18Hubs in the Startup Nation

Research Partnership with Technion University


18Hubs recently launched a research partnership with Technion University in Tel Aviv to scale its data management capabilities. This agreement continues Havas’ successful relationship with Technion in the data space. MFG Labs, a Havas brand of applied mathematics and data science specialists, is working with Technion on a research program focusing on machine learning, natural language processing and their application to real world data and large-scale systems.

The following interview with Frederic Josue, Head of 18Hubs and Global Executive Advisor at Havas Media Group, highlights some of 18’s unique structures and capabilities.


We know that 18Hubs, Havas’ innovation branch has offices in only 4 cities in the world. What reasons made Israel one of these 4 places?

18Hubs stands for 18 months in advance. Each 18Hubs office is in one of the world’s centers of innovation.

We know Israel as the “startup nation” but what many people don’t know is everything that actually happens behind this name. Israel is made up of much more than startups that have gone mainstream.

Havas has been aware of developments coming out of Israel like ICQ; which launched instant messaging and Taboola and Outbrain; who are the pioneers of native advertising. But this focus on the startups was not enough for us. With 18Hubs we took a different approach.

By partnering with Technion, one of the world’s best technological universities, we gained access to the technical expertise that has made Israel so famous. Our local 18Hubs manager, Doron Tal, founder of Israel’s first digital agency, has given us access to deeply rooted local experts so that we can identify startups in their early stages. The mix of applied university research and the uncovering of the newest start-ups with local teams allows Havas to bring out the true potential of the Israeli ecosystem to provide significant advantages for its clients.

Can you tell us about the collaboration that Havas will run with Technion and what are the advantages that this institute has to offer you?

18Hubs partners with universities in the three innovation hubs that it is present in. In Los Angeles we have a partnership with UCLA about the Future of Storytelling where we have built an expertise on VR, with USC we have created original research (such as Fans. Passions. Brands). and in Seoul we partnered with Seoul National University (SNU) and KAIST who supported us with the Paris based conference Meet The Data and our Organic Marketing research. Each partnership gives Havas access to the latest research and insights from the four pillars that 18Hubs is focused on: cultural industries, media, technology and data science.

The partnership with the Technion is a perfect fit for 18Hubs. It is one of the world’s premier technological universities and it’s an honour to be working with them. Our first research program will work alongside Havas teams at MFG Labs, a data science and applied mathematics startup now owned by Havas. The topics of the research will focus on machine learning and natural language processing.

The advertising industry has undergone significant shifts. The explosion of data has made it necessary for us to gain technical expertise that puts Havas at the forefront of the industry as an innovation actor and allows us to further improve our offerings for our clients.

With the support of Havas CEO and Chairman, Yannick Bollore, the partnership with Technion is becoming an additional value proposition for Havas clients and is putting Havas at the front of the industry.

Is there a business model for this collaboration and do you think you can monetise the things that will be developed under this venture?

When completed the research with Technion will become part of one of Havas Media Group’s existing offerings, the Meta DSP. Ad exchange platforms now allow online media transactions through automated and algorithmic processes. New planning and buying processes have arisen, for example auction based, real-time and data driven approaches. New trading support tools have been developed, such as Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) which over the past few years have boomed. The Meta DSP is our proprietary algorithmic solution that permits advertisers to operate across all of these different DSPs.

The research at Technion will help to further improve our offering to clients and help us to continue to push the industry forward.

Does Havas has a past experience with Israeli technology?

15 years ago, at the beginning of the online advertising era, Havas owned one of the founding and largest digital agency in Israel. Today we are looking into more hard-core technology projects that we can utilise for our client’s needs.

What do you, as the global innovation CEO of Havas, look for from working in Israel?

In terms of innovation there is so much happening in Israel. What we look for the solutions that are 18 months ahead of the industry –with the aim of integrating them into our offerings.

Applied research is a key part of this as it has the power to unlock solutions that are unavailable anywhere else.

This interview was first published on the Israeli marketing website ice.co.il

Follow our journey at @18Hubs on Twitter or visit our website at 18hubs.io

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