Many U.S. cities, states, and regions are recognizing the expertise and entrepreneurial strength of Israel’s Cyber Security industry and working to develop relevant linkages with business and government in Israel. The state of Georgia and its capital city Atlanta are staking a claim this week as the “go to” center in the United States for Israeli cyber companies as a powerful delegation visits the country to seek technology and business partnerships.

Organized by Atlanta-based Conexx: America Israel Business Connector, the Georgia Cyber Security Mission is led by Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed whose government operates the world’s busiest airport as well as the data security for one of the country’s major cities.  In addition to the city government’s top cyber decision makers, the delegation includes senior IT and Security executives from The Coca-Cola Company, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, IBM, Delta Air Lines, Georgia Technology Authority, Southern Company, Carter’s, Inc., AT&T, and NCR.  Co-sponsoring the mission are the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Technology Association of Georgia that have also sent top representatives to the delegation.

The lure to Israel was underscored by Israel’s Cyber Security ecosystem that has become a hotbed for cutting edge innovation in the global market. From dealing with a continued existential homeland security threat to the protection of infrastructure and commerce, Israeli companies have stepped up to the challenge of the increased need for advanced solutions for information security threats that are becoming ever more sophisticated and damaging to companies and the economy.

The delegation is participating at the CyberTech International Conference in Tel Aviv on March 24-25 where several of the group’s members are featured in keynotes and on panels.  The Georgia group is also being hosted for meetings and briefings in the Tel Aviv area by Verint, RSA Israel, The Time incubator, RAD Group, and Sasa Software.  A day-long visit to Beer Sheva is set to meet with Ben-Gurion University, Gav-Yam Technology Park, and CyberSpark. The group will also travel to Atlanta’s official sister city in Israel, Ra’anana, where they will receive briefings at the Amdocs / AT&T Israel Foundry and NCR Israel (Retalix). There will be a meeting with the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce and a luncheon hosted by The Coca-Cola Company’s innovative accelerator, The Bridge.  The group will also be hosted for a luncheon briefing by Credorax, an Israeli financial technology company that recently announced plans to establish a major business center in Atlanta.

In my pre-mission discussions with Conexx’s COO Guy Tessler and Ronen Kenan who represents the Georgia Department of Economic Development in Israel, I came away deeply impressed with the large size and quality of the delegation members and the enthusiastic reception they are getting in Israel this week by government and industry.  With the expectation of rubbing shoulders with Israeli leaders and meeting innovative Israeli start ups, they believe that Georgia will have firmly established itself as a top destination for Israel-based companies that are innovating in cyber security.

Having organized many Southeast delegations to Israel over the years, I believe in the formula that by successfully recruiting top U.S. decision makers, real business with Israel is more than an expectation—it’s a sure thing.   I wish the Georgia delegation a great week, and look forward to sharing reports on the success of this mission in future blogs.