NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. 2017-01-22T14:54:59Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/ Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Genetically Modified Bacteria Could Eat Away The World’s Massive Plastic Problem]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=50173 2017-01-22T14:54:59Z 2017-01-22T13:04:50Z

According to think-tank Worldwatch Institute, humans produce about 300 million tons of plastic every year, creating one of the world’s biggest environmental problems – plastic pollution.

“If we continue to consume and then dispose of plastic at the same rate, by 2050 the weight of plastic containers in the ocean will equal the weight of the fish in it,” Ben Gurion University scientists explain.

That’s why they have come up with an extraordinary solution: genetically modified bacteria that feed off plastic.

SEE ALSO: Can The Newly Developed ‘Coral On A Chip’ Save The World’s Reefs From Extinction?

plastic waste ocean - photo by Change.Org

Developed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, bacteria called Pseudomonas putida are genetically modified to “eat” polyethylene-terephthalate (PET), a common type of plastic that’s proliferating in the oceans and on the land. Essentially, the BGU team (dubbed “Plasticure-BGU“) spreads these bacteria on plastic particles, so that the plastic eventually breaks down, student Nir Zafrany tells NoCamels.

SEE ALSO: Wrapped In Nature: New Biodegradable Food Packages

One of plastic’s best features is one of its greatest drawbacks: Its durability makes it virtually non-degradable. An average bottle of mineral water takes roughly half a millennium to decompose, leading to a global accumulation of plastic waste.

According to a study conducted in the Mediterranean Sea, 18 percent of fish sampled had plastic remnants in their stomachs. Some of these fish eventually end up on our plates.

Many ideas have been considered for dealing with plastic waste, such as burning or burying it, but these solutions damage the environment because of plastic’s toxicity. Since the introduction of plastics, some microbial communities or species have evolved to successfully degrade plastics. However, from an evolutionary point of view – and probably as a result of only being exposed to plastic for 100 years – they do not biodegrade plastic efficiently yet.

Enter “Plasticure-BGU.” This invention would degrade the plastic and, as a bi-product of this process, will produce electricity by utilizing the energy released from PET’s bonds.

According to the research team, “we chose to tackle the problem from a biological standpoint, using engineered enzymes and bacteria that could use plastic as a primary carbon source.” This solution “holds great promise in improving our quality of life and stopping the impending threat that plastic waste holds over our heads.”

Using advanced methods in genetic engineering and synthetic biology, the team aims to increase the productivity of enzymes that are part of the degradation mechanism and form an efficient bacterium that could consume plastic rapidly. The BGU team says it continues “to research and develop the idea until we can efficiently break down plastic.”

Although Zafrany is hesitant to predict when this bacteria-based solution will become scalable, he believes that ultimately, “the solution to the world’s massive plastic problem is biological.”

plastic bottles, pollution

In addition to Zafrany, BGU researchers and students taking part in this project include: Tomer Shary, Ben Vaknin, Inbar Segal, Dor Bar-On, Eyal Zajfman, Inbar Bariah, Liran, Guy Farjon, Yotam Itzhaky, and Efrat Jeshurun.

Photos and video: Ben Gurion University, Change.Org

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Luke Tress, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Tom Brady Stars In Israeli Startup’s Super Bowl Ad For 360-Degree Replays]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51711 2017-01-22T11:14:58Z 2017-01-22T11:14:35Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A recent ad by tech giant Intel starring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady highlights video technology developed by Israel’s Replay Technologies that will be used by FOX Sports in its upcoming Super Bowl broadcast.

Intel’s “Be the Player” technology will provide viewers with 360-degree replays of key moments in the game.

SEE ALSO: Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Joins Forces With Tech Company Wix In Super Bowl Ad

Using the tagline “Intel 360 Replay makes anything look epic,” the commercial features triumphal music and dramatic views of Tom Brady getting out of bed, brushing his teeth and eating a dropped pancake off of the floor.

The “freeD” system developed by Replay allows broadcasters to freeze video, rotate the angle of view and zoom in on the action. It has been used in other sporting events, including NBA and Olympics games.

For the Super Bowl, 38 cameras were installed throughout the stadium for the 360-degree reconstructions. Each clip will be around 15-30 seconds long and is around one terabyte of data.

SEE ALSO: NBA All-Star Game And Dunk Contest To Use Israeli Tech For Real-Time 3D Replays

The technology was developed by Replay Technologies, founded in Israel in 2011. Replay specializes in seamless 3D video rendering, allowing a viewer to see a scene from any angle as it would be seen live.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Forbes Under 30 Summit Returns To Israel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51678 2017-01-20T12:06:26Z 2017-01-19T13:51:39Z forbes January 19, 2017 | Forbes has announced its second Under 30 Summit EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), which will take place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, April 2-6, 2017, under the theme “Innovation, Exploration, and Inspiration.” Over 750 of the world’s most influential young entrepreneurs — 250 from the US, 250 from Europe and 250 from Israel – are expected to attend the invitation-only event. The event will feature product demos and keynotes, showcasing the most cutting-edge innovators and disruptors, and will provide mentorship from successful business leaders.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Rivlin Honors Zuckerman For $100M Program]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51674 2017-01-19T13:19:39Z 2017-01-19T13:19:39Z Zuckerman, rivlin| January 19, 2017 | The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Institute was honored by Reuven Rivlin at the official residence of the President of the State of Israel for its $100 million initiative to provide scholarships to the next generation of STEM leaders in the United States and Israel. The American business leader and philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman launched the Zuckerman Stem Leadership Program, to support future generations of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math in the United States and Israel and, over time, foster greater collaboration between two of the world’s most advanced scientific research centers. The program will give the highest-achieving American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students the ability to collaborate with leading researchers at Israel’s top research institutions – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Tel Aviv University; and the Weizmann Institute of Science – which are among the world’s most advanced.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Woobi Wins Digiday Award]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51668 2017-01-19T13:08:41Z 2017-01-19T13:02:36Z WoobJanuary 19, 2017 | Leading Israeli adtech firm, Woobi, a startup with offices in London and Tel Aviv, has been awarded Best Video Distribution Platform at The Digiday Awards which recognizes the most outstanding and inspired work in branded digital video, video marketing and video advertising. The awards gala was held on January 17 at The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC. The other three finalists alongside Woobi in the category for “Best Video Distribution Platform” were Unruly, Playbuzz and EPIX. Woobi’s programmatic video solutions are designed to remove the barrier of entry for brand advertisers who are looking for new and engaging ways to reach their target audience. Woobi accommodates ads to each user’s own interaction patterns, and provides brands and advertisers access to hundreds of millions of users. 

