Zoom Sets Up Offices in Israel, Eyeing Big Local Customers

Zoom, which has a staff in Israel of just 3, is interested in expanding its operations to get more large Israeli firms to pay for their video-conferencing tech

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A life drawing class for art students over a Zoom internet livestream due to social gathering restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
A class for art students over Zoom, illustration. Credit: Loren Elliott/ REUTERS
Sagi Cohen
Sagi Cohen

The California-based videoconference technology firm Zoom set up a sales, marketing and support office in Israel several months ago aimed at expanding the company’s business among large customers, TheMarker has learned. 

The Israeli office is part of an effort by Zoom to increase its presence in Israel, particularly among major business clients but also among financial institutions and government entities. At this point, the Israeli office has a staff of just three people, including Alma Kantz and Rafi Shaltiel, who were recruited from Cisco Systems.

Zoom’s office is in addition to two official distributors, Touch Conference and Naotech, which are authorized to sell Zoom licenses and to provide installation and support services. 

Bigger clients 

Although individual and small group users can register to use Zoom on their own, generally large organizations require support and assistance from the company. Up to now, small and medium-sized Israeli businesses have been provided support services from Zoom’s office in Amsterdam, but the company concluded that it needed to set up an office in Israel targeting major businesses, most of which have traditionally been using conferencing systems such as Cisco’s Webex or Microsoft’s Teams.

Large companies have complicated needs when it comes to information security, adapting the system to existing corporate infrastructure and advanced features such as company chat technology and cloud-based telephone services. Such companies also may need to be able to link to existing video-conference systems in their conference rooms as well as pricing plans that are adapted to their needs.

This April 18, 2019, file photo shows a sign for Zoom Video Communications ahead of the company's Nasdaq IPO in New York.Credit: Mark Lennihan,AP

One of the factors motivating Zoom to have a presence in Israel is the warm reception that Israel has received from the company’s management. One of Zoom’s top executives, its chief product officer, Oded Gal, is Israeli, and he has been closely involved in the company’s operations here.

Of course, Zoom has been one of the major corporate beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic and its name has become nearly synonymous with videoconferencing in an era of social distancing. In August, the firm reported a 355% jump in its 2nd quarter revenues. According to analysts, the company had an average of 148 million monthly users during the quarter – up a whopping 4,700% over the period last year.

Israelis have been part of that wave of popularity in the use of Zoom, where it has been used by the educational system in addition to a wide range of other users. Countless small businesses have made use of Zoom, for instructional purposes and lectures for example, but many of them use Zoom’s free video-conferencing version or the basic paid version. 

From Zoom’s perspective, the more profitable type of potential clients that it is seeking to attract is the large organization with hundreds or thousands of employees. It is therefore targeting that sector in Israel and around the world. 

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