Do corporate enterprises need to collaborate with tech disruptors? Is it really worth their while to engage with early-stage startups? Intel Ignite’s VP & GM Tzahi Weisfeld has a clear answer to those questions—absolutely. And if anyone should know, it’s him. He’s spent over a decade connecting startups and large corporate enterprises and has seen what those connections can lead to. Before joining Intel Ignite, he headed Microsoft For Startups, collaborating with numerous startups, several of which achieved unicorn status. “It’s all about tech learning,” explains Weisfeld on “Another Podcast for Startups”. “Things are happening all over the world and we need to be there when it happens. Corporate leaders have often been with the same company for 30 years. They need the energy of the people who are changing the world, but most corporations can’t work effectively with disruptors and startups.”
Intel Ignite was established to break that barrier and allow both corporations and startups to benefit from the advantages the other has to offer. Instead of using the typical accelerator formula, it functions like a co-founder as a service for a select group of seed startups that have raised a minimum of $1 million, pinpointing the biggest challenges facing the company and helping to solve them.
The 12-week program runs twice a year in Israel, Europe, US, and UK, working with 80 startups a year. It includes significant weekly mentorship from a successful entrepreneur who is not currently a CEO and Intel leaders; workshops with practitioners; a founders circle; emotional support for founders; and highly experienced support staff such as a deal flow manager, operations manager, and a value creation manager. Intel Ignite also connects them to other companies via its customer advisory board made up of Fortune 500 CTOs.
Intel Ignite boasts several impressive successes. For example, Intel acquired Granulate, a company that participated in the first batch of Intel Ignite, for $650 million, and the company is now at the front and center of Intel’s software strategy. “If I can show that Intel has value to bring, the best companies will want to work with us,” says Weisfeld. “It’s a way for us to connect with the best founders.”
Listen to the full podcast with Tzahi Weisfeld in Hebrew here.