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Power Duo: ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Joins Forces With Tech Company Wix In Super Bowl Ad]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51635 2017-01-19T14:34:21Z 2017-01-19T10:48:33Z The most-watched American sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl, will be packing an extra punch this year thanks to a new action-filled Wix.com commercial starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who also plays Wonder Woman in the much-anticipated upcoming Warner Brothers movie.

According to Wix, the Israeli company that enables anyone to easily create their own website, the 30-second ad (for which the FOX TV network is said to be charging over $5 million) will be broadcast in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 51, which will be held February 5 in Houston, Texas. The ad is part of a broader campaign Wix is launching using YouTube Live and Facebook Live.

SEE ALSO: Replay Technologies’ ‘freeD’ To Deliver Real-Time 3D Sports Replays To Mobile Devices

Gal Gadot, Wix, Super Bowl

The Wix campaign features a series of short films, including the Super Bowl commercial, directed by Louis Leterrier, best known for his work on the action-adventure Transporter films, Unleashed, The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans and Now You See Me. The films will star Gadot, who will be portraying Wonder Woman in a movie set to be released this June, alongside another “The Fast and the Furious” alum, British actor Jason Statham.

The first of the videos was released by Wix yesterday, and additional videos will be released in the days leading up to the big game. The main, 30-second TV spot, which will air during the Super Bowl, is still under wraps.

In the first Wix video of the series, Gadot and Statham fight bad guys in a restaurant while an unaware young chef is sitting in the kitchen diligently working on his website using Wix. The commercial ends with the tagline, “To succeed in a disruptive world, Wix makes it easy to create your own website.”

“The hero of the story is our customer”

According to Wix CMO Omer Shai, “the Super Bowl is an incredible platform to showcase our talents. Fans around the world will surely recognize some famous faces, but the hero of the story is really our customer. It is an ongoing narrative about Wix and our customers, and our message about always enabling our users in a world that is often disruptive, so that they can be heroes.”

SEE ALSO: Hollywood, Beware: Interactive Video Startup Interlude Lets Viewers Decide How The Story Will Unfold

This will be the third consecutive year that a Wix commercial will be shown during the Super Bowl. Last year’s Wix ads were a cross-promotional effort for DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3; in 2015, Wix’s Super Bowl ads featured former NFL stars.

98 million users – and counting

With Wix’s do-it-yourself online platform, anybody can create and publish their own websites, with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tools and templates. Their basic design (and domain name) package is free. The company currently boasts more than 98 million registered users worldwide, and its customer base is constantly growing.

Founded in 2006 by Giora Kaplan, Avishai Abrahami, and Nadav Abrahami, Wix is headquartered in Tel Aviv, with offices in San Francisco, New York and Miami, to name a few. With a market cap of $2.2 billion, Wix’s shares trade for $52 on NASDAQ.

Photos and videos: Wix.com, Wonder Woman

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Bloomberg Ranks Most Innovative Countries; Israel In Top 10]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51604 2017-01-18T15:16:51Z 2017-01-18T15:16:51Z Israel, also known as the Startup Nation, is the tenth most innovative nation in the world, according to Bloomberg News, which yesterday released its Bloomberg Innovation Index for 2017.

Ranking 50 countries, the index is based on the strength of each country’s research and development; productivity; high-tech density; higher education; concentration of researchers; added value in manufacturing; and patent activity.

Israel leads the world in the number of researchers per capita, it is second in research and development, and the third in high-tech density. Overall, the Startup Nation ranks at No. 10 this year, moving up one notch from 2016.

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

Tel_Aviv_at_Night

The most innovative nation in the world, according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index, is South Korea, followed by Sweden and Germany. Rounding out the top-five list are Switzerland and Finland; the US ranks at No. 9; France, Ireland, China and the UK are all ranked below Israel.

The least innovative nation, according to Bloomberg, is Morocco, at No. 50, with Argentina and Kazakhstan at No. 49 and No. 48, respectively.

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

Bloomberg’s report comes on the heels of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, which ranked Israel as the second-most innovative nation in the world. WEF ranks countries’ competitiveness based on 12 categories, including innovation, technological readiness, business sophistication and higher education.

Stellar year for Israeli startups

Despite a slowdown in some areas, Israel had a strong 2016 overall, with startups raising a record $4.8 billion from investors, according to IVC Research Center. In addition, last year Israeli high-tech and startup companies were sold for a whopping $10.02 billion – to other companies or through initial public offerings (IPOs).

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.

tel aviv

Photos: PikiwikiYderovan, Barak Brinker

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Mobile Ad Analytics Co. AppsFlyer Raises $56M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51601 2017-01-19T12:48:02Z 2017-01-17T15:51:57Z  appsflyerJanuary 17, 2017 | Israeli mobile ad analytics company AppsFlyer has raised $56 million, increasing the total capital it has raised since it was founded to $84 million. The round was led by new investors Qumra Capital, as well as Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing (PCI), Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP) and Pitango Growth. AppsFlyer enables app developers (such as Gett) to economically analyze the effectiveness of their campaigns on mobile. The company does not sell or buy media; it measures the return on investment (ROI) for buying media. The current financing round follows substantial growth in the company, which asserts that its revenue has grown six times over during the past two years, but does not disclose how much that revenue is. AppsFlyer measures 250 billion actions using over 10,000 apps each month and its customers include Samsung, HBO, Waze, Playtika, Alibaba, Baidu, Trivago, Macy’s, and others. It is an official analytics partner of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Adobe, Twitter, and more than 2,000 others. AppsFlyer was co-founded in 2011 by Reshef Mann, and Oren Kaniel.

