“Startups Should Take Advantage Of Working With Corporates”, Says Altair’s Sergi Chanukaev

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We spoke to Altair’s Country Manager for Israel, Sergi Chanukaev, about opportunities and challenges in the local startup scene and how Altair addresses them through its Startup Program.

Sergi Chanukaev, Altair Country Manager for Israel

Sergi Chanukaev, Altair Country Manager for Israel

Sergi, you have been involved in Israel’s startup scene for some years now – what is your main focus? How does Altair come into play?

Israel is well known for its vibrant startup community and culture. As Altair, we mainly focus on areas in which we have a globally established presence and deep domain expertise. So, we work with startups with innovative ideas in the fields of engineering, data intelligence, and IoT. This extends to applications and solutions in mechanical and electric engineering, electronics, semiconductors, industry 4.0, AI, BI, big data, and more.

We actively work with several startup hubs to hand pick the top ideas and startups which join Altair’s Startup Program. Through this program, we provide the engineers with everything they need to be able to design, explore and innovate on the road to success. Many of the Israeli entrepreneurs, already as students, start forming and investigating their ideas. It is important for us to help them build their ideas and we have created several student programs which through cooperation with Universities and close work with student teams, allows them, with the right tools and guidance, to learn and explore.

Israel is widely seen as a “startup nation”; why do you think that is? How active is the scene?

Israel has an extremely dynamic and active startup scene, driven by the Israeli mentality and state of mind. A rare Israeli would look at something and not think ”I can do it better” – which leads to many of them actually trying to make it better and some greatly succeeding in it. This success and mentality attracts a lot of funding that is being poured into the Israeli startup community.

Which industries are you seeing as popular for startups in the region?

The main domains are cyber security, data analytics, AI, BioTech, EDA, FinTech, robotics, green energy and many, many more.

In the past years, we have seen solutions for the automotive industry. There is a lot going on in terms of autonomous and self-driving cars, with technologies ranging from sensors, cyber security, and communication to data transfer and artificial intelligence. Just recently, Intel acquired Mobileye, a company that develops vision-based advanced driver assistance systems that provides warnings for collision prevention and mitigation.

How does it affect startups when they work with corporates? What are the benefits for startups to work with corporates?

Experience is a key factor in any success, and gathering that experience is always a challenge, and it is even a bigger challenge when we talk about short development timelines which are so common in startup environments. Corporates have accumulated experience over years and many of them, such as Altair for example, are willing to share that experience with young startup companies.

Another point would be the market presence and existing customer database. Altair, with a customer base of over 5.000 big customers, enables startups to expose and deliver their innovative idea to a huge potential market in an extremely effective way using our special Partners Program.

What are the challenges for startups in the region?

The biggest challenge is the market size. Israel is a small country with 8 million people, so for most startups, in order to succeed, it is critical to be able to reach the global market. The environment is quite competitive and most startups simply fail to grow.

Altair’s Startup Program helps young companies overcome these challenges. With the Program, you support companies from the manufacturing, automotive, and industry 4.0 sector, among others. What’s the main benefit for startups?

First, we have Altair’s innovation-driven simulation software package HyperWorks which includes market-leading Modeling and Simulation tools. We offer the startups a special price to access to our software so that they can easily conduct virtual experiments and design explorations in a fast and efficient way.

As part of the startup package, we also provide them with tailor-made consulting. Each startup is assigned a dedicated consultant with expertise in the specific startup domain. This ensures that years of engineering expertise accumulated by Altair’s specialists are benefiting the startup, providing them with knowledge, and helping them to scale.

Finally, we have a huge established network in the business world and we help to introduce them to our community of users – the startup’s potential future customers. Additionally, our global marketing team supports them with PR and marketing opportunities so that they can shine and succeed.

Which startups are you currently working with?

Griiip is a startup in the automotive industry developing racing cars. It is a very demanding field with each part of the car having to be optimally designed. With our software HyperWorks, the design process is much faster and more efficient, leading to significantly shorter production time, reduced cost of racing and a chance to explore new manufacturing possibilities.

CityTransformer is another automotive company, working on the first foldable electric car. It drives like a passenger car but parks like a motorcycle by shrinking the car’s wheelbase as it parks. This innovative idea sets a lot of engineering challenges that our top of the line simulations tools help to overcome.

MDGo combines the automotive and medical worlds creating a system which automatically alerts first responders and hospitals of accidents, and reports on potential injuries. Altair Radioss helps MDGo to conduct many crash simulations. These simulations can be handled in less time and at lower costs than physical crash tests. So they are able to cover multiple variants of crash configurations leading to more accurate injury predictions thereby saving lives on the road.

What’s your message for founders who are looking to accelerate their success?

Everything starts with building your team, focus on each and every hire and make sure that they are smart, passionate, have integrity, and fit the company culture.
Those first employees you hire will set the tone for the rest of the company’s life. You are in great shape if you hire high-quality people that fit your culture right from the start.

To take advantage of working with Altair, apply for the Startup Program.




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