Technology News – NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:51:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 No Pedal To Play Metal: Israeli Startup Rocks Music World With Wireless Sound Effects Touchpad Thu, 12 Jan 2017 10:26:17 +0000

“Are you ready to rock?” Electric guitarists have been shouting that out to excited concert crowds for decades. The call is usually followed by mind-bending solos enhanced by cool sound effects produced by effects pedals. Using cables, most musicians connect their guitars to several pedals, which they step on throughout their performance to get their desired effects.

Seeking to free guitar rockers from their pedals, Israeli startup GTC Sound Innovations has created the RevPad, an innovative wireless sound effects controller designed as a compact touchpad that attaches easily to any amplified instrument.

Shaking up the music world, the wireless touchpad, which can be affixed to any guitar, allows guitarists to select the desired effect using their fingertips, while roaming freely on stage with no strings (or wires) attached – literally.

SEE ALSO: JoyTunes’ Apps ‘Gamify’ Piano Lessons, Make Practicing Fun

“Why do I need to step on the pedal?”

Daniel Shavit, the CTO of GTC Sound Innovations, has been playing the guitar since 2004. “I bought an electric guitar and the teacher showed me all the effects pedals,” Shavit tells NoCamels. “And I thought, ‘Why do I need to step on the pedal with my foot?’”

That’s when he first conceived of the idea for a wireless touchpad that allows guitarists to choose sound effects with their hands while roaming freely on stage. The result, the RevPad, allows guitarists to transition seamlessly between sound effects in real-time without the need for bulky pedals and cumbersome cables.


Making its mark in music

“To our advantage, some aspects of the music world are frozen in the past,” Oded Elboim, co-owner of GTC, admits to NoCamels. “If you look at the world of guitar effects, maybe the sound has been improved, but musicians are still using old-concept pedals.”

According to Elboim, the RevPad was well received by world-famous guitarists like Steve Vai, Vernon Reid, Phil X and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, who was the lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses from 2006 until 2014.

“The RevPad is pioneering the new wave of technology in guitar FX (sound effects) and controllers,” Thal tells NoCamels. Elboim claims that the RevPad is also suitable for bass guitars, and that famous bass player Billy Sheehan was impressed with the product.

SEE ALSO: Mini-Amphitheaters Clean Up Noise Pollution, Give Street Bands A Stage

The concept of a pedal-less sound controller is not completely new, but existing wireless products need to be connected to sound effects software installed on computers. In contrast, the RevPad touchpad communicates with the RevPad base unit loaded with at least 30 categories of sound effects with numerous parameters, providing a large array of combinations. In contrast, most pedals offer just one sound effect.

On the RevPad, musicians can program several effects on each axis of the touchpad. For example, a finger-swipe on the X axis gradually adds distortion and tremolo, and a swipe on the Y axis adds delay and chorus. Even tapping on the pad can produce different effects, like the wah-wah effect popularized by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. By placing the RevPad below the strings, guitarists can swipe and tap the touchpad in coordination with their playing. This new device, as opposed to pedals, allows free movement on the stage.

“Bringing new music to the world” 

The company sees its product as a game changer, similar to how the synthesizer revolutionized pop music, and the sampler machine brought forth Electronic Dance Music (EDM). “Music evolves with technology,” Shavit explains. “You can now do a lot of EDM motives in rock music. You can combine them together and bring new music to the world.”


GTC, an eight-employee startup, received $450,000 in funding from Israel’s Chief Scientist, and has raised about $1.5 million from private investors. The RevPad is currently priced at $1,399, and will be available in the US, Europe and Israel next month. The team predicts that it will begin sales in Japan in March 2017.

The device can do the work of many pedals simultaneously, and that’s why it’s about 10 times more expensive than a standard effects pedal.

revpad wireless guitar effects touchpad

Not for everyone 

The RevPad generated much hype at music conventions like the 2015 and 2016 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Shows in California, as well as Musikmesse 2016 in Frankfurt.

However, the company has also seen its share of naysayers, who are averse to parting with their pedals. But although the RevPad can completely replace pedals, it has also been designed to integrate with existing pedals, so that musicians need not discard the familiar for the the latest innovation. “The RevPad is an aid,” Elboim says. “If you’re a conservative guitar player who thinks that the pedal is the best thing since sliced bread, by all means!”

Keep on rocking

What’s next for for the company? Besides preparing for the next NAMM Show in January 2017, the team is exploring new possibilities through collaborating with a Swiss electric violinist who wants to experiment with the RevPad. The team is also working on an upgraded version of the RevPad, as well as new pioneering wireless products that would enable the company to “keep on rocking”.


Photos and video: Courtesy

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IVC Report: Israeli Hi-Tech Companies Raise $4.8B In 2016, A Record High Wed, 11 Jan 2017 10:30:19 +0000 Israeli private high-tech companies raised an all-time high of $4.8 billion in 2016, up 11% from the $4.3 billion raised in 2015, according to a report released today by the Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center and law firm ZAG.

The report also stated that the average financing round, which has been constantly growing over the past five years, reached $7.2 million in 2016, 19% above the $5.1 million five-year average.

The fourth quarter of 2016, saw $1.02 billion raised in 151 transactions, down 8% from $1.11 billion in 202 deals in the corresponding quarter of 2015, but up 9% from $933 million raised in 140 deals in the preceding quarter. The average financing round stood at $6.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, similar to the past two-year quarterly average of $6.6 million.


Chart 1: Israeli High-Tech Capital Raising, 2012- 2016 ($m)

SEE ALSO: The New Normal: Israeli Startups Raise Over $1Billion For Third Quarter In A Row

IVC Research Center CEO Koby Simana explained in a statement, “As expected, 2016 ended as a record year in Israeli high-tech capital raising. However, despite the higher total amount, it was characterized by a smaller number of financing rounds, along with a higher average capital raising per round. When we looked into the numbers to try and explain the trend, we found what I would call a ‘B Crunch’ – a 30% drop in the number of second rounds closed in 2016 compared to 2015, while the number of earlier rounds slightly increased. This is a troubling trend for the Israeli VC funnel, since the majority of capital goes into later rounds – if there are no companies lined up for later investments, there could be a more serious issue later on.”

Fewer than expected financing rounds

The survey also revealed that, while capital-raising reached new heights in 2016, the number of financing rounds were fewer than expected, with 659 deals closed in 2016, marginally above the five-year average of 657 deals, and 7% below 2015’s record 706 deals. While the number of early rounds (seed and A rounds) increased slightly (5%), the number of B rounds dropped 30% and the number of later rounds – C or higher – was responsible for more than 60% of the capital, down 11% from 2015. B rounds’ share of capital raising also decreased, falling from 25% in 2015 ($1.07 billion) to 16% in 2016 ($743 million), while early rounds and later rounds generated more capital and took up larger shares than the year before.

Israeli VC funds invest $634 million

Israeli venture capital funds invested a total of $634 million in Israeli high-tech companies in 2016, slightly up from $627 million invested in 2015. In the past five years, Israeli venture capital fund investments steadily increased, from $482 million in 2012 to the current level. At the same time, their share of total capital invested has been decreasing gradually, from 26% in 2012 down to 13% in 2016, the lowest yet.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, $111 million was invested by Israeli venture capital funds in local high-tech companies, 44% below the $198 million invested in the corresponding quarter of 2015 and 20% below the $139 million invested in the preceding quarter of 2016. Israeli venture capital funds’ share was down to 11% in the fourth quarter of 2016, from 18% and 15% in the corresponding quarter of 2015 and the preceding quarter of 2016, respectively.

Leader in funding: Software companies

Software companies led capital-raising in 2016 with $1.7 billion, up from 2015 when the sector attracted $1.4 billion (32%), also placing first. Internet capital raising has noticeably decreased in 2016, when the sector attracted only $744 million or a mere 16% of total capital, compared twith $1.12 billion raised in 2015, when Internet placed second with a 26% share.

Outlook: Optimistic but cautious

Regarding the statistics presented in the report, Shmulik Zysman, founding partner of ZAG-S&W (Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co.) was optimistic, but cautious “We expect the uptrend in capital raising activity to continue in 2017, though possibly at slower rates,” he said in a statement.


Photos: IVC, PikiWiki

Life In The Power Lane: These Roads Wirelessly Charge Your Car As You Drive Mon, 09 Jan 2017 05:44:38 +0000 We’ve all heard of electric cars, but how about electric roads?

