Intel, the chip-making dynamo with a massive operation in Israel, continues to grow: The company reports it will be hiring 1,400 new workers in Israel by year’s end. The fresh crop of employees will join the 8,100 already working for Intel in Israel, according to statistics in the company’s corporate responsibility report, which was published this past week. The report, which lays out Intel’s goals in the field of employment, notes that women make up 22 percent of Intel’s work force in Israel and 30 percent of its high-level management in Israel as well.

Intel also reported that 65 Arab employees joined the company in 2011. The company also employs more than 100 Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in Jerusalem, including dozens of Haredi women who are part of an outsourcing project of software inspection in Intel Jerusalem. Intel added that it had begun a campaign to hire team leaders aged 45 and up for its production department, and also started a partnership with the Israel Defense Force to hire retired career soldiers, also of a certain age.

While the Israeli high-tech industry continues to buzz with activity for large international firms such as Intel, Microsoft, Google and Apple, it is also home of thousands of start-ups.

According to current estimates, there are between 3,500 and 5,000 bootstrapping new tech ventures in Israel. Last April, Tel Aviv took fifth on a list of recommended cities worldwide for establishing a start-up, scooting in just behind Silicon Valley, New York, Toronto and London.

The day the music died

For one of the companies on Lang's map, this week meant the closing of doors. Loudlee, an online music program, had to turn off the dial when it couldn't produce an ongoing cash flow. “We’re sorry to announce it is the end of the road for Loudlee and it is time to say goodbye,” Loudlee announced on its Facebook page. “Thank you for playing, listening, sharing, and joining us on this journey – it’s been one hell of a ride for us and we hope you have enjoyed it just as much.”

Loudlee was established last March by Yaron Revah and Guy Elharar. Revah was one of the founders of the storage systems start-up XIV, which was sold to IBM in 2008. Loudlee offered its users the option to listen to music for free, culling songs from YouTube and Facebook. Its business model was based on private funding.

Buffer buffs up in Tel Aviv

One of the new companies gallivanting around Tel Aviv these days is Buffer, a social media sharing program which isn't native-born but is nevertheless enjoying its time in the Holy Land.

Buffer is a wandering start-up with plenty of stamps in its high-tech passport. Tel Aviv is the fourth city where its British and Austrian owners have set up shop.
Buffer arrived in Tel Aviv after stings in Sheffield, San Francisco and Hong Kong, and its savvy team plans to spend three months in the White City before returning to the Golden Gate. With a boost from the IDC Elevator program, a funding and support network operated by the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya academic center, they've settled into temporary offices and gotten down to business.

It was necessity – visa issues, in fact – that turned Buffer's team into nomads, but now that they've spent some time wandering they say standing out has helped them immensely. They chose Tel Aviv, they say, because of its intense concentration of start-up activity. And the nearly year-round sunshine, they add, doesn't hurt either.

“If high-tech entrepreneurs are looking for a place to work and settle down but can’t move to New York or San Francisco, I’d recommend Tel Aviv," said Joel Gascoigne, one of the founders of Buffer. "I definitely wouldn’t recommend London, which has awful weather.”

“In Israel, because the local market is small, the thinking is global, which is very healthy,” Gascoigne says," he adds. “Like in San Francisco, the ecosystem here is very good. We found something in Tel Aviv that we also found in San Francisco – the possibility of discovering things by accident, while you’re walking on the street or sitting in a café. Every moment, you meet other entrepreneurs and you can tell them about your start-up and get feedback. Tel Aviv’s got it."

Buffer’s founders chose their workplace, which is near Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, with the help of MappedinIsrael (www.mappedinisrael.com), a website developed by Ben Lang, an American-Israeli currently serving in the IDF. His map shows the intense concentration of companies around one of Tel Aviv's most historic boulevard. We wrote about it in an earlier installment.