Guest Post: Yair Ephrati

In my ongoing quest to understand the ins and outs of marketing and PR as comprehensively as possible, I often read what others have to say about how they are marketing their own products, services or causes.

I appreciate how others in my world approach their challenges, and reading about their situations certainly helps to strengthen my understanding and capabilities.

I recently received a nice piece, written by Yair Ephrati, director of the Tel Aviv office of the Fairfax County (Virginia) Economic Development Authority, where he outlines why many Israeli companies are choosing this Washington, DC-area county as their key US business hub. I found it interesting and informative. 

Enjoy …

High-tech execs recognize Fairfax County as the right place for Israeli firms
By Yair Ephrati

Executives from Israel-based cybersecurity and high-tech companies understand what makes Fairfax County, Virginia, the right place for right now.

There’s no better place to start than proximity to Washington, D.C., the entire East Coast of the United States and, effectively, the entire world, with three international airports within easy driving distance.

“Logistically, dealing with a team in Israel from the East Coast (of the U.S.) is much easier than being on the West Coast, both in terms of travel and time zone differences,” said Mike Myshrall, chief financial officer for Cyren, which specializes in cloud-based threat intelligence.

“Although Cyren is focused on commercial clients, there is obviously a large government and defense market in the Washington, D.C., area, and that is attractive to many companies.”

Equally attractive is the highly skilled workforce.

Surrounded by more than 60 colleges and universities in the region, Fairfax County is among the most highly educated in the world, with nearly 60 percent of adult residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher and more than 25,000 possessing a doctorate. A large portion of recent grads have benefited from on-the-job training and real world experience by working in the cybersecurity industry.

“We established Cyren’s U.S. headquarters in Tysons Corner (about 12 miles from Washington, D.C.) to be able to attract high quality employees from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia in order to execute our strategy,” Myshrall said. “We found that many D.C.-area tech employees, formerly focused on telecom and the Internet, are increasingly interested in working in cybersecurity.”

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) opened an office in Tel Aviv in 2005, making Fairfax the first U.S. county to open an economic development office in Israel. More than 30 Israeli firms, many of them in defense, homeland security or cyber-related fields, have a presence in Fairfax County. The FCEDA staff in Tel Aviv and in the U.S. works with dozens of Israeli companies every year to understand their specific needs when it comes to entering the U.S. market.

“Fairfax County, Virginia is an ideal location to start, develop, and scale high-tech businesses,” said Michael Southworth, general manager at Contact Solutions, a Verint company in the fast-growing community of Reston that is focused on personalizing customer assistance through advanced communications and applied intelligence.

“The location offers a business-friendly environment, access to the federal marketplace, superb infrastructure and skilled workforce, all of which serves as a backdrop to a healthy  technology ecosystem complete with leading VCs and private investors, attorneys  and countless networking opportunities.”

Beyond business, livability makes Fairfax County special for both employers and employees, providing unparalleled quality of life.

The thriving commercial community is supported by affordable, flexible and attractive real estate options, an outstanding school system and the unlimited cultural and recreational opportunities presented by more than 300,000 acres of county parkland with beach and mountain resorts nearby.

In June, the county hosted more than 400 at the Cybertech Fairfax conference. Originating in Israel, this was the first East Coast edition of the influential conference series. Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff was the keynote speaker, joined by dozens of cybersecurity thought leaders, many of them from Israel.

“Israel is clearly a global leader in developing cybersecurity technology, and the U.S. is a strategic market for all Israeli security companies,” Myshrall said.

The county encourages a wide variety of related technology firms. From general IT networking and software solutions, to hyperspectral imaging applications and unmanned aircraft technology, the scope of technology enterprises investing in Fairfax County has made it the regional hub for cybersecurity expertise, innovation and collaboration.

With the deep experience that both Fairfax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia have in welcoming Israeli companies, a holistic process has been developed to make the international transition as seamless as possible. The professionals at the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority are ready to help you and your business access new markets and succeed in the U.S.

Visit https://www.fairfaxcountyeda.org/our-global-presence/tel-aviv for more information about Fairfax County’s work in the Israeli market.

I hope you learned something from reading this piece. I did. Goel

About the Author
Goel Jasper is Managing Partner of Finn Partners Israel. He lives with his wife and children in a Jerusalem suburb.
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