While driving an electric car has many advantages; it’s 100 percent emission-free so it promotes clean air and costs less than fueling a regular car, the need to charge it often is a major drawback. Most fully electric cars on the market today offer a range of 75 to 100 miles, which is fine for most typical driving situations, but does not allow for longer trips.

Rather than simply attempting to solve this problem with larger, heavier batteries or by adding more charging stations, Israeli startup ElectRoad is taking a novel approach by creating special roads that charge your car while you drive over them.

SEE ALSOStoreDot, Which Charges Smartphone Battery In 30 Seconds, Will Soon Charge Cars In 5 Minutes!

ElectRoad: Let the road charge your car

Using specialized electromagnetic induction technology, the same basic principle behind wirelessly powering smartphones, ElectRoad powers electric cars with renewable energy while you drive. By supplying electricity to the car wirelessly from the road, ElectRoad removes the energy source from the vehicle, reduces the cost and weight of the car, and eliminates concerns about driving distances of battery-operated vehicles.

How does it work? Electric cars fitted with the company’s technology have contacts fitted onto their undercarriage that receive electricity when driving over the smart road. The smart road is designed to give the vehicles enough energy to power them, as well as to charge their batteries.

First priority: Buses

ElectRoad is initially targeting the public transit market. According to the company, a bus will be able to travel for up to 5 kilometers (3 miles) on a regular road after being charged on the electric road. In many European city centers, buses use special lanes. These lanes could then be fitted with ElectRoad’s technology to become smart electrical charging langes for electric public transportation vehicles.

“The electricity will come from renewable energy transferred to the road,” Electroad’s CEO Oren Ezer told Inhabitat in an interview. “This is a really sustainable solution. A battery for an electric bus can cost $300,000 and weigh 5 tons. If you remove the battery then the bus is much lighter and requires less energy. This technology is cost saving. If you compare it to diesel buses, it’s half the price. If you just start with public transportation it will save money and then you can open it up to taxis and trams. Payback is very fast.”

Testing in Tel Aviv

Founded in 2013 with the goal of reducing global emissions and offering a more cost-effective, efficient and cleaner way to travel, ElectRoad initially plans to target highly trafficked routes in dense city centers and on university campuses.

In May, ElectRoad announced it was partnering with the city of Tel Aviv to test their under-the-road electric charging beds. Together with the city’s municipality, the company embedded a strip of a road in northern Tel Aviv. They then carved into the asphalt and a chain of copper loops was inserted. The chain was connected to a power converter on the side of the road. The trial will test how the technology stands up to vehicle traffic and weather over time.

This year, ElectRoad also intends to test its technology on a public electric bus that will operate on a set route.

Electroad, Electric car, charging, wireless charging

Powering a vehicle in real time

In an interview with Haaretz, Erez explained that while other electric road technologies are only capable of charging batteries, ElectRoad can actually power a vehicle in real time, enabling electric cars to have smaller batteries, thereby making them less expensive and lighter.

Charging, wireless charging, electric car, bus, electroad

Photos and videos: ElectRoad

Flying Ambulance Drone Heading For Takeoff Sun, 08 Jan 2017 08:15:33 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A revolutionary drone aircraft, big enough to carry people, could be whizzing through the skies within a few years, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Manufacturers of the Cormorant, formerly known as the AirMule, hope to see what has been dubbed a “flying car” on the aviation market by 2020.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been in development for 15 years by Yavneh, Israel-based Urban Aeronautics, which envisions it being used as an air ambulance for tricky rescue missions in tight urban environments or for moving troops around the battlefield.

Weighing in at 1.5 tons, the drone can carry a payload of up to 500 kg (1,100 pounds), uses internal rotors to keep itself aloft and can zoom along at 185 kilometers an hour (115 miles per hour). It can be remotely piloted or set to fly autonomously.

A first solo flight was made in November 2016 and, despite some minor glitches, the company considered the sortie a success. It is now aiming to see the Cormorant meet safety and other standards of the US Federal Aviation Administration, an achievement that would open up global markets for the vehicle.


To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

The Coolest Israeli Technologies Wowing The Crowds At CES 2017 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:26:16 +0000 From wearable technologies to artificial intelligence, the Israeli delegation to CES 2017 is showcasing a wide set of solutions for the consumer electronics industry, some of which are truly game-changing.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Startup Nation is home to some 500 consumer electronics companies in a range of fields: mobile devices, smart homes and smart TVs, video and gaming, automotive, wearables, Internet of Things and more.

Overall, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas this week, is showcasing 3,800 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology systems from 150 countries. Roughly 165,000 people are attending this year’s show, which runs January 5-8.

CES has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies, and is considered the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. The largest tradeshow of its kind, CES has been produced by the Consumer Technology Association for the past 50 years.

Here are some of the coolest, up-and-coming Israeli technologies at the conference:

SCiO: A molecular sensor built into a smartphone

Changhong, one of China’s largest consumer electronics makers, and Israeli startup Consumer Physics, maker of the SCiO handheld molecular sensor, unveiled the world’s first smartphone with a built-in material sensor at CES this week.

This smartphone will allow consumers to scan materials and immediately receive actionable insights based on their underlying chemical composition, such as the nutritional value of foods, alcohol content of drinks, purity of cooking oils, and identification of raw materials used in manufacturing.


This capability has the potential to change smartphones forever, just like the integration of cameras and GPS units have over the past decade. The smartphone is set to launch later this year.

Founded in 2011 by Damian Goldring and Dror Sharon, Consumer Physics has so far raised $11.5 million from investors. Backed by Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran (who invented the USB drive), Khosla Ventures and Israeli crowd-funding firm OurCrowd, Consumer Physics could very well change the way we interact with the world.

According to Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, Consumer Physics “truly brought science fiction to life. This new integration of their SCiO technology into the Changhong H2 phone will unleash a tsunami of applications that will allow users to better know and understand the world around us and to lead more healthy and productive lives.”

Beyond Verbal: Deciphering people’s moods 

Israeli company Beyond Verbal‘s cutting-edge, artificially intelligent technology deciphers people’s moods, emotional characteristics, and attitudes in real-time.

Having already analyzed millions of voice samples from 170 countries, Beyond Verbal’s technology decodes human vocal intonations into their underlying emotions.

The company’s technology can be applied in mobile apps, voice assistants, wearables, and a variety of other settings. Its 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.

SEE ALSO: Beyond Verbal’s Technology Interprets Trump’s Real Emotions

Founded in 2012 by Yoav Hoshen and Yuval Mor, the company has already been granted several patents and raised $10 million.

TytoCare: Telemedicine at your fingertips 

Imagine you could skip the waiting time for a doctor’s appointment and also save the money you would have paid for the visit.

Israeli startup TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which can detect and classify common diseases such as the 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.

Founded by Dedi Gilad and Ofer Tzadik in 2012, the company has raised $18.5 million so far, with major drugstore chain Walgreens among its investors.

Radiomize: Reducing car accidents 

We all know texting while driving is dangerous, yet we still do it – we just can’t help ourselves. But safety doesn’t need to be comprised.

Founded in April 2015 by Shmuel Kaz and Gilad Landau, Israeli startup Radiomize works to reduce car accidents. Radiomize has created a steering wheel cover embedded with text-to-speech technology and a matching mobile app. This patented gadget fits most vehicles, allowing drivers to control their phones without taking their focus off the road. According to Radiomize, its technology can reduce distracted driving by 23 percent.

And, it can even help you choose your music without taking your eyes off the road.

Digisense: Monitoring infants and the elderly 

Founded by Eyall Abir in 2010, Digisense has developed a wearable, real-time monitoring solution for babies and the elderly, designed to respond to the needs of infants and geriatric patients.

The gadget, which clasps onto a diaper, helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It monitors hydration levels, urine quantity and quality, and minimizes irritation to the skin. For the elderly, this wearable device monitors quality of care, while empowering confidence, independence and dignity.

For use at home, hospitals or nursing homes, the device can be attached (using Velcro) to any diaper or cloth. This Internet of Things (IoT) device is noninvasive and provides data through an app. It can even tell you when the diaper is wet and the baby needs changing.

Mobileye’s most complex autonomous drive

As opposed to the budding startups featured above, Mobileye has been around for nearly two decades (founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Prof. Amnon Shashua); but its newest technologies being showcased at CES this week simply cannot be ignored.

