Intel looks to increase investment in Israel

Monday, July 30, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

It is no longer a secret that Israel is a hotbed of innovation in hi-tech and Internet-focused industries. All the major players - from Google to Microsoft to Apple - either have or are establishing research and development centers in Israel, and are snatching up forward-thinking Israeli start-ups.

But one of the first on the scene was computer chip-making giant Intel, which has for years operated four R&D centers and two manufacturing plants in Israel, employing over 8,000 local hi-tech workers. Much of the technological-advances and the hardware behind Intel's latest advanced processors has come from Israel.

And the company is looking to grow its Israel portfolio.

Intel Capital is the international investment arm of Intel, and in recent year it has seen very positive return on its investments in Israeli companies. For instance, Intel Capital recognized early the potential of flash drive innovator Anobit, which earlier this year was acquired by Apple for an estimated $500 million. Flash drive technology is a key to the success of Apple's flagship products like the iPhone, iPad and Macbook Air, and the company felt no one does it better than Anobit.

But Intel Capital feels the potential for returns from Israel are much greater, and has started adding additional local staff to locate and engage worthy start-ups.

"We realized we have missed opportunities here, [so] we will be more aggressive," Marcos Battisti, managing director of Intel Capital in Western Europe and Israel, told a press conference last week.

Intel Capital's new approach is likely to provide a significant boost to the Israeli hi-tech scene, further fueling the Israeli innovation that has become so prevalent in the industry over the past decade.

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