Taboola wants to get ahead of the game as Beer Sheva becomes Israel’s next big cyber city
Taboola will open a new office in the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva, the company announced to Geektime on Tuesday. The new office will hub its core big data team and hire 20 new engineers by the end of 2017.
“There will be 20 in Beer Sheva, but it’s the only beginning,” CEO and Co-Founder Adam Singolda emphasized to Geektime, saying he wanted the company to get ahead and set up shop as the town’s tech prowess grew.
By the end of 2017, the company plans to grow its Tel Aviv office to house 350 employees in new office space in the center of the city.
Singolda implies the new office will benefit a few workers who commute from the city to Tel Aviv, a slightly-under-one-hour trip in either direction on the express lines.
He declined to say if a new team would be set up under any of the current employees who reside there, but setting up a new location likely implies an entire team will be stationed there rather than a team geographically split between the two cities.
“Part of our infrastructure and big data team will be in Beer Sheva,” CEO and Co-Founder Adam Singolda told Geektime. “It’s a core team from a technology standpoint. Data is one of three key things the company is focusing on.”
Beer Sheva is happening
Singolda initially played up the enormous talent the city is producing, but such a declaration is kind of generic for people setting up in aspiring startup cities worldwide trying to make a name for themselves. What drew Taboola to Beer Sheva rather than Israel’s other two budding ecosystems, Jerusalem or Haifa?
“Ben Gurion University has really good engineering talent. A lot of people move there to study and want to stay. Others want to live where they grew up.”
Yet, Jerusalem has Hebrew University while Haifa has the Technion and Haifa U, all three schools certainly contributing to the country’s growth. There’s another more unique reason: the army.
Singolda points out that, “A lot of the special units are in the process of moving to or already have a lot of people in Beer Sheva.”
For those unfamiliar with the Israel Defense Forces’ role in seeding Israel’s startup ecosystem, a lot of the engineers behind the country’s cyber security boom (among other industries) got their starts in the 8200 cyber unit or in more clandestine positions with Israeli military intelligence.
“Those are people who are very experienced and good technology talent. They’re the prime reasons why there will be a growth in Beer Sheva in terms of access to talent.”
For those that have not yet visited the southern site, it is quickly developing into a dense hub of cyber and other data heavy activities. Connected by two bridges, the BGU campus, the industrial park, and soon the military’s tech bases are all located a stone’s throw away from one another, making collaboration and general cross pollination exceedingly easy. Moreover, as soldiers transition to students, and students start to look for work, this location offers an excellent way for prospective employees to become familiar with companies that themselves are always on the lookout for solid talent.
This move in Beer Sheva, while modest, will complement their already gargantuan 200-person Tel Aviv location and be part of a global hiring storm the company is planning for next year that will see its total staff jump from about 550 employees to 800 worldwide. Tel Aviv and New York, both currently with more than 200 employees each, are Taboola’s biggest centers.
“I think it has a cool vibe factor to it too. This is early days. We’re early in the game, among the few bigger companies that have joined the Beer Sheva trend.”
Among these are EMC, which was among the first to set up shop there, along with JVP’s Cyber Labs, Lockheed Martin, and plenty more. The opening of a WeWork co-working space has given many startups and services for the companies an easy foothold in the capital city of the Negev from which to build from.