Delphi Automotive and Israeli company Mobileye are presenting their cutting-edge driverless car at the show. Mobileye, which develops vision-based driver assistance systems that help prevent collisions, has contributed its innovative autonomous driving technologies to Delphi’s car.

Last month, the companies said they would hold the “most complex automated drive ever publicly demonstrated” in Las Vegas. The drive will tackle everyday driving challenges like highway mergers, congested city streets with pedestrians, cyclists and a tunnel.

Additionally, Mobileye, BMW and Intel announced at CES today that they will have 40 autonomous test vehicles on the roads by the second half of 2017.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

Laughter Is The Best Medicine: PowToon Brings Cartoons And Doctors To Remote African Tribe Wed, 04 Jan 2017 11:26:53 +0000 To children, animation is a universal language. Put a child in front of a cartoon in Chinese or French, and they somehow still manage to get the message and giggle at the gags.

So why is animation such a powerful tool? Are we brought up to love cartoons through countless hours of watching Saturday morning TV, or is it truly a universal language that everyone can instinctively relate to? To answer those questions, one would need to show a cartoon to someone who had never seen one before and observe the effects. But where in this day and age can you find a person who didn’t grow up watching the likes of Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny or Dora the Explorer?

A delegation from PowToon, the creator of software that lets anyone create their own animated videos and presentations, recently traveled to a remote African tribe in Tanzania to introduce the locals to animation for the very first time.

PowToon CEO Ilya Spitalnik, COO Daniel Zaturansky and Marketing Manager Talia Finn-Jakar, met the Hadzabe Tribe, who are technologically isolated and have never seen cartoons before.

SEE ALSO: Spreading Israeli Tech Throughout Africa, Sivan Ya’ari Transforms The Lives Of Millions

Animation & laughter: Universal languages

“From the first moment we opened PowToon, and they saw cartoons for the first time, the entire tribe was in fits of laughter,” Spitlanik wrote on the company’s blog. “It turned out that I was now their designated entertainer and stand up comedian. I made a Powtoon about a Hadza man making fire in the middle of the screen. One of the members of the tribe pointed out that the fire was burning the man’s legs. In response, I made the fire huge! This was met with raucous laughter from everyone. We were literally rolling on the ground laughing. The adults were cracking up, and the children wanted to know how they could get inside the screen. The connection was instantaneous, the laughter was infectious. Even though the members of this tribe did not grow up with Saturday morning cartoons – they immediately connected to this form of art.”

After making another Powtoon about the tribe’s coming of age ritual, Akko, one of the younger members of the tribe, wanted to try PowToon out for himself. He had seen Spitalnik use the touchpad to move the mouse on the screen and copied his movements. “The gentleness with which he manipulated the touchpad on my Macbook was extraordinary,” Spitalnik wrote. “He was adding assets to the stage, and created a scene where a Hadza girl is picking berries, and a hunter shoots arrows at a target. In the final scene, Hadza children are waving goodbye to us.”

“We were way beyond the scope of our mission,” Spitalnik wrote. “We only really wanted to see if cartoons would resonate with people who didn’t grow up with them. But this was truly incredible! Forget about watching animation, here was someone who had never seen a computer in his life, creating a Powtoon within minutes.”

Biggest medical need: Eye doctors

The PowToon team also learned that the main medical ailment afflicting the tribe is that many of them have sensitive eyes due to the dust and lack of clean water. The visitors requested if they could bring doctors to the tribe to treat them. Fortunately, the bonding experience they just had with the tribe helped build enough trust to allow the team to bring in much-needed medical aid to the tribe in the form of local eye doctors.

Although reluctant at first, slowly, individual tribe members allowed the doctors to treat them. When the doctors examined Akko, they noticed that he had some scarring and a damaged cornea. He had scratched his cornea on a branch on one of his hunting trips and was now unable to see well, especially in daylight. Within minutes, the doctors had treated him, prescribed glasses and ointments, and Akko’s face lit up. “I can see! I can see! I’m going to be the best hunter that ever lived!!” he exclaimed.

By the end of the day, many Hadza were walking around with glasses and eye medicine.

As a result of their emotional experience, PowToon has committed to continue to care for the needs of the Hadza tribe by working with local doctors to deliver ongoing medical care and food.

Powtoon, Africa

Anyone can create an animated video

Launched in 2012 by co-founders Spitalnik and Zaturansky, PowToon’s mission is to make it possible for everyone to feel like an animator by creating simple animated videos. In just four years, over 34 million Powtoons have been created for use in business presentations, product launches, digital and broadcast ads, education materials for the classroom, explainer videos, and much more. According to the company, over 11 million global users, including major companies, small and medium businesses and and leading universities, use PowToon.

PowToon is a U.K. Company, with its headquarters in London and R&D centers in Israel, the Ukraine and the Philippines. The company is planning to open a U.S branch in 2017. PowToon currently employs nearly 70 employees and is looking to expand in all departments within their Tel Aviv office.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Technologies Transform Africa, Save Lives

The power of laughter 

“It’s safe to say that when we started this journey it was a crazy idea and we truly didn’t know what to expect,” PowToon’s Founder & CEO Spitalnik said in a statement about their African adventure. “Our time together with the Hadzabe was truly unforgettable. It’s difficult to put into words how humbled we felt by their warmth and hospitality.”

“We accomplished what we set out to do,” Spitalnik said in a statement. “We proved that cartoons are a fundamental form of communication, instinctively understood by everyone across boundaries, borders, and cultures, regardless of whether you grew up watching Mickey Mouse or not. But beyond that, we learned that no matter how far apart we might be from one another geographically, people are all connected, and the power of laughter and a little open-mindedness can bring us all together.”

Powtoon, Africa

The PowToon Team (left to right: Talia Finn-Jakar, COO & Co-Founder Daniel Zaturansky, and CEO & Co-Founder Ilya Spitalnik) with some of the Hadzabe children.

Videos and photos: Powtoon

Israeli Startups ‘Exit’ For $10 Billion In 2016 Tue, 03 Jan 2017 12:13:17 +0000 Israeli high-tech and startup companies were sold for a whopping $10.02 billion in 2016 – to other companies or through initial public offerings (IPOs) – according to a report released today by IVC Research Center and law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal.

The figure reflects a 12 percent increase over 2015, primarily due to the acquisition of social gaming company Playtika for $4.4 billion. In one of the largest “exits” in Israel’s history, a consortium of Chinese companies led by Shanghai Giant Network Technology, one of China’s largest online gaming companies, acquired Playtika from Caesars Interactive Entertainment.

SEE ALSO: A Look Inside The Booming Startup Nation


Israeli high-tech exits by type: IPO, M&A and Buyouts, 2012-2016 ($B)

According to the IVC-Meitar High-Tech Exits Report, Israeli startup companies closed 104 deals last year. The figure includes 93 mergers and acquisitions totaling $8.8 billion (including the Playtika deal), eight buyouts that generated $1.22 billion, and three small IPOs garnering $15.1 million.

SEE ALSO: Chinese Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History

The second-largest deal in 2016 (behind Playtika) was the $811 million acquisition of Israeli company EZchip by another Israeli company – Mellanox. This deal, along with the Leaba acquisition by Cisco and Sony’s acquisition of Altair, established the semiconductors sector as a leader in 2016 exits, with an all-time record of $1.39 billion.

Also unique to 2016 is the following figure: 27 percent (more than one-quarter) of the mergers and acquisitions involved Israeli high-tech companies that were both on the acquiring and on the acquired sides.

“An obvious slowdown”

However, the astronomical sum of all these exits does not mean all is rosy in the Startup Nation. Excluding the $4.4 billion Playtika deal, the editors of this latest report acknowledge a slowdown in the Israeli high tech industry. At the IVC-Meitar conference held today in Tel Aviv, IVC CEO Koby Simana said there were fewer deals in 2016, and hardly any IPOs.

Attorney Alon Sahar, partner at Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, said that “following several years of growth both in terms of deal numbers and their proceeds, 2016 presents an obvious slowdown.”

His analysis (excluding the Playtika deal) yields “figures that are substantially lower than in previous years,” he said and added that “it’s impossible to tell whether this is the beginning of a new trend or a natural correction due to significant hikes in previous years.”

Excluding buyouts and mega-deals, the average acquisition price in 2016 was $46.3 million, 31 percent below the previous year’s average. However, Simana remains optimistic.

