By Jason Williamson, Vice President, Oracle for Startups and Oracle for Research

Ever since the early 1990s, Israel has consistently been a hotbed of new innovation and emerging technologies. It is why some of the biggest tech companies dedicate critical resources in Israel, like Oracle’s new cloud region in Jerusalem and our startup program. The Startup Nation is positioned to become even more important, unleashing innovation and business opportunities worldwide.

That’s a big reason why we are doubling down in Israel. While Israel has always been important (Tel Aviv was one of the first markets chosen in our inaugural program in 2017), we’re increasing our resources by hiring new staff in the region, accelerating our partnerships, and launching our new cloud region.

I hosted a meeting last week with Israeli founders to better understand their challenges and needs, so we can better help them reach their technology and business goals. The meeting included founders new to Oracle for Startups and those considering joining the program.

Below are five things I learned, as well as other strategies we have planned. Although these are inspired from Israel, they are universally relevant.

Cloud credits matter (but not always for all the right reasons)

Startups are using cloud credits in large amounts. But a big reason why is so they can understand and forecast what their charges will be. According to these Israeli founders, costs from cloud providers like AWS and Google are a big mystery, and bills add up quickly. Oracle is focused on making pricing clear. We even have a cost estimator tool so you can know your costs.

In fact, transparency is a pleasant surprise to founders introduced to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).  According to Israeli founder Simcha Shore of AgroScout: “Oracle Cloud is a simple, low-cost process that allows us to bring growers the best practices in agronomy, helping the growers detect disease and pests, which helps them grow more and provide food security for the world.”

But I understand the concern about limited credit allotments. Access to meaningful, substantial credits matters for other purposes, and we’re adjusting our strategy so startups can access larger allotments of credits on-demand. It was something we were already working on, but these founders reinforced the importance.

Enable co-innovation, integration easier and faster

The ability to integrate with Oracle cloud solutions, specifically application suites like Customer Experience (CX) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a big benefit for startups. When a startup builds on top of our cloud solutions, that integration complements Oracle’s cloud offering, enhancing capabilities for our global customers while providing the startup scale and exposure.

That integration process isn’t as easy and fast as it should be. We know that and are working on that; it’s one of our top priorities.

Legacy technology has created friction, but as the Oracle applications transition to OCI, the API ecosystem will make integrations much faster and easier.  Many of the startups already have integrations with our Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications, and are part of the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, but we’ll see that grow 10X over the next few years as we improve this co-innovation process.

Ideas and innovation go beyond traditional “hotspots” like Tel Aviv

For Israel, Tel Aviv gets the lion’s share of the attention, but innovation is happening everywhere like Jerusalem, Beersheba, and Misgav. We want to enable builders and innovators no matter where they are located. In fact, one of the most successful startups in our program, AgroScout, is based in Misgav.

Oracle is opening a cloud region in Jerusalem, becoming the first big tech company to open an availability region in the country. Oracle for Startups has hired new staff in Jerusalem. We will be working even more with partners like Startup Grind and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) to increase support in the North and South—not just central Israel.

That’s a trend happening across the globe, where startups are thriving in areas outside the traditional hotspots of San Francisco, London and Paris. It’s happening in the Midwest and southern United States; Bristol, UK is churning out impressive startups; and Brazil and Argentina are producing strong startups at a fast pace.

Startups need more than technology support

All startup programs provide cloud credits and technology resources. But startups need a strategic business partner to reach hyper-growth. We launched Oracle for Startups to help scale not only a startup’s technology but their customer references and revenue. Our approach addresses the entire business—not just technology.

"We work with a lot of the cloud platform providers, and I can assure you the others don't even know our name,” said Arushi Joshi, CEO and cofounder of AtCash, a startup in our program. “The fact that Oracle has invested so much in us and our success is why startups need to consider Oracle. It's not only the discounts but things like visibility, exposure and strategic support.”

In Israel, and across the globe, startups want more mentorship and help to sell into the enterprise. They want more help to amplify their stories for scale. Founders need more business resources, and we continually adapt to support that.

As a refresher, startups in the program receive free credits for cloud computing resources, 70% discount on IaaS and PaaS for two years, mentoring, and technical assistance. But for qualifying companies who want to go all-in, the program offers “Market Connect,” providing resources like customer introductions, analyst engagements, and a slate of marketing opportunities.  

From customer introductions to marketing exposure, Oracle for Startups is proving to be a real growth-hack for startups.

Multicloud is a startup’s success strategy

Today’s cloud technologies are becoming increasingly more commoditized and portable. And while cloud providers are showing their strengths – such as OCI’s built-in security features and advantages for HPC workloads – the strategy of using multiple cloud providers is the future. Think of recent outages that have taken down a big chunk of the internet and many businesses. With a multicloud strategy, these businesses could have shifted resources to another infrastructure provider and not missed a beat. And growing startups need the flexibility to deploy on their client’s preferred cloud. A multicloud strategy provides many advantages.

Public clouds have tremendous benefits — but lock-in should never be one of them. Price-performance, interoperability and security should drive your partner selections. Oracle is dedicated to openness, interoperability, and helping startups build what they want, how they want, to help meet their unique business demands and goals.