Israeli Tech Firms Eye Southern California

Los Angeles, which has one of the largest Jewish populations in the world, is known for many links to the country of Israel. However, how much of a link do Israeli technology companies see with Southern California's technology industry? Israeli high tech executives heading to the Israel Conference in Los Angeles this Thursday told us that there was a strong link, in general, between Israeli high tech firms and California in general--usually as an entree into the North American market--but do not differentiate much between Southern or Northern California as a base for operations.

"I think the Israeli high tech industry is usually very aligned with the North American community," Eran Wagner, who is President, North American Operations at cVidya, told us in an interview. Wagner said his firm--which provides services for telecom service providers--is looking at Southern California as a possible location for an additional office, but has its North American operations in Silicon Valley. Echoing those comments, Chris Rice, an Account Manager at Israeli firm Check Point Software, said his firm has 12 employees based in Southern California, also with North American headquarters up in the Bay Area, but believes that Israeli companies see Southern California as "one of the most significant markets in the U.S."

Wagner and Rice are two of the people with links to Israel attending Thursday's conference, which features such notables as entrepreneur and investor Yossi Vardi, venture capitalist Erel Margali of Jerusalem Venture Partners, and others. It will remain to be seen if local entrepreneurs from such firms as Zag, Docstoc, and others will open up more links between high tech firms and entrepreneurs in Israel and Southern California.