Technology News – NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News http://nocamels.com NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:04:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This Compact, Foldable Lock Provides Elegant, Lightweight Protection For Your Bicycle http://nocamels.com/2016/12/foldylock-compact-foldable-bicycle-lock/ http://nocamels.com/2016/12/foldylock-compact-foldable-bicycle-lock/#respond Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:30:48 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49036

With hundreds of thousands of bicycles stolen every year, it’s important to keep your bike locked. But standard locks can be heavy, bulky, and hard to carry around.

Israeli startup Foldylock has developed a compact, foldable lock that has a slick design and is easy to carry. The creators of two previous innovative bike locks – including the ingenious invention Seatylock, a bicycle seat that turns into a lock, and the original Foldylock – Israelis Michael Shenkerman and Ilan Mor have come up with a new cyclist-friendly way to protect your bike.

Made out of six steel links, Foldylock Compact is strong yet flexible. It folds into a 19-centimeter “stick” that weighs only 1 kg. And, it easily straps onto your bicycle saddle while you’re on the go.

SEE ALSO: Seatylock: This Bicycle Saddle That Turns Into A Lock Is Sure To Win Over Cyclists

In just a couple of weeks, Foldylock Compact raised nearly $41,000 on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, quadrupling its goal of raising $10,000. One unit starts at $55. Mass production will begin in one month, with shipping expected in April 2017.

Foldylock creators claim that it is “both friendly to your bike’s paint job and protected against the elements – so it will maintain its fresh look for a very long time.” Constructed from rust-free components, “it is built to resist the most violent abuse, as well as to withstand extreme weather in the harshest environments.”

SEE ALSO: Foldylock: The Cool Bike Lock That Tripled Its Kickstarter Goal

When unfolded, it reaches 80 cm, long enough to lock your bike frame and one of the wheels to an external object. The Foldylock Compact case can be mounted to a bike frame using the bottle-holder fixing screws, or with the two straps provided by Foldylock. The case has a rattle-free mechanism to prevent your lock from shaking while riding, so you will enjoy a silent ride.

“This is a premium folding bike lock that features the perfect mix between protection, weight and design,” the company said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Bike-Stroller Combo ‘Taga’ Lets Parents Transport Kids The Green Way

foldylock

A $6 billion industry 

Bicycle use is on the rise. According to People For Bikes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving cycling in the US, over the past decade bike commuting grew by 47 percent nationwide, and by 73 percent in the largest cities.

Americans spend $6.1 billion on biking annually, which means Foldylock taps into a huge market. According to Shenkerman, “after we gave first samples for users to review, the reactions where astonishing, one of them loved it so much, he was sorry it was just his bike lock.”

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Photos and video: Courtesy

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Giant Online Payment Company PayPal, Israel’s Ben-Gurion University To Join Forces On R&D http://nocamels.com/2016/12/ben-gurion-university-paypal-collaboration/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:44:31 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49944 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and PayPal, the US company that operates an online payments system, said they would partner in joint research and development in the fields of big data, machine learning and cybersecurity. It is the first such collaboration between PayPal and an Israeli university, BGU said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Digital Payments Company Payoneer Raises $180M To Rival PayPal

The collaboration with BGU will further enable PayPal to use machine learning and big data for cybersecurity, fraud detection and risk management that will enable its 192 million customers worldwide to make safer payment transactions, Matan Parnes, PayPal’s general manager in Israel said in the statement.

SEE ALSO: BGU Researchers Announce A Revolutionary Alternative To Fuel

Ben-Gurion University campus

Ben-Gurion University’s campus, in the heart of Israel’s Negev desert

PayPal has been ratcheting up its activities in Israel. The US firm bought Israel’s Fraud Sciences in 2008 and has established a global risk and data sciences R&D center in Tel Aviv. After PayPal acquired Israeli startup CyActive in 2015, which was part of BGU’s incubator program, the company set up a global security products center in Beersheba’s Advanced Technologies Park, adjacent to BGU.

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Ben-Gurion University

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Teva To Market Syqe, The Revolutionary Medical Marijuana Inhaler Developed In Israel http://nocamels.com/2016/12/teva-markets-israeli-medical-marijuana-inhaler-syqe/ Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:24:22 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49745 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

In a world first, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical signed a distribution and cooperation agreement to market medical cannabis in an inhaler.

Under the agreement, Teva will be the exclusive marketer and distributor in Israel of an inhaler developed by Syqe Medical for the delivery of medical cannabis. The accord marks the first time that a major global pharma company has agreed to market a medical cannabis product, according to Syqe.

The Syqe inhaler has been used for more than a year at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital with the approval of Israel’s Health Ministry. This makes it the first hospital in the world to prescribe cannabis as a standard medical treatment.

As part of the agreement with Teva Israel, the Syqe inhaler is expected to receive Health Ministry approval for home use by next year.

SEE ALSO: Meet The ‘Designer’ Strains Of Marijuana Bred In Israel To Treat A Wide Range Of Illnesses

Israel’s reputation as a high-tech hub and a lax regulatory environment has allowed the startup nation to become a leader in cannabis technology, with dozens of local firms focusing on the medical field. The international medical cannabis market is forecast to be worth approximately $20 billion within a decade. About 1 percent of the global population are potential medical cannabis users at some point during their lifetime.

“A deep commitment to patients coping with pain” 

“Teva Israel is entering the field of medical cannabis out of a deep commitment to patients coping with pain, which is one of the company’s core therapeutic areas,” said Teva Israel CEO Avinoam Sapir, who also serves as Teva’s director for Africa and the Middle East, and as director of Innovation in Emerging Markets. “State-of-the-art technology and groundbreaking medical devices — such as those developed by Syqe Medical, and which generate tremendous therapeutic value for patients and medical staff alike — integrate perfectly into the strategy of Teva Israel.”

Health News - Study: Cannabis May Relieve Parkinson's Related Pain

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Meet The Coolest Israeli Companies On Wall Street http://nocamels.com/2016/12/israeli-technology-companies-wall-street/ http://nocamels.com/2016/12/israeli-technology-companies-wall-street/#respond Sun, 04 Dec 2016 11:53:35 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49365 Israel is the largest foreign presence on Wall Street following China and Canada. Some 70 Israeli companies are currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with many technology firms listed on NASDAQ.

“The level of Israeli equities listed on Wall Street is yet another example of Israeli innovation and the strong US-Israel relationship,” Daniella Rilov, executive director of the America-Israel Friendship League, said during a New York Stock Exchange event dedicated to Israel last month.

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Until recently, Israeli companies were often criticized for their eagerness to “sell out” quickly in pursuit of an early “exit,” instead of offering their shares to the public. But in recent years, Israel has seen dozens of its companies going public in Tel Aviv, London, New York and elsewhere in the world.

From web design to driverless cars, here are five of the coolest Israeli companies on Wall Street:

Mobileye

Making driving safer and potentially saving lives, Israeli company Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY) develops driver assistance technology to prevent accidents, but is also one of the major developers of autonomous car technologies. Its systems use video cameras and advanced algorithms to identify and respond to other vehicles, bends in the road, pedestrians and traffic signs, providing advanced warning for drivers and thereby preventing car accidents.

SEE ALSO: Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021

Most recently, Mobileye announced it will collaborate with car maker BMW and technology giant Intel to manufacture a driverless car by 2021.

Founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua, the Hebrew University professor who developed the technology, Mobileye raised nearly $1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, the largest-ever Israeli IPO. With a market cap of $8.5 billion, shares of Mobileye now trade for $39.

ReWalk

The brainchild of Dr. Amit Goffer, revolutionary exoskeleton ReWalk (NASDAQ: RWLK) enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs.

For individuals with spinal cord injuries, standing and walking around freely remains a dream. But using the exoskeleton walking device ReWalk, wheelchair-bound individuals are now able to move freely.

At the forefront of medical technology, ReWalk’s exoskeleton is powered by a computer and motion sensors that work together to mimic natural gait. The innovative system corrects itself to pick up slight changes in the user’s center of gravity; it can be adjusted to a functional walking speed; and even enables users to climb and descend staircases.

In 2012, one woman completed the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using ReWalk. And, in 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will provide ReWalk exoskeletons for eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries.

Founded by Goffer in 2001, ReWalk could soon make wheelchairs obsolete.

Caesarstone

Founded in 1987 by Israel’s Kibbutz Sdot Yam, Caesarstone (NASDAQ: CSTE) designs, engineers and manufactures stone surfaces. In recent years, it has become successful in the US luxury residential market, making Sdot Yam one of the richest kibbutzim in Israel.

In 2014, this kibbutz (a collective community traditionally based on agriculture) sold the majority stake of its Caesarstone’s shares to the public for $260 million, a hefty amount for its 400 members, who are now wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

With a market cap of over $1 billion, Caesarstone’s shares now trade for $29. The company has several manufacturing facilities in Israel and in the US.

SEE ALSO: A New Kibbutz? WeWork’s Urban Community WeLive Could Revolutionize City Living

Caesarstone pioneered the quartz surfaces, which consist of up to 93 percent quartz (a mineral found in nature). According to the company, this type of surface retains “the cool tactile qualities of nature’s strong stones, while offering freedom of design with enormous application possibilities, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, flooring, wall paneling, furniture and more.”

While Caesarstone’s products are highly functional, their stunning designs have become widely popular among upscale interior designers around the world.

Caesarstone

Wix

Until recently, creating a website was a skillful task reserved for professional designers and web masters. But since Israeli company Wix launched its do-it-yourself platform a couple of years ago, anybody can create and publish their own websites, with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tools and stunning templates.

Since the basic design (and domain name) package is free, 94 million small businesses (including hotels and restaurants) and individuals around the world are using Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) to build and maintain their web and mobile sites. With a market cap of $2.2 billion, Wix’s shares trade for $51 on NASDAQ.

The company was founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan on the belief that the internet should be accessible to everyone to develop, create and contribute. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, with additional offices across Israel, Europe and the US.

Mazor Robotics

Mazor Robotics’ guidance systems enable surgeons to conduct spine and brain procedures in a precise manner.

Founded in 2001, the company’s intuitive interface helps surgeons plan operations in a virtual 3D environment, creating a surgical blueprint for better accuracy.

The story of Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ: MZOR) began at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The company was officially founded by Prof. Moshe Shoham and Mr. Eli Zehavi, but the work had begun years earlier with Shoham, the head of the Robotics Laboratory at the Technion, conducting research to develop a new and innovative platform for surgery.

Photos and videos: Rafael Matsunaga, Wix, ReWalk, Mobileye, Caesarstone

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Israeli Video Startup Magisto Leads Deloitte’s Fast50 Tech Ranking http://nocamels.com/2016/12/deloitte-israel-fast50-tech-ranking-magisto/ Sun, 04 Dec 2016 11:26:45 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49724 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Magisto, AnyClip, Taboola, Crossrider and Trax top Deloitte’s Israel Technology Fast 50 ranking for 2016, which lists the country’s fastest-growing technology companies, both private and public, based on their percentage of revenue growth over the last four years.

With a growth of more than 8,000 percent in the 2012-2015 period, Magisto has created an artificial intelligence-driven platform that allows users to produce polished, professional-looking video presentations using clips uploaded from their computers or smartphones.

magisto

Using algorithms developed by the company, the app analyzes the clips, looking for similarities in faces, scenarios, emotions, topics, locations, continuity, and more, and assembles them into a single “story,” correcting for color, focus, and other video basics. The app even suggests music appropriate to the video, and synchronizes it to the audio in the clips (lowering the music when people are talking, and increasing the volume at a particularly emotional moment).

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger Incorporates Slick Israeli Video App ‘Magisto’

AnyClip, with a growth of 5,142 percent in the four-year period, has created a personalized, content-driven video advertising platform. AnyClip partners with content producers and owners to develop, curate and distribute their content for websites, devices, smartphones. The company’s search engine can find almost any clip in thousands of movies, providing advertisers, video and film producers, music video directors and others with just the right clip to highlight their scene, product or musical composition.

With a growth of 4,268 percent in the past four years, Taboola is best-known for its “you may also be interested in” technology, which is present on innumerable web content pages. The system is used to drive traffic from one site to another, or to keep readers on a site by offering them more of what they came for. Using advanced intelligence techniques based on hundreds of metrics, Taboola determines what content will be most interesting to a reader, and presents links that, site owners hope, will garner more clicks for a site or a network.

Crossrider, which has grown 3,493 percent in the past four years, provides technology for the development of browser extensions. The company was sold to e-commerce company Market.com for $37 million in 2012.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Israel’s Check Point Reveals: More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Infected By ‘Gooligan’ Malware http://nocamels.com/2016/12/check-point-google-hack-gooligan/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:32:59 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49788 Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point has revealed that more than 1 million Google accounts were hacked in recent months, with 13,000 Android smartphones and other mobile devices infected every day.

Considered one of the largest security breaches in history, the “Gooligan” virus breaks into Google services such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive and more, gaining access to emails, files and photos.

SEE ALSO: Can Hackers Stalk You On Google’s Popular Navigation App Waze?

mobile hacking

“The theft of 1 million Google account details is very alarming, and represents the next stage of cyber-attacks”

Check Point Software Technologies says the new malware, named Gooligan, roots Android devices and steals email addresses and authentication tokens stored on them. With this information, attackers can access users’ sensitive data from Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive and G Suite (the company’s solution for enterprises).

“This theft of over a million Google account details is very alarming and represents the next stage of cyber-attacks,” Michael Shaulov, Check Point’s head of mobile products, said in a statement. “We are seeing a shift in the strategy of hackers, who are now targeting mobile devices in order to obtain the sensitive information that is stored on them.”

SEE ALSO: Fan-tastic Hacking: Israeli Researchers Hack Into Computers By Listening To Their Fans

Gooligan virus

Gooligan targets devices on Android 4 (Jelly Bean, KitKat) and 5 (Lollipop), which represent nearly 74 percent of Android devices in use today. The infection begins when a user downloads and installs a Gooligan-infected app on a vulnerable Android device, or by clicking on malicious links in phishing attack messages.

“After attackers gain control over the device, they generate revenue by fraudulently installing apps from Google Play and rating them on behalf of the victim,” Check Point says.

Every day, Gooligan installs at least 30,000 apps on breached devices – or, more than 2 million apps since the malware was first traced a couple of months ago.

Check Point has reached out to the Google security team with information on this malware. According to Check Point and Google, Google has already taken steps to protect users, and improve the security of the Android ecosystem.

Of the infected Android devices, 57 percent are located in Asia, 19 percent in the Americas, 15 percent in Africa, and about 9 percent in Europe. Hundreds of the exposed email addresses are associated with enterprises around the world.

android phone

Founded in 1993 by Gil Schwed, Marius Nacht and Shlomo Kramer, Check Point went public in 1996. Its current market cap is $14.4 billion, and it shares trade for $83.

Considered one of the world’s cyber-security companies, Check Point provides solutions that protect customers from cyber-attacks, including malware and other types of threats. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations around the globe.

To check whether your Google account has been breached, visit this free online tool, and plug in your email address. If your account has been hacked, a clean installation of an operating system on your mobile device is required. Says Shaulov: “This complex process is called flashing, and we recommend powering off your device, and approaching a certified technician or your mobile service provider, to re-flash your device.”

Cybersecurity israel

Photos and infographics: Courtesy

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Israeli Startups Take Major Medical Competition By Storm, Win Top Three Awards http://nocamels.com/2016/11/medical-startups-medica-app-awards/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:23:59 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49760 Three Israeli medical startups – UpRight, Biop Medical and TytoCare – have won the top awards at the fifth annual MEDICA App Competition for Best Medical Mobile Solution. Held in Dusseldorf, Germany, earlier this month, the competition was part of one of the world’s largest medical trade fairs, which attracted over 5,000 exhibitors from 70 countries.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Top Israeli Startups Revolutionizing Everyday Healthcare

Of the 15 startups that made it to the final round of the competition, nine were from Israel. Each team had three minutes to pitch their mobile solution, followed by one minute for questions from the judges. Finally, after all the presentations were completed, the judges deliberated and chose the top three winners.

UpRight's team receiving the award

UpRight’s team receiving the award

UpRight: No more slouching

The first place, along with a €2,000 prize, went to UpRight, an app and a wearable device that help correct your posture. Founded in 2012 by Oded Cohen and Ori Fruhauf, UpRight’s discrete wearable device attaches to your lower back (under your shirt) and trains you to stand and sit upright. Every time you slouch, it gently vibrates, reminding you to correct your posture.

“We have a new Android app, improved features, and you can now finally find UpRight in retail stores in San Francisco and New York City,” Fruhauf tells NoCamels.

The company has so far raised $3 million from investors.

Biop Medical: Detecting cervical cancer

Biop Medical was awarded the second place, along with a €1,000 prize, for its innovative point-of-care testing device for the early diagnosis of cervical cancer, one of the most frequently occurring malignant tumors in women worldwide. The test is based on the notion that the characteristics of healthy and diseased tissue can be distinguished from each other optically, by using an automated system.

