Oracle CEO: Expect more Israeli startup acquisitions

Uzi Navon, Safra Catz, Ilan Spiegelman

Safra Catz, in Israel for the ERP launch event, believes the local mentality contributes to startup success.

“I definitely see more acquisitions of Israeli startups,” said Oracle CEO Safra Catz on Monday, in response to a question by “Globes” at the ERP launch event. In her opening remarks, she noted the company began investing more than a decade ago $63 billion in research and development and said ERP presented the opportunity for an innovation revolution.

At the press conference immediately afterwards, Catz said she does not usually speak to the press. “I’m never confident I’ll know how to handle an interview. I had a few exceptional cases, with the first interview being in Israel.”

She said, “I’m here at the launch because it is the right time. The clients know we can no longer do things in the old way. Oracle stands out because it has cloud services at every level, and at every level it has competitors but no one competes with Oracle at every level.”

Oracle recently bought Ravello Systems for half a billion dollars. Responding to a question by “Globes” over future investment in Israeli startups, Catz said: “I need to remember what we announced and what we haven’t. Sometimes I only remember the codename for a startup and not its real name. I definitely see more acquisitions of Israeli startups.”

She added: “People like me aren’t surprised by what’s happening here. Israel is like an under-fire experiment. Sometimes, in such scenarios, the result is swift and powerful. Israel doesn’t follow behind the rest of the world, and it’s well known Israelis don’t follow anyone - even when they’re asked. But at times it’s refreshing and exciting. Across the world we see a momentum for investments in Israel, whether from China or India. Problems are amassing across the world, and the genius of startups in problem solving is amazing. It’s touching.”

Catz said Oracle also sees startups as potential clients, “After all, they’re a small company looking for a system to help them grow quickly.”

Some consider Catz to be the leading Israeli in the global high-tech scene, while other see it as pretentious to claim her as Israeli when she left the country as a young girl. For her part, she stresses the Israeli identity of her and her family; her children speak Hebrew.

Her current visit, she asked to note, was essentially a vacation, which she utilized to visit colleagues at the launch event.

What do you think of the current female representation in high-tech, both in Israel and the world?

“I think it is vital. When I was young, I didn’t understand this ‘issue’ with women. I studied in an advanced math class, and I was generally the only female. Later in my career, I turned to Wall Street, but I never thought of participating in the female-only events. I was wrong. Today I realize how important it is. People do not feel comfortable when they are different and special and that can lead them to giving up.

“We are trying to solve the unsolved we face many challenges and we need more and more minds. Oracle opened a school for technology, and it has classes for girls to encourage them to study tech. As the head of a tech firm I know that we need everyone, and the best of them. We cannot afford to miss out on half the population.”

 

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 10, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Uzi Navon, Safra Catz, Ilan Spiegelman
Uzi Navon, Safra Catz, Ilan Spiegelman
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