creation of a joint company, CyberSpark Industry Initiative. The non-profit company will engage in the international promotion of the cyber center, which is based out of the Advanced Technologies Park in Beer-Sheva.
Roni Zehavi, hi-tech entrepreneur and test pilot in the IAF, has been appointed Managing Director. The company’s Board of Directors will be comprised of representatives of the founding companies and a public board will be created comprised of key players in the Israeli economy, in the fields of education, government, academia, culture and technology. MK Erel Margalit will chair the public council.
The CyberSpark Industry Initiative will serve as a coordinating body for joint cyber industry activities with government agencies, the IDF, the public and academia. The company will promote a multi-year business plan which will leverage the significant raw business potential in the field of cyber in the area, by emphasizing knowledge and abilities sharing. The company will brand and market the region as a global cyber center, encourage joint academia-industry research studies, support the development of plans to recruit and develop human resources in the field and incentive plans to encourage other companies, both international and Israeli, to come to the region, among other things.
EMC, JVP Venture Capital Fund, and BGN Technologies are the first core of companies in the cyber center in Beer-Sheva. More cyber companies will join them in the company and open offices in the Advanced Technologies Park in Beer-Sheva and other areas of the South.
“Government-private sector collaboration could turn Beer-Sheva into a new region of excellence in Israel and position it internationally as well,” says MK Erel Margalit, “The government should invest in focused and effective ways in the cyber city. The combination of the IDF moving South and the technology units moving to a campus adjacent to BGU, and the enlisting of the private companies in the cyber park to promote and develop the region, will be an opportunity to create thousands of jobs and a new economic story for the South in general and Beer-Sheva in particular.”
Dr. Orna Berry, VP at EMC Corporation and manager of Innovation and Development at the Centers of Excellence in EMEA and in the US: “After forging the path as pioneers in the development of Beer-Sheva as an international hi-tech and cyber zone, it is clear to us that realizing the vision and the transition from words to deeds, requires an active high level of involvement on the part of local and international industry in the field. It is a complex and sensitive mission that integrates parties with different interests and needs that must be coordinated to ensure achievements and significant progress. Creating the joint company is a necessary process to implement the operational plan to promote the cyber campus in Beer-Sheva.”
Roni Zehavi, Managing Director, CyberSpark Industry Initiative: We will pursue two goals: the first, bringing more leading Israeli and international companies to the Negev and creating a broad and varied industrial infrastructure. The second, building a wider spectrum of national cyber expertise, from supporting technological education in high schools, by developing professional training tracks, to developing academic tracks, in accordance with the needs of the industry. Likewise, we will operate in varied ways to develop an appropriate work environment which will include the construction of a "smart city," a system of supplementary services and a foundation of advanced infrastructure which will be a fertile field for the realization of our vision of the Negev as a global cyber center.”
Yoav Tzruya, JVP Cyber Labs Partner: In the last year we experienced amazing entrepreneurial and innovative momentum in the field, and we invested in four innovative cyber companies in Beer-Sheva. Beer-Sheva, specifically, and the South in general, has a vast potential to transform into an international center of excellence, that combines large multinational companies, startups, academia and significant governmental commitment. At the same time, in order to realize the full potential, there is a need for significant coordination between the different parties, to create a joint
vision and ensure the necessary infrastructure to coordinate efforts that will enable breakthroughs for all of the parties and to prevent conflicts of interest, wherever possible. Therefore, we created the company along with our partners in the vision.”
Netta Cohen, BGN Technologies CEO: "Ben-Gurion University is a significant and active player in developing the Negev. We operate to maximize opportunities for collaboration between business, governmental, and academic parties and the IDF as possible. The collaboration is expanding and creating the company is another layer of this sort of collaboration, which strengthens the momentum of rapid development of the region.”