Israeli attendees at Supercomm 2002 underlined the importance of new and existing sales operations for their companies in the United States.  Approximately 40 Israeli firms attended the information technology and telecom tradeshow, held last week at the Georgia World Congress Center.

            “Management must be where the market is,” said Nachman Shelef, a partner with Menlo Park, Calif.-based Benchmark Capital Inc., during a panel discussion at the conference, June 5.  Increasingly, Israeli firms are concentrating research and development, often based on military technology, in Israel, while focusing sales and management operations in the U.S., the country’s largest customer market, he said.

            Panelists stipulated that, while violence in the Middle East had slowed business travel to Israel and scared off some investors, it had not had a major negative effect on Israel’s IT and telecom companies.

            As an example, Leonard Rosen, New York-based managing director of Lehman Brothers Inc. financial services firm, recounted a conversation with the CEO of an Israel-based IT company who said he had lost more company man-hours to snow-days at their U.S. location in Massachusetts than to terrorist attacks in Israel.

            John Ryan, a chief analyst with South San Francisco, Calif.-based RHK Inc., a telecom market analysis and research firm, said areas of growth in the U.S. for Israeli firms post 9/11 include the IT security arena, largely a byproduct of the country’s military technology expertise.

            A Norcross-based biosciences firm, Given Imaging Inc., developed an intestinal diagnostics tool that was also inspired by military technology, specifically guided missile research, Mr. Rosen said.  The company is one of two Israeli firms that have had initial public offerings since Sept. 11, he said.

            For additional information, contact the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta at (404) 843-9426