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Tel Aviv Revolutionizes City Transportation With New $26M Car-Sharing Service]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51583 2017-01-17T17:11:36Z 2017-01-17T13:32:07Z The City of Tel Aviv has launched a $26 million car-sharing initiative, which will include 260 cars that can be shared by thousands of people every year, reducing both air pollution and car ownership rates.

The first town in Israel to invest in a city-wide shared vehicle fleet, and one of only a handful in the world, Tel Aviv is also the Israeli municipality that pioneered the highly popular city-wide bicycle-sharing system, called “Tel-O-Fun,” in 2011.

SEE ALSO: Can Israel Lead The Way On Sharing Economy?

Ayalon Highway

Ayalon Highway, Tel Aviv

Called “Auto Tel,” the new car-sharing service will be operated by Israeli company Car2Go starting this summer. An Auto Tel car can be reserved within 15 minutes, making spontaneous trips possible for anyone.

Subscribers to the Auto Tel service are expected to pay about $13 a month in subscriber’s fees, plus a daily or an hourly rate that hasn’t been determined yet. Still, the municipality claims the rates would be about 30 percent cheaper than taxis.

SEE ALSO: Armed With Waze, Google Is About To Take On Uber With Ride-Sharing

With over 500 parking spots reserved specifically for these cars all over the city – Tel Aviv is notorious for its lack of parking space – subscribers will be able to leave their Auto Tel car pretty much anywhere across town.

According to the mayor’s office, similar car-sharing systems in the world have shown that every shared vehicle contributes to eliminating the use of at least four private vehicles. “This is our way of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, but it also reduces the cost of living in the city,” meaning Tel Aviv residents don’t necessarily have to own a car.

Revolutionizing transportation

According to Tel Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai, “car owners choosing to switch to Auto Tel could save up to $780 a month on their car expenses.” Huldai, who was joined by Car2Go CEO Gil Laser, spoke at a press conference held yesterday in Tel Aviv.

“We’re in the midst of a transportation revolution,” Laser said. “With 5 million people around the globe already using car-sharing systems, we know that car ownership rates could drop by 20-30 percent.”

auto tel

Tel Aviv’s mayor and his deputy driving an Auto Tel car

Huldai added: “This initiative is the first of its kind in Israel, and it shows that we can all do better. This project should become a national one, and I hope other municipalities will join us in our efforts. This could be the end of the private vehicles era.”

Photos: Kfir Sivan for the City of Tel Aviv

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[IVC: Israeli VC Funds Raise $1.4B in 2016]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51576 2017-01-19T12:48:35Z 2017-01-17T09:11:42Z IVC: Israeli Companies Raise $488M In 2012 Q3January 17, 2017 |The Israel Venture Capital Research Center (IVC) is reporting that Israeli venture capital fundraising activity in 2016 reached a total of $1.4 billion, with 23 VC funds raising for the 2016 vintage year, including 12 first-time funds. Of the 2016 vintage funds, 14 made a first closing at an average 60 percent of their targets, and are expected to raise additional capital to be added to the 2016 vintage funds. It is expected that 2016 vintage fund raising will have totaled $1.6 billion, a record for the past decade, to surpass 2015 vintage year’s $1.5 billion raised by 19 funds. A seventh Israeli VC fund raising cycle started in 2015, and has already reached 79 percent of the total amount raised in the sixth cycle, which took place from 2011 to 2014. Moreover, the amount raised by Israeli VC funds in the past three years remained high.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[TEDxWhiteCity Comes To Tel Aviv]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51572 2017-01-16T14:52:04Z 2017-01-16T14:52:04Z Ted, TedXJanuary 16, 2017 | One of the largest TED events in the Middle East, “TEDxWhiteCity“, will be held on Wednesday January 25th at the Opera-Performing Arts Center in Tel Aviv. Guest lecturers include: 2016 Rio Olympics judo bronze medalist Ori Sasson , synthetic biology author Dr. Tom Ren, CEO and founder of Tridom, Yaron Schwartz, and many more. Some 1,500 participants are expected for the event. Gathering insights from the fields of technology, education and art, TEDxWhiteCity will focus on the spirit of innovation in Israel as the theme this year is “Destination: Unknown”.

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Oracle Opens Israel Startup Accelerator]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51568 2017-01-16T14:05:55Z 2017-01-16T14:05:05Z OracleJanuary 16, 2017 | U.S. software provider Oracle Corp announced today that it was opening an accelerator program in Israel for startups developing cloud technologies or whose technologies are based in the cloud. Run by Oracle’s research and development team, the program provides six months of mentoring from technical and business experts, advanced technology, access to Oracle’s customers, and partners and investors. A pilot program was first launched in India and more centers will be announced soon. Oracle said this was a multi-million dollar program but did not disclose how much it would invest in each center. Oracle’s startup cloud accelerator program builds on its excellence center for Israeli startups, which was established in 2003 by Oracle Israel in cooperation with the government to support the growth of early stage startups. Thirty six companies were approved to take part in the excellence center, totaling more than $150 million in estimated exits.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Sniffing Out Cancer: Israeli Prof. Finds Diseases Like Cancer And Parkinson’s Can Be Detected On The Breath]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51369 2017-01-16T11:17:55Z 2017-01-16T11:17:55Z What if detecting cancer was as easy as breathing in and out? According to the results of a recent study, it is.