“Entrepreneurs and investors may not be pushing for exits as they once did,” he says. “Instead, they choose to wait patiently, opting for company growth.”

Two reports, different results  

While today’s IVC-Meitar report includes the Playtika deal, a report released two weeks ago excludes it, since Playtika was previously sold in 2014 to Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a North American corporation.

Last month, accounting firm PwC reported that Israeli startup exits totaled $3.5 billion in 2016, a 67 percent decline. PwC’s report excludes the $4.4 billion Playtika deal and a host of small exits IVC chose to include in its report. IVC also tends to be more inclusive, perceiving more companies as Israeli, compared to the more conservative reports released by PwC.


Infographics: IVC Research Center; Photos: Pikiwiki

Israeli Universities Breed Next Generation Of Startup Nation Entrepreneurs Tue, 03 Jan 2017 06:31:19 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The co-founders of InovyTec, a maker of portable emergency medical devices, both previously worked for the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, but didn’t know each other. Then, as a perk, they were both sent to take entrepreneurship courses at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

“The entrepreneurship studies gave us the opportunity to meet, first of all,” said company chairman Dror Matalon in a phone interview. “They also allowed us to take a pause from work and think, giving us the relevant economic knowledge that is the basis of what we do today. In brainstorming sessions in the classroom we discussed what we think are unmet needs, and the kernel for our company was formed there.”

InovyTec has just started sales of their airway collar, which allows the opening of patients’ airways noninvasively, and hopes to get European regulatory permits early next year for another product, a portable device that can treat both cardiac and respiratory failure. The company has raised $4 million to date, including $2 million from Germany’s RHON-Innovations GmbH.


As Israel boasts the greatest number of startups per capita in the world, garnering the title of Startup Nation, entrepreneurship courses have been sprouting at universities and colleges throughout the country, meeting a grassroots demand. These programs aim to arm students with much needed theory along with a toolbox of mentorships, networking and tips on how best to approach investors for funding.

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

“Can someone talented manage without university studies? Anything is possible. But in life, a lot depends on chances. What are the chances of entrepreneurs succeeding if they don’t have mentors who want to push them forward, if they don’t know how to build a business model, if they don’t know how to build a team and when is the right time to approach the right type of investors?” said Dr. Yossi Maaravi, deputy dean at Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, in an interview. “Eighty percent of success stories can be pinned down to lessons learned, 20 percent on the person itself. Studying, in most cases, can significantly propel you forward.”

IDC’s recently inaugurated Adelson School of Entrepreneurship (ASE) has become a hub for all of the private college’s entrepreneurial activities, both academic and extracurricular.

SEE ALSO: IDC Herzliya Rolls Out Academic Program With Startup Accelerator To Address 21st Century Challenges

The school offers a variety of activities including courses, minor programs, different majors and special programs for outstanding students at the undergraduate and graduates’ levels. IDC’s flagship offering for undergraduates, the Zell entrepreneurship program, is one of the world’s most renowned venture creation programs within academia. In its 15 years of activity, 298 students have graduated and generated 85 ventures, according to Zell’s website. IDC also launched this year another honors entrepreneurship program, IDCBeyond, targeting graduates from Israel and abroad.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: IDCBeyond

Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups Thu, 29 Dec 2016 08:00:30 +0000 2016 was another remarkable year for Israeli innovation, with the Startup Nation showing no signs of slowing its breakneck pace. The startup ecosystem has made global headlines with a host of new cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to better our lives, and even change them for good.

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

NoCamels sifted through hundreds of startups that made waves over the past year, in order to make our picks for 2016. It wasn’t an easy task, to say the least.

Meet the 10 coolest Israeli startups and innovations that made 2016 unforgettable:


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.

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

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.

Founded in 2013, UPnRIDE unveiled its device for the first time at the Rehacare International convention in Germany, earlier this year.



Otto Motors is an Israeli startup specializing in converting normal trucks into autonomous ones, which could give relief to tired truckers on highways. The company made it to the headlines in the summer of 2016, after giant Uber acquired it for $680 million.

Founded earlier this year 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.

Earlier this year, Otto and Budweiser made a historic driverless beer run.

Replay Technologies (freeD)

In an age of video on demand (VOD), sporting events are among the few broadcasts still watched live. Millions of people watch events such as the World Cup Final and the Super Bowl, giving Israeli startup Replay Technologies a huge reach.

Founded in 2011, the company has developed a method of filming called freeD, which generates instant, real-time 3D replays that have already been used at the 2012 London Olympics, in Yankee Stadium, and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, giant chip maker Intel bought Replay for $175 million.


Is ice cream really bad for you? According to Israeli startup DayTwo, it could be great for you!

Founded last year, DayTwo translates your unique gut bacteria into a personalized diet. Spun off Israel’s Weizmann Institute, DayTwo suggests that people have different responses to food.

By studying and analyzing the bacteria that your body hosts, DayTwo designs personalized diets, potentially preventing diabetes and heart disease. The startup provides a cutting-edge test and app for a one-time fee of $500.



Israeli app Blindspot stirred up global controversy earlier this year, when it launched an anonymous messaging app that became super-popular overnight, with millions of downloads.

The app allows you to send anonymous text messages, pictures, videos and voice notes to any of your contacts who also have Blindspot.

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

Granted, Blindspot might enable harassment and cyber-bullying, but it didn’t stop a Chinese consortium from buying it for $32 million in September.


Potentially solving some of the world’s biggest problems, including hunger, pollution and animal cruelty, Israeli startup SuperMeat is working on a machine that can grow a full chicken breast, using the stem cells of a real chicken.

SuperMeat’s breeding method would use up 99 percent less land, release 96 percent less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and use 96 percent less water than the traditional meat industry, which is one of the world’s largest polluters.

By isolating cells obtained from a small biopsy that does not hurt the chicken, and placing them in an environment that imitates the animal’s physiology, SuperMeat makes them organically develop and grow into muscles – just like they normally would inside a chicken’s body tissues.

Co-founded by Koby Barak, a longtime vegan and animal rights activist, SuperMeat raised more than $223,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo earlier this year, doubling its original goal.

Flying Spark

With the global food shortage on the mind of Israeli startup Flying Spark – whose motto is to “fill 9 billion bowls by 2040” – in 2016 the company started developing protein powder made of fruit fly larvae, claimed to be more sustainable, nutritious, and eco-friendly.

As the world’s population grows far beyond the 7 billion mark, food is becoming scarce in several parts of the world: 795 million people around the globe do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, according to the World Food Programme.

The founders of Flying Spark are hoping that people will overcome the “yuck” factor and consume this new source of protein.


Most of us cherish our old family photo albums; however many of our Kodak moments are typically stuffed in the back of attics – barely accessible and almost forgotten.

To the rescue comes Israeli app Photomyne, which is helping people preserve their old photos by swiftly digitizing them and storing them in mobile archives and on the “cloud.”

Becoming one of the most popular mobile apps in 2016, Photomyne simplifies the process of digitizing old photos by allowing users to scan multiple photos in a single shot.

NUA suitcase

Traveling can be a serious hassle, especially during the hectic holiday season. Waiting at airport lines, rushing through security and schlepping your luggage are not activities you look forward to on your way to a vacation.

Over the past year, Israeli startup NUA Robotics has been working on a hands-free carry-on suitcase that follows you around, just like a loyal pet. This carry-on has a built-in camera that detects the location of its owner. The case connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, so you know where your luggage is at all times.

It can also charge its own battery on the go, as well as charge your phone, computer, or tablet.


Israeli gadget GearEye is a monitoring solution that helps keep track of your belongings. Comprised of a radio frequency ID (RFID) scanner, tags, and an app with connected checklists, GearEye uses Bluetooth technology to track your gear.

GearEye users can place tiny RFID tags on their items, like cameras, lenses, flashes, and even their wallet, and create a checklist for the items they need using the GearEye mobile app. With a simple wave of the GearEye smartphone battery-case, the app will let them know if their tagged items are in their bag, by marking them off on the checklist. If an item is missing from the checklist, the app tells you where its last scanned location was.

This month, the gadget raised $480,000 on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, eight times the original amount its developers were hoping to raise.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

Mobileye, Delphi To Showcase ‘Most Complex’ Driverless Car Drive At CES 2017 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:58:56 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems, and its UK-based partner Delphi Automotive PLC, a supplier of vehicle technology, said they will hold the “most complex automated drive ever publicly demonstrated on an urban and highway” route in Las Vegas.

