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October 16, 2013 2:46 pm

Facebook VP on Onavo Buy: ‘Amazed’ by Talent in Israel

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Nicola Mendolsohn, Facebook VP, and Israeli President Shimon Peres, on October 16, 2013. Photo: Yosef Avi Yair Engel / Office of the President.

Nicola Mendolsohn, Facebook VP, and Israeli President Shimon Peres, on October 16, 2013. Photo: Yosef Avi Yair Engel / Office of the President.

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the social media company was “amazed” by the talent resources in Israel, which is why it acquired Israel’s Onavo on Monday for some $150 million and announced plans to build its first overseas research and development center in Tel Aviv.

In a formal meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres, Mendelsohn said, “Facebook was amazed by the amount of talent in such a small country like Israel. It was a momentous decision for Facebook to open its first R&D center outside the US. We chose Israel in the knowledge that the best talent is found here.”

Onavo, the Israeli company that we acquired with all its know-how in data compression, will help Facebook achieve its vision of linking the largest number of users possible in the world, including, of course, Africa and the Middle East,” she said. “We are waiting impatiently for the establishment of the Facebook Israel team in the coming months and years.”

In response, President Peres thanked Facebook “for its significant investment” and called upon the company “to continue to invest in Israeli companies.”

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“The creation of a Facebook research and development center in Israel will contribute significantly to Facebook – the lack of natural resources in Israel led to the development of great minds instead which built Israel’s successful high-tech sector,” he said, according to Israel’s Globes business daily.

Asked how other countries could emulate Israel’s technological and development achievements, the Israeli president said, “Israelis always strive to learn, investigate, and break borders. Israeli Chutzpah does not rest, entrepreneurship is in our DNA.”

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