An international team of 56 researchers in five countries has confirmed that different diseases are characterized by different “chemical signatures” identifiable in breath samples.

The findings by the team led by Israel’s Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology were published recently in ACS Nano.

SEE ALSO: Revolutionary Device Detects Deadly Diseases, Cancer, On The Breath

Although diagnostic techniques based on breath samples have been demonstrated in the past, until now there has not been scientific proof that different and unrelated diseases are characterized by distinct chemical breath signatures. Also, technologies developed to date for this type of diagnosis have been limited to detecting a small number of diseases.

17 diseases, 13 shared chemical components

The study of more than 1,400 patients included 17 different and unrelated diseases: lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease (two types), multiple sclerosis, pulmonary hypertension, preeclampsia and chronic kidney disease. Samples were collected between January 2011 and June 2014 from 14 departments at nine medical centers in five countries: Israel, France, the USA, Latvia and China.

The researchers tested the chemical composition of the breath samples using an accepted analytical method (mass spectrometry). They discovered that all 17 of the diseases contained the same 13 chemical components, albeit in different compositions.

Technion, breath diagnosis

Two breath samples were taken from each subject, one was sent for chemical mapping using mass spectrometry, and the other was analyzed in the new system, which produced a clinical diagnosis based on the chemical fingerprint of the breath sample.

“A unique fingerprint”

“Each of these diseases is characterized by a unique fingerprint, meaning a different composition of these 13 chemical components,” Prof. Haick explained in a statement. “Just as each of us has a unique fingerprint that distinguishes us from others, each disease has a chemical signature that distinguishes it from other diseases and from a normal state of health. These odor signatures are what enables us to identify the diseases using the technology that we developed.”

86% accuracy

With a new technology called “artificially intelligent nanoarray,” developed by Prof. Haick, the researchers were able to perform fast and inexpensive diagnosis and classification of diseases, based on “smelling” the patient’s breath, and using artificial intelligence to analyze the data obtained from the sensors. Some of the sensors are based on layers of gold nanoscale particles and others contain a random network of carbon nanotubes coated with an organic layer for sensing and identification purposes.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Decode Autism Genes

Haick’s team at first wondered if factors such as gender, age, smoking habits and geographic location would affect the technology, but found that it did not affect the reliability of the diagnosis.

“Our system has detected and classified various diseases with an average accuracy of 86%.,” Prof. Haick and his previous Ph.D student, Dr. Morad Nakhleh, explained in a statement.

They added: “This is a new and promising direction for diagnosis and classification of diseases, which is characterized not only by considerable accuracy but also by low cost, low electricity consumption, miniaturization, comfort and the possibility of repeating the test easily.”

Creator of the SNIFFPHONE

Haick is already well known for the SNIFFPHONE, a device he developed that can sense disease on the breath, much like a breathalyzer test. The SNIFFPHONE uses nanotechnology sensors to analyze the particles on the breath and can pinpoint exact diseases, like certain kinds of cancer, pulmonary and even the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

hossam haick detect cancer breath

A most accomplished professor

In addition to being a professor at Technion and head of three major European consortia, Prof. Haick has received many prestigious awards and grants, including the Marie Curie Excellence Award, the European Research Council grant, grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Hershel Rich Technion Innovation Award and the Humboldt Senior Research Award (Germany). He has been included in several important lists, including the world’s 35 leading young scientists list published by MIT’s Technology Review, the Nominet Trust 100 list (London), which includes the world’s 100 most influential inventors and digital developments, and Los Angeles-based GOOD Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Prof. Haick also received the highest teaching award granted by the Technion, the Yanai Prize for Academic Excellence.

Hossam, Technion

Professor Hossam Haick

Breath: “an excellent material for diagnosis”

Haick’s group is not the first to use a patient’s breath to detect diseases. Back in 400 B.C., before the invention of modern medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates observed that a number of diseases could be detected on the breath.

“Breath is an excellent raw material for diagnosis,” Prof. Haick said in a statement. “It is available without the need for invasive and unpleasant procedures, it’s not dangerous, and you can sample it again and again if necessary.”

Photos and videos: Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Anti-Fraud Co. Fraugster Raises $5M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51550 2017-01-16T09:06:20Z 2017-01-16T09:06:20Z FraugsterJanuary 16, 2017 | Fraugster, a German-Israeli anti-fraud company that has invented an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to eliminate payment fraud, has raised $5 million in funding. The international venture capital fund Earlybird is the new lead investor in the company, alongside existing investors Speedinvest, Seedcamp and a large Swiss family office. This latest round of investment will be used to hire new staff to support the international growth of the company, which is used by online merchants and retailers. Fraugster was founded in 2014 by Max Laemmle, who previously co-founded payment gateway company Better Payment, and Chen Zamir, who has spent more than a decade in different analytics and risk management roles including five years at PayPal. The company already handles almost $15 billion in transaction volume for several thousand international merchants and payment service providers, such as Visa.

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Yonatan Sredni and Anouk Lorie, NoCamels <![CDATA[Top Vacation Destination: Israel Is One Of Harper’s Bazaar “Best Places To Travel In 2017”]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51420 2017-01-15T12:36:57Z 2017-01-15T12:08:53Z Thinking about taking a trip this year? According to America’s first fashion magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Israel should be on your list as a vacation destination.

Founded back in 1867, Harper’s Bazaar has been showcasing the visions of editors, photographers and stylists for over a century. This week the iconic magazine published their list of “The 17 Best Places to Travel in 2017“, ranking Israel eighth.

“We tapped our bucket lists, insider knowledge and industry experts for the 17 destinations to have on your radar when planning this year’s getaways, adventures and retreats,” the magazine wrote.