The 6.3-mile drive will showcase an automated vehicle driving system they developed, which the companies target for production by 2019, Delphi and Mobileye said in a statement. The demonstration will be held during CES 2017, the consumer and electronics trade show that will takes place in January in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas drive will tackle everyday driving challenges like highway mergers, congested city streets with pedestrians, cyclists and a tunnel, the companies said.

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

The Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) automated driving system that is planned for 2019 will include technologies such as localization and mapping capabilities; free space detection, helping the car navigate lane splits or areas lacking lane markings; 360-degree pedestrian sensing; and 3D vehicle detection, in which vehicles can be detected at any angle. The platform will also allow the car more human-like driving behavior in determining the best path forward, the companies said.

There are some 30 corporate groups globally, ranging from the automotive industry to leading technology brands — including Google, Daimler and General Motors — that are chasing the dream of driverless cars by setting up research and development activities, and buying or teaming up with tech companies, according to CB Insights, a New York-based data company. And the race is on among them for who will be able to put the first driverless car on the road.

“Three factors will separate the leader from the pack in the race to offer driverless vehicles by 2019 best-in-class: perception sensors such as cameras, radar and LiDAR, automotive experience and computer processing speed,” said Glen De Vos, vice president of services for Delphi. “We will demonstrate the capability of the CSLP solution in our intensive drive at CES 2017.”

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Otto, Budweiser Make Historic Driverless Beer Run

Mobileye uses algorithms and video images from a single camera placed in the car to develop its assisted driving technology that can identify vehicles, pedestrians, animals, and lane boundaries, as well as traffic lights. The technology warns drivers of possible hazards and can brake autonomously. The Jerusalem-based company, which has had its product integrated into new car models since 2007 to help avoid collisions, held a $1 billion initial public offering of shares in New York in July 2014. The company had a market cap of around $7.7 billion on December 21.


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Stop Wasting Time Looking For Your Stuff – GearEye’s Got You Covered Wed, 28 Dec 2016 08:52:03 +0000 How often do you misplace your phone, or lose your keys? What about your wallet, or your passport – right before you need to leave for the airport?

Israeli company GearEye promises to put an end to frantically searching for missing valuables when you need them the most. Its technology uses a Location-of-Things platform to derive the precise location of our valuables at all times – taking a step beyond typical Internet-of-Things (IoT) platforms that connect objects to the internet, but cannot locate their whereabouts.

SEE ALSO: 73% Of Smartphone Users Willingly Share Their Location

geareye locator of lost items, app

A monitoring solution that helps keep track of your belongings at all times, GearEye is comprised of a radio frequency ID (RFID) scanner, tags, and an app with connected checklists.

Just place tiny RFID tags on your items, and create a checklist using the GearEye mobile app. With a simple wave of GearEye’s smartphone battery-case (GearEye is also available as a dongle), the app will let you know if your tagged items are in your bag, by marking them off on the checklist. If an item is missing from the checklist, the app tells you where its last scanned location was.

For professional photographers, for example, missing a crucial item from their gear can spell an end to a photoshoot and loss of a full day’s work. With GearEye, there’s an easy way to ensure you have everything you need before leaving for the day.

“All my life I’ve been misplacing important items like my keys and passport,” GearEye founder and CEO, Yulia Lerner, said in a statement.  “One day, I thought, why not tag these items and be able to find them with my phone?”

And so the idea for GearEye was born. “GearEye is the complete solution for managing people’s gear, allowing them to easily make sure they have everything they need,” she says. “It’s great for photographers, and can also be used by DJs, frequent travelers, electricians, plumbers, and everyday users to manage their gear.”

SEE ALSO: The Button To Rule Them All : Pressy Raises 10X Its Goal In Six Days On Kickstarter

In less than two months, the gadget has raised $493,000 on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, eight times the original amount its developers were hoping to raise ($60,000). GearEye, founded in 2014, also received about $290,000 from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist and private investors.

Considerable competition in the IoT arena 

Given the rising popularity of Internet-of-Things gadgets, it is no surprise that GearEye faces considerable competition, including from Israeli company Pixie, which offers a Bluetooth-based locator.

Additionally, companies such as TrackR and Tile offer Bluetooth devices that serve the same location-tracking function. Both devices emit a loud signal at the press of a button on their corresponding phone apps, making it easier to find a missing item.

geareye locator of lost items, app

According to GearEye, unlike Bluetooth tags, its RFID tags are thin stickers allowing them to be placed on nearly any object, of any size. The RFID tags do not require any batteries and last for years before needing to be replaced.

GearEye’s price on Kickstarter starts at $129, and it comes with 20 RFID tags. Shipping is expected to start in July 2017.

Photos and video: Courtesy

Hand Over The Keys: Virtual Breathalyzer Uses Advanced Tech To Curb Drunk Driving Tue, 27 Dec 2016 09:53:54 +0000 The arrival of a new year is a time for celebration – and for many, intoxication. New Year’s is traditionally one of the worst times for alcohol-fueled road accidents, surpassing the average of 28 car deaths that happen in the US every day. 

While numerous campaigns warning of the dangers of drinking and driving have been mounted by law enforcement and advocacy groups, technology designed to prevent drunk driving has yet to be widely adopted by automakers or consumers.

Seeking a way to curb drunk driving by using the latest in technology, a new Israeli-designed “virtual breathalyzer” uses sensors in smartphones, smartwatches, fitness bands and virtual glasses to measure changes in how a person walks to indicate intoxication levels. Developed by Ben Nassi, a researcher at BenGurion University of the Negev (BGU), the virtual breathalyzer proved to have identical accuracy to police breathalyzer tests.

SEE ALSO: Alcohoot: The World’s First Smartphone Breathalyzer

“Alcohol distinctly affects movement, gait and balance in ways that can be detected by the built-in motion sensors on devices people carry around with them all the time,” Nassi, a Master of Science student at BGU’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering, said in a statement. “Our system simply takes a baseline reading while walking from the car to the bar and another one on the way back to compare and identify movements that indicate drunkenness.” 

Applications based on Nassi’s trained machine learning model for measuring intoxication could be used to alert people, or even a connected car, and prevent users from driving under the influence. 

Just as accurate as a police breathalyzer

Nassi was guided on this project by his advisors, Professors Yuval Elovici and Lior Rokach of BGU. The breathalyzer project has been uploaded to Arxiv, a repository of electronic preprints of scientific papers which can be accessed online.

drunk driving, breathalyzer

In the study, Nassi and his team collected test data from patrons at different bars on five nights. They asked 30 participants (60 percent men, 40 percent women) to measure their gait before drinking and then 15 minutes after their last drink, which is the same standard used for police breathalyzers. Most of the study participants were in their early twenties, which is the group considered by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have the highest risk of causing fatal accidents due to alcohol consumption.   

Participants wore Google Glass augmented reality glasses, an LG G-watch on their left hand, a Microsoft Band on their right hand, and carried a Samsung Galaxy S4 cell phone in their right rear pocket. Each person walked for 16 seconds until they heard a beep through their headphones. Test results validated with a police breathalyzer detected intoxication levels with 100 percent accuracy. 

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

The threshold and counting method for measuring sobriety varies among countries. In the US, generally the threshold for illegal blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC, is .08 or higher. The researchers used Israel’s intoxication limit — which is 240 micrograms of alcohol per one liter of breath — as the measuring point for their experiment.

“While the experiment used all four devices to measure movements in different parts of the body, a combination of watch and smartphone readings taken from at least two parts of the body yields similar results,” Nassi said in a statement.  

Smart wearable devices are a burgeoning market, with 275 million sold in 2016, and another 322 million units forecast in 2017. The researchers are optimistic that within a few years, the application will be useful for people who routinely use a smartwatch along with their smartphone.  

“A system based on our approach could prevent a person from driving under the influence after an alert unobtrusively detects intoxication while they are walking to their car,” says Nassi. “As the Internet of Things (IoT) progresses, the system could even trigger a connected car not to start when a driver tests above the legal limit.”  

While drivers can always test their own blood-alcohol level before driving by using a personal breathalyzer, these items tend to cost between $100 to $150 and vary in accuracy, making the virtual breathalyzer a very attractive alternative.


