May 2, 2018 | Microsoft’s venture arm, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), announced that two Israeli companies were among three winners of the first Innovative.AI competition and an “AI for Good” contest, with other honorees from North America and Europe. The winners got a combined $3.5 million in venture funding from M12, Madrona Venture Group, Notion Capital, and Vertex Ventures Israel, as well as $2 million in Azure credits. The competition invited companies to build and showcase their AI-powered technology. The company that won the Israel region was ZenCity, while Tel Aviv-based company VoiceITT nabbed the top post in the “AI For Good” contest. ZenCity, founded in June 2015 by Eyal Feder-Levy and Ido Ivri, uses artificial intelligence to analyze data conversations on social media, city hotlines, and other channels to search for trends in real time in order to improve the lives of citizens. The “AI For Good” prize, given to a company responsibly harnessing the promise of AI to impact the world, went to VoiceITT, founded in June 2012, which builds speech recognition tech. It can understand non-standard and dysarthric speech and assist people that suffer from cerebral palsy, autism, stroke, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease, according to the company. New York biotech firm Envisagenics won in North America for its integration of AI and RNA therapeutics to find new therapies, and London’s Hazy won in Europe for its use of AI to help businesses share data more securely.