Biop’s optical device, which is pending an FDA approval, is used to view the cervix. The data are then analyzed on the IBM cloud using a special algorithm. The result is produced within minutes.

Founded in 2013 by CEO Ilan Landesman, BiopMedical is based in Netanya and has already raised $2.3 million from investors.

SEE ALSO: Israeli App Belong Helps Cancer Patients, Families Through Healing Process

TytoCare: Medical exams any time, anywhere

Third place, and a €500 prize, went to TytoCare, an Israeli startup that offers a telemedicine solution that enables virtual doctor’s visits and fairly comprehensive medical examinations to be carried out anywhere at any time.

Imagine you could skip the waiting time for a doctor’s appointment. TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which is able to detect and classify common diseases such as flu or ear infections. The kit includes a stethoscope, an otoscope and a computer-vision camera that helps the user diagnose the problem. In case a doctor is needed, the device can also be used to connect with a specialist for a remote consultation. The Tyto Stethoscope has already received FDA approval, and the other devices are FDA compliant.

Founded by Israelis Dedi Gilad and Ofer Tzadik in 2012, the company has so far raised $18.5 million from investors. Among the startup’s investors is US drugstore chain Walgreens.TytoCare, throat, doctor

The other six Israeli companies among the 15 finalists were: Vision-care app 6over6; bed-wetting solution TheraPeeElfi-Tech  for personal health monitoring, patient monitoring and diagnostics; MyndYou analytics for improving cognitive care; Somatix data-analytics software platform for digital health; and the Medivizor personalized health information app.

Photos and video: UpRight, BiopMedical, TytoCare

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Coca-Cola Israel Designs First-Ever Selfie Coke Bottle http://nocamels.com/2016/11/coke-coca-cola-selfie-bottle/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:40:36 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49683 Put away your selfie sticks, millennials. Israeli minds have come up with something much cooler – and refreshing – the selfie Coke bottle.

Especially designed by Coca-Cola Israel and Tel-Aviv based creative agency Gefen Team for Coca-Cola Summer Love, Israel’s largest annual outdoor brand event held in July, this novel device easily attaches to a half-liter Coke bottle. It then senses the exact moment the bottle reaches a 70-degree tilt, the ideal angle for taking selfies, before snapping a photo. The gadget also features a dedicated share function which allows users to effortlessly share their bottle-made selfies on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

SEE ALSO: Gekkopod: Take The Perfect Selfie With This Flexible Camera Mount

“Users tag themselves and their friends in photos on Coca-Cola’s social media assets,” the agency said in a statement. “It really does the trick and makes the partygoers more present and active during the event, knowing they can share their special moments just by drinking.”

From robots to bottles

In an effort to attract more teenage coke drinkers, Coca-Cola called upon Gefen Team, which helped the giant soft drink manufacturer further carry out the selfie bottle concept. Gefen has a long track record working with Coca-Cola, masterminding a number of campaigns including a ‘social robot’ which gave teenagers who could not attend the 2013 event in person the opportunity to participate in the festival remotely.

However, so far only 10 Coca-Cola selfie bottles were created for Coca-Cola Summer Love, and according to Coca-Cola, there are currently no plans to produce more. We promise to keep you posted!

coca-cola-say-cokeselfiebottle

Photos and video: Coca-Cola, Gefen Team

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Technion Students’ Hilarious Take On The Viral ‘Mannequin Challenge’ Craze http://nocamels.com/2016/11/technion-mannequin-challenge-viral-video/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/technion-mannequin-challenge-viral-video/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:09:57 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49529 First there was “planking”, mimicking a wooden plank by lying face down, often in an unusual location. Then came The Ice Bucket Challenge, dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head. Now the latest viral video craze sweeping the globe is The Mannequin Challenge, in which people remain frozen in action like mannequins, usually with the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd playing in the background.

SEE ALSO: Beyond The Ice Bucket Challenge: Israel’s ‘NurOwn’ May Become The First Real Treatment For ALS

The Mannequin Challenge has also caught hold in Israel, most prominently at one of Israel’s most prestigious universities.

Hundreds of students and faculty members from the Technion-The Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa posed together for a creative and professionally shot special effects-filled two-minute Mannequin Challenge clip. Initiated by the university’s computer science students, the video featured several acclaimed professors from the institution as well.

Unexpected star: Philip the cat

One unsuspecting participant was the campus cat, Philip. “The cat did not move,” Or Troyaner, a Technion computer science student and the director and editor of the video tells NoCamels. “He just sat perfectly still, just as our human actors were asked to do – it was perfect casting,”

music, technion, guitar, mannequin challenge

Prof. Shaul Markovitch, Computer Science Dept. of the Technion

“The whole experience was really amazing,” says Troyaner. He posted messages online calling for Technion students and faculty to take part in shooting the video and the response was tremendous. “Hundreds responded and in the end somewhere between 150-200 took part in the video,” Troyaner said. “Believe it or not, we only had two rehearsals and shot the whole video in just one take – all in one afternoon.” The clip features some impressive low-cost special effects, including the use of fishing wire to suspend the ‘floating’ items seen in the video.

“Many Technion faculty members also happily joined in the filming, giving the crew suggestions too,” Troyaner says. “Professor Shaul Markovitch told us he plays guitar, so we used it in the video.”

From Jacksonville, Florida to the White House

The Mannequin Challenge phenomenon, which started with a video created and posted by students in Jacksonville, Florida last month, has gone viral and inspired videos by millions across the world. The world’s leading athletes, celebrities, and even politicians like Barack Obama have joined in on the craze, posting increasingly complex and elaborate videos.

The hashtag #MannequinChallenge is used by popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram as a means to share the millions of videos being made. Madonna was the latest in a string of celebrities who have jumped in on the fad.

At the Presidential Medal of Freedom award ceremony at the White House, a group of honorees — among them celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, Diana Ross, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar — paused to video themselves taking the challenge.

So it’s unsurprising that Israelis have joined in too. Even Israel Defense Forces posted its own Mannequin Challenge featuring Navy combat soldiers striking a pose out at sea. Everyday Israelis are proving they are worth their salt too, with some awesome videos, including a family reacting at the presence of a cockroach at home.

Photos and videos: Technion, YouTube, Or Troyaner,  Joey Cassell, Shaked Sapir

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Diet Startup ‘DayTwo’ Creates Unique Personalized Diets By Checking Your… Gut Bacteria http://nocamels.com/2016/11/israeli-personalized-diets-startup-daytwo/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/israeli-personalized-diets-startup-daytwo/#respond Sun, 27 Nov 2016 10:52:23 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48878 High blood sugar level is a risk factor for many complications, such as type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. That’s why doctors recommend we control our blood sugar levels by keeping a healthy, low-sugar diet.

But DayTwo, an Israeli startup spun off the Weizmann Institute, suggests that people have different responses to food. As it turns out, ice cream is less harmful to some people than others, and so are many other foods.

It all depends on the different microbes we have in our guts. By studying and analyzing your individual gut microbiome – the vast collection of bacteria that you host – DayTwo claims it can translate your unique gut bacteria into a personalized diet, potentially preventing diabetes and heart disease. The startup provides a cutting-edge test and app for a one-time fee of $500.

SEE ALSO: Could Personalized Diets Prevent Diabetes And Heart Disease?

DayTwo‘s product is based on research (published in the sceintific journal Cell) conducted by Prof. Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science; the research technology was licensed to DayTwo.

According to the researchers, some people respond to so-called healthy diets, while others don’t. They claim that bacteria in our intestinal tract vary among individuals, and therefore people digest food differently.

Your gut microbiome is the collection of all microbes that exist in your digestive tract and help you digest food. In our gut alone, we have about 100 trillion microbes, similar to the number of cells that we have in our entire body. Your microbiome is unique to you, and influences the way your body reacts to different foods.

daytwo-guy-and-girl-eating-courtesy

“The huge differences that we found in the rise of blood sugar levels among different people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices are more likely to help people stay healthy than universal dietary advice,” Segal said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: It’s Official: One Glass Of Wine A Day Improves Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes

Founded in 2015 by CEO Lihi Segal and Yuval Ofek, DayTwo is the brainchild of Segal and Elinav. The startup has already received funding from billionaire Marius Nacht, the co-founder of successful Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point. His investment is estimated at a couple of million dollars.

“Foods that are perceived as healthy for everyone are not recommended for some people”

How does DayTwo work? First, you provide a stool sample, through a kit sent by DayTwo, along with your most up-to-date blood test results. DayTwo sequences the DNA of your gut microbes, the micro-organisms that help us digest.

Then, DayTwo’s technology predicts which foods are good for you. Analyzed by a patent-pending algorithm, the technology provides a unique nutritional profile designed just for you. The startup’s scoring system rates thousands of different foods and food combinations based on your gut microbiome analysis and lifestyle factors.

gut-bacteria-courtesy-of-daytwo

Then, you receive a nutritional report through a personalized nutrition app. The report provides you with specific food recommendations for normalizing blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. It generates food recommendations specific to your gut makeup, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The app also analyzes your daily eating routines and recommends healthy snacks.

According to CEO Lihi Segal, “our food recommendations are based on matching thousands of foods to the individual’s profile. The findings are very surprising: Foods that are perceived as healthy for everyone, such as rice, are not recommended for some people. In some cases, it turns out that foods like ice cream are not harmful.”

daytwo-app-courtesy

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Who Are You? MyHeritage Launches DNA Testing Kit To Reveal Your Ethnic Roots http://nocamels.com/2016/11/myheritage-dna-testing-kit-ethnic-roots/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/myheritage-dna-testing-kit-ethnic-roots/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 13:26:45 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49006 “Who are you?” British rock band The Who asked in one of their hit songs of the late 1970s. It’s a question that’s been asked since the beginning of time.

While there are countless genealogy services that focus on tracing your family’s history, an Israeli company has now launched a new DNA testing service to help you discover your genetic history.

SEE ALSO: Genealogy Giant MyHeritage To Map Every Tombstone In The World

The company behind the new DNA test is genealogy giant MyHeritage, which is known for its popular platform for preserving and sharing family ancestry. The company boasts 85 million users worldwide, 2.1 billion family tree profiles, 7 billion historical records and is available in 42 languages. Its global community enjoys access to a vast library of historical records, an internationally diverse collection of family trees and innovative search and matching technologies.

DNA: Uncovering unknown relatives, finding biological parents

The company’s new do-it-yourself DNA kit reveals valuable information about their family history and ethnic origins. DNA can be used to prove or disprove a documented family tree connection, or answer the question of whether two people sharing the same rare last name are actually related.

DNA is also indispensable for overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles in traditional research, as in the case of adoptees searching for their biological family without access to their adoption records. On the other hand, when DNA locates a match between two people who have the same ancestor or ancestors, family trees and historical records are often essential for piecing together the exact relationship path between them.

Do-it-yourself DNA swab: No blood needed

DNA is the hereditary material in the cells of the human body and it carries within it a unique genetic record. The $79 MyHeritage DNA kit consists of a simple inner-cheek swab that takes only a minute to complete, with no need for blood. The sample is then mailed to MyHeritage DNA’s lab for analysis, after which the user can view the results on the MyHeritage website.

In its initial version, MyHeritage DNA provides two main features: detailed ethnicity reports that map the user’s ethnic and geographic origins, and DNA matches for finding relatives. Additional features and capabilities are planned for the future.

25 ethnicities – and counting

MyHeritage DNA results include ethnicity reports, showing the percentage of the user’s DNA that come from different populations around the world. The reports currently include 25 ethnicities, but this should improve dramatically thanks to MyHeritage’s new unique Founder Population project — the largest of its kind ever conducted. More than 5000 participants were handpicked for this project by MyHeritage from its 85 million members, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations.

In the next few months, the project will be completed, resulting in a rich DNA data set of more than 100 ethnicities that the company believes will show ancestral roots with far greater resolution than other services. To this end, the company has been sending its DNA kits to project participants far and wide, from Uzbekistan to Fiji, from Greenland to South Africa, and every corner of the globe. Standard ethnicity reports are currently available, with the expert reports to be released at no additional cost to users following the completion of the Founder Population project.

dna testing kitComplementing family trees and historical records

DNA test results complement MyHeritage’s core offerings, including family trees and historical records — the tools traditionally used by family history enthusiasts. MyHeritage DNA is integrated with the other services provided by MyHeritage on all web and mobile platforms, as well as offered on the new standalone mobile app MyHeritage DNA.

According to the company, thanks to its expertise in family trees and its vibrant community, MyHeritage provides its DNA customers with features not offered by most competing services, such as viewing family trees of the majority of their DNA matches to pinpoint the connection path, and automatically identifying which surnames and geographical locations they have in common.

“The future of family history”

Founded in 2003 by CEO Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage raised $49 million in several funding rounds between 2004 and 2012.

myheritagemanagement

MyHeritage’s management team

According to the company, the kit is “simple, affordable and offers some of the best ethnicity reports in the world”. The company views the launch of the kit as a major turning point for the DNA industry. “DNA can be a fascinating introduction to the world of family history, and customers who embark on this journey by taking a DNA test can easily use MyHeritage’s tools to further explore what made them what they are,” the company said in a statement.

According to Japhet, “DNA testing is the future of family history. We see DNA as a natural evolution of our business and look forward to harnessing it to reunite families, engage in new pro bono projects, and enrich the lives of millions of users.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Shower Power: SmarTap Taps Into Smart Home Market With Voice-Controlled Shower http://nocamels.com/2016/11/smartap-smart-shower-bath-amazon-alexa/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/smartap-smart-shower-bath-amazon-alexa/#respond Sun, 20 Nov 2016 10:56:19 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49262 Ancient Greek scientist Archimedes had his famous ‘Eureka!’ moment when he stepped into the bathtub. Israeli entrepreneur Asaf Shaltiel had his own ‘Eureka’ moment when he saw his sister bathing her twin babies and was astonished by how difficult it was to get the water temperature just right for them.

It was then that Shaltiel, the CEO of Israeli startup SmarTap, realized just how old-fashioned the shower is. “This is a zero-tech industry that hasn’t evolved for centuries,” he tells NoCamels. “Take a look at your shower. What you’re buying is actually a beautifully designed sculpture with a label.”

Spurred by the vision of a new generation of showers, the former Intel engineer founded SmarTap in 2009. The eight-employee company has developed a Wi-Fi-equipped smart-shower system that integrates multiple features, which can be tailored to businesses and individual customers. One such feature is the users’ ability to set the maximum shower temperature, flow rate and even time period, thus allowing them to save water and electricity. Businesses with showers, such as hotels and gyms, can monitor and control water usage and temperature for an entire cluster of showers using a web interface.

Individual consumers can easily adjust these settings for their personal showers using a mobile app (a partnership with shower designer Tissino), which is currently available on Google Play and will be available on Apple’s App Store next month. Users can activate their showers remotely, which means that the bathtub can be filled with rejuvenating warm water while you drive home from work.

SmarTap is also integrated with Amazon Echo, the speaker equipped with Amazon’s voice-controlled robot Alexa.

SEE ALSO: In Face Of Global Shortage, World Leaders Praise Israel’s Water Technologies At WATEC Conference

In addition to monitoring water usage, the app allows users to program pre-set showers like “My Morning Shower” and “My Fun Shower” with varying temperatures, flow rates and time settings. Users can even receive notifications via the app about leaks in the pipes, which are detected by the SmarTap sensors.

The system is available in the UK (through Tissino) for 1,700 pounds, and in Israel for 5,500 shekels. In the coming months, SmarTap will be available for $1,500-$2,000 in the US. According to the company, these costs can be recuperated within two to three years, thanks to SmarTap’s water-saving technology.

SEE ALSO: Indian Minister Applauds Israeli Water Technologies: “Israel Is My Guru”

The startup began its journey by installing its system in the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv. It then expanded into the smart-home industry by riding on the Internet of Things (IoT) wave. “To think that we can penetrate the market as a standalone device is a mistake,” Shaltiel says. “We have to be a part of the ecosystem.”

In line with this new strategy, SmarTap has integrated its system with Amazon Echo, the voice-controlled speaker equipped with Amazon’s artificially intelligent personal assistant Alexa. Alexa is already able to control smart lights and smart televisions – and now, it can control SmarTap, too.

Weather-based showers 

The company has also applied machine-learning algorithms into the SmarTap system. “Our philosophy is that if you introduce smart devices, those devices need to learn,” Shaltiel says. “They cannot be dumb devices with Wi-Fi.”

For example, the system can now read the weather forecast in order to adjust the shower temperature accordingly. Its pattern-recognition technology also allows it to understand the user’s habits, which means that it can prepare a hot shower five minutes before the phone alarm rings.