SEE ALSO: Planning A Holiday? Meet The Top Israeli Startups That Make Travel So Much Easier

Topping the list of places to visit was New Zealand, followed by Canada, Finland, Pittsburgh (USA), Portugal, India’s Golden Triangle, and Rwanda. Israel placed right in the middle of the list at number eight, followed by Cape Town (South Africa), Warsaw (Poland), Madagascar, Japan, Colombia, Sānyà (China), Scotland, Vietnam, and Asheville, North Carolina (USA).

Must see: Tel Aviv & Jerusalem

Tel Aviv skyline

Tel Aviv skyline

In describing Israel, the magazine advises readers, “Don’t be fooled; its vibrant culture, phenomenal food scene, historic landmarks, beaches and endlessly impressive hotels are too much of a draw to ignore.”

The magazine suggests visitors “start your trip in the bustling-metropolis-meets-beach-town of Tel Aviv, but then make sure to explore all that this country has to offer. Explore Tel Aviv and Jaffa’s vibrant food, arts and cultural scene.”

Regarding Jerusalem, Harper’s says, “Be sure to tour the shuks (markets) and the historic sites in Jerusalem–a trip to Israel is definitely not complete without a visit to the Kotel, the Wailing Wall.” While in town, be sure to enjoy the food; the delicious and dynamic scene at the Mahane Yehuda market is not to be missed.

mahane yehuda jerusalem

Mahane Yehuda market

North, south or both

If adventure is your game, the magazine suggests you “head north to experience jeep rides and hikes in the mountains of the Golan, then head to the world-renowned Dead Sea spas in the desert or to Eilat for its hippie, beach vibes. Don’t get overwhelmed by the various experiences this country has to offer–you may want to spend 1-2 weeks here to soak it all in.”

Dead Sea, float, Dead Sea Swim, swim

Floating in the Dead Sea

For the desert experience

As far as lodging, the article suggests several top hotels throughout the country, but when in the desert recommends the Beresheet Hotel in Mitzpe Ramon as “the place to book”. Located 2,600 feet (800 meters) above sea level on sky-high cliffs that slope down into the desert lands of the Ramon crater, Harper’s describes the luxury resort-meets-natural-phenomenon as “the kind of experience that will have you wanting to stay forever”.

Beresheet hotel pool

Beresheet Hotel in Mitzpe Ramon

Photos: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[VisIC Technologies Raises $11.6M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51487 2017-01-15T09:31:35Z 2017-01-15T09:31:35Z VisIC-logo-1January 15, 2017 | Israeli company VisIC Technologies Ltd, a fabless developer of power conversion devices based on gallium nitride metal-insulator-semiconductor high-electron-mobility transistors, has closed a $11.6 million Series C round of financing led by new investor Birch Investment and existing investors. The company was founded in 2010 by Tamara Baksht and is based in Nes Ziona.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[WalkMe Buys A/B Testing Co. Abbi]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51482 2017-01-16T08:44:16Z 2017-01-15T08:38:09Z WalkmeJanuary 15, 2017 | Israeli company WalkMe, which offers on-screen site guidance and engagement analytics, has acquired Israeli startup Abbi, specialists in mobile A/B testing and app engagement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. WalkMe raised $50 million last year on a $400 million valuation. Abbi has raised around $1 million in funding. WalkMe has some 1,000 larger enterprises and thousands of small and medium businesses using its services, including MasterCard, PayPal, Pandora, BT, Unilever, Prudential, Panasonic, U.S. Postal Service, Sony, State Farm, Comcast, IBM, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Home Depot, HP, J.P. Morgan Chase, Verizon, and Toyota.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Glucose Monitor DarioHealth Raises $5.1M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51458 2017-01-12T14:40:41Z 2017-01-12T14:14:02Z Dario, Dario HealthJanuary 12, 2017 | Israeli digital health and mobile health solutions developer DarioHealth Corp. (formerly Labstyle Innovations) has raised $5.1 million in a private placement. DarioHealth closed on $3.1 million of the transaction while $2 million more of gross proceeds are subject to shareholder approval per Nasdaq rules. The company has developed a mobile blood glucose monitoring platform. The deal was led by OurCrowd Qure, a dedicated digital health fund that invested $2.5 million of the $5.1 million. Current investors of Jerusalem based DarioHealth also participated in the current round indicating the strong support and belief in the company’s strategy moving forward. OurCrowd Qure was granted two board seats, which will be selected and announced at a later date. Funding will be used to accelerate adoption across existing markets and into new geographies such as Germany in 2017.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Biometric Authenticator Transmit Security Raises $40M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51455 2017-01-12T11:33:29Z 2017-01-12T11:08:49Z Transmit SecurityJanuary 12, 2017 |Israeli startup Transmit Security, which is developing programmable biometric authentication has come out of stealth and announced a $40 million self-funded round of financing. Based in Boston and Tel Aviv, the company has unveiled a platform that will disrupt the $10 billion authentication software market. The technology enables organizations to displace passwords and implement any form of identity verification, on any device, across all their customer/partner facing channels. The company is being financed by its founders, CEO Mickey Boodaei and president Rakesh K. Loonkar, who previously created online banking security pioneer Trusteer, which was acquired by IBM in 2013. Boodaei also cofounded Imperva, a billion dollar provider of cyber and data security products. The company’s research and development team is made up of former members of Unit 8200, the elite Israeli Intelligence Corps.

