Facebook expands in Israel
Facebook Israel will be hiring 30 new R&D, and ten marketing employees, its local team has announced. The new staff join the 55 development personnel and 20 sales and business development personnel already working for Facebook in Israel.
The announcement by Facebook Israel development centre general manager Roy Tiger and country general manager Adi Soffer-Teeni comes 18 months after the social-networking giant acquired local startup Onavo for $120 million and made it its Israel R&D centre.
Roy Tiger among other things manages an Israeli team involved in Facebook's internet.org project aimed at connecting five billion people, or two thirds of the world’s population, to the internet. “I’m very happy to say that nearly seven million people used cellular Internet for the first time in their lives because of this service,” he said.
He also spoke about Safety Check, a tool that can help survivors in disaster areas let loved ones and authorities know whether they are all right. It was successfully used in the recent Hurricane Pam in the Asian Pacific region, he said.
Soffer-Teeni talked about one outcome of Facebook’s desire to teach players in the Israeli market like startups, advertising agencies, and SMEs how to make better use of Facebook. The company decided, she said, to establish GYM - a special operation of Facebook Israel aimed at training users in Facebook's tools and platforms. "I believe that other countries around the world will adopt the unique idea devised by our team here," she added.
Nybl: Saudi Startup to Expand AI Solutions
According to co-founder Nour Alnahhas, nybl was formed for the greater good. A visual data mining and machine learning platform, the platform will help organisations streamline their operations. ‘We wanted to centralise our vision around AI and machine learning’, said Alnahhas. ‘Something not just for profit, but added value. Conscious capitalism’.
Nybl aims to democratise artificial intelligence by making it possible for anyone to build an AI solution. What website builders like Wix and Squarespace did for site design, nybl will do for AI—allowing even non-coders to feel comfortable creating solutions. In fact, Alnahhas calls it a ‘Shopify of AI’, or a third-party platform that helps businesses deliver better service.
With hubs in Kuwait, the UAE, North America, and India, nybl is focused on launching operations in Saudi Arabia, Alnahhas’s home country. When the company first launched, it was difficult to convince Saudi Arabian businesses to work with a startup. Yet now, nybl has proven itself. ‘We had support in the UAE, so now we’re coming back’, said Alnahhas.
Alnahhas has launched a pilot with Saudi Aramco and has slowly built partnerships with paper, heating, HVAC air conditioning, and manufacturing companies. In addition, the Saudi government has started to invest in the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Data and AI, which means that nbyl, as a tech startup, has finally gained credibility.
No War for Talent
One of the most critical parts of nybl’s expansion will be hiring the right individuals. Thankfully, there’s a current surplus of talented researchers, developers, and data scientists within the Kingdom. Like nybl’s Alnahhas—educated at the University of Houston, the Wharton School of Business, and INSEAD— many Saudi Arabians have benefited from government-sponsored education abroad.
Last year, Saudi Arabia signed several partnerships with tech firms to advance the Kingdom’s skills in artificial intelligence. ‘It’s exciting to be in Saudi Arabia where there’s alignment and support’, Alnahhas concluded. ‘You’re getting an increasing talent pool. And even old and big family conglomerates are finally changing to use AI’.