It can even identify deviations from those habits, which could be useful in eldercare. “If you have a grandfather who lives alone, you would like to know that he is keeping his hygiene patterns regularly,” Shaltiel explains.

Asaf Shaltiel

Asaf Shaltiel

Turning a knob? Not anymore 

By 2013, SmarTap raised $1.2 million; it recently received an undisclosed amount from Israeli clean-tech venture capital firm Terra Venture Partners. It also won the 2013 Eco Innovations Award and presented at the 2015 Microsoft Think Next Exhibition.

Over the years, competing water technologies, such as EvaDrop and the Hydrao Smart Shower, have emerged. But according to Shaltiel, these products don’t have the same breadth of capabilities as SmarTap, which he claims is the world’s first “connected shower.” Moreover, new capabilities can be embedded wirelessly into the SmarTap system through software updates, just like with smartphones.

“There is a good chance that our grandchildren will consume water in an entirely different way,” Shaltiel says. “One day, our grandchildren will ask us, ‘Did you really have to turn a knob to get water?’ And when that happens, we want to lead that market.”

smart shower, bath, smartap

Photos and video: SmarTap, Tissino, Medialo Consulting

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IDC Herzliya Rolls Out Academic Program With Startup Accelerator To Address 21st Century Challenges http://nocamels.com/2016/11/idc-herzliya-idcbeyond-startup-accelerator/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/idc-herzliya-idcbeyond-startup-accelerator/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 10:37:42 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48680 Israel’s IDC Herzliya has rolled out a unique, hands-on program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, with a focus on the toughest challenges of the 21st century – and beyond. 36 exceptional college graduates have joined this year’s exclusive program, which is excepted to culminate in the creation of several technology startups.

This one-year program for college graduates, called IDCBeyond, includes a curriculum of interdisciplinary training in technology, bio-medicine, globalization and sustainability, and is designed to encourage participants to set up ventures from the very start, with the assistance of mentors from the academia and the high-tech industry.

“I am confident that every student will make a difference in our lives,” Prof. Uriel Reichman, founder and president of IDC Herzliya, said in a broadcast statement.


At the end of the school year, students with exceptional initiatives will have the opportunity to enroll in a startup accelerator with access to venture capital funds to further promote their projects. 

“Doing well by doing good”

The student body includes Israelis and participants from countries such as the US, Canada, Russia and China. 42 percent of this year’s class have graduate-level degrees (including two Ph.D.s).

“These 36 exceptional men and women were carefully selected because we believe that, with our guidance, the top mentors who have agreed to commit their time and energy, and together with our partners, they can create meaningful ventures which will do well by doing good,” IDCBeyond managing director Nava Swersky Sofer tells NoCamels.

SEE ALSO: The Top Six Global Accelerators Kick-Starting Israeli Startups

idcbeyond-students

Students come from various fields, such as life sciences, space, engineering, computer science, law, business, communications, graphic design, the arts and humanities.

“Studies have shown that heterogeneous teams of individuals from many different backgrounds and various disciplines have a higher chance of success than homogeneous teams,” according to IDCBeyond. “The reason for this is rooted in the fact that multiple perspectives are important when integrating ideas in order to create something new.”

Resembling both Singularity University (a Silicon Valley think-tank) and Y-Combinator (which funds early-stage startups), the exceptional curriculum of IDCBeyond includes interdisciplinary training in various fields of technology, with a focus on world-changing initiatives.

The program recently recruited experts from the Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical practice and research center, to lead the curriculum of medical challenges within IDCBeyond. The project is led by Mayo’s Dr. Amir Lerman, who was recently appointed as the head of Mayo Clinic’s new initiative of discovery, investment and cooperation with Israeli companies and technologies.

The program’s tuition is $20,000 for the full year; scholarships are available. In addition, IDCBeyond alumni will be offered a 50 percent discount for MA and MBA programs at IDC Herzliya.

Once the program ends, student teams can continue with their ventures. IDCBeyond offers outstanding teams that have presented a prototype or proof of concept by the end of the program the opportunity to continue in the program’s startup accelerator for an additional 10 weeks, free of charge.

“Finding solutions to the major problems facing humanity”

The head of IDCBeyond, Sofer, is an attorney, entrepreneur, former venture capitalist, as well as an innovation and technology commercialization expert.

Previously, she served as the CEO of Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, which commercialized such companies as Mobileye, a developer of driverless car technologies. Applying the university’s academic research in the real world, Sofer impacted the lives of thousands around the globe.

SEE ALSO: These Five Female Tech Leaders Inspire Innovation In Israel – And Beyond

Nava Swersky Sofer

Nava Swersky Sofer

According to Sofer, IDCBeyond is designed “to train and qualify participants in developing and establishing innovative ventures by implementing technologies to address global challenges which characterize the 21st century.” These challenges include: Water and energy solutions, brain and DNA manipulations, advanced medical treatments, driverless cars, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cyber-security and more.

She adds that “understanding the challenges of bio-medicine, sustainability, technology and globalization being taught by experts, will form the basis for addressing problems and initiating startups designed to find solutions to the major problems facing humanity.”

idcbeyond-students

Photos and video: Courtesy

NoCamels is supported by IDC Herzliya.

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Extreme Athlete Lonnie Bissonnette Performs Daring BASE Jump With Revolutionary Israeli Wheelchair http://nocamels.com/2016/11/extreme-athlete-bissonnette-wheelchair-softwheel/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/extreme-athlete-bissonnette-wheelchair-softwheel/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 12:50:00 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48745 It’s not every day that a world champion can thank an Israeli startup for his life. Canadian extreme athlete Lonnie Bissonnette, one of the world’s greatest BASE jumpers – those people who deliberately jump off cliffs – has expressed his gratitude for SoftWheel, whose revolutionary wheelchair landed him safely during one of his most daring jumps.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Reinvents The Wheel – Literally

Using SoftWheel to win the Canadian Para-Bobsleigh Championship (powered-sled races) last month, Bissonnette, who became paralyzed after a 2004 jump, performed an extraordinary BASE jump using SoftWheel, which he later featured on his Facebook page.

One of the world’s most prolific BASE jumpers, Bissonnette was attempting a “quadruple gainer” (an outward facing, inward rotating flip) in 2004, on his 1100th BASE jump, off a 150-meter-high bridge, when his parachute failed to open.

He crashed into the river at a speed of 70 miles per hour, and suffered a spinal-cord injury leaving him paralyzed. Lucky to have survived that accident, he was told by his doctor he would never jump again.

But 12 months later, he was back “flying” in the sky. Fearlessly jumping off all four objects in B.A.S.E (Buildings, Antennae, Span, and Earth) again, he became the world’s first paraplegic BASE jumper to have jumped from all four of the objects. No wonder that his motto, as stated on his blog, is “never give up.”

lonnie bissonnette base jump extreme athlete

Reinventing the wheel 

While Bissonnette is proudly using Israeli technology to perform bold BASE jumps, many other paraplegics use SoftWheel on a daily basis. The company, which literally reinvented the wheel, has developed the next-generation wheelchair that can wheel down a flight of stairs, and move across any terrain.

With an inner-suspension system for shock absorption, SoftWheel’s innovative technology enhances user-ride capabilities, providing stability for wheelchair users, effectively reducing the level of daily pain and discomfort that can result from wheelchair use.

SEE ALSO: UPnRIDE: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall

According to SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel, “we did not invent the wheel, but we did reinvent its technology, to a point where it significantly improves the riding experience, helping users to go further with less pain and increased comfort.”

SoftWheel’s integrated suspension technology has been on the market since 2014, giving thousands in 15 countries the freedom to go everywhere.

softwheel

From tractors to wheelchairs 

SoftWheel is the brainchild of Gilad Wolf, a farmer who found himself bound to a wheelchair for three weeks, after breaking his pelvis. Working with tractors, he noticed that they have a simple yet ingenious airbag-based shock-absorbing construct. He then built a wheelchair with a similar construct for each wheel.

Wolf’s invention is designed to absorb shock and can be adjusted for each rider. In regular wheelchairs, even premium ones, shock is spread evenly throughout the wheel, then transferred in its entirety to the rider. But SoftWheel’s wheelchair, called Acrobat, operates differently. When the wheel is subjected to impact, the inner suspension automatically shifts towards the source of the impact and then back to its position, in less than a second. This mechanism drastically reduces the shock felt by the rider, which makes it easier to traverse bumpy roads, go down curbs – or even stairs.

Photos and videos: Lonnie Bissonnette, SoftWheel

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Tel Aviv’s Startup Ecosystem Ranked No. 3 In The World http://nocamels.com/2016/11/tel-aviv-startup-ecosystem-third/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/tel-aviv-startup-ecosystem-third/#respond Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:15:03 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48947 Tel Aviv’s startup ecosystem has been ranked No. 3 in the world this year by venture capital firm SparkLabs Global Ventures, following Silicon Valley and Stockholm. New York City and Los Angeles round out the top five list.

The ranking is based on eight factors: Funding ecosystem and “exits;” engineering talent; active mentoring; technical infrastructure; startup culture; legal and policy infrastructure; economic foundation; and government policies and programs.

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

“This list is the dream team of the world’s cities and it’s a huge honor to be included in it,” Eytan Schwartz, CEO of Tel Aviv Global (the municipality’s global development arm), said in a statement.

The recognition for Tel Aviv comes on the heels of Israel’s ranking as the second-most innovative nation in the world (after Switzerland) by the World Economic Forum.

SEE ALSO: World Economic Forum: Israel Is 2nd Most Innovative Country In The World

Tel Aviv infographic

Located in the country with the highest number of startups per capita, Tel Aviv is known as Israel’s startup capital. Situated along the country’s central coastline, it is dubbed “the city that never sleeps.”

In addition to its technological ingenuity, Tel Aviv is home to several workspaces that are based on the sharing economy, offering small offices (with shared services such as meeting rooms, copiers and espresso machines) to young startups on a monthly basis. The city’s startup ecosystem enjoys inspiring environments, with many seed-stage startups choosing to set up shop in collaborative work spaces such as WeWork, which operates several buildings in Tel Aviv.

SEE ALSO: From Creative Spirit To Innovative Startups: What Makes Tel Aviv One Of The World’s ‘Techiest’ Cities

Tel Aviv’s startup ecosystem is also filled with investors of many kinds and nationalities – venture capital firms, private equity investors, institutional investors, incubators and angel investors.

There are roughly 50 active startup accelerators and incubators in the city, more than double the number four years ago. Whether sponsored by the city, a multinational corporation or a local venture capital firm, accelerators give seed-stage startups financial assistance and mentorship.

According to city officials, Tel Aviv is home to nearly 1,000 startups – or 19 startups per square kilometer – and about 50 international research and development centers. Last year, the city was voted as the best startup ecosystem outside the US, thanks to its techie environment and talent pool, by data firm Compass.

“Tel Aviv is the Startup City of the Startup Nation,” Gilad Uziely, director of economic development at Tel Aviv Global, recently told NoCamels. “Innovation is part of the basic DNA of the people of Tel Aviv.”

Tel aviv

Infographics and photos: City of Tel Aviv, Pikiwiki

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Landslide Victory? Viber Users Vote Hillary Clinton For President http://nocamels.com/2016/11/viber-us-president-election-poll-bot-clinton-trump/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/viber-us-president-election-poll-bot-clinton-trump/#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2016 14:13:38 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48813 The votes are in: Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United Sates. That is, if a poll bot developed by Israeli company Viber especially for tomorrow’s election in the Land of the Free can accurately predict the real results.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Top 5 Israeli Apps Revolutionizing Civic Engagement

Last week, popular call and messaging app Viber launched a global election poll bot. The poll bot asked Viber users who they would vote for in the November 8 US presidential elections.

Recent US polls, including the one conducted by Reuters and Ipsos, predicted that Clinton will become the next president of the US – in line with Viber’s poll results.

election poll bot-viber

Viber‘s unique experiment provided insight into the preferences of its user base. “While Viber’s election bot wasn’t a scientific poll, it was nevertheless able to reach over 170,000 users in the US who voiced their opinion about the elections,” the company said in a statement today. “Viber was able to achieve this result in just a few days, demonstrating the platform’s ability to quickly reach a massive audience, far bigger than most election poll samples.”

Viber users in the US selected Clinton over Trump by a margin of 98,100 to 51,301; about 20,000 participants replied “I don’t care.” Additional figures from the poll show that iOS users were slightly more likely to vote for Clinton. She won iOS users by 18 points and Android users by 14 points. In addition, Clinton won female Viber users by 22 points.

SEE ALSO: Why Do Successful People Become Corrupt? Winning Leads To Dishonesty, New Study Finds

In this whirlwind of an election, there has been a whole lot of talk about polling, with a large portion of the political discourse surrounding whether polls are rigged, inaccurate, or unbalanced.

“While a global poll bot may not follow the scientific methodology of old-school election polls, bringing polling into the social messaging sphere has the potential to reveal interesting information,” Viber said in a statement.

How did it work? The bot began by asking the user who they would vote for, providing the following options: 1. Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2. Donald John Trump, and 3. I DON’T CARE. Once they voted, the bot asked the user whether they are an Android or iOS user, their gender, and the age range they belong to.

“A new standard for political discussion”

“This election season has been unique, to say the least, and the engagement on social media by both the candidates and the voters has set a new standard for political discussion,” Michael Shmilov, Viber COO, said in a statement. “We hope this brand new method of polling will encourage new involvement of social platforms in political dialogue.”

Founded in 2010 by Talmon Marco and Igor Megzinik, Israeli company Viber allows people to connect through individual messaging, video calls and group chats, using Wi-Fi networks or mobile ones. In 2014, it was acquired by Japanese commerce giant Rakuten for a whopping $900 million.

voting_united_states

Photos: Viber, Tom Arthur

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Israel’s Otto, Budweiser Make Historic Driverless Beer Run http://nocamels.com/2016/11/otto-budweiser-driverless-truck-beer/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/otto-budweiser-driverless-truck-beer/#respond Tue, 01 Nov 2016 08:51:10 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48725 The term “beer run” refers to the act of hurrying to a local liquor establishment, supermarket or convience store to replenish a supply of alcohol for a party. Now Otto, the Israeli-founded self-driving truck company recently acquired by Uber for $680 million, has taken the concept of a “beer run” to a whole new level.

Teaming up with American beer giant Anheuser-Busch, the two companies recently completed the world’s first-ever commercial shipment – 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer – by self-driving truck.

beer, beer cans, otto, driverless truck, self-driving truck

The cargo: 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer

SEE ALSO: Self-Driving Truck Offers Relief For Tired Truckers, Safer Travel For Motorists

A tuckload of beer, no driver behind the wheel

With support from the state of Colorado, Otto’s self-driving truck hauled a fully loaded trailer of Budweiser beer more than 120 miles (193km) on I-25 from Fort Collins, Colorado through Denver, to Colorado Springs. A professional truck driver was in the vehicle for the entire route, monitoring the delivery from the sleeper berth as the truck completed the route – exit-to-exit – entirely on its own, without any intervention from the driver. The load originated at Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colorado and departed for its journey from the Fort Collins, Colorado weigh station. This milestone marks the first time in history that a self-driving vehicle has shipped commercial cargo, making it a landmark achievement for self-driving technology, the state of Colorado, and the transportation industry.

“The incredible success of this pilot shipment is an example of what is possible when you deploy self-driving technology. We are excited to have reached this milestone together, and look forward to further rolling out our technology on the nation’s highways,” Otto’s Israeli Co-Founder Lior Ron said in a statement.

Making America’s highways safer

Otto and Anheuser-Busch say they share a vision of enhancing the safety and efficiency of America’s highways. The partners embarked on this effort in response to the significant challenges facing the trucking industry. “We seek to reduce the number of fatalities on our roads. Nearly half of all US road fatalities happen on highways, and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of road accidents are caused by human error. We also want to enable fuel-efficient driving by reducing emissions from freight trucks, which are currently responsible for 28% of all road vehicle CO2 emissions, according to the US Department of Transportation. Last, but certaninly not least, we seek to enhance truck utilization by providing a sustainable solution for the driver shortage which continues to put pressure on drivers to work long hours at the risk of safe driving.”

otto-driverless

Otto’s driverless truck in action

“We admire Otto’s vision that will shape the future of self-driving transportation. As we continue to partner with long-haul carriers to ship our beers, we hope to see this technology widely deployed across our highways to improve safety for all road users and work towards a low-emissions future,” James Sembrot, Sr. Director, Logistics Strategy at Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement.

A special beer can

To celebrate the occasion, Anheuser-Busch created a set of special cans commemorating the autonomous drive. A small Otto logo rests above text that states, “First Delivery by Self-Driving Truck.”