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Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels <![CDATA[No Pedal To Play Metal: Israeli Startup Rocks Music World With Wireless Sound Effects Touchpad]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=50849 2017-01-12T10:26:17Z 2017-01-12T10:26:17Z “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.

revpad

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.”

revpad

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”.

revpad

Photos and video: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Rivulis Irrigation Buys Greece’s Eurodrip]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51442 2017-01-11T15:20:23Z 2017-01-11T15:20:11Z RivulisIrrigationJanuary 11, 2017 | Israeli drip irrigation manufacturer Rivulis Irrigation announced today that it has acquired Greek irrigation company Eurodrip, the world’s fourth largest irrigation equipment company. The acquisition will make Rivulis into the world’s second largest irrigation company outside of India. No financial details about the detail were disclosed although the announcement did say that it was an all-share deal. Israeli private equity firm FIMI Opportunity Funds (FIMI), controlled by Ishay Davidi, will remain the controlling shareholder in Rivulis after completion of the deal. Based at Kibbutz Gvat near Afula in the Jezreel Valley, Rivulis was formerly Plastro and then the water division of John Deere, before it was acquired by FIMI.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Phone Camera Co. Corephotonics Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51440 2017-01-11T14:39:12Z 2017-01-11T14:39:12Z CorephotonicsJanuary 11, 2017 | Israeli startup Corephotonics, which is developing dual camera technologies for smartphones, has completed a $15 million financing round. Since it was founded in 2012 by CEO Prof. David Mendlovic and VP R&D Dr. Gal Shabtay, the Tel Aviv based company has raised more than $50 million. Strategic investors participating in the financing round are Samsung Ventures; Foxconn, and Taiwan’s MediaTek. Two additional investment funds participated in this funding round, one from China and the other from Hong Kong. Corephotonics’ current investors include Magma VC, Samsung Ventures, Amiti Ventures, Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing and Solina Chau’s Horizon Ventures, OurCrowd, SanDisk, Chinese telephony services provider CK Telecom, and additional private investors.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[IVC Report: Israeli Hi-Tech Companies Raise $4.8B In 2016, A Record High]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51410 2017-01-11T10:30:19Z 2017-01-11T10:30:19Z 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.

IVC

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.

Tel_Aviv_at_Night

Photos: IVC, PikiWiki

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Kaminario Raises $75M, Approaches Unicorn Status]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51415 2017-01-10T14:16:07Z 2017-01-10T13:48:03Z KaminarioJanuary 28, 2015 | Israeli flash storage company Kaminario announced today it has closed a $75 million financing round. This bringing the company’s total funding to $218 million since it was founded in 2008. The latest round was led by Waterwood Group with a mix of new and existing investors, including Sequoia, Pitango, Lazarus, Silicon Valley Bank and Globespan Capital Partners. The new capital will be used to accelerate go-to-market initiatives, expand Kaminario’s global presence, and fuel R&D. Last month Israeli company Zirra, which uses AI to evaluate startups, estimated that Kaminario was worth $811 million. This latest financing must surely mean it is now a unicorn worth more than $1 billion. Kaminario was founded by CEO Dani Golan, Ofir Dubovi and Moshe Selfin. The company is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts and has its development center in Yokneam, near Haifa.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Mission To Mars: Israeli Scientist Prepares To ‘Live’ On Mars]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51267 2017-01-10T14:08:05Z 2017-01-10T11:33:42Z In the 2015 blockbuster movie ‘The Martian’, Matt Damon’s character is left stranded on Mars, struggling to remain alive on the barren planet. While the film is science fiction, the prospect of humans actually living on Mars is currently being actively pursued by an Israeli scientist.

SEE ALSO: Buzz Aldrin Wows Israel With His Vision Of Mars Landing

For two weeks at the end of January, Weizmann Institute of Science research student Roy Naor, representing the Israel Space Agency, will be living in a simulation of a Mars Research station together with a team from five other countries. The group will be living inside an isolated “capsule” in the Utah desert, carrying out studies similar to those that humans might conduct in the future on Mars.

roy-naor-space-2

Roy Naor next to a sign in Hebrew which reads “To Mars”

The Mars Desert Research Station is run by the Mars Society. In the 172 team “missions” executed so far, members worked in the arid, Mars-like environment developing new technologies and gaining insight into how humans will live on Mars. In addition to Naor (the Crew Geologist), the current mission, Prima Crew 173, will include the head of the Slovakian Space Agency (SOSA), a French mechanical engineer, an aeronautics and space engineer from Spain, an Australian astrobiologist and an Irish artist.

“This program involves simulated Martian research, and working for several years with researchers from various fields,” Naor told Walla News in an interview. “Eighteen months ago, when I was in a program of the International Space University in collaboration with NASA, I met five special researchers. We became a team, submitted the idea of simulation studies we would do, and ultimately we were accepted to the program. ”

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

Searching for proof of liquid water on Mars

Naor, a student in Dr. Itay Halevy’s group at Weizmann’s Earth & Planetary Sciences Department, has studied carbonate minerals, which have been found on Mars and could provide evidence for liquid water in the planet’s past.

“Carbonates need flowing water to form, and if we can show that water once existed for a long period of time there, we lend support to the idea that life could once have arisen on Mars,” Naor said in a statement. At the station, Naor will sample and analyze the geology of the analogue environment and its vicinity, including bringing some samples back to Weizmann’s labs for further analysis.

Among their many experiments, the team will be investigating the possibility of using the local soil for the 3-D printing of building blocks for permanent structures on Mars. Naor will be participating in these experiments to see if this material has the required strength to withstand the radiation on the surface of Mars.

All under one roof – with no cell phones

To simulate living in a Mars space station, the group will live together in cramped conditions, eating, working and sleeping in a single structure, with showers limited to once every three days. Going outside the station will only be done in groups, in full suits – including helmets and facsimile oxygen tanks. Fortunately, the suits designed for Mars are lighter and more flexible than those worn by astronauts today. Communication with “Earth” will take place once a day – with a delay of several minutes – and no cell phones are allowed. The team will also have to ration the food they bring with them to make it last the whole two weeks.

marsmission

Earthlings can vote on music & food, follow space log

The Israel Space Agency is also inviting the public to participate in Naor’s misson. Supporters can vote on the type of Israeli food that Naor will bring with him to the Mars station, as well as on what kind of Israeli music he should play for his team. Members of the public can also follow his “space log” on the Israel Space Agency Facebook page, and on the Weizmann Institute of Science Facebook page.