Pictures: Ben-Gurion University,  Pexels, Wikipedia Commons

Your Headphones Could Be Used To Spy On You Mon, 26 Dec 2016 10:11:57 +0000 Earlier this year, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he uses tape to cover the webcam and microphone jack of his laptop, with many other people around the world following suit in efforts to prevent webcam hacking and spying. But while we’ve heard about hackers activating webcams and microphones remotely to spy on people without, did you know that your headphones are also a threat to your privacy?

A new Israeli study shows how headphones can be used to record you, without your knowledge. The Cyber Security Research Center at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University has developed proof-of-concept headphones to show exactly how dangerous this headphone vulnerability can be if not addressed.

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

Called “Speake(a)r,” this new headset-turned-microphone works by secretly “re-tasking” the function of your speakers or headphones. “We found that most of the computers today support the capability to convert and use speakers as a microphone,” Mordechai Guri, lead researcher of the project, tells NoCamels.

This is because speakers are effectively designed like a microphone – in reverse. While speakers translate electric currents into sound waves, microphones turn sound waves into electric currents.

The Speake(a)r software reverses this process. The Realtek audio chip-sets used in most computers can have their function modified, meaning a sound card can be programmed to do more than simply emit sound, with enough software fiddling. No physical changes need to be made to the speakers, creating an opportunity for hackers to work their way remotely into a computer’s built-in speaker system and record sound.

Taping your computer is not enough

When it comes to taping your computer, well, “we just proved it’s not enough,” Guri says. “Even if you take out your microphone, hackers can still record you.” While we cannot be sure if such technology is already being used in the deep web, the Speake(a)r software proves that it is possible, and that it is not just about microphone and webcam hacking.

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

The idea of hackers accessing speakers without our knowledge is disturbing. The researchers at Ben-Gurion University recognized a need to check privacy and security issues for all computers, which led to this “academic prototype” as described by Guri. If used in the future, the Speake(a)r concept will help prevent such invasions of privacy.

Guri says his team members don’t necessarily want to commercialize the technology, they want to bring awareness to a potential new threat and encourage new developments in cyber-security. “At the Security Center, we are always trying to find vulnerabilities. We want to expose vulnerabilities and to close them,” he says.

What would it take? It isn’t a simple endeavor as the problem lies in how audio chips are designed. They’re now so widespread, that the next challenge cyber-security faces is remote monitoring.

In the meantime, users can unplug their speakers and headphones when not in use, or try Bluetooth or USB connected speakers which can help avoid the risk of software manipulation.


Photos and video: Ben Gurion University, Apple

Snapped Up: Snapchat Buys Israeli AR Startup Cimagine Media, Sets Up Local R&D Center Sun, 25 Dec 2016 11:10:54 +0000 Snap, formerly Snapchat Inc, the $25 billion company behind the ever-popular Snapchat mobile messaging app, has according to Calcalist, purchased Israeli augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for $30-$40 million.

According to the report, following this acquisition, Snap will establish a development center in Israel where it will eventually employ more than the 20 people currently working at Cimagine. This is Snap’s first acquisition of an Israeli startup, following its purchase of eight other companies, mostly in the US, including a $110 million deal for Vurb, and $100 million for Bitstrips earlier this year.

Cimagine: Bringing your home to the store

Cimagine displays objects in 3D and in 360 degrees, and scaled to fit the dimensions of your home, using a tablet or smartphone camera and sensors. The technology allows shoppers to import product photos from the web or from catalogs onto their mobile devices and preview the way they would look in their home or office. Cimagine, which already has partnerships with major retail outlets such as Shop Direct, John Lewis, and Coca-Cola, also helps retailers tap into the potential of augmented reality by effectively demonstrating products as they would look in the customer’s premises. As Nir Daube, the startup’s VP of products told NoCamels, Cimagine “brings your home to the store and your store to your home.”

SEE ALSO: Cimagine Shows What The Future Of Shopping Looks Like With Augmented Reality App

“Our technology uses a combination of internal sensors in the mobile device and image processing that continuously scans the environment the camera sees, resulting in a near reality visualization of the product using live video and saved scenes,” Daube said.

It’s not hard to see why Snap was interested in the Israeli AR startup. Cimagine specializes in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, and international marketing, all of which are of interest to Snap, whose Snapchat app relies on augmented reality. Cimagine also focuses on commerce and since Snap may be looking to go public next year, Cimagine’s technology could be an additional resource for revenue opportunities.

Also, with Facebook rapidly copying features from Snapchat, Snap needs to remain one step ahead of Facebook and Cimagine’s technology may give them an edge.

A billion dollar company

Snap has raised $2.63 billion since it was founded in 2011 by Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel. The company’s valuation is estimated between $25-$35 billion. Companies that have invested in Snap include: Google, Yahoo, and Alibaba, among others. According to reports, Snap has over 150 million users worldwide. The company announced to its investors that this year their earnings are between $250-$350 million for 2016 and the company expects to reach $1 billion in 2017.

Snapchat also recently debuted its newest product, Spectacles, special glasses with a built-in camera, recording the world from your point of view with 10-second videos.

Cimagine Media was founded in 2012 by Ozi Egri, Amiram Avraham, Yoni Nevo, and Nir Daube. Prior to this deal, Cimagine raised an undisclosed amount of funding from iVentures Asia Ltd., OurCrowd, PLUS Ventures and Explore. Dream. Discover, an investment group specializing in early stage Israeli ventures in the field of internet, cellular and new media.


Photos and video: Cimagine Media

Israeli High-Tech Industry Sees Startup ‘Exits’ Plummet By 67% To $3.5B In 2016 Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:17:54 +0000 Israeli tech exits plummeted from $7.2 billion in 2015 to $3.5 billion in 2016, according to a new report by accounting firm PwC. The total value of Israeli high-tech and startup companies sold in 2016 – through acquisitions and IPOs (initial public offerings) – reflects a 67 percent decline from last year.

In total, there were 55 exits in 2016, lower than both 2015 and 2014, with 70 exits each. The average value per exit in 2016 was $64 million, sharply down from $153 million in 2015.

SEE ALSO: Record Year For Innovation Nation: Israeli Startups Sell For $7.2B In 2015

Exits by year (PwC)

Exits by year

According to Rubi Suliman of PwC, there aren’t enough “global buyers that are familiar and comfortable enough with the Israeli high-tech to drive a continuous wave of deals. And when potential buyers are relatively scarce, deal prices are expected to go down. This is a problem, but also an opportunity, since it points to the enormous potential of the local tech industry.”

SEE ALSO: Chinese Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History

One of the largest deals this year was the acquisition of Ravello by Oracle for $430 million. Founded in 2011 by Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider, Ravello is a cloud service that enables customers to run any type of workload through the cloud.

Also this year, global chip maker Intel bought Israeli startup Replay Technologies for $175 million. Founded in 2011, the company has developed a method of filming called freeD, which generates instant, real-time 3D replays that have already been used at the 2012 London Olympics, in Yankee Stadium, and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and most recently in the El Clàsico soccer showdown between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

This year’s acquisition of Playtika for $4.4 billion is not included in the report, since it was previously sold in 2014 to Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a North American corporation.

“We will have many more boom years”

Most of the exits in 2016 are in the computing and corporate software sectors; life sciences startups accounted for 15 percent of total exits. The semiconductors sector is the only one in 2016 that experienced an increase relative to 2015, thanks to the Cisco acquisition of Leaba for $320 million.

“Israeli innovation is still strong, and the amount of experience gained while running those successful companies is increasing every year,” Suliman says. “This alone should make us optimistic looking ahead. We will clearly have many more boom years later on.”


Photos and infographics: Courtesy

With 1 Million Daily Users, Group Video App Houseparty Could Overtake Snapchat In Race To Attract Post-Millennials Wed, 14 Dec 2016 14:02:50 +0000 Thanks to countless scenes in movies and television shows, the term “house party” often conjures up images of wild, loud teenagers partying hard at some popular kid’s home while his or her parents are away for the weekend.

But for millions of Generation Z (Gen Z, or Post-Millennials) teens, those born anywhere from the mid-1990s to the early-2000s, Houseparty is simply the name of their favorite video chat app. Even prestigious magazine Forbes has said this new Israeli app is winning over Generation Z, in an article titled “Move Over, Snapchat.”