No need to choose between safety and earnings

One major opportunity for Otto’s technology is that drivers will be able to rest during long stretches of highway, and perhaps even catch up on sleep. That begs the question of whether the driver is “on-duty” with respect to hours of service laws while they are resting. To ensure the safety of all road users, these laws limit the number of hours truck drivers can work each day. Naturally, this also limits how much money drivers can make. Otto’s self-driving technology has the potential to extend productive hours without forcing drivers to choose between safety and earnings.

“Teaming with Otto to deploy self-driving technology on the roads of Colorado is a monumental step forward in advancing safety solutions that will help Colorado move towards zero deaths on our roads,” Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shailen Bhatt said in a statement. “Colorado will continue to focus on working with Otto and others on how to safely deploy this technology on our roads.”

Otto, beer, Budweiser, beer can, driverless truck

Uber bought Otto to enter driverless truck market

Founded by former Google, Apple, and Tesla employees, including Israeli entrepreneur Lior Ron, Otto develops artificial intelligence, cameras, and sensors that are attached to a vehicle, giving a truck full driving capacity without the need for a driver. This summer Otto was acquired by ride-hailing giant Uber in a deal worth up to $680 million. The motivation behind the acquisition was Uber’s desire to accelerate the advancement of self-driving vehicles from cars to trucks, as Uber plans its entry into the long-haul trucking business.

SEE ALSO: Ride-Sharing Startup Via Raises $100M; Revs Up Competition Against Uber, Lyft

otto founders, Lior Ron, Otto

Otto co-founders Anthony Levandowski (left), and Lior Ron

Anheuser-Busch: A legendary American beermaker

For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its brewmasters have brewed some of America’s most-popular beers. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 20 local breweries, 20 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States. The company is best known for its popular American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light.

 

Photos & Video: Otto, Anheuser-Busch

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Help From Above: First-ever VC Fund For Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Entrepreneurs Launched http://nocamels.com/2016/10/vc-fund-israeli-ultra-orthodox-startups/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/vc-fund-israeli-ultra-orthodox-startups/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:13:39 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48604 The Ultra-Orthodox, or “Haredim”, Hebrew for “those who fear God”, are the fastest growing sector in Israel. They currently make up about 11 percent of Israel’s 8.5 million citizens, with the majority living beneath the poverty line, according to a recent study by the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent think tank. With a growth rate four times that of the general Jewish population, their numbers are expected to rise to 14 percent in 2024, 19 percent in 2039 and 27 percent in 2059. This huge growth of Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox population – characterized in part by its low levels of workforce integration, secular education, and technological skills – presents a vast macro-economic and social challenge.

Against this backdrop, KamaTech, a nonprofit organization working to integrate Haredim in Israel into the high-tech industry, and iAngels, a leading Israel-based angel investment network, have announced the launch of ’12 Angels’ Venture Capital, the first-ever VC fund dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs from the Ultra-Orthodox community.

SEE ALSO: Technion’s Pre-University Program Gets Ultra-Orthodox To Study And Join The High-Tech World

The 12 Angels early-stage investment fund will invest up to $5 million in approximately 30 Ultra-Orthodox startups over the next three years, focusing on EdTech, e-Commerce, artificial intelligence, cyber security and fintech. Investors include some of the most prominent names in the Israel high-tech sector, including Chemi Peres (Co-Founder of Pitango Venture Capital), Adi Soffer Teeni (General Manager of Facebook Israel), Dov Moran (Managing Partner of Grove Ventures), Gigi Levy-Weiss (Founder of the NFX Guild, and one of Israel’s most successful angel investors) and many more.

“A Landmark Moment”

“12 Angels marks a landmark moment in the integration of Ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the high-tech workforce,” KamaTech CEO and Co-Founder Moshe Friedman said in a statement. “For the first time, investors – not philanthropists – are putting their faith in the talent and commitment of Haredi entrepreneurs.”

iAngels co-founder Mor Assia said in a statement that she felt privileged to be able to support the 12 Angels fund, which offers a “scalable platform for supporting this growing, ambitious and courageous base of entrepreneurs, who often face unique obstacles in building their companies.”

iangels

iAngels co-founder Mor Assia

Integrating the workplace

With its flagship accelerator program for Haredim in Israel, KamaTech helps members of the Haredi community who have a good business idea but few technical or business skills. Founded by Haredi entrepreneur Moshe Friedman, together with Zika Abzuk (Cisco Israel VP), and with the guidance and support of Israeli entrepreneur and investor Dr. Yossi Vardi (Chairman of the Advisory Board), KamaTech operates a number of programs for the training and placement of Haredim, along with a coalition of tech companies, including Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others. According to KamaTech, the organization has helped more than 6,000 individuals from the Haredi community obtain skills and qualifications in hi-tech, find work in the sector and launch businesses. According to Friedman, KamaTech is helping some 500 Haredi startups, versus the mere five they sponsored when the organization was founded four years ago.

Benefits for those who participate in their accelerator include working with leading entrepreneurs in the Israeli high-tech industry as personal mentors, help from law and CPA firms on copyright, financing and other issues, a free project development team, and assistance in hiring, financing and presentations.

KamaTech’s flagship project is its accelerator program, which provides an array of advisory services without charge to haredi entrepreneurs and startups, including connecting them to investors, providing business mentorships, as well as legal and accounting advice.

SEE ALSO: High-Tech Center In Southern Israel To Employ Orthodox, Ethiopians, Arabs

iAngels is a leading Israel-based angel investment network, leveraging due diligence to enable accredited investors around the world to gain access to the most-exclusive early-stage technology deals in the market. In less than three years, iAngels has raised over $50 million, invested in over 60 Israeli startups, and built a full-service in-house investment team, led by founders Shelly Hod Moyal and Mor Assia.

 On October 19th, KamaTech hosted a launch event for 12 Angels at the “Startup Sukkah,” a joint initiative of angel investment network iAngels and The Israel Project, at the Tel Aviv offices of iAngels, their key partner in the launch and management of 12 Angels. The event brought together entrepreneurs from the Ultra-Orthodox community with investors, entrepreneurs and partners from Israel’s tech community. The guest of honor at the event was Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yafo, who addressed the gathering.
kamatech_cropped2-635x357

Left to right: KamaTech CEO Moshe Friedman; Tel Aviv-Yafo Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau; investor Dov Moran; iAngels Chairman David Assia; iAngels Founding Partner Mor Assia; and iAngels Head of Partnerships & Legal Lilach Danewitz

Array of startups helped by KamaTech

Among the startups that have been funded and supported by KamaTech are: Cognilyze, which uses big data for targeted advertising; Pojo.me, which provides drag and drop WordPress themes for websites; Bontact, a platform combining several ways of communication so your users can contact you via their channel of choice; and English On which encourages English learners to improve their language skills at their favorite content websites.

A win-win proposition

“12 Angels will enable investors to access new companies, and entrepreneurs with a fresh mindset,” Dov Moran, a serial entrepreneur and investor, best known for inventing the USB memory stick, said in a statement. “On the other side, it will enable many Haredim – who want to continue a spiritual Torah life alongside technology and innovation, to generate interesting applications and developments. It’s win-win.”

“12 Angels offers both a practical platform to create social and economic change, as well as a powerful symbol of collaboration and partnership,” Freidman said in a statement. “The initiative will help entrepreneurs establish their businesses in the rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox start-up scene.”

Photos: KamaTech

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Israeli App Belong Helps Cancer Patients, Families Through Healing Process http://nocamels.com/2016/10/belong-app-cancer-community-treatment/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/belong-app-cancer-community-treatment/#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 12:20:18 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48145 When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their life takes a complete turn, and so do the lives of those around them. There is no protocol to follow, and many families are unsure about the best way to approach the process of getting their loved ones back to full health.

Israeli app Belong helps patients and their families tackle this daunting task and get advice from people in similar situations, as well as from physicians.

SEE ALSO: Skin Cancer Breakthrough: Melanoma Cure Within Reach

Founded in 2014 by CEO Eliran Malki, CTO Irad Deutsch, and COO Ohad Rubin, Belong has already raised $1.5 million from private investors.

The app, which is currently free, provides chats with physicians and researchers; information on clinical trials; community support; and discreet medical file sharing. “It is like a hospital on your mobile,” Malki says.

The idea to develop the app came after each of the founders had family members diagnosed with cancer. “We all felt there was a lack of information,” Malki tells NoCamels. “Our idea was to build a solution that would help people manage the fight, to get information at the right time, from patients like them, so they can make fewer mistakes.”

“Empowered patients live longer”

Malki gives the example of a man from Los Angeles whose wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. They went to three different physicians and received three different opinions. Then, the husband used Belong to ask for advice about the best approach and got feedback from patients with similar circumstances, as well as explanations from different physicians to help him decide on the best course of action.

“Our aim is empower patients and their families,” Malki says. “Empowered patients live longer.”

The app is to be used on a case-by-case basis, since no one path is right for everyone. “All the information in the app is for educational information, it’s not consulting or medical advice in any way,” he stresses.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Make Breakthrough Discovery In Fight Against Breast Cancer

Prof. Dorit Nitzan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, tells NoCamels that Belong’s greatest advantage is “being at arm’s reach with senior doctors, nurses and experts. They are accessible to all for free.”

Since its launch in January 2016, thousands of patients and family members have joined the Belong network, as well as hospitals, whose patients’ stress levels could be reduced by the app. The company is expected to charge healthcare providers, HMOs and insurance companies for the use of the app in the future. According to Belong, the app could save them money by better preparing patients for treatment.

doctor holding patient's hand

The information in the app is not monitored by Belong. The app has a similar approach to services like  TripAdvisor, where people share their experiences and users are left to make their own decisions at their own discretion. Users of Belong are encouraged to seek advice and opinions and then report back to their physicians to confirm the best approach.

Belong competes not only with similar apps, such as Cancer.Net, but also with Facebook groups and other online forums. However, Malki is confident. “We are growing by 30 percent every month,” he says. “We’re changing the way by which people are managing the process.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Israeli Startups Raise Nearly $1B In Third Quarter Of 2016 http://nocamels.com/2016/10/israeli-startups-raise-1-billion-q3-2016/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/israeli-startups-raise-1-billion-q3-2016/#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:48:07 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48608 Israeli high-tech and startup companies raised $982 million in the third quarter of 2016, in line with the $1 billion quarterly average raised in the past three years, according to a report by Israeli research firm IVC Research Center and accounting firm KPMG Somekh Chaikin. In the first nine months of the year, Israeli startups raised $3.8 billion, a 21 percent jump over the first nine months of 2015.

SEE ALSO: Record Quarter For The Startup Nation: Israeli High-Tech Companies Raise $1.7B In Three Months

The average funding round reached $7 million in the first nine months 2016, a 9 percent increase over the $6.4 million average in the first nine months of 2015, which means Israeli startups are attracting larger investments.

Tel_Aviv_at_Night

“The flow of quality deals continues to be strong”

Among the notable funding rounds in the third quarter of 2016 is the $45 million investment led by Australian entrepreneur Leon Kamenev in EdTech startup SlateScience, which developed the Matific educational math and science games for mobile and web platforms. Founded in 2012, the company’s products are sold in 20 countries around the world.

Another large round was that of Kaltura, an Israeli open-source video platform that in August raised a whopping $50 million from American investment bank Goldman Sachs, reportedly bringing its total capital to $165 million, and its valuation to $500 million.

SEE ALSO: A Look Inside The Booming Startup Nation: Is Everyone Getting A Piece Of The Pie?

The IVC-KPMG survey findings presented 141 funding deals that closed in the third quarter of 2016, a 26 percent drop from the 193 deals in the preceding quarter and 17 percent below the three-year quarterly average of 171 rounds per quarter.

“While we observe a decline in the number of investments, we don’t believe that the local ecosystem is going to be dramatically impacted by the global downtrend in the long run, since the flow of quality deals continues to be strong, and new growth investors are investing in these deals, providing a wider horizon to such companies, both in terms of the type of potential exit and valuation,” KPMG Somekh Chaikin’s partner Ofer Sela said in a statement.

Sela added: “We expect the IPO market in the US to be much stronger at the beginning of 2017, which will keep pushing both investors and VC-backed companies to continue nourishing the local ecosystem, alongside more traditional industries that are looking to reinvent themselves through innovative solutions.”

IVC Research Center CEO Koby Simana said in a statement: “We expect 2016 to close as a record year in terms of capital raising.”

money case, dollars

Photos and video: Pikiwiki, Matific

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Accelerating Fast: Tel Aviv’s Barclays Techstars Accelerator Gears Up For Second Year http://nocamels.com/2016/10/tel-aviv-barclays-techstars-accelerator/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/tel-aviv-barclays-techstars-accelerator/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:19:56 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48401 Israel’s nickname may be “the startup nation”, but following the wave of startup accelerators recently being set up in Israel, perhaps “accelerator nation” would be more fitting.

Following the lead of Samsung, GE, Intel, Yahoo!, and others, one year ago UK bank Barclays opened an accelerator in Tel Aviv, as part of its global network of Rise accelerators. Partnering with Techstars, a prestigious accelerator brand name, the program develops innovative financial technology solutions with Israeli startups.

SEE ALSO: Famed TechStars Accelerator Opens Up Shop In Israel

London, New York, Capetown and Tel Aviv

Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars began with a program in London with 10 startups developing technology for payments, security, consumer banking, and more. The program eventually expanded to New York, Capetown and Tel Aviv. The three month Tel Aviv program, now entering its second year, is designed for 10 startups in the fintech and cyber security fields. The selected companies will be given the opportunity to participate in intensive networking, mentoring and development, with the option of spending part of the program at other Barclays Accelerator global sites.

Like all Techstars programs, the startups chosen for the Tel Aviv program can receive up to $120,000 in investment. In return, for each $20,000 investment from Techstars, the accelerator takes 6 percent in common stock from the startups. In addition, they also offer a $100,000 convertable note, which is optional.

Entrepreneurs and startup companies from around the world can apply for the Barclays Accelerator program in Tel Aviv now through November 6th via their website.

techstars-staff

Left to right:  David Schwadron – Head of Israel Technology Barclays, Liron Rose – ‎Managing Director of Techstars Tel Aviv, Len Rosen – CEO Barclays Israel, Michal Beinisch – COO Barclays Israel

SEE ALSO: CEO Of MassChallenge Talks To NoCamels 

On the “Rise” in Tel Aviv

The new accelerator is located at Rise Tel Aviv on Ahad Ha’am Street, (formerly the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building). Rise offers the participating startups a co-working environment, world class event spaces and meeting rooms.

Rise, Rise Tel Aviv, Barclays, Techstars, Barclays Tel Aviv, Techstars Tel Aviv

Rise Tel Aviv

“At Barclays we are actively embracing the opportunities and expertise of the startup ecosystem,” Barclays Chief Design and Digital Officer Derek White said in a statement. “With Rise and our Accelerator program we are able to help translate emerging technologies into what could be the future of financial services. We’re excited about the prospect of tapping into Tel Aviv’s hot-bed of innovation, connecting some of the world’s most active innovators.”

“This Tel Aviv program represents a milestone for us,” Techstars CEO Greg Rogers said. “Not only does it connect our partnership with Barclays across four continents, it is also the launch of Techstars in Israel.

With registration for the second year of Barclays Techstars Tel Aviv program already underway, NoCamels takes a look at some of the innovative Israeli startups in last year’s inaugural Tel Aviv class: Corr.BI, Civilize, and SlidePiper. These early stage startups have all completed the TechStars Tel Aviv program and are now in the process of raising new funding for their ventures.

Corr.BI: Business Intelligence in the palm of your hand

Business people are constantly scouring the web to find pertinent connections and vital information about people and businesses, and investing  lots of valuable time and resources doing so. For a business decision maker, this information assists in making smarter choices. But there is often little support and backup data for such crucial decisions.

 Corr.BI, co-founded by Ron Shafran (CEO) and Nir Benita (CTO),  is a sophisticated Business Intelligence platform, mining data from multiple online and offline sources to create an extensive collection of information. All the user needs to do is insert basic information about a contact or a company. Corr.bi then instantly extracts data such as personal details, related businesses and company updates to create rich intelligence profiles.

Civilize: Dealing with creditors in a civilized manner

Creditors calling you at all hours? Afraid they’ll come knocking at your door? Civilize is a platform that provides advocacy and communications support to debtors in the USA, including fighting fraudulent debt. A “civilized” intermediary, it promises to make the process less cumbersome and more transparent for debtors, while ensuring they know their rights and are not unduly harassed by creditors. The startup stops harassment from debt collectors by putting the conversation back into their clients’ hands so that they can interact with creditors online, at their convenience, no longer dealing with intrusive calls or threatening behavior that disrupts their lives. Serial Fintech entrepreneur Sarah Nadav is the startup’s CEO, and Ari Sprung, an experienced developer with a focus on mobile development is the CTO.

SlidePiper: Making  documents interactive and trackable

Do you really know about what happens after you send your marketing materials to your customers or leads? Most of the time you just send it off and hope for the best.