“Mars is definitely the future in terms of research,” Naor told Walla News in an interview. “Research has increasingly become more relevant, and the goal is to reach a manned mission to Mars by 2030”.

Israel’s Science Minister Ofir Akunis congratulated Noar before his departure saying, “The journey to Mars now seems closer than ever and we should begin to prepare for it in Israel as well so that future generations will be able to travel to Mars. As Israelis, we pride ourselves on the ability of our researchers to contribute to research on Mars and are confident that Roy will have much to contribute to the mission.”

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Microsoft, Qualcomm Invest In Team8]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51391 2017-01-10T08:47:12Z 2017-01-10T08:38:26Z team8January 10, 2017 | The venture arms of Microsoft and Qualcomm Ventures have invested in Team8, an Israeli creator of cybersecurity startups, as big multinational companies get behind Israel’s burgeoning cyber industry in the face of growing threats. The Tel Aviv based company also announced a strategic partnership with Citigroup to help develop its products. Team8’s other investors are Cisco, AT&T, Accenture, Nokia, Singapore’s Temasek, Japan’s Mitsui, Bessemer Venture Partners, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and Marker LLC. Cofounded by CEO Nadav Zafrir, Israel Grimberg and Liran Grinberg, all veterans of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Unit 8200 (the equivalent of America’s National Security Agency), Team8 does not invest in cybersecurity companies, but creates them. The Tel Aviv-based company launched in late 2014 with an $18 million financing round and raised a further $23 million last February. With the latest financing round, Team8 says it has now raised $92 million.

 

 

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Life In The Power Lane: These Roads Wirelessly Charge Your Car As You Drive]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51339 2017-01-09T07:45:59Z 2017-01-09T05:44:38Z 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

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Clal Biotech: Neon Theraputics Raises $70M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51358 2017-01-08T12:14:58Z 2017-01-08T12:14:58Z January 8, 2017 | Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. announced today that Neon Therapeutics had completed a $70 million financing round. Following the round, Clal Biotechnology will own 5% of US company Neon. The round was led by Partner Fund Management, together with Inbio, Wellington, Fidelity Ventures, and Nextech Invest. Previous investors Third Rock Ventures and Access Industries also took part. Neon has begun a trial of a vaccination against malaria. Clal Biotechnoloigy was founded in 1998 and is based out of Ramat Gan, Israel.

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Stuart Winer, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Flying Ambulance Drone Heading For Takeoff]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51325 2017-01-15T12:05:37Z 2017-01-08T08:15:33Z 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.

flying-ambulance

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Coolest Israeli Technologies Wowing The Crowds At CES 2017]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51296 2017-01-05T10:26:16Z 2017-01-05T10:26:16Z 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.

scio-scanning-strawberries

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

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Taboola Acquires Commerce Sciences]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51300 2017-01-05T08:34:23Z 2017-01-05T08:34:23Z taboola| January 5, 2017 | Israeli content recommendation company Taboola has announced the acquisition of Israeli web personalization and onsite optimization startup Commerce Sciences. No financial details about the deal were disclosed but Taboola said that Commerce Sciences staff will join Taboola’s Tel Aviv offices. Herzliya-based Commerce Sciences was founded in 2012 by CEO Aviv Revach, CTO Eyal Brosh and Omri Yacubovich, graduates of the IDF’s 8200 Intelligence Unit. The company is backed by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Genesis Partners, KGC Capital, and angel investors, including Backplane chairman and Palantir Technologies co-founder Joe Lonsdale. Taboola was founded in 2007 by CEO Adam Singolda and has a current valuation of around $1B.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[SocialCode Buys Israeli Startup MentAd]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51287 2017-01-04T14:08:44Z 2017-01-04T13:58:48Z mentadlogoJanuary 4, 2017 | US media and analytics company SocialCode has acquired Israeli startup MentAd. Based in Tel Aviv, MentAd has developed a predictive marketing technology platform to deliver additional scale and performance to social, mobile and video advertising for leading brands. The company was founded in 2011 by Yuval Baror and Daniel Romano and has raised $4.7 million to date from OurCrowd, Blumberg Capital, Titanium, and Edison Partners. No financial details about the acquisition were disclosed.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Laughter Is The Best Medicine: PowToon Brings Cartoons And Doctors To Remote African Tribe]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51187 2017-01-05T08:23:00Z 2017-01-04T11:26:53Z 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

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Drone Delivery Co. Flytrex Raises $3M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51273 2017-01-04T10:03:39Z 2017-01-04T10:03:39Z flytrex-logoJanuary 4, 2017 | Israeli startup Flytrex, which is developing a drone delivery solution, has raised $3 million, “TechCrunch” reports. The round was led by Swiss-based Armada VC, owned by Daniel Aegerter, as well as private angel investors Daniel Gutenberg and Joey Low with the participation of several unnamed private angel investors. Flytrex’s platform is designed for delivery companies or large retailers desiring to implement drone delivery. The platform provides a cloud solution for the tracking and management of delivery drones. The company is also developing drone hardware tailored for point-to-point or point-to-area delivery. Based in Tel Aviv, Flytrex was founded by CEO Yariv Bash and Amit Regev. Learn more about the company in our recent story.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cancer Fighter ARTSaVIT Raises $6.3M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51270 2017-01-04T09:47:26Z 2017-01-04T09:47:26Z carmel_logoJanuary 4, 2017 | Israeli cancer apoptosis company ARTSaVIT LTD. announced today that it has completed a $6.3 million Series A round of financing led by Arkin Bio Ventures and Pontifax, with participation of Merck Ventures, Carmel Innovation and Carmel – Haifa University Economic Corporation Ltd. ARTSaVIT was co-founded by Carmel, the economic corporation of the University of Haifa, Carmel Innovations Fund and Professor Sarit Larisch from the University of Haifa, Israel. Prof. Larisch has identified and characterized ARTS, a protein which regulates the levels of several important anti-apoptotic proteins by promoting their degradation. Apoptosis, is a highly regulated process of natural cell death. Faulty regulation of apoptosis, is implicated in many human diseases, including cancer. Moreover, resistance to apoptosis is a hallmark of most human cancers. ARTSaVIT will move from its facilities at Carmel, University of Haifa, to the state-of- the-art facilities at the Merck Ventures Israel BioIncubator, which will support the development of the start-up with its infrastructure and a wide range of incubation facilities and services.

