Sun’s ‘Big Brother’ program for little Israeli startups

‘A good deal for Sun, and a good deal for Israel’s start-ups,’ Eddie Resnick, marketing director for the Sun Startup Essentials Program. In these days of shrinking investment fund availability, Israeli startups could use a friend in the business. And …

‘A good deal for Sun, and a good deal for Israel’s start-ups,’ Eddie Resnick, marketing director for the Sun Startup Essentials Program. In these days of shrinking investment fund availability, Israeli startups could use a friend in the business. And thanks to the Sun Startup Essentials Program, they may well have one.

And while not strictly an Israeli operation, the Startup Essentials Program has its own challenges – and benefits – that both Sun and their startup clients say are uniquely Israeli.

Under the program, startups that are in need of hardware, systems, databases, applications, web servers, or other accouterments of the high-tech business are encouraged to team up with worldwide computer hardware and software maker Sun. Once accepted into the program, startups are entitled to great discounts on nifty workstations, servers, storage devices, and other things that Sun sells.



“It’s great for startups that don’t have much cash,” Eddy Resnick, marketing director for the Israel branch of the program, tells ISRAEL21c. “With the right equipment and technology, startups have a much greater chance of doing the kind of development they need to in order to build their applications or web sites and start making money. We’re there to give them a helping hand and help them grow their business.”

A good deal for struggling startups

Startups can buy certain super-fast Sun servers for half their list price, or even less, in some cases. It’s a generous offer, and a good deal for struggling young businesses.



Of course, it’s a good deal for Sun, too, as it recruits goodwill – and more importantly, potential future customers for its Sun OS platform and servers, giving Sun an edge over other hardware makers.



The first Startup Essentials programs were set up in the US, China and India, but of course an office in Israel followed in short order, given the large number of startups here. In Israel, the program has over 120 members. “We are trying to create a community here around Sun products,” says Resnick. “We know our work is going to pay off in multiple ways down the road.”

In fact, the program has already paid off for Sun in a way that the company might not have anticipated. Traffix Systems, one of the members of the Sun program in Israel, has developed an authentication protocol that is to be adopted as an official part of Sun’s new SailFin Project, part of Project Glassfish, an open source communications system built on Sun’s Java platform.



Traffix’s OpenBlox Diameter “is a great complement to the development taking place in Project SailFin to help create SIP-enabled Java applications,” says Satish Hemachandran, product line manager, Sun Microsystems. “The powerful combination of open standards technologies from Sun and Traffix delivers a complete solution that can address the emerging needs of Next-Generation Networks (NGN) and IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) application and service developers.”



Building community, and innovations

As a result, it’s clear that Sun’s efforts to “build a community” isn’t just good for the startups, but for the company itself. “There’s no reason not to expect similar innovations from other members of the program as well,” Resnick says.



Other Sun startup success stories in Israel include GED-i, which makes security appliances; and MyDrifts, which helps musical bands find fans and manage their fan base. In addition, several Sun startups are working on projects in affiliation with the Office of the Chief Scientist, an honor for the companies, and a feather in Sun’s cap.

Because Israel is a different type of market, Sun works with Israeli startups in a different manner than they would work with startups in India or China.



“One thing we realize is that we’re selling less hardware, at least at the outset,” says Resnick. “Because Israel is a small market, you don’t have the economy of scale in most companies that you have elsewhere.” Any company that really makes it big either sells out to an American technology giant, or moves their operations abroad.

One of the best things about Sun hardware is its ability to handle large loads, with many users accessing databases or services at the same time, but because Israeli startups are usually involved in small-scale research instead of large-scale user services, this advantage isn’t as big a selling point for them.



“In Israel, it’s about the people,” says Resnick. “We have some of the most talented high-tech innovators in the world here, and Sun is proud to be taking an active role in helping these companies grow and develop.”