With SlidePiper, an Israeli startup co-founded by Sivan Bender (CEO) and Yaniv Friedensohn (CTO), you will know in real-time when a presentation was opened, which slides were viewed (and for how long), if the presentation shared with someone and much more. In addition, your customer can chat with you and ask questions in real-time, as they view the presentation.

Photos and videos: TechStars, Rise Tel Aviv, Corr.BI, SlidePiper

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World Economic Forum: Israel Is 2nd Most Innovative Country In The World http://nocamels.com/2016/10/israel-second-most-innovative-country/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/israel-second-most-innovative-country/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:17:06 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48538 Israel is the second most innovative nation in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, which ranks countries’ competitiveness based on 12 categories, including innovation, technological readiness, business sophistication and higher education.

When it comes to innovation, the Startup Nation is second only to Switzerland, which is also ranked No. 1 on the overall competitiveness list. Finland, the US and Germany round out the top five most innovative countries list, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan, Singapore and Denmark.

“The global economy is still in recovery,” according to the WEF. “Countries must embrace openness, technology and innovation to remain competitive.”

SEE ALSO: Innovation Nation: 10 Israeli Technologies That Are Changing The World

Of the 138 nations recently examined by the World Economic Forum for competitiveness, Israel ranks No. 24 (up three positions from last year) with significant strengths in innovation (No.2), venture capital availability (No. 2) quality of research institutions (No. 3), company spending on research and development (No. 3), and university-industry R&D collaboration (No. 3).

Ranking higher on this year’s list is a result of Israel’s continued growth momentum, which stands in contrast to some of the other countries in the region. “Although most of the oil-importing countries in the region are facing declining or stagnating competitiveness, Israel improves by three positions as it continues to build on its positioning as one of the most innovative economies in the world,” according to the report.

SEE ALSO: Why The World’s Largest Tech Companies All Want A Piece Of The Israeli Pie

The WEF report comes on the heels of a record-breaking quarter for Israeli startups: 187 Israeli startups raised a record $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2016, a whopping 55 percent above the $1.1 billion raised by 174 companies in the previous quarter, according to IVC Research Center and accounting firm KPMG Somekh Chaikin. Reports for the third quarter of 2016 are due later this month.

According to Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center, “2016 will continue to be strong in capital raising, with a projected 20 percent year-on-year increase, or about $5.3 billion in total to be raised by the end of the year.”

Another testament to Israel’s strong startup scene is the recent acquisition of social games developer Playtika by a consortium of Chinese companies for $4.4 billion – one of the largest “exits” by an Israeli company in the history of the Startup Nation.

“Israel is a nation that sanctifies innovation”

With the largest number of startups per capita in the world, Israel is home to 2,000 startups that were founded in the past decade; another 3,000 small- and medium-size startup and high-tech companies; 30 growth companies; 50 large technology companies; and 300 R&D centers of  multinational corporations, according to a report released recently by Israel’s Innovation Authority.

high-tech-companies-in-israel-courtesy-of-israel-innovation-authority

High-tech companies in Israel

“Thanks to two fruitful decades in the Israeli high-tech industry, we have reached unprecedented achievements,” Avi Hasson, Israel’s Innovation Authority Chairman and Chief Scientist, said in a statement. “If we invest in our high-tech industry, we will be able to promote faster growth.”

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Israel is a nation that sanctifies innovation. We’ve achieved great heights, but we cannot stop now; we want to continue climbing.”

Photo, infographic, video: Israel Innovation Authority, Gilad Avidan, World Economic Forum

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Moojis Turns Your Selfies Into Personal Emojis http://nocamels.com/2016/10/moojis-selfies-personal-emojis-panimood/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/moojis-selfies-personal-emojis-panimood/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 07:31:37 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48519 Why say you love someone when you could send an emoji blowing heart-shaped kisses, or that you’re dying for pizza when you could send a pizza emoji? At least, that’s what most of the Whatsapp generation seems to think, with emoji increasingly becoming an accepted language.

But one drawback many users experience with emojis are their lack of individuality. Sometimes, there is just no emoji that seems to quite capture the subtlety of what you’re trying to convey. And creating your own personal set of emojis has for the most part been solely the domain of celebrities, like Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji, or Justin Bieber’s Justmoji, to name a few.

 SEE ALSO: Selfie App CamMe Wins Most Innovative App Award At Mobile World Congress

Seeking to make the entire emoji experiece more personal, Israeli startup Panimood is setting its sights on changing the face of emojis  – quite literally.

Moojis by Panimood, is a new free and fun emoticon keyboard for iPhone and Android that uses your own face to create a cool emoji. The process is simple. Users take pictures of themselves, then the app uses a unique image processing algorithm which takes the user’s selfie, processes it, and re-creates it as a Moojie. The emoji will appear in the Moojis keypad and will be available to share with your friends when you text or message them on any app, including Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, iMessage or MMS, using the Moojis keyboard (which can be easily installed through your phone’s settings). The whole process, from selfie to emoji,  takes only eight seconds.

The app has eight built-in Moojis, including happy, sad and angry, with additional Moojis available as paid upgrades. Users create a Mooji for each mood, save them and install the keyboard. Moojis are sent as photos, instead of regular emojis, therefore recipients are not required to have the app installed to view the Moojis.

“The market is filled with emoji apps that rank high in the paid apps category,” Shlomi Ben Atar, the company’s CEO told NoCamels. “The problem is they are all keyboards that belong to celebrities (based on their faces), big companies or based on the current standard yellow emojis. Moojis gives users the power to create their own. For the first time ever you’ll be able to express yourself and share your feelings when messaging with your own personal emojis.”

“Besides the celebrity or brand designated apps, there are a few apps, like Bitmoji,  that use databases to create your face (pick eyes, nose, mouth, etc.). But Moojis is the only patented application that creates an emoji which truly represents your face, and can also be used as a platform for additional applications,” Ben Atar said.

Just for fun, the company also creates email signatures (in HTML), based on the Mooji of your choice.

Based in Tel Aviv and founded earlier this year, Moojis has raised an undisclosed amount of funding and currently is the top download in the Israeli App Store.

“Moojis allows you to be creative and make as many of your own personal emojis as you want, using a photo of your real expressions to show your emotions,” Ben Atar said. “Just smile, shoot, and let us do the rest.”

moojies

Photos and video: Moojis

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Israel’s FieldIn Helps Farmers Track Crops, Cut Costs http://nocamels.com/2016/10/fieldin-helps-farmers-track-crops-cut-costs/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/fieldin-helps-farmers-track-crops-cut-costs/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:43:59 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48397 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Growing trees in Israel, Italy and California has become easier thanks to an innovative solution that takes care of all aspects of pest management for high-value crops, using less pesticide.

“We provide an end-to-end solution to special crop growers that follows our clients in all the process, allowing our customers to use pesticides in a smarter and more efficient way, reducing waste and spray mistakes. They also save money with us,” said Eyal Amit, VP business development at FieldIn.

SEE ALSO: Revolutionary Rooftop Farm Grows Organic Veggies Sans Soil In The Heart of Tel Aviv

orange grove orchard fieldin

The company manages substantial acreage for large enterprise growers who grow citrus, wine grapes, apples, almonds, avocados, and pomegranates, among others. The lead investor is Terra Venture Partners, an Israeli venture capital fund.

SEE ALSO: EdenShield Invents Product That Makes Crops ‘Invisible’ To Pests

FieldIn won the second prize in a startup competition at the International AgriVest Conference held at the Weizmann Institute of Science last week, for technology that increases the efficiency of growing crops.

The conference is an initiative of Trendlines Agtech, an incubator of The Trendlines Group, Invest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israeli Ministry of Economy & Industry and GreenSoil Investments, an Israeli VC focused on agro & food tech investments.

“Thanks to our apps and sensors, we can follow the whole process, we can check the weather, which kind of pesticides are used, how they are used, where they are used, their quantity, their pace and if tractors cover every single hectare of the crop,” said Amit. 

pomegranate butterfly orchard fieldin

The company’s “field scout” uses a monitoring app to check the health of the crops and sends feedback to “executives,” the people in charge, using insights based on the big data the FieldIn technology provides.

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: FieldIn

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Free Clinic Aims To Help Startups Tiptoe Through Legal Quicksand http://nocamels.com/2016/10/idc-herzliya-clinic-helps-startups-legal-issues/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/idc-herzliya-clinic-helps-startups-legal-issues/#respond Sun, 16 Oct 2016 09:20:13 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48418 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israel may be one of the best places in the world to create a new startup, yet it can be very hard for entrepreneurs to deal with bureaucracy and legalities. A tiny detail or a small mistake can cost thousands of shekels.

For this reason, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private university north of Tel Aviv, has set up a free legal clinic to help new startups wade their way through legal quagmires and bureaucracy.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Engineering Students Bring Clean Water Solution To Tanzania

“Our legal clinic is a unit within the IDC Herzliya that wants to make social impact involving students, who can in the process also get practical legal experience. They get real legal experience, perhaps even more than some interns,” said Assaf Ben David, a lawyer with international, commercial and high-tech experience, who was recruited to establish the clinic two years ago.

Startups that wish to become clients of the clinic must be technologically related: they must produce apps, software, websites or physical products that do something unique. In addition, they must be social ventures.

“Dan Nir and Roger Gladstone, the people who donated money to open the clinic, had a dream to create social change. Due to their social awareness, and the IDC’s focus on social involvement alongside entrepreneurship, we decided to choose only this type of startups,” said Ben David.

Nir is an American private investor and a philanthropist who managed hedge funds for 25 years. Gladstone founded the Gladstone Law Group and is a board member of numerous organizations.

SEE ALSO: Startup Incubator Embraces New Immigrants To Israel

The clinic is the first of its kind in Israel, said Ben David. The free legal service is exclusively provided to help women, new immigrants, Arab-Israelis, ultra-Orthodox Jews, the Druze, residents of Israel’s periphery and individuals with disabilities.

To read the full article, click here

women talking

Photos and video: IDC Legal Clinic for StartupsWOCinTech Chat

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Eyes On The Road: Israeli App Lets You Report Bad Drivers Straight To The Police http://nocamels.com/2016/10/israeli-app-reports-bad-drivers-safe-lane/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/israeli-app-reports-bad-drivers-safe-lane/#respond Sun, 16 Oct 2016 07:49:03 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48128 Getting cut off in traffic by other drivers is not only maddening, it’s dangerous and in some cases fatal. The presence of police on roads and highways can serve as a deterrent, but they can’t be everywhere at all times. Most incidents of reckless, life-endangering driving simply go unreported and unpunished.

In Israel, 273 people died in car accidents since the beginning of the year, up from 260 in all of 2015. These worrying statistics prompted Israel’s National Road Safety Authority, the Israel Police Traffic Department and the nonprofit Nativ Batuach (Safe Lane) organization to partner to create the “Guardians of the Road – Social Change on the Roads”  program.

Using an app developed especially for the project at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, approved volunteer drivers continuously photograph the road and vehicles visible through their windshield. When they see a traffic violation, they prompt the system by voice command to deliver a video report to a control center in the National Road Safety Authority for further evaluation and possible action by the police.

SEE ALSO: Curbing Distracted Driving: Cellepathy Keeps Drivers Focused

During a pilot run last year, some 7,500 moving violations were recorded, hundreds of which were then transferred to to police. According to National Road Safety Authority spokesperson Moriya Malka, as reported in Geektime, as of mid-August, 5,500 people had already signed up to take part in the program, and additional volunteers will be recruited in the near future. In order to participate, users must be over the age of 30 and not have committed any serious traffic violations in the past five years.

Image result for israeli traffic

Anonymous reporting

Besides making our roads safer by reporting bad drivers, one of the main advantages of the app is that the reports are anonymous. The drivers reported do not know who photographed them, so eye witnesses don’t have to fear reporting dangerous motorists. Additionally, knowing that anonymous reporters are on the roads can act as a deterrent to bad drivers.

“If we, the driving members of the public, are afraid that the driver in the lane next to us or behind us is photographing us, we will begin to think twice about commiting a traffic violation,” Mordechai Doani-Bahiri, director-general of the National Road Safety Authority, told the The Jerusalem Post. “From the moment of the project’s launch, the National Road Safety Authority’s offices have been flooded with requests from citizens, who are also tired of the situation on Israel’s roads and want to join the project and change the driving culture in Israel.”

SEE ALSO: App Turns Your iPhone Into An Intelligent Dash Cam To Avoid Car Accidents

Different from Nexar

A somewhat similar existing venture by Israeli app Nexar uses artificial intelligence to analyze road conditions and warn of hazardous events. Nexar turns the user’s smartphone into a dashboard camera. And in addition to the reports, Nexar also uses a complicated computer vision algorithm to analyze the video clip, map the hazardous road behavior, and record the license plates of the cars involved. However, Nexar idoes not interface with the local police like the Guardians of the Road venture.

Zemer Blondheim, chairman of Safe Lane, told the Jerusalem Post that the initiative enables civil society to “take a step forward and take responsibility for what is happening on the roads that belong to all of us.”

car accident two carsPhotos: Courtesy

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This Flexible 3D-Printed Material Can Form Any Shape, Poised To Revolutionize Wearable Tech http://nocamels.com/2016/10/flexible-3d-printed-blocks-revolutionize-wearable-tech/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/flexible-3d-printed-blocks-revolutionize-wearable-tech/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:39:51 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48260 Israeli scientists have developed a new metamaterial that can form any pattern if you compress it: Squashing a cube made from this new material can make it smile [see video], but it can be designed to do almost anything, they claim.

Therefore, this 3D-printed material is poised to revolutionize soft robotics, prosthetics and wearable technologies.

SEE ALSO: ‘Limb Factory’ Gives Life Back To Disabled From All Over The World

For example, if your prosthesis keeps chafing and doesn’t snugly fit your limb, the new ‘programmable’ material could change your life.

SEE ALSO: 3D Printers’ Next Stop: Your Mouth

This new approach to forming a mechanical metamaterial – which is engineered to have a property that’s not found in nature and can be programmed to deform in a uniquely complex manner – could have future applications in wearable technologies, prosthetics and soft robotics, a sub-field of robotics that deals with non-rigid robots constructed with deformable materials like silicone, plastic, fabric or rubber.

In a recent Tel Aviv University study, published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, researchers show how they mix up the sub-units of a material to “program” its final pattern. Their method could pave the way for the development of more close-fitting, comfortable and user-friendly prosthetics.

“The possibilities are endless”

Developed by TAU’s Dr. Yair Shokef and Prof. Martin van Hecke of Leiden University and AMOLF, the Netherlands, the substance was used to 3D-print a metamaterial cube. A smiley-face pattern emerged on the side of the cube when it was compressed between appropriately patterned surfaces.

“We started with a series of flexible building blocks whose deformation properties varied with their orientation,” Shokef said in a statement. “We then developed a new design principle to enable these bricks to be oriented and assembled into a larger metamaterial with machine-like functionalities.”

This metamaterial, according to the researchers, has an unusual property. “On a seemingly normal cube, a programmable pattern of bulges appears when it is compressed,” Shokef says. “In the case of metamaterials, those designed by humans, the spatial structure determines the material’s behavior. By smartly combining the building blocks, we can program the material in such way that every desired pattern appears on the sides of a compressed cube.”

flexible material

There are many applications that could be derived from this groundbreaking study. “This type of programmable ‘machine materials’ could be ideal for prostheses or wearable technology in which a close fit with the body is important,” Shokef says. “If we can make the building blocks more complex or produce these from other materials, then the possibilities are endless.”

Photos and video: Tel Aviv University, Nature

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Israeli Digital Payments Company Payoneer Raises $180M To Rival PayPal http://nocamels.com/2016/10/fintech-digital-payments-company-payoneer-raises-180-million/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/fintech-digital-payments-company-payoneer-raises-180-million/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2016 09:20:28 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48296 Digital payments firm Payoneer has raised $180 million, the largest investment in an Israeli FinTech company, and one of the biggest financing rounds seen in Israel in recent months. This could be the company’s last private funding round before embarking on an initial public offering (IPO), according to reports in the media.

The round was led by American private equity firm Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), along with former investor Susquehanna Growth Equity. The investment includes $90 million injected directly into Payoneer for expanding the company, and additional $90 million worth of shares that shareholders sold to investors.

SEE ALSO: What is ‘FinTech’ And Why Is Israel So Good At It?

“This is a huge investment and the largest funding round raised by an Israeli FinTech company,” Israeli startup researcher Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center, tells NoCamels.

“We can make a difference by empowering entrepreneurs”

Founded in 2005 by Yuval Tal and Ben Yaniv Chechik, Payoneer enables businesses to send and receive cross-border payments electronically. To date, it has raised $235 million. Earlier this year, the company acquired American escrow services firm Armor Payments for an undisclosed amount. With major offices in New York and Tel Aviv, Payoneer employs 760 people.

