The 12-week program, which provides mentoring and networking opportunities for startups, will establish a presence in Austin, according to the company. The program will be virtual for now.
(TNS) — Austin will be home to the first U.S.-based expansion of Intel's acceleration program for early stage startup companies.
Known as Intel Ignite, the tech-focused program debuted in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2019. It provides mentoring, networking opportunities and other guidance for startups.
Austin will be the first U.S. site for the program, which is also expanding into Munich, Germany, Intel said.
Tzahi Weisfeld, general manager for Intel Ignite, said the company chose Austin and Munich because they already have top-tier startup ecosystems, and because both cities are already home to Intel operations, which will allow the company to bring in employees to work with the startups. Santa Clara-based Intel has about 1,800 employees in Austin.
"There's such a strong energy around Austin," Weisfeld said.
Intel Ignite is designed to track with Intel's expertise and industry connections, but the startups that take part can be from a wide range of technology sectors, the company said. Tel Aviv's two previous cohorts included startups working in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, gaming, consumer technology, software, blockchain and the Internet of Things.
Intel Ignite expects to have cohorts in both Austin and Munich early next year. The 12-week programs will involve 10 early stage startups, according to the company. The coronavirus pandemic has turned the Intel Ignite program virtual for now, the company said.
Austin will act as a U.S. home base for Intel Ignite, but the startups that take part can be based anywhere in the United States. For the Munich cohorts, startups can come from anywhere in Europe. The startups must have at least $1 million in funding, an experienced founding team, significant intellectual property and large market opportunity. Intel also does not take equity as part of the program.
Weisfeld said the program looks for creative startups with great technology and strong teams that are coachable.
"We will look for teams that we could work with that are willing to come and learn from us, from the mentors and from everyone we engage with in this program," he said.
When Bob Swan became CEO of Intel, he began to question if the company was focused enough on startups, Weisfeld said. The Intel Ignite program was started to try to bridge that gap.
"The pace is different. Disruption is much much faster and deeper," he said. "Being able to have both our fingers and ears on the ground where the instruction is happening is super critical."
Swan said the Intel Ignite program was launched as a way to support early stage companies and give Intel opportunity to advance its mission.
"Intel's purpose is to create world-changing technologies that enrich the lives of every person on Earth," Swan said in a written statement. "In its first year, the Ignite program's achievements have far surpassed our expectations and because of its proven, strategic impact, we are expanding its reach."
©2020 Austin American-Statesman, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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