Houseparty, created by Israeli startup company Life on Air, allows users to quickly jump into “parties” of up to eight people simultaneously, creating drop-in-drop-out style video chats among any friends who are online at the same time. The idea behind the app is to create a virtual space where you can hang out with your friends—a “house party” – where everyone you know is invited. When a friend loads the app, you’ll get a notification letting you know they’re in the house. If you want to chat, you launch the app and join.

SEE ALSO: ‘Rounds’ Provides Group Video Chats For Up To 12 Participants

Chats are organized by room, and anyone you’re friends with on the app has a virtual invitation to drop in on your conversation. Their friends can also join, in which case you’ll see a “stranger danger” message. Beyond that, it’s pretty much like any other party, where you can freely chat with friends. Up to eight people can be in a room at the same time, and you can casually move between rooms to interact with different groups of friends. When you want to prevent people from joining a private conversation, you can simply lock the room.

$52 million raised

Life on Air was founded in 2011 with headquartered in San Francisco and R&D in Tel Aviv. CEO Ben Rubin and COO Sima Sistani recently created the app Houseparty. Life on Air this week announced it has raised $52 million for Houseparty. The financing round was led by Sequoia Capital with the participation of previous investors Aleph VC, Comcast Ventures and Greylock Partners. The company has raised $70 million to date and The Wall Street Journal reported that the venture capital funds were competing to invest in this latest financing round.

From Meerkat to Houseparty

Houseparty is not the first app created by Life on Air. Their first product was live-streaming smartphone video app Meerkat, which launched in February 2015 and managed to generate lots of excitement initially, but eventually failed after being frozen out by social media giants Twitter and Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Inside The Rise Of ‘Meerkat’: How The Israeli App Is Helming Live Mobile Broadcasting

Twitter blocked Meerkat’s access to launch its own live-streaming app, Periscope. Facebook built live streaming into its mobile app, which has more than 1 billion monthly users, a few months later. Meerkat, which suddenly found itself was in a three-way battle against two huge companies with significantly more resources at their disposal, simply couldn’t compete.

The team quickly regrouped and Houseparty was released in early 2016. The new app has quickly emerged to the top of the mobile app charts to become what many are calling “the next big social network,” currently with 1 million daily active users. The Houseparty app is currently free and there are no in-app purchases that require you to spend money to join or host a Houseparty. However, it remains to be seen if the company decides to charge users in the future.

Attracting Generation Z: 60 percent of the users are under 24

Naturally, Houseparty’s target audience, and its primary users, are Gen Z, the next generation after millennials. A whopping 60 percent of the app’s users are under the age of 24.

“We’re constantly amazed by how many people reach out to us to let us know how much Houseparty is strengthening their friendships and family relationships,” Sistani told Forbes. “It’s a great feeling when you get to connect with a friend or loved one, or better yet, multiple friends and loved ones, totally unexpectedly. And we love to hear about how people are making Houseparty a part of their daily routine, whether it’s getting together with their squad to recap the latest episode of a favorite show, dealing with homesickness by cooking a nostalgic dinner ‘with’ your mom or dad, or reliving all the gory details of a rowdy night out with your best friends.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

Literary Voyage: Location-Based App ‘Books on Map’ Brings Stories To Life Tue, 13 Dec 2016 08:38:03 +0000 Reading for pleasure is losing its appeal in the technological age. Paperbacks don’t share in the immediacy of Netflix, Snapchat or YouTube, and can’t compete with our shortened attention spans.

But while some are mourning the demise of the reading culture, a few Israeli creatives are choosing to fight this trend and are bringing literature to the smartphone generation through a new mobile app called Books on Map.

SEE ALSO: Off The Beaten Track: Urban Navigation App Sidekix Bases Walking Routes On Your Interests

It’s part library, part treasure map, part social network. The app opens up to a typical GPS-locating digital map. Users from all over the world can submit “Bookations,” where they mark the locations in their city that make an appearance in their favorite novel, using certain quotes. They can also create entire routes designed to follow specific stories.

The app’s map and search bar enable you to seek out the books, quotes, authors, or cities you desire for your adventure’s starting point. Service is currently available in Paris, France, as well as in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel, with plans to add up to 25 new cities in the coming months.

paris, france

Books on Map gives you the opportunity “to walk in the footsteps of Hemingway, or to know where Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code took place,” Deddi Zucker, CEO and founder of Books on Map (and a former member of the Israeli parliament), tells NoCamels. “It’s a new way to travel and to encounter experiences.”

The app launched in beta mode in October 2015, and is expected to fully launch by June 2017, according to Zucker. There are expectedly a few beta bugs that need ironing out – such as the signup options, search bar and bookations – but Zucker says these will be fixed and improved.

A walking tour of Parisian literary gems 

Proving its potential, Books on Map recently won the City of Paris tourism app competition. Earlier this year, the app was featured on bus stations across Paris. In addition, the app has been made available for public use on 32 different touch-screens around the city – and will continue to be featured through May 2017.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Top Israeli Startups That Make Travel So Much Easier

Based in Tel Aviv, Books on Map’s five employees are inspired by mutual “curiosity, love for words and pleasure of travel,” according to the startup, which also claims the app provides a more intimate knowledge of a city, compared to standard tour guides. Zucker declined to comment on the company’s funding rounds, but according to reports in the Israeli media, the company has completed two rounds, the latter of which totaled $750,000.

You may download the app from Apple’s App Store or from Google Play for free; premium services will be available for a fee in the coming months.

It seems that the premise of Books on Map appeals to a fast-paced, technological world. Like the recent Pokémon Go fad – which created a huge global community of Pokémon enthusiasts – Books on Map could create a new tech-savvy, literary community.


Photos: Books on Map, Zinneke

Turning High-Tech Into ‘High’ Tech: Behind Israel’s Blooming Medical Cannabis Industry Sun, 11 Dec 2016 11:45:38 +0000 Some of the recent studies coming out of Israel show that marijuana can heal bone fractures; is able to relieve the pain associated with Parkinson’s disease; and that small quantities of cannabis can prevent brain damage, and even halt the spread of cancer.

But cannabis is not only the subject of research and clinical trials in Israel, it’s also the focus of a host of startup entrepreneurs working to apply the benefits of marijuana to the commercial world. Large companies are also jumping on the green bandwagon: Israeli pharma giant Teva recently said it would market Syqe, a medical marijuana inhaler developed in Israel. Two other Israeli companies have already developed marijuana tablets.

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

Israel is one of the first modern nations to investigate the medical benefits of marijuana. The local founding father of cannabis research, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University, has been studying the plant since the 1960s. Over the past decades, other researchers have joined him to explore the possible positive impact of cannabis on bones, our digestive system, and even our brain.

SEE ALSO: Professor Raphael Mechoulam, The Father Of Marijuana Research, Talks To NoCamels About His Studies And Breaking The Law In The Name Of Science

Sensing the commercial value of marijuana, a host of Israeli startups and companies – backed by one incubator and a couple of venture capital firms – have started to commercialize some of the researchers’ findings on the benefits of hemp, and now there are some 70 companies in the field, industry veteran Dr. Tamir Gedo, CEO of Israel’s BOL Pharma, tells NoCamels. In recent years, his company has conducted clinical trials with cannabis, showing positive results on leukemia, brain cancer (Glioblastoma, or GBM), psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and even autism, Gedo says.

Israeli cannabis startups – albeit growing and testing crops locally – are looking to the US for mass marketing, and not only to Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana first became legal. With California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts joining suit (Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota passed medical pot measures on Nov. 8), Israeli startups could soon tap into a huge market.

Greater access to cannabis treatments

The newest invention – a marijuana tablet – is being developed by two local companies. Earlier this month, Israeli pharma company Therapix Biosciences, which develops cannabinoid-based drugs, completed the development phase of a unique formulation of a tablet for sublingual administration. The tablet is expected to be used in clinical trials for the treatment of impairments in cognitive functioning, including Alzheimer’s disease. Another Israeli company, OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp., announced a similar tablet back in October.

According to Ziv Turner, CEO of OWC, “there’s a substantial number of eligible patients who are uncomfortable smoking cannabis for medical purposes, leaving a large segment of the patient population without real access to treatment. We believe our tablet is a preferable administrative method for those, and many other patients, and will make a real difference in the way cannabis is administered.”

