Can corporate sponsorship help nurture the IoT and augmented reality startup scene in Jerusalem?
Global design tools software development giant PTC Israel announced yesterday that they have entered into a partnership with the Jerusalem branch of MassChallenge to help boost the accelerator’s work in the areas of IoT, augmented reality, data analytics, and cybersecurity.
The Boston-headquartered PTC, which has traditionally worked with big-name manufacturers and other clients, has pivots in what they hope will turn out to be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Beyond software solutions for industrial design and manufacturing, the company has expanded into platforms for building IoT and augmented reality products. Their ThingWorx IoT platform provides developers a more effective way to build and deploy apps and products, while the recently acquired Vuforia helps create AR experiences.
PTC Israel’s Senior VP of Engineering and R&D, Ziv Belfer, says the details of how exactly PTC will be involved in the accelerator at this stage are still being worked out. He believes his company can provide important mentoring, technology, industry best practices, operational resources, and help the startups by opening doors in the industry.
“MassChallenge is the key accelerator for start-up businesses,” Belfer explains to Geektime, saying the company sees an opportunity in working with the startups for exposure to new innovations and possible acquisitions. “This partnership will benefit PTC in many ways, including identifying and sourcing startups that have high potential for advancing technology developments in the Internet of Things, augmented reality, big data analytics, and security, key areas of focus for PTC.”
He says this follows PTC’s strategy in recent years of buying companies who produce technology that they can incorporate into their products to create stronger offerings for their customers. In looking beyond the step of partnering with the accelerator, Belfer sees long-term potential in reaching out to the startup ecosystem.
“PTC also intends to leverage the relationship with MassChallenge and its members to forge connections within the global innovation ecosystem, including corporate partners; venture capitalists, angels, and investors; governments; universities, and others.”
Corporate sponsorship in accelerators
Many corporations have set up their own accelerators of late, where they can have a direct hand in nurturing the young companies and give them access to resources. Telefonica’s Wayra project in the U.K. is a perfect example. As a company with global reach and a wide customer base, they offer startups an enticing opportunity to jump into a ready market.
From the corporates’ side, these accelerators give them an easy path to new innovation coming from the startups, as either potential partners or acquisitions later down the road.
MassChallenge is a leaders in the global startup support network with operations in the U.S., U.K., Mexico, Switzerland and Israel. MassChallenge’s strategy leverages this trend to see them partner with a range of corporate, governmental and “third sector” bodies. By partnering with MassChallenge’s program in Israel, PTC Israel joins The Kraft Group, Poalim Hightech, the Ministry of Economy, the City of Jerusalem, EMC2, and other prominent backers.
“We’re proud of our leadership position within the high technology space, and delighted to be in a position to help fund and mentor new start-ups,” Belfer reiterates to Geektime. “Sponsoring MassChallenge is completely consistent with our corporate mission and is squarely within our DNA of fostering creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”
Augmenting a new IoT reality
As a creator of development tools, PTC Israel’s new-found relationship with MassChallenge will not only help facilitate easier forms of communication between startups, but give them insights into their potential users.
This exposure will likely help them receive great feedback from users, giving them an edge in further improving their product. PTC has shown itself as very open to innovations from outside companies, bringing products like Vuforia into their own line.
IoT and AR are exciting fields that still need significant improvements before they become truly market ready. Whether it is the strengthening of security in the IoT space or making AR consumption easier through integration in devices, support from companies like PTC Israel will help to play a role in moving these sectors forward.
Featured Image Credit: MassChallenge Accelerator website