International Advertising Association India Chapter (IAA) kicked off the week-long IAA CEOs Tour to Israel on Sunday. The delegation from India led by Neeraj Roy, President of IAA’s India Chapter and Founder & MD, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment is on a tour of Israel to engage with leading Israeli start-ups in the field of technology and media.
Before flying to Tel Aviv on Saturday, Roy gave us a lowdown on what he hopes to achieve from this trip. Edited excerpts:
What is the purpose of this tour?
Since I took over as the president of the IAA it was fairly evident to me that we needed to bring in and infuse a strong element of technology into every aspect of what we do across industries. The purpose of this visit is to connect with as many media tech, ad tech and retail tech companies. We are also looking at the various happenings in the field of VR. There is a stronger theme centred around media, advertising etc. but we have not consciously restricted our interactions to companies only in those areas. This plan for the tour was initiated 3–4 months ago.
What kind of companies will you be meeting with in Israel?
There is a range of companies that we have lined up, around 20–25 companies. We wanted to look at areas like VR and innovations around content as a big theme. We are also looking at a theme around Internet of Things that will link to the Smart Cities programme. Some of the companies we are meeting are: Lumos Global (solar power technology), Mobileye (global leader in autonomous driving technology), Curio (immersive publishing platform provider), Nanorep (virtual assistant and chatbot solutions) and Playbuzz (publishing platform).
What else will the delegation be doing other than meeting companies?
We also have an India-Israel Media Summit on July 24 in Tel Aviv. Around 300 Israeli start-ups have signed up to attend this summit. Normally, when these tours happen we tend to restrict ourselves to meeting companies. I was very keen that we establish a certain kind of continuity. That is why we have planned the media summit. We want to do this with a certain periodicity given the interest that emanates from the tour.
What, according to you, will the delegates gain from this tour?
An element of basic learning is one of the primary objectives. Emanating from that, there is bound to be a broader business opportunity that’s going to flow through. The India Israel Chamber of Commerce will be present at the media summit. Several other cross border chambers have come forward such as incubators in Israel, OurCrowd (a crowdfunding platform). The fact is that India is a tremendously opportune market for Israel. Whether it is big data analytics, innovation across ad-tech and media-tech, innovation with drones - Israel is at the forefront of these innovations. India is going to be a very large consumer of these innovations. Our delegates don’t come from just the media and advertising industry. All the knowledge gathered will flow back into the 25–30 industries they cater to; from healthcare to retail and automobiles to pharmaceuticals. We hope that this sets off conversations for them.
Why Israel—how is this going to be different from the past IAA tours?
If you take the vision of start-up India or digital India; essentially leveraging digital technology in every aspect of our lives and helping the nation leapfrog, it becomes essential to imbibe the start-up culture. As far as that is concerned, Israel is pretty much the start-up capital of the world. The objective here is not just for some solution but for businesses to understand what is out there and what kind of disruption is taking place. The major learning will be about how to incubate a start-up culture within their organisation to effect change. In the early days, trips to places like Silicon Valley were just exposure trips, whereas here we are hoping for a deeper level of understanding which can then come back and help in implementation.
Can we hope for an Israeli delegation to visit India for a similar tour?
We hope that we will be able to enthuse upon them to have our counterparts from the Israel companies to visit us. It would certainly be something that I would like to see happen.