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Electra Buys Golan Telecom for $91M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51264 2017-01-03T13:51:12Z 2017-01-03T13:26:49Z Golan LogoJanuary 3, 2017 | Israel’s Electra Consumer Products, which makes air conditioners and electrical appliances and is a unit of Elco Holdings, has agreed to buy upstart mobile phone operator Golan Telecom for 350 million shekels ($91 million), ending months of speculation over Golan’s future. Electra also said it had signed a 10-year network sharing agreement with Cellcom, Israel’s largest mobile operator, and that Cellcom will lend it 130 million shekels to help finance the purchase of Golan. Electra shares jumped 10 percent on news of the deal, which will see it pay at least 210 million shekels a year plus value-added taxes for the network-sharing agreement. The final sum will depend on the number of Golan subscribers and their usage, Cellcom said in a separate statement. Golan was launched in 2012 after the Israeli government issued new licences to boost competition in a sector that had been dominated by three players. Golan has taken about 10 percent of Israel’s mobile market by offering rock-bottom prices, hurting Cellcom and main rivals Partner Communications and Pelephone, a unit of Bezeq Israel Telecom , which are now barely profitable. Cellcom tried to buy Golan in 2015 for about $300 million but was blocked by regulators.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Startups ‘Exit’ For $10 Billion In 2016]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51248 2017-01-03T12:13:17Z 2017-01-03T12:13:17Z 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

exits-2012-2016

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.

Tel_Aviv_at_Night

Infographics: IVC Research Center; Photos: Pikiwiki

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Wearable Tech Co. HealthWatch Raises $20M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51240 2017-01-03T09:44:51Z 2017-01-03T09:44:51Z healthwatchJanuary 3, 2017 | Israeli startup HealthWatch, which has developed smart garments that monitor the wearer for ECG and other vital signs and send the information in real time by smartphone, announced that it had raised $20 million from Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceuticals. The Chinese company will pay $15 million for a 23% stake in HealthWatch and pay another $5 million for the rights to sell the company’s Master Caution device in China. Master Caution comprises an embedded processor to collect, store and process data together with an accelerometer, infra-red sensor and Bluetooth capability. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Europe’s CE mark, the device monitors ECGs as well as activity, respiration and skin temperature. Its sensors are interwoven into garments so that they appear as design elements rather than a monitoring device. The startup was founded by Yoram Romem and Amos Shattner, and had previously raised one round of capital. HealthWatch will use the proceeds to add a further 20 staff to its current payroll of 18. Read more about the company in our recent story.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Flu Vaccine Co. BiondVax Raises $2.8M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51237 2017-01-03T09:07:59Z 2017-01-03T09:07:59Z biondvaxJanuary 3, 2017 | Israeli flu vaccine developer BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has announced that Angels High Tech Investments Ltd. has agreed to invest NIS 10.9 million (approximately $2.83 million) in the company in exchange for 33.8 million ordinary BiondVax shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (equivalent to 844,000 Nasadq listed ADS) at the December 29, 2016 Tel Aviv closing market price. Following the transaction, Angels Investments will hold 19.99% of all issued and outstanding share capital of BiondVax. Angels High Tech Investments is a company fully owned by Marius Nacht, co-founder and chairman of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.. Angels High Tech Investments’ healthcare and life science portfolio is managed by aMoon Partners which is co-led by Dr. Yair Schindel and Marius Nacht. BiondVax is a clinical phase biopharmaceutical company developing a universal flu vaccine. The vaccine is designed to provide multi-season protection against most seasonal and pandemic human influenza virus strains. BiondVax’s proprietary technology utilizes a unique combination of conserved and common peptides from influenza virus proteins, activating both arms of the immune system for a cross-protecting and long-lasting effect.

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Universities Breed Next Generation Of Startup Nation Entrepreneurs]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51153 2017-01-03T06:31:19Z 2017-01-03T06:31:19Z 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.

idcbeyond-students

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

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[No Time To Monkey Around: Israeli Group Saves Endangered Peruvian Ape]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51102 2017-01-02T11:29:00Z 2017-01-02T11:08:10Z Two Israeli researchers are behind a global campaign to rescue the last remaining yellow-tailed woolly monkeys of Peru, by allowing donors to purchase plots of land the monkeys inhabit.

Considered one of the world’s 25 most endangered Primates, yellow-tailed woolly monkeys are among the rarest monkeys on earth. As their habitat began to slowly disappear in the forests of South and Central America, their number dropped dramatically and the creatures are now threatened with extinction.

But as one of the Israeli researchers recently wrote, “saving these monkeys would make us more human.” And that’s exactly why TiME, an Israeli-founded organization, is raising money – to preserve their habitat in Peru.

SEE ALSO: Study: Bonobos Use Sophisticated Tools To Get Food, Just Like Humans Did 2 Million Years Ago

Yellow-tailed_woolly_monkey

In recent years, the only place where the population of yellow-tailed woolly monkeys increased has been El Toro, in the Amazonas region of Peru. There, their population increased by 30 percent, thanks to the intensive efforts of wildlife experts with the Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC).

But the El Toro habitat is located on privately owned lands, and pressure is mounting to replace these forests with commercial farms