Heard in the Valley

Signals and Noise


UNDER PRESSURE – Israel, or “Startup Nation” as it’s sometimes called, is buzzing from two recent news stories about bigtime investments in the expanding semiconductor manufacturing sector along Israel’s west coast. It’s another sign of the intense tech rivalry wearing away the Silicon mystique along Highway 101.

CHIPS ARE UP – In the first, chipmaker Intel is reportedly offering $6 billion to buy Mellanox Technologies, designer of integrated circuits and systems for the server and telecom markets. Like a lot of companies, fabless chipmaker Mellonox postures itself as a Silicon Valley denizen, but its technology center is in Yokne’am. Israel, and its chips are produced by Taiwan Semiconductor. This news comes just a little over a month after it was reported that Microsoft has been shopping around the chip maker In the second Intel confirmed plans to expand its fabrication facilities in Israel, investing what local ministers claim is around $11 billion to upgrade its Kiryat Gat fab, which includes a $1 billion government subsidy.

SILICON SCREEN – These days ‘Silicon’ is something of a misnomer for the eponymous Valley with virtually no chip making done there. The outsourcing of manufacturing from the valley has led to a complex web of cross-ownership and supply chain agreements that give shape to what we call The Next Silicon Valley. As reported earlier, Santa Clara-based Advanced Micro Devices. recently renewed a major semiconductor wafer supply agreement with GlobalFoundries, based in Tech Valley New York. GlobalFoundries is actually owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned subsidiary Advanced Technology Investment Company.


AMAZONIAN ANGSTAmazon’s plans to build a new headquarters campus in NYC has turned into a headache for the city and the retail giant. Instead of thanks for 25,000 planned jobs, Amazon has been met with “sustained public outcry over the size of deal’s tax incentives,” said to be $2 billion. Amazon’s foes note the irony of subsidizing one of the world’s richest companies, as the new headquarters has become a flashpoint in the debate over the growing power of Big Tech.


GRANNY TECH – What’s the next big thing in technology disruption? Where are the next big tech-hub opportunities? Take a look at granny and grandpa. According to this article in Forbes, Age-Tech, a sector comprised of digitally-enabled services for the elderly, is already seeing an increase in venture capital activity at the intersection of longevity and technology.

TECH PRESCRIPTIONS – Services in this sector include things like creating mobile access to ride-sharing. Another example? Pill-Pack, a company recently acquired by Amazon for $1 Billion that assembles all your medications and delivers them in a package designed to avoid errors. The sector has attracted big time venture capital investments, with Nauta Capital, a pan-European Venture Capital firm investing in early-stage technology companies has already seen an exit and return on its investment in Great Call, a mobile wellness services company which was recently acquired by Best Buy for $800M, said to be Best Buy’s largest acquisition ever. According to one estimate, the global aging economy is a $17 Trillion business, with the global digital economy is around 8% of global GDP.

WHAT’S HOT? – Potential Age-Tech innovation hubs around the world include Japan as well as the Netherlands and Scandinavia. The UK is also said to be well placed to become a global hub for Age-Tech, sitting at the intersection of the $20 Trillion European economy and the $25 Trillion Anglo sector. Also on the list are London, Madrid, and Paris, as well as mid-size cities such as Newcastle, Valencia and Lyon. Young, hip, Silicon Valley millenials and their VCs might not lead the technology charge here, but the governor of Massachusetts, an experienced executive and VC, is gunning for his state to become the  “Silicon Valley for Age-Tech”“.
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