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Oracle founder, chairman and CTO Larry Ellison. (Oracle photo)

Database giant and cloud contender Oracle has opened a cloud accelerator program in Tel Aviv, with the aim of helping startups that use cloud technology, according to Israeli press accounts.

The program will accept five startups for each six-month session, giving them free use of Oracle software and cloud services, work space, and access to mentoring and to Oracle’s customers, partners, investors and alums, said reports in The Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post. Registration has already begun. Candidates must have a well-defined target market and product roadmap and a team that has been in place at least six months.

Oracle launched its first startup cloud accelerator program in Bangalore, India, in April last year.

“Oracle understands that startups are at the heart of innovation, and through this program, we aim to give startups access to extensive resources and support when they need it most,” said Oracle product development senior VP Reggie Bradford at a press conference at Oracle’s offices in Petah Tikva, the Times of Israel reported.

Separately, Oracle already has an “excellence center” in Israel, set up in 2003 together with the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, to support the growth of early stage startups, according to the Times of Israel reported. Some 36 companies have already taken part in that program, with more than $150 million in estimated exits. Oracle also has a local R&D team there, with eight development centers.

Oracle is an old-guard database company that is moving strongly toward software as a service and aspires to dethrone market leader Amazon Web Services as a provider of infrastructure as a service.

Update: Oracle said Jan. 25 that it will open similar accelerator programs in Bristol, UK; Delhi and Mumbai, India; Paris; Sao Paulo; and Singapore.

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