SEE ALSO: World’s First Precision Medical Marijuana Inhaler Hopes To Remove Stigma Of Smoking The Green Stuff

Another way to administer cannabis is through an inhaler. Israeli startup Syqe Medical has created an innovative, 3D-printed hand-held cannabis inhaler, which vaporizes tiny granules of cannabis in small doses. Those provide the relieving effects of marijuana, without having the mind-altering side effects that usually come with it. Earlier this year, giant cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris invested $20 million in Syqe Medical.

Weeding out the bad taste 

Another Israeli cannabis startup is Eybna, which has developed natural, terpene-based cannabis flavors with aromatic fragrances.

For those who would like to grow their weed themseves, Israeli startup Leaf provides a do-it-yourself kit for patients who use medical marijuana, so they can grow and crop their weed themselves – without soil!


Budding Israeli startups in the field of medical marijuana can get guidance and funding from local startup incubator iCAN- Israel Cannabis, which focuses on cannabis-related technologies with commercialization potential. According to Saul Kaye, founder and CEO of iCAN, the incubator enables “the most promising startups and innovators in Israel and abroad to create world-class products for the global cannabis economy.”

Different strains treat different conditions  

Israel pioneered marijuana research in 1964, when Mechoulam discovered Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, one of 70 cannabinoids (the active molecules in cannabis). THC is responsible for the ‘high’ feeling, while CBD is marijuana’s non-psychoactive component, which has been proven to have several health benefits. Cannabinoids are generally used to reduce pain, stress, as well as to increase appetite, among other uses.

Today, Israeli researchers lead the scientific world in cannabinoid research, inventing new methods of mapping the cannabis genome, while discovering new medical uses for the plant.

As experts increasingly consider marijuana to be a genetically modified organism (GMO) – produced in greenhouse-laboratories to treat specific conditions – Israeli scientists are using genetic markers to control molecule counts, and modify the plant, so it can better treat certain symptoms, thus helping millions of patients worldwide.

Israeli startup BreedIT, for example, is combining the power of science and technology with the medical power of cannabis, helping growers breed biogenetically engineered marijuana. Collaborating with doctors and researchers from the Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, BreedIT manufactures agrobreeding systems for growers.

Agrobreeding is a computer-controlled breeding method that genetically modifies plants, and creates marijuana strains. This selective breeding method uses big-data computers and analysis techniques that provide growers and researchers with insightful plant information, including the amounts of active THC and CBD in marijuana.

One of the Israeli strains of marijuana is Avidekel, a non-psychoactive CBD strain for treatment of epilepsy grown by Tikun Olam, which means “heal the world” in Hebrew.

SEE ALSO: Cannabis Cure: Marijuana May One Day Be A Cure For Cancer, Israeli Study Shows

So far, eight farms in Israel are licensed to grow marijuana for medical uses, and certain doctors are allowed to prescribe medical marijuana, which will soon be sold in pharmacies across Israel.

And, if the Israeli government approves exporting medical marijuana grown in Israel (only medical devices can be exported as of now), Israeli farmers are looking at $250-$300 million in revenues a year, according to Israel’s Ministry of Finance.

Gedo believes the potential is much bigger. “By federal law, American companies and hospitals cannot perform clinical trials involving cannabis on human beings, but they can and do come to Israel generating dozens of groundbreaking studies based on cannabinoids,” he says, stating that BOL Pharma already works with half a dozen such companies. “This research will generate new cannabinoid based platforms which will form the basis of new drugs that will be used by US pharmaceutical companies in the future.”

According to Gedo, “Israel’s medical cannabis future lies in research and technology. That’s our strength. Bringing more international companies to Israel can generate more revenues than was previously estimated.”

A $6.7 billion industry

The legal cannabis market tops $6.7 billion in the US; medical marijuana is prescribed in the US for cancer, AIDS, asthma and glaucoma, as well as an antidepressant and an appetite stimulant. Cannabis is also used as an anti-convulsing agent, with many clinical studies still ongoing.

In the US, Israel and elsewhere in the world, the use of medical marijuana is expected to expand in the next decade, thanks to new growing methods and increasing government support. And, since there are so many cannabinoids to study, researchers hope to reveal additional uses for marijuana in years to come.


Photos and videos: Get Budding, Syqe Medical, BreedIT

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Nexar’s New App Connects Drivers To Prevent Crashes Sun, 11 Dec 2016 10:13:49 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli startup Nexar has decided not to wait for autonomous cars to make car travel safer. The Tel Aviv-based company says it has created the world’s first vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) network that aims detect dangers on the road and prevent collisions.

Nexar uses a V2V network that features real-time warning technology, including forward-collision warnings, that can be controlled by smartphone and a dashcam app powered by artificial intelligence.

Considering that in the United States in 2015, 94 percent of the over 35,000 vehicular fatalities that occurred were the direct result of human error, technology that could help drivers avoid mistakes fits right in to the growing quest of automakers to make their vehicles safer.

Driverless car technology and auto technologies that would remove human error from the driving experience have seen an explosion of interest this year by corporations and investors. There have been a dozen venture capital-backed exits in the auto tech sector since 2012, with five in 2016 alone, a report by CB Insights, a New York-based data company, shows.

SEE ALSO: Curbing Distracted Driving: Cellepathy Keeps Drivers Focused

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a 2014 report that V2V communications could represent “an additional step in helping to warn drivers about impending danger,” and that such systems could prevent crashes and save lives.

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

“Given the technology that exists today, the fact that there are still tens of thousands of fatal vehicle collisions in the US each year is unacceptable,” said Eran Shir, CEO of Nexar. “We can’t afford to wait for the advent of autonomous cars to remove human error from the equation. With Nexar, users can avoid unfortunate accidents by getting more pertinent information about the road in real-time, saving lives and making the roads a safer place for everyone.”

Nexar, car, car accident, warning

To read the full article, click here.

Photos and video: Nexar

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This Compact, Foldable Lock Provides Elegant, Lightweight Protection For Your Bicycle Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:30:48 +0000 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


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.”

foldylock gif

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Giant Online Payment Company PayPal, Israel’s Ben-Gurion University To Join Forces On R&D Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:44:31 +0000 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

Teva To Market Syqe, The Revolutionary Medical Marijuana Inhaler Developed In Israel Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:24:22 +0000 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

Meet The Coolest Israeli Companies On Wall Street Sun, 04 Dec 2016 11:53:35 +0000 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.

trading floor equities stocks 1200px-Sao_Paulo_Stock_Exchange

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:


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.


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.


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.



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 Sun, 04 Dec 2016 11:26:45 +0000 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.


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 for $37 million in 2012.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

Israel’s Check Point Reveals: More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Infected By ‘Gooligan’ Malware Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:32:59 +0000 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

Israeli Startups Take Major Medical Competition By Storm, Win Top Three Awards Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:23:59 +0000 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

Coca-Cola Israel Designs First-Ever Selfie Coke Bottle Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:40:36 +0000 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!


Photos and video: Coca-Cola, Gefen Team

Technion Students’ Hilarious Take On The Viral ‘Mannequin Challenge’ Craze Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:09:57 +0000 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 Sun, 27 Nov 2016 10:52:23 +0000 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.


“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.


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.”


Photos and video: Courtesy

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Who Are You? MyHeritage Launches DNA Testing Kit To Reveal Your Ethnic Roots Tue, 22 Nov 2016 13:26:45 +0000 “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.


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 Sun, 20 Nov 2016 10:56:19 +0000 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 Thu, 17 Nov 2016 10:37:42 +0000 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


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.”


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 Tue, 15 Nov 2016 12:50:00 +0000 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.


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 Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:15:03 +0000 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 Mon, 07 Nov 2016 14:13:38 +0000 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.


Photos: Viber, Tom Arthur

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Israel’s Otto, Budweiser Make Historic Driverless Beer Run Tue, 01 Nov 2016 08:51:10 +0000 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’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 Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:13:39 +0000 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 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.

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;, 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 Sun, 30 Oct 2016 12:20:18 +0000 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 Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:48:07 +0000 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.


“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 Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:19:56 +0000 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.


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. 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 Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:17:06 +0000 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

“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 Wed, 19 Oct 2016 07:31:37 +0000 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.”


Photos and video: Moojis

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Israel’s FieldIn Helps Farmers Track Crops, Cut Costs Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:43:59 +0000 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 Sun, 16 Oct 2016 09:20:13 +0000 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 Sun, 16 Oct 2016 07:49:03 +0000 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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