According to the company, it is profitable, has a “debt-free balance sheet” and is ranked in the top 100 of Inc. 5000’s financial services companies. According to the magazine, Payoneer has grown its operations by 190 percent in three years, and its 2015 revenue totaled $117 million.

mobile-shopping

“We believe we can make a difference by empowering entrepreneurs throughout the world by offering them tools and solutions to participate, compete and succeed in the global economy,” Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: The Birth Of A New Internet: How Blockchain Technology Is Changing The Way We Transact

The investment follows a year of growth for Payoneer, which opened new offices in India, Japan and the Philippines, and partnered with such giants as Rakuten, a Japanese electronic commerce and internet company based in Tokyo.

“Payoneer’s scale and global reach, along with its proprietary compliance infrastructure, allow it to differentiate itself in the field of international payments,” Nari Ansari, Principal at TCV, said in a statement.

Serving such giants as Amazon, Google and Airbnb

According to research firm eMarketer, worldwide retail e-commerce sales topped $1.9 trillion last year, and are projected to grow to $4 trillion by 2020. Still, Payoneer is facing steep competition from archrival PayPal, which also offers global payment services to businesses and consumers for a fee (which the businesses pay). With a market cap of $49 billion and annual revenues of $9 billion, PayPal is still the most dominant platform for digital payments.

However, in today’s borderless digital world, there’s still room for other players: Payoneer currently serves 3 million businesses and professionals by facilitating seamless global payments while helping them reach new audiences. Thousands of leading corporations, including Amazon, Google and Airbnb already use Payoneer’s services.

payoneer

Payoneer, one of roughly 430 FinTech companies and startups currently operating in Israel, serves companies in 200 countries, and processes payments made by using 150 currencies. With its solutions, businesses and professionals in both developed and emerging markets can pay and get paid globally as easily as they do locally. According to the company, it “empowers global commerce by connecting businesses, professionals, countries and currencies with its innovative cross-border payments platform.”

Photos and video: Payoneer, MVCOSHOPJason Howie

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Kickstarter For Fashion: ‘Out Of X’ Connects Unique Western Fashion With Chinese Millennials http://nocamels.com/2016/10/out-of-x-crowd-funding-fashion-china/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/out-of-x-crowd-funding-fashion-china/#respond Wed, 05 Oct 2016 07:09:59 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47749 There are roughly 200 million millennials in China, with an increasing number hailing from the surging middle class. And unlike past generations, which basked in a sea of fashion knockoffs, Chinese millennials are seeking unique fashion items to set them apart from the crowd.

According to business consulting firm McKinsey, by 2022 the middle class in China will account for 54 percent of urban households, meaning that a lot of disposable income will be available to purchase luxury goods.

Capitalizing on this trend, Israeli fashion startup Out of X, which developed a crowd-funding mobile app, is giving Chinese consumers access to unique clothes created by Western designers, while helping these independent designers succeed.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Hottest Israeli Fashion Designers Who Dress The Stars

out of x app

The designers upload photos of their garments to Out of X’s platform, specify the price, and start taking pre-orders. As the designers receive enough orders and subsequently funds (similar to crowd-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo), they start production. The majority of items currently featured on Out of X range from $100 to $500.

Staying true to consumers’ desire for individuality, all items on Out of X are limited edition. Each item is one out of a 10-200 garments produced, hence the origin of the platform’s name – “Out of X.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed Fashion

Clyde Hats for "Out of X"

Founded by Shany Elkin, Nir Laznik and Roee Lahav early last year, the 10-employee company manages thousands of fashion offerings, reaching nearly 4 million consumers a month, according to Laznik, an industrial engineer (like Lahav), while Elkin is a fashion designer.

The idea for the platform came when Lahav suggested to Elkin to upload her designs to Kickstarter as a way to launch her boutique brand online. Elkin found the platform unfit for her stylish offerings, and decided to create a crowd-funding app specifically for fashionistas.

China’s one-child policy (which the government only relaxed in 2013), created a generation of young people who have disposable income to splurge. “Imagine a generation of 200 million people who grew up at the center of attention,” with two parents and four grandparents, Laznik tells NoCamels.

Laznik also believes this generation is more likely to trust Western brands, due to the prevalence of low-quality knockoffs in China.

A bridge connecting Western designers with Chinese consumers

With such a huge market to tap into, it’s no wonder that the founders were recently selected to participate in “The Next Unicorn,” a Chinese television show similar to its American sister “Shark Tank,” where young entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their ideas to fruition.

Out of X was also invited to participate in Chinaccelerator, a 90-day seed-funding program, which allowed the company to gain a foothold in China. Laznik says his startup now serves as a significant “bridge connecting Western designers with Chinese consumers.”

"out of x" designer

Most recently, Out of X launched a WeChat app, penetrating the most popular Chinese messaging service, which has 700 million users. The startup already has thousands of followers on WeChat, who are exposed to the designs of some 1,200 designers from several countries.

Out of X curators in Shanghai, New York and London select the designers for the platform mainly through fashion schools and design competitions, but they also seek the advice of established designers on selecting up-and-coming ones. According to the company, this is a great opportunity for relatively anonymous designers to tap into the booming Chinese market.

Yeah Bunny for Out of X

Photos: Out of X, Good Jud

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Israeli Startup Blindspot Sells Popular Anonymous Messaging App For $32M http://nocamels.com/2016/09/israeli-app-blindspot-sold-32-million/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/israeli-app-blindspot-sold-32-million/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:21:06 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48181 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

An Israeli startup sold its controversial messaging app and music radio app to a Chinese consortium in a deal worth $32 million, according to media reports. The Blindspot app will be bought for $28 million and Chinese radio app Mr. C. for another $4 million, according to Channel 2 news.

The Blindspot app allows users to send anonymous messages, photos and videos to their contacts without the receiver being able to trace it. Launched in December 2015, the app has already had over 2 million downloads, but has drawn charges of being a platform for anonymous bullying.

The Israeli firm behind Blindspot, called Shellanoo Group, called it “a wacky anonymous messaging app that gives people the opportunity to say what they really feel.”

SEE ALSO: Meet Blindspot, The Anonymous Messaging App That Stirs Up Global Controversy

woman-girl-texting-chatting-smartphone

The Blindspot team will remain in Israel for the next year, the Huffington Post reported, and will then move operations to Asia.

Backed by will.i.am and Nicki Minaj

The app is a key part of the Shellanoo Group, which is funded in part by investments from global celebrities, including music stars will.i.am and Nicki Minaj, as well as Jewish Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich.

SEE ALSO: Find Out Which Celebs Are Betting Their Money On The Startup Nation

The Chinese consortium which purchased Blindspot includes Hong Kong investment firms Wuhan Capital Ltd, Tianjin Games (Hong Kong) Ltd., and a group of investors led by William Ding founder of Chinese internet giant Netease, Huffington Post reported.

Despite its success, the app has been extremely controversial, with accusations of teen bullying and harassment.

The app works like other social networking channels such as Whatsapp, with users able to chat, send pictures and videos. But the identity of the sender remains anonymous.

blindspot app

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Aiming High: Intel Israel Creates ‘World’s Smartest Office Building’ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/intel-israel-smartest-office-building/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/intel-israel-smartest-office-building/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:24:51 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48163 Intel Israel broke ground yesterday on what it claims will be the world’s smartest building. Being constructed in Petach Tikva, Israel, this 34,000-square-meter research and development center will join half a dozen Intel locations in Israel, including two manufacturing facilities.

Thousands of smart sensors scattered around the building will use cutting-edge information technologies to gather relevant data and provide what employees need in order to do their work. “The smart building will make the work environment work for you,” says Kobi Bor, Intel Israel’s smart campus project manager.

According to Intel, this energy-saving building, which will be home to some 2,500 employees, will recognize employees’ faces, so they won’t need a badge; turn the lights on and off; offer carpools to employees based on estimated arrival times to the office; and even direct employees to vacant parking spots.

SEE ALSO: Report: Apple Israel Could Be Behind Company’s Smart Home Breakthrough

If you’re having a meeting, the smart building will turn on the lights for you, set the temperature, the computer and the projector, and even upload the relevant files for you. It can help you navigate the campus, and even tell you when you can squeeze a haircut into your schedule!

SEE ALSO: Why The World’s Largest Tech Companies All Want A Piece Of The Israeli Pie

Hungry? The smart building will tell you how long the line is at the cafeteria and, if it’s packed, will provide more convenient lunch times. It can even tell you the nutritional value of the dishes served and what the most popular dish of the day is.

Intel stresses that its smart building will only learn the habits of employees who choose to share their information, and will adjust its recommendations accordingly. The employees who choose to opt in will enjoy a unique mobile app that will cater to their needs, including ordering the cup of coffee they like in the morning.

The new building, which is expected to be completed in 2019, will be LEED-certified (a green building certification), with emphasis on energy conservation and water recycling. “Building this new campus highlights the importance of our presence in Israel, and reflects our values of innovation, technology and green building,” Intel Israel CEO Maxine Fassberg said in a statement.

Her statement comes on the heels of a reorganization that led to the furlough of hundreds of Intel Israel employees, and thousands in other Intel locations around the world.

10,000 employees in the Holy Land 

With roughly 10,000 employees in Israel, Intel is the largest multinational high-tech company in the country. It has four development centers in Haifa, Yakum, Petach Tikva and Jerusalem, as well as manufacturing facilities in Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. Recent statistics show that Intel exports account for roughly 9 percent of the total goods exported from Israel.

Intel picked Israel for its first R&D center outside the US 40 years ago. Since the chipmaker set up shop in Israel, it has developed a series of breakthrough computer processors and has evolved beyond hardware.

Intel processor

Photos and video: Courtesy

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DLD Tel Aviv 2016: 10 Innovation Festival Events Not To Miss http://nocamels.com/2016/09/dld-tel-aviv-2016-innovation-festival-events/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/dld-tel-aviv-2016-innovation-festival-events/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:00:25 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48091 The largest annual startup conference held in Tel Aviv, Israel, will once again open its doors next week. The DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival 2016 will see 10,000 startup and high-tech industry executives, including 3,500 attendees from abroad, participating in dozens of events, meetups, lectures and demos.

Like every year, DLD is attracting some of the world’s most influential tech and finance firms, all eager to get in on the Startup Nation action. As Tel Aviv was recently voted the world’s best startup ecosystem outside the US, it is no wonder that global organization Digital Life Design (DLD) picked Tel Aviv as one of a handful locations for its conference.

“DLD has become one of the most intriguing high-tech conferences in the world, bringing together the finest minds, companies, entrepreneurs and investors in the world into one place,” according to Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist.

SEE ALSO: Why The World’s Largest Tech Companies All Want A Piece Of The Israeli Pie

Aside from the main DLD conference, the whole week (Sept. 25-29) – known as “Innovation Festival”- is packed with other private- and city-sponsored events scattered across some of the coolest locations around town.

To help you figure out which events and parties not to miss, NoCamels has prepared a comprehensive roundup of the best and most noteworthy events happening next week in the “city that never sleeps.”

Tel Aviv: Skyline (night)

  1. DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Conference 2016

DLD features a plethora of events happening simultaneously at the site of the 124-years-old Jaffa Railway Station, the first of its kind in the Middle East. This beautifully preserved 19th century spot, which no longer serves as a railway station, perhaps symbolizes the Startup Nation’s journey from a small colony to a vibrant center of innovation and high technology.

Events will include lectures, panel discussions, technical sessions, meetups, demos, cocktail parties and social events, which will offer conference guests access to high-tech and investment gurus, up-and-coming startups, high-tech giants and cool gadgets. Admission is steep – 2,000 shekels. And be prepared, the panels take place in tents and it gets a little hot and humid!

When: Sept. 27-28

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

The Old Jaffa Railway Station

The Old Jaffa Railway Station

  1. Creative Boulevard

Various events will be taking place on Rothschild Boulevard, including an urban happening, where a host of meetups will provide opportunities for global networking; and live exhibitions, which will turn the boulevard – Tel Aviv’s main startup hub – into an open-air digital media arena, featuring interactive digital games.

The evening is expected to be “an amazing visual representation of the startup ecosystem and innovations in Tel Aviv,” according to the mayor’s office.

When: Sept. 27, starting at 7 p.m.

Where: Along Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

  1. Tel Aviv Cities Summit

This annual summit will address key issues that urban administrators must consider as they face ongoing technological and urban revolutions that shape communities nowadays. It brings together entrepreneurs, city planners and visionaries from cities around the world – who together experience the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv.

The opening plenary feature a discussion on local solutions for global challenges. Speakers include the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD Douglas Frantz and Mayor of Bogota Enrique Peñalosa.

When: Sept. 26, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd., Tel Aviv.

  1. The second China-Israel Investment Summit

The summit will connect prominent Chinese investors and corporations to innovative Israeli companies from a variety of industries. Delegations include leading companies in the fields of medical devices, AgTech, CleanTech, internet, mobile and FinTech.

When: September 24-26

Where: David Intercontinental Hotel, 12 Kaufman St., Tel Aviv

chinaisrael

  1. Chief Scientist’s consultation meetups

As part of the DLD convention, Israel’s Innovation Authority (formerly Office of the Chief Scientist) will set up a pavilion to consult early and later stage startups on support and grants, opportunities for research and development cooperation with countries in North and Latin America, East Asia, Europe, and more.

This is an opportunity for members of the high-tech ecosystem to meet Innovation Authority staff face-to-face and get updates and information.

When: Sept. 28, 2-6 p.m.

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

  1. Tempest: The French Tech Party

Musician Franck Vigroux, along with Antoine Schmitt – a contemporary artist, programming engineer and designer – will present a show of digital media and sounds on Rothschild Boulevard, just outside the French Institute.

Called “Tempest,” this audio-visual performance depicts the universe right after the Big Bang.

When: Sept. 27 in the evening

Where: 7 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv

  1. Exclusive events held by Amazon, Intel, Google and Microsoft

DLD also offers an opportunity to get to know some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Intel, which all have offices in Israel. Some sessions are by-invitation only, others simply require registration.

At the events, some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies will be presented by leaders of giant tech corporations.

When: Sept. 26-28

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

  1. Jamming with smartphones 

The availability of affordable mobile platforms allows for creating a new generation of musical instruments and interactive audio applications. These systems are currently redefining the boundaries between music listening and music performance. This DLD meetup will explore mobile platforms that create collective performances. Bring your own smartphone.

When: Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. 

Where: BuXa Bar, 31 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv 

  1. Berlin’s creative popup laboratory

At the Berlin Popup Lab, visitors can get comprehensive information about the Berlin startup scene, and life and work in the German capital. The lab will feature meetups, exhibitions, and a dinner. An open-stage event will feature the stories of entrepreneurs that expanded their startups from Tel Aviv to Berlin.

When: Sept. 25-29

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

Berlin

Berlin

  1. 4YFN Mobile Event

4 Years From Now (4YFN) is a platform that enables startups, investors and corporations to connect and launch new ventures together. The organization will host several events, including startup pitching sessions and networking.

When: Sept. 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

*Please visit event websites for registration and admissions information.

Photos and video: dautrescordesPikiwikiOrenvo5, Random, Berlin

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Chinese Take Out: 100 Israeli Startups, 1000 Chinese Investors At Shanghai GoforIsrael Conference http://nocamels.com/2016/09/israeli-startups-chinese-baidu-alibaba-goforisrael/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/israeli-startups-chinese-baidu-alibaba-goforisrael/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:40:15 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48083 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Around 100 Israeli high-tech and startup companies are taking part in the GoforIsrael conference in Shanghai, China, which aims to introduce Israeli technology to Chinese investors.

Israeli companies, including Mobileye, Kaminario, Xjet, Tufin, Zerto, WeWork, Satixfy, ReWalk Robotics, Juganu and other startups in the fields of life sciences, media, telecom, internet and green tech are attending the event, which is expected to attract about 1,000 Chinese investors, including representatives from conglomerates such as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Lenovo and Fosun, GoforIsrael said in a statement.

goforisrael, Shamir, GoForIsrael 2016, China,

Left to right: Yair Shamir (Managing Partner, Catalyst Fund), Ronnie Chan (Chairman of Hang Lung Properties) and Edouard Cukierman (Chairman of Cukierman Investment House and Managing Partner of Catalyst CEL)

SEE ALSO: These Five Israeli Startups Are Taking China By Storm

Following the September 20 Shanghai event, the conference will continue to Wuhan in the Hubei province, where it is expected to attract 800 additional investors.

Over 30 of the participating companies will get a chance to pitch their technologies to investors. Among the companies are Upright, which teaches users to remain upright by attaching a pad-like device to the back which vibrates when the person slouches; HeraMed, which has developed an app to monitor the health of fetuses through the measurement of the pulse, and Real Imaging, which has developed a machine for early-stage diagnosis of breast cancer by measuring temperature changes around the tumor.

