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IBM Holding Its First Ever Accelerator Program for Startups in Israel

Eight Israeli startups are participating in IBM’s accelerator program.

IBM accelarator
On Tuesday, IBM began its first ever accelerator program, and it is being held in Israel. The program was established in cooperation with ZionTech Blue Initiatives LLC, an American boutique investment house founded by general partner Nathan Low.

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The IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator offers a 24-week immersion program in which participants will have free use of IBM’s development tools, cloud infrastructures up to a value of $24, 000, and access to consultancy services.

Israeli entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to make connections with venture capitalists. They will also be aided in the preparation of presentations for their proposals to Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist. The program also arranges meetings with advisers in the industry, such as Bank Hapoalim.

Upon the conclusion of the program, each participating company will have the opportunity to make their presentations to attendees at an Investor Demo Day, who are expected to include angel investors, venture capitalists, IBM executives, media and industry leaders.

Wherever possible, IBM will seek to market the solutions developed and assist the companies with their international sales on a global level. The program has several areas of focus, including, big data analytics, cloud, mobile, security, Internet of Things and smarter commerce.

The program is based in IBM’s Israel headquarters in Petah Tikva, just outside Tel Aviv. It does not retain any equity in the companies participating in the IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator, nor are they required to share their technologies with it.

The launch of the program was announced in April, when IBM began a preliminary selection of entrepreneurs and companies for its first class. Applicants were expected to demonstrate that they are building a business of scale which will attract venture or angel investment at the end of the accelerator program. IBM looked for founders with strong business and technical competencies.

The companies can be in all stages of development, but IBM prefers those with a formalized prototype or a more advanced development phase. From a funding perspective, there is no limit, but they are more focused on Seed and Round-A funded companies.

Nathan Low told Globes, “This collaboration creates a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to benefit from a rare combination of close support, knowhow, strong networking, and technology tools that improve the chances of success and remove many of the obstacles that often block the path of new companies.”

ZionTech Blue Initiatives LLC is a startup investment banking and financial consultant focused solely on Israeli-based early stage technology companies. It is focused on helping early stage companies with business development, capital raising, and exit strategy consulting by utilizing its relationships with Fortune 500 companies and leading global investors. It is backed by a U.S. broker dealer, Sunrise Securities Corp. and its best-in-class capital raising team who completed more than $6 billion in transactions over the last 20 years.

Headquartered in Manhattan, the firm declares its mission to be to enable entrepreneurs to succeed at all stages of business growth from conception to maturity to exit.

Nathan Low founded and serves as President of the Sunrise Financial Group. He has raised in excess of $5 billion for more than 60 domestic and international public and private companies, using a variety of financing instruments. Low began his Wall Street career with Salomon Brothers and also spent time at Bear Stearns and Prudential Bache.

Low has made angel investments in over 100 companies, of which 60 were Israel based, and was instrumental in strategic advisory and successful strategic partnering assistance for various portfolio companies.



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