Technion USA - Winter 2016-2017 - page 10-11

Technion graduate Tomer London,
Co-Founder and Chief Product
Officer of Gusto, is re-imagining
how modern payroll operates.
At the Bay Area Technion alumni event: (l to r) Emcee Ilana
Golan; Honorees Johny Srouji, SVP Hardware Technologies,
Apple; Oren Zeev, Founding Partner, Zeev Ventures; Dan
Maydan, Retired President, Applied Materials; Yoram Cedar
(see p. 19); Jacques Benkoski (see p. 10); Gil Frostig, VP
Engineering, Qualcomm; Otto’s Lior Ron (see p. 9); and
Gusto’s Tomer London (see p. 10). Benkoski, Cedar and
Maydan are Technion Guardians. Also honored was Orli Rinat,
Venture Philanthropy, not pictured.
“The drive to
start compa-
nies and seek
attracts entre-
preneurs to
the U.S. From
a professional
Israelis instan-
taneously feel
right at home,”
Long-Distance Links
Israeli entrepreneurs increasingly
are riding virtual two-way bridges all
the way to the Silicon Valley area,
where sharp young minds have been
migrating to since the late 1950s,
when Fairchild Semiconductors
pioneered the integrated circuit—
made with silicon.
The CICC has grown since the
1990s to serve some 10,000 com-
panies, executives and investors,
helping Israeli-led firms link up with
Silicon Valley stalwarts such as Intel,
Google, Cisco, Oracle and PayPal.
“If you want to access that big U.S.
market, you would be well advised to
have some activity here,” Alon says.
The Palo Alto-based chamber
focuses on matchmaking in medical
tech, big data, software licensing
and cloud computing, cybersecurity,
mobile and Internet as well as agri-
culture tech. California, like Israel,
is arid and could benefit from Israeli
know-how on maximizing water
“American businesspeople have
become very aware of what Israel
offers, and they want exposure to the
latest Israeli technology,” says Alon.
In fact, representatives from coun-
tries such as Japan and Korea are
also joining CICC to build ties with
Israeli entrepreneurs in California.
Technion Guardian. Last November,
he was one of nine Technion game-
changing alumni honored at the
iconic Computer History Museum for
achievements in entrepreneurship,
innovation, leadership and commu-
nity service.
More than 300 attendees—
including fellow alumni, tech influ-
encers, Technion President Professor
Peretz Lavie and ATS National Board
Members—came out for this first-of-
its-kind event to celebrate the impact
made by these alumni in the Bay
Area and around the world.
“It’s gratifying to see that a small
school in the Middle East, and its
graduates, contribute so much to the
Silicon Valley and to the World,”
says President Lavie.
Coast to Coast
It’s no wonder Israelis feel right at
home in California: the mild, dry
weather, the beautiful beaches and
the vibrant tech sector. But what
about New York City?
The Big Apple boasts its own
thriving tech community, dubbed
“Silicon Alley” and anchored by
Google’s headquarters in Chelsea,
near the West Village. And Forbes
magazine calls the new Joan & Irwin
Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at
Cornell Tech another energizing fac-
tor, drawing innovators and in turn
attracting the attention of venture
CEO of Los Gatos-based Tigo
Energy, whose smart module opti-
mizer technology improves the func-
tion of solar-power systems, Alon has
founded companies in both the U.S.
and Israel. He also runs Alon Ven-
tures, an investment group emphasiz-
ing tech opportunities that span these
business communities.
Unicorns Are Real
In the world of business, a “uni-
corn” is a private company, usually a
startup, with an estimated stock mar-
ket valuation of more than $1 bil-
lion. A recent report by the National
Foundation for American Policy
noted that about half of America’s
unicorns were founded by immi-
grants. India led the list, followed by
Canada and the U.K. tied for second
place; Israel came in third. (Keep in
mind that India is a nation of 1.2 bil-
lion people, Israel only 8.2 million.)
Gusto is a San Francisco com-
pany bearing the Technion imprint
that has made it to unicorn status.
Co-founded by Tomer London, a
computer engineering graduate,
Gusto provides small-business cus-
tomers with innovative payroll and
HR services.
Another Israeli-led unicorn is
David Hindawi’s Tanium. Co-founded
by the industrial engineering/man-
agement graduate and his son, Orion,
Tanium has been on the rise due to
its lightning-fast tools for safeguard-
ing networked computers in business
or government. The father-son duo
previously started BigFix, an IT
software patching system they sold
to IBM.
Other Technion alums with signif-
icant Silicon Valley impact include:
Alex Sirota, computer science—
Sirota co-founded Loop Commerce
in 2012, a leader in the $200 billion
gifting market (personalized gift-
card technology for stores and online
Oren Ariel, electrical engineer-
ing—Ariel helped start Capriza,
which simplifies business applica-
tions by rapidly converting complex
desktop applications into a bite-sized
mobile format.
Jacques Benkoski, computer
engineering—Benkoski is a partner
at the Silicon Valley-based venture
capital investment firm U.S. Venture
Partners (USVP), and a member of
the CICC executive board.
Dr. Benkoski also serves on the
Technion Board of Governors and the
ATS Silicon Valley Board, and is a
One of those innovators is Assaf
Glazer, who parlayed the mentor-
ship and financing he received in the
Jacobs Institute’s Runway Startup
Postdoc Program to launch Nanit,
maker of a “smart” baby monitor. By
recording and measuring an infant’s
behavior through the night—with no
wearable component required—Nanit
helps babies, and their parents, get a
good night’s sleep.
On both coasts, Israeli trade mis-
sions work to promote the nation’s
innovations. Israeli leaders have also
signed memorandums of understand-
ing, with New York and California
pledging to further deepen economic
ties. The drive to start companies and
seek opportunities attracts entrepre-
neurs to the U.S.
“From a professional perspective,
Israelis instantaneously feel right at
home,” says Alon.
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