The conference is organized by Cukierman & Co. Investment House, which offers investment banking services to Israeli and European customers, together with Israel-based private equity fund Catalyst Funds.

goforisraelcropped-635x357

Photos: GoforIsrael

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Toy Story: World’s Largest Toy Maker, Mattel, Teams With Israel’s StartApp To Bring Barbie To Mobile http://nocamels.com/2016/09/mattel-startapp-barbie-mobile-emoji/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/mattel-startapp-barbie-mobile-emoji/#respond Tue, 20 Sep 2016 06:26:49 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48052 “I’m a Barbie girl in the Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”

Those may just be song lyrics, but for Mattel, the world’s largest toy manufacturer, and the creator of the Barbie doll, life in plastic is indeed fantastic – and getting even better with a little help from an Israeli startup.

StartApp, an Israeli mobile platform that helps publishers monetize, distribute and advertise in apps and on mobile websites, announced a strategic collaboration with Mattel, in which StartApp will develop digital experiences for many of Mattel’s iconic brands, including Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars.

As part of the partnership with Mattel, and in conjunction with Apple’s recent iOS 10 launch, StartApp released two new iMessage apps for stickers and content, Barbie and Hot Wheels, for downloading to iPhones or iPads.

barbie

Under the multi-year agreement, StartApp will become Mattel’s premier licensee to create digital stickers, emojis, wallpapers, gifs, mobile app themes, avatars, memes, and related apps for a number of Mattel’s global consumer brands.

SEE ALSO: Not Your Childhood Lego: BRIXO Brings Building Blocks To Life Using IoT Technology

“We are exceptionally excited to join forces with Mattel to help them reimagine their iconic brands for today’s world,” Gil Dudkiewicz, StartApp’s Co-founder and CEO said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we will draw upon our extensive experience in the mobile industry to expand on Mattel’s efforts to bring their brands to a new and exponentially more connected generation.”

Helping companies understand their users

StartApp, which was founded in 2010 by Dudkiewicz and Ran Avidan, is headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco, China, Russia, Israel, Brazil and India. The company offers a variety of products including rich media ads, exit ads, 3DApp Wall, text ads, 360 ads, interstitials and display ads. StartApp reaches over 350 million users and is embedded in over 150,000 Android and iOS apps.

StartApp’s full suite of mobile technologies helps companies better understand their end-users and execute multi-layered mobile strategies to create a unique experience for each them. StartApp partners with over 280,000 applications, including the King company’s ever-popular mobile game Candy Crush, working with a database of over 1.5 billion mobile users worldwide. To date, the company has raised a total of $7.3 million in funding from Ascent Venture Partners, Cedar Fund and TPY Capital.

SEE ALSO: Rent Your Favorite Legos Online With ‘Pley’ – Or Design Your Own Set

Mattel: A toy giant

Founded in 1945, Mattel’s portfolio of global consumer brands includes American Girl®, Barbie®, Fisher-Price®, Hot Wheels®, Monster High® and Thomas & Friends®, among many others. Mattel also creates lines and products made in collaboration with leading entertainment and technology companies including Disney-Pixar. With a global workforce of approximately 31,000, Mattel operates in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations.

Photos: Courtesy

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Safe & Sound: AngelSense’s GPS Tracker Gives Parents Of Autistic Kids Peace Of Mind http://nocamels.com/2016/09/angelsense-gps-tracker-autistic-kids/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/angelsense-gps-tracker-autistic-kids/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 12:10:54 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47957 Do you know where your children are? For parents of autistic children, knowing that their child is safe at all times, even when they are indoors or at school, is a dire necessity.

Like all children, autistic kids are naturally curious, and have an intense desire to explore the outside world. The National Autism Association calls this phenomenon “wandering”. Sadly, many of these wanderers get lost. More than a third of them can’t communicate their name, address or phone number, and most of them have had a close call with traffic.

SEE ALSO: Understanding Gender Differences Could Improve Autism And Alzheimer’s Treatment

Seeking a better way to keep track of their own autistic children’s whereabouts, in 2013 Israelis Doron Somer and Nery Ben developed AngelSense a GPS and voice monitoring solution designed exclusively for children with special needs. Consisting of a child GPS tracker along with an app for the parent, AngelSense provides peace of mind knowing exactly where your child is at every moment of the day. Also, with AngelSense, parents instantly get alerted as soon as their kids are on the move, so they can see online if they’ve gone into an area of the school building where they are not supposed be.

 

Built for children with autism
Although there are many GPS trackers on the market geared to keeping track of kids, the AngelSense tracker is specifically designed to meet the needs of autistic children. For example, the device that is attached to the child’s clothing can only be removed by the use of a special key, which the parents keep. This ensures that the child won’t damage or take off the tracker during the day.

SEE ALSO: New Study Examines Autistic Brain Function, Finds Every Brain Unique

To help better serve their customers’ needs, AngelSense’s support line is staffed with parents of special needs children. Their representatives are all expert users of AngelSense who understand what their clients are going through and are passionate about helping parents in similar situations.

According to the company, over 3000 users worldwide currently use AngelSense to monitor their children. The Guardian Kit, which includes the GPS tracker, costs $149 and the AngelSense service, which includes special monitoring features such as ‘listen in’ and other alerts and updates, is $39.99. The company declined to comment on how much money they have raised to date.

In explaining the drive behind the founding of the company, Somer told NoCamels, “I tried to find a solution that will let me, as a parent to a child with special needs, understand what’s going on with my child. That’s all I really want.”

For parents of autistic children, AngelSense may indeed be heaven-sent.

angelsense2Video production: Hoff Reshef (Executive Producer & Director), Brandon Barry (film), Maya Shechter (editing)

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Israeli Wearable Device MotionCure Relieves Motion Sickness In Minutes http://nocamels.com/2016/09/wearable-tech-motioncure-treatment-motion-sickness/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/wearable-tech-motioncure-treatment-motion-sickness/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:05:33 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47982 If you get nauseous or queasy when on a boat, ferry or a plane, and even when you just ride the bus to work, you are not alone. Motion sickness affects one in every four people, for whom Israeli wearable device MotionCure could now provide relief within minutes.

Developed by Sidis Labs, MotionCure is a neck collar that uses tingling pulses to relieve the dizziness, nausea, and vomiting that people experience when their sense of balance is disturbed by constant motion.

SEE ALSO: Wear It Well: The Top Ten Wearable Tech Made In Israel

MotionCure

Founded in 2014 by Ohad Raz and Ami Dror, Sidis Labs came up with the idea for a motion sickness device after Raz completed his military service as a captain in the Israeli Navy, where “the problem of motion sickness was very close to my heart, as you can imagine,” he tells NoCamels.

Building on groundbreaking NASA research, MotionCure “creates customized pulses that are transmitted to the area of the median nerve that is at the nape (the back of neck),” he says. “Those help to reduce the signals that are sent from the brain to the stomach and basically calm down the stomach.”

SEE ALSO: MUV’s Smart ‘Ring’ BIRD Transforms Surfaces Into Giant Interactive Touchscreens

Raz describes the device as “an easy-to-use combination of a neck collar and a travel pillow that you wear on the plane.” In order to feel the pulse’s tingling sensations, all the user has to do is put in two AAA batteries and situate the device comfortably around the neck.

While previous attempts to help motion sickness include prescription, over-the-counter pills, and bracelets, “we are providing a natural alternative for drugs,” he says. “I think there is an understanding in the world that we should minimize the amount of drugs we take.”

Still, MotionCure is up against several competitors, in Israel and abroad. Israeli company Sea-Band, for instance, sells acupressure wristbands that are said to treat nausea as well as motion sickness. Similarly, drugs such as Dramamine and Travel-Ease are popular among people who face these symptoms.

Another problem might be its bulky nature. Wearing a big neck collar on your bus ride to work isn’t exactly subtle.

“Feel better in a matter of minutes”

MotionCure says its device can also be used by people undergoing chemotherapy, whose side effects include nausea and vomiting: “We didn’t plan for this to happen, but we keep getting feedback from people who have used it with chemotherapy and it helped them a lot,” Raz says. However, this was not independently verified.

MotionCure is sold for $150 on Amazon and on sidislabs.com. It is best used before the symptoms begin, but you can use it at the onset. Says Raz: “Either way, you will feel better in a matter of minutes.”

MotionCure

Photos: Courtesy

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Meet The Israeli Phone Hackers That Governments Have On Speed Dial http://nocamels.com/2016/09/nso-tech-governments-spy-smartphones/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/nso-tech-governments-spy-smartphones/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 07:11:52 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47923 When the news broke last month that a virtually anonymous Israeli company hacked the iPhone of a high-profile civil rights activist, the media were bursting with speculations and theories as to who was behind the breach. When the price of the hacking was revealed – $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee for 10 devices – all eyes were on Israeli startup NSO Group.

But the clandestine company – which is said to help governments spy on people through their mobile devices – has kept mostly quiet. In fact, this closely held enterprise has largely flown under the radar since its inception in 2010, even when it was bought for $120 million by American private equity firm Francisco Partners in 2014.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Cyber-Security Startups Are Battling The World’s Riskiest Online Hacks

Cybersecurity israel

Founded by Niv Carmi, Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie , NSO – which stands for the first letters of the founders’ first names – has developed a mobile device surveillance software called Pegasus, with which it can reportedly accesses phone records and conversations as well as photos, text messages and web surfing history. The spyware leaves no traces on the phone, according to media reports.

This software was used to hack the iPhone of a United Arab Emirates citizen, after which Apple issued a security patch to its operating system, in order to tighten users’ security and privacy.

“The most sophisticated mobile attack we’ve seen”

Cyber-security firm Lookout, which along with research group Citizen Lab discovered the Pegasus attack last month, says Pegasus is a “highly sophisticated piece of spyware” that can turn on a phone’s camera and microphone, intercept text messages, and alter the existing apps on the device “to spy on any encrypted or unencrypted data.” According to Lookout, “this is the most sophisticated mobile attack we’ve seen yet and marks a new era of mobile hacking.”

How does it work? According to the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist based in the UAE, received a text message on his iPhone promising “new secrets” about detainees tortured in UAE jails if he clicked on an included link. Sensing a ruse, Mansoor didn’t click on the link and instead sent the message to Citizen Lab researchers. “We recognized the links as belonging to an exploit infrastructure connected to NSO Group, an Israel-based ‘cyber war’ company that sells Pegasus, a government-exclusive ‘lawful intercept spyware product,” the research group said in a statement.

In response, NSO told the media it only works with legitimate law enforcement agencies and governments.

Significant abuse potential

According to Citizen Lab, once a user clicks on such a link, their mobile device becomes infected, and in fact becomes “a digital spy,” capable of snooping on camera and microphone activities, record WhatsApp and Viber calls, log messages sent in mobile chat apps, and track the user’s movements.

SEE ALSO: Cyber Terrorism Has Grave Psychological Impact On Victims, New Study Finds

This set of vulnerabilities, dubbed “Trident,” used on Mansoor’s phone “is further evidence that ‘lawful intercept’ spyware has significant abuse potential, and that some governments cannot resist the temptation to use such tools against political opponents, journalists, and human rights defenders,” Citizen Lab said in a statement.

However, many claim the company is legitimate and that all powerful technologies could potentially fall into the wrong hands. NSO recently told Forbes that its mission is to make the world a safer place “by providing authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime.”

Furthermore, NSO stresses that it sells its software solely to authorized governmental agencies, and that it “fully complies with strict export control laws and regulations.” The company has said that its contracts with clients include a condition to use its software only in a lawful manner.

Social media on smartphone

The serial entrepreneurs behind NSO

The 200-employee NSO Group is not the first company Lavie and Hulio founded (Carmi left NSO a couple of years ago); the serial entrepreneurs already have several startups under their belt.

In 2007, they founded MediAND, which identified products in videos and then sold them to the viewers. The company raised $2 million but shut down in 2010 after a legal battle with one of its other founders.

CommuniTake, which Lavie and Hulio founded in 2008, enables cellular network providers to remotely access smartphones; Kaymera, which was founded in 2013, develops mobile security services and solutions; and finally, in 2014, the two founded investment fund Founders Group which controls more than a dozen startups.

With so much expertise and experience, it’s no wonder that Francisco Partners recently valued the duo’s NSO Group at $1 billion. But as high as the company’s valuation may be, very little is known about it or its founders, which is sure to raise some questions.

NSO Group and Francisco Partners declined NoCamels’ requests for interviews.

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Trump Card: Beyond Verbal’s Technology Interprets Trump’s Real Emotions http://nocamels.com/2016/09/beyond-verbal-trump-clinton-israeli-thoughts/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/beyond-verbal-trump-clinton-israeli-thoughts/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 11:28:04 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47768 How can you tell when politicians are lying? Their lips are moving.

It’s a joke of course, but what makes a joke funny is that it has elements of truth. After all, can we really know what a politician, or anyone for that matter, is really thinking?

Israeli company Beyond Verbal says it can. Its cutting-edge technology deciphers people’s moods, emotional characteristics, and attitudes in real-time, as they speak.

The company has already tested its technology on the likes Barack Obama, Donald Trump and even Steve jobs.

In a recent video that Beyond Verbal analyzed, Republican presidential nominee Trump answers questions from Megyn Kelly of Fox News during a televised debate last August. Beyond Verbal’s algorithm detected characteristics such “arrogance” and “intolerance” inTrump.

Emotions behind the words

Having already analyzed 2.3 million voice samples from 170 countries, Beyond Verbal’s technology decodes human vocal intonations into their underlying emotions. In a video of one of the late Steve Jobs’s last interviews, in which he talks about how he came up with the idea for the iPad, Beyond Verbal detects “loneliness, fatigue, emotional frustration” and also “sadness mixed with happines” from Apple’s legendary founder.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies’ App

$3 millon Chinese investment

Last week Beyond Verbal announced it had raised $3 million in series A funding led by Chinese investor Kuang-Chi Science. Founded in 2012, the company has already been granted eight patents and more are pending.

According to the company, Beyond Verbal’s technology is applicable in mobile applications, voice assistants, wearables, and a variety of other settings. Beyond Verbal’s software can also be integrated into existing products, helping devices and applications envision not just what users type, but also how they feel and what they mean.

“We envision a world in which personal devices understand our emotions and well-being, enabling us to become more in tune with ourselves,” Yuval Mor, CEO of Beyond Verbal, said in a interview with Tech in Asia. “Understanding emotions can assist us in finding new friends, unlocking new experiences and, ultimately, helping us understand better what makes us truly happy.”

Video: Beyond Verbal

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Israeli App ‘Heed’ Gives You Insider Access To New York Fashion Week http://nocamels.com/2016/09/new-york-fashion-week-israeli-app-heed/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/new-york-fashion-week-israeli-app-heed/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:29:00 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47946 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Fashionistas, take heed: There’s a new app offering instant access to the the New York Fashion Week runway, with real-time, closeup glimpses of the trends and looks being shown this fall.

Called Heed, it’s the latest technology from Israeli entrepreneur Mati Kochavi, who lives in the US and made his millions managing his cybersecurity company AGT International.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Hottest Israeli Fashion Designers Who Dress The Stars

New York fashion-week 2016

Kochavi developed the app with Ari Emanuel, brother of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, and CEO of talent agency WME-IMG, known for his knack for figuring out the next big thing.

Designed to bring people closer to their passions, Heed is an official partner to the 2016 New York Fashion Week, but it can be used for other events, such as sporting or food demonstrations.

SEE ALSO: Japanese Designer Uses Israeli Tech To 3D-Print Futuristic Garments

At New York Fashion Week, the events previously reserved for fashion insiders, Hollywood stars and models, are now available to any Heed user. The company first deployed their web-enabled sensors at last year’s fashion weeks in September and February, linking them to the Heed app so that users could watch the models backstage and on the runway.

The app allows users to see what’s going down the runway in real time, to buy certain designer pieces right after the shows, and to chat with leading stylists, such as Preston Konrad and Sam Escobar, who are working with the Heed app during the current fashion week.

heed app

To read the full article, click here

Photos: New York Fashion Week, Heed

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Tel Aviv Helps Kenya Build $14.5B ‘Silicon Savannah’ City http://nocamels.com/2016/09/tel-aviv-kenya-silicon-savannah-konza-techno-city/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/tel-aviv-kenya-silicon-savannah-konza-techno-city/#respond Sun, 11 Sep 2016 11:43:40 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47830 Israel’s ‘startup city’ Tel Aviv is helping Kenya to build its first tech hub in the new city of Konza, just outside the capital Nairobi. The ambitious, $14.5 billion project will feature a science and business park, convention center, shopping malls, hotels and international schools, among other facilities. The new smart city will be built on 5,000 acres of land, about 37 miles south of Nairobi.

In the coming months, the City of Tel Aviv – which was named the world’s smartest city and is home to hundreds of startup and high-tech companies – will host entrepreneurs and developers from Kenya to meet with Israeli experts in order to “create urban and technological models for the new city.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Doctors Open First ER Facility in Kenya’s Third Largest City

Headed by Tel Aviv Global, the city also plans to host seminars and meetups with local startups, in order to foster collaboration between Kenya and Israel, and connect Israeli startups that market to African countries with the founders of the new city of Konza.

According to Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai, “Tel Aviv is one of the world’s main technology entrepreneurship centers, with the highest concentration of startup accelerators, and a vibrant entrepreneurial community that has drawn techies from all over the world. We’ve been fortunate to collaborate with the developing world in recent years on projects that lead to creating innovative smart cities.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Firm AlefBet Partakes In Ethiopia’s Initiative To Build 2.4 Million Houses In Five Years

konzaIsraeli companies have been involved in Africa for years, but the Holy Land’s own transition into a modern country can contribute to budding technology centers around the globe. “Within two generations, Israel has transitioned from a developing country to a developed country, and this makes our ecosystem attractive to the developing world,” Eytan Schwartz, CEO of Tel Aviv Global, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to make a positive impact and serve as Israel’s ‘ambassadors’ in the world.”

‘Techno City’ in the heart of the African Savannah

Kenya approved plans for the new city Konza, which is expected to be completed in 2019, about three years ago. In the initial phase, the city will be home to 30,000 residents and offer 17,000 jobs. By 2030, it is expected to grow to 200,000 residents and add thousands more jobs.

SEE ALSO: By Improving Access To Basic Necessities, Israeli Technologies Transform Africa, Save Lives

But the Konza smart hub, dubbed “Silicon Savannah’ or ‘Techno City,’ has also had its share of criticism. Some say the $14.5 billion investment in building the city should, at least partly, go towards funding local startups. Other critics say Konza is located too far from the bustling capital Nairobi.

konza

“Konza City will play a critical role in building a knowledge-based economy”

Albeit ambitious, the project is undoubtedly groundbreaking. City planners designed Konza as a smart city, by integrating communication networks into the urban fabric, so that city services will be automatically linked to the infrastructure, businesses and residents. An advanced system will collect data from sensors in different locations to efficiently serve dwellers and business people in the fields of transportation, events, public safety, environment and more.

According to Joseph Mucheru, the cabinet secretary in Kanya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, “Konza City will play a critical role in building a knowledge-based economy that will shift the current industrial development path towards innovation – where creation, adoption, adaptation and use of knowledge will drive economic growth.”

konza2

Photos and video: Konza Techno City Kenya, SHoP Architects

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Paralympic Dancer Wows Opening Ceremony In Stunning Israeli-Designed 3D Printed Dress http://nocamels.com/2016/09/paralympics-dancer-israeli-3d-printed-dress/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/paralympics-dancer-israeli-3d-printed-dress/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:48:44 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47802 All eyes were on US snowboarder and dancer Amy Purdy  at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games opening ceremony last night – and not just for her amazing dancing skills on her prosthetic legs.

SEE ALSO: 3D Fashion Designer Danit Peleg Takes Tyra Banks And US By Storm

Purdy, who won second place on the 18th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars”, danced a solo at the opening ceremony – with an industrial robot named KUKA.

However, that wasn’t the only high-tech element of her performance. Purdy wore a 3-D-printed dress created by Israeli fashion designer Danit Peleg. In a choreographed routine representing the complex relationship between humans and technology, the fact that her dress was printed using desktop printers added depth to her performance.

Inspired by Venus

Purdy battled with meningitis at the age of 19, as a result of which she lost both of her legs. Peleg saw Purdy’s story as a rebirth.  With Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” as her prime inspiration, Peleg also added diamond shapes from the painting’s composition, while the nude color is that of Venus.  Part of Peleg’s latest collection, for the custom dress she decided to use FilaFlex, a soft material printed in a lacelike textile which moved and bounced as Purdy danced. According to Peleg, it took approximately 120 hours to print the dress.

SEE ALSO: Going For The Gold: Israeli Paralympic Team Is Hoping To Score In Rio

For her 2015 graduate collection, Peleg was the first to design and 3-D print an entire ready-to-wear collection. Peleg believes that 3-D printing is “liberating because the designer’s imagination is the only constraint. As the technology evolves and materials and printers improve, designers will find a lot of freedom in this technique.”

Print your own clothes

“As technologies evolve, we all soon will be printing our own clothes at home,”  Peleg told NoCamels a year ago in an interview . “Just imagine the potential…If you’re cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room.”

amypurdy0809

As for last night, Peleg was understandably ecstatic in describing Purdy’s performance on her Istagram account. “What an incredible night!! Amy Purdy rocked my 3D printed dress! Words cannot describe how I feel right now!”

danitpeleg

Israeli designer Danit Peleg

Photos: Danit Peleg

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Reports: Scientists From Israel, Iran And Pakistan Develop New Particle Accelerator In The Middle East http://nocamels.com/2016/09/israel-iran-pakistan-middle-east-particle-accelerator/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/israel-iran-pakistan-middle-east-particle-accelerator/#respond Tue, 06 Sep 2016 08:21:06 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47680 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli scientists are reportedly participating with colleagues from Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Jordan on a $100 million project to develop the Middle East’s new particle accelerator — the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or SESAME.

Construction of the site, which is due to be formally inaugurated next spring in the hillside town of al-Balqa, northwest of Amman, is underway and the first experiments are expected to take place this autumn, The Guardian reported.

SEE ALSO: Israel, Iran, Jordan And Turkey In Joint Science Project

SESAME’s members are Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Bahrain — a group among which diplomatic discomfort is rife: Iran and Pakistan don’t recognize Israel, for example, nor does Turkey recognize Cyprus.

Sesame particle accelerator

SESAME particle accelerator

Iran’s participation continued even after two of its scientists, who were involved in the project, quantum physicist Masoud Alimohammadi and nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, were assassinated in operations blamed on Israel’s Mossad, The Guardian said.

“We’re cooperating very well together,” Giorgio Paolucci, the scientific director of SESAME told The Guardian. “That’s the dream.”

“I don’t know how many places there are where all these governments have representatives who have the opportunity to come and talk to each other,” he added.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Invents Laser Beam To Monitor Tiniest Particles In Water And Oil

Progress on the accelerator is made through government officials meetings, discussing technicalities and coming to agreements, unaffected by the enmity they may feel outside the conference halls, the report said.

The aim of SESAME is to “foster scientific and technological excellence in the Middle East and neighboring countries” and prevent or reverse regional brain drain “by enabling world-class scientific research in subjects ranging from biology, archaeology and medical sciences through basic properties of materials science, physics, chemistry, and life sciences,” SESAME says on its website.

It also aims to build “scientific and cultural bridges among diverse societies, and contribute to a culture of peace through international cooperation in science.”

Sesame_Members-new

To read the full article, click here

Photos: SESAMEDon Richards

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UPnRIDE: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall http://nocamels.com/2016/09/rewalk-founder-upnride-quadriplegics-walk/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/rewalk-founder-upnride-quadriplegics-walk/#respond Mon, 05 Sep 2016 11:06:03 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47583 UPnRIDE, a revolutionary Segway-like device that allows quadriplegics to stand up and move around almost anywhere, is poised to change the life of thousands of paralyzed people when it will be unveiled at the Rehacare International convention in Germany, later this month.

The Israeli device was developed by Dr. Amit Goffer, who already founded the revolutionary exoskeleton ReWalk, which enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs. His new device will help quadriplegics (people paralyzed from the neck down) to stand and be mobile.

SEE ALSO: Innovation Nation: 10 Israeli Technologies That Are Changing The World

 

The brain behind ReWalk, Goffer is himself a quadriplegic who does not have full use of his arms, which means he cannot use the ReWalk to walk. In fact, this incredible device can only be used by roughly 10 percent of handicapped individuals.

That is why Goffer, who is confined to a wheelchair, has been working on a more comprehensive solution over the past three years. Similar to a stand-up Segway or an electric scooter, the patented UPnRIDE moves over different kinds of terrains with the user’s guidance, using a joystick operated by hand or by mouth. Automatic balancing assures a safe ride uphill, downhill, and on slanted surfaces, in both standing and sitting positions.

“Being able to stand and move is extremely important for people’s physiological health and their dignity,” Goffer says. According to him, the UPnRIDE reduces secondary complications of long-term sitting, lowering the need for hospitalization, medications and physiotherapy.

“Shifting attention away from the disability”

Standing wheelchairs were first created in order to facilitate better circulation and other health benefits for the wheelchair-confined, and to provide a chance for eye-to-eye social interaction. However, according to UPnRIDE Robotics CEO Oren Tamari, “most other standing wheelchairs don’t allow travelling on surfaces that aren’t plain.”

While using the device, a set of jointed braces and harnessing straps provide support when transitioning between sitting and standing positions. Cutting-edge motion technology and real-time computing ensures automatic balancing and stability when UPnRIDE maneuvers on sloped sidewalks, parking lots and ramps, maintaining a constant center of gravity to minimize the risk of hazardous situations.

ReWalker Oliver, Ursel & Andre – Berlin, Germany

ReWalk, Goffer’s previous invention

According to Tamari, UPnRIDE, which is expected to cost roughly $32,000 (wheelchairs typically cost $15,000-$50,000) will significantly cuts healthcare expenses, by reducing the need for standing and physiotherapy apparatuses – a major cost saving for insurers, hospitals, patients and their families.

A comprehensive solution  

SEE ALSO: ReWalk, The Revolutionary Israeli Tech That Allows Paraplegics To Walk, Nabs FDA Approval

Meanwhile, the ReWalk exoskeleton already has a market cap of $73 million on Nasdaq. In 2012, one woman completed the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using ReWalk. And, in 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will provide ReWalk exoskeletons for eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries.

“An extremely good feeling”

Founded in 2013, UPnRIDE Robotics is headed by Tamari and by president and CTO Goffer, both graduates of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who left ReWalk to found UPnRIDE. The startup received a grant from Israel’s Chief Scientist, $1.7 million in funding from Israeli crowd-funding platform OurCrowd, and additional funds from angel investors. So far, UPnRIDE has raised $3 million, and is in the process of raising another $4 million, Tamari says.

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Dr. Amit Goffer using UPnRIDE

David Stark, OurCrowd general partner, tells NoCamels that “Amit’s personal need for an upright mobility solution fueled his drive to develop the UPnRIDE, which will one day benefit wheelchair-bound people all around the world.”

But money isn’t everything; Goffer’s true passion is to improve the lives of millions around the globe. Just last year, Goffer – who became quadriplegic as a result of a 1997 accident – was able to leave his home standing up, for the first time since the accident, using UPnRIDE: “It was a very strange feeling, an extremely good one.”

Photos and video: UPnRIDE, Technion

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Will The Explosion Of AMOS-6 Satellite Halt Israel’s Space Program? http://nocamels.com/2016/09/explosion-amos-6-satellite-israel-space-program/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/explosion-amos-6-satellite-israel-space-program/#respond Sun, 04 Sep 2016 11:37:29 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47614 Following the explosion of Facebook’s Israeli-built satellite AMOS-6 last week during a test launch by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX in Florida, all eyes are on the future of Israel’s space industry.

SEE ALSO: NASA And Israel Ink Deal On Space Cooperation

SpaceX, which designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, was set to launch Israeli communication satellite AMOS-6 last Thursday, when an explosion destroyed both.

AMOS-6 was touted as Israel’s most advanced satellite, the latest in a series of six which are mostly operated by Israeli company Spacecom and developed by its partner, Israel Aerospace Industries.

The biggest promise: Free internet access in Africa 

Its goal had been to beam free internet across sub-Saharan Africa for Facebook, which in October 2015 had announced it would launch AMOS-6. Currently, only 17 percent of the population in the region has access to the internet.

AMOS-6 satellite

AMOS-6 satellite

The project was part of Facebook’s Internet.org, a non-profit initiative that brings together technology leaders, nonprofit organizations and local communities to provide Internet access to the most remote regions of the world.

But the deal with Facebook – which aimed to connect millions of Africans to the internet – has now been canceled due to the surprise explosion, Spacecom said on Saturday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his page on Thursday: “I am deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent.” However, he stressed that Facebook remains “committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”

The cancellation of the project is a blow to Israel’s Spacecom, since Facebook was expected to pay $100 million for the use of AMOS-6 in the years 2016-2032. Spacecom was in the midst of being acquired by Chinese company Xinwei for $285 million, a deal which now might not come to fruition, since one of the conditions was a successful launch of AMOS-6.

Meanwhile, future customers of AMOS-6 (such as television companies) are being diverted to the already orbiting AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 satellites, according to Spacecom.

Today, the company said in a report to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) that it expects a $173 million insurance refund for AMOS-6, which the company developed for the Israeli Airspace Industries (IAI), a government-controlled corporation. In addition, SpaceX – the launcher – is expected to reimburse Spacecom for $50 million for failing to launch the Israeli satellite.

SEE ALSO: Life on Mars? Israelis Design 3D-Printed Space Home For NASA

In its report to TASE, IAI confirmed today it has insurance funds to cover the loss of the satellite. IAI and Spacecom are waiting to learn more about the explosion from SpaceX, which is investigating the accident and is expected to provide a report.

More opportunities for the Israeli space industry 

Founded 23 years ago in Israel, Spacecom operates an AMOS satellite fleet; it’s traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with a market cap of $201 million, down sharply from last year’s $253 million.

But beyond the loss of AMOS-6, and the damages to Spacecom and its customers, questions are now being asked about what this means for the Israeli space industry, which has collaborated with NASA on several projects, including a future 3D-printed space home for its astronauts.

SpaceX rocket that carried AMOS-6 exploded Sept. 1

The SpaceX rocket that carried AMOS-6 exploded Sept. 1

The prestigious magazine Defense News estimates that the explosion and the potential cancellation of Spacecom’s sale to China could turn out to be good news for the Israeli space industry.

With the Chinese deal clouded by uncertainty, the magazine posits that “IAI may have greater chances of snagging an Amos-6 replacement order, as well as follow-on contracts, that may have gone to non-Israeli firms once the sale was complete.”

Photos: USLuanchReport, Facebook, Brian Solis

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Armed With Waze, Google Is About To Take On Uber With Ride-Sharing http://nocamels.com/2016/08/waze-google-carpool-uber-rideshare/ http://nocamels.com/2016/08/waze-google-carpool-uber-rideshare/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:56:15 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47561 Uber, which recently began beta-testing low-cost carpool rides in San Francisco, may soon face some tough competition in that lane. The Wall Street Journal reports that former partner-turned rival Google is set to do the exact same thing.

Google, which acquired Israeli navigation app Waze in 2013 for $1.3 billion, is planning to make its service available to all users in the San Francisco area this fall, according to the report in The Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources. If successful, the service would put Google in direct competition with Uber.

wazelacover

Waze Traffic Navigation App

Google first tested carpooling programs for Waze users in Israel and then expanded its pilot program to the Bay Area in May. Initially, it was only available to 25,000 employees at select companies like Adobe and Walmart, but will now expand it to all San Francisco users.

Carpooling on demand

To use the service, users request a ride via the special Waze Rider app based on their origin and destination. They will then be matched with a driver among Waze’s 700,000 San Francisco users. Drivers can then accept or decline ride requests.

SEE ALSO: Waze Reminds Parents Not To Leave Kids In Cars

The pilot program charged users 54 cents per mile to go towards the driver’s expenses. However, Google’s carpooling service is not meant for drivers or for Google to turn a profit, unlike Uber and Lyft’s ride-sharing apps (Lyft recently shut down its program due to lack of participation from its drivers).

SEE ALSO: Ride-Sharing Startup Via Raises $100M; Revs Up Competition Against Uber, Lyft

Taking on Uber and Lyft

Google’s foray into ride-sharing is putting additional strain on its sensitive relationship with Uber. In 2013, Google’s parent company Alphabet invested $250 million in Uber. Alphabet senior vice president of corporate development David Drummond was on the Ubers’s board until he stepped down several weeks ago because of the increasing conflict of interest. And Google Ventures partner David Krane is an observer on Uber’s board.

To make matters more complicated, Uber also recently acquired Otto, a startup developing self-driving trucks founded by former Google employees, including one of the co-founders of Alphabet’s own self-driving car project.

Waze: 65 million users

Waze has 65 million active users worldwide. Like Uber, Waze’s drivers aren’t employees of the company. But unlike Uber, which checks driver credentials, Google won’t vet its drivers and will rely on its users to red-light bad drivers.

The carpooling project seems like a natural next step for Google, which is increasingly showing its will to enter the transportation market. It is even working on a Google Self-Driving Car, a project by Google X that involves developing technology for autonomous cars, mainly electric cars.

Of course, it goes without saying that Uber is also pursuing self-driving car technology.

carpoolingsignhighway

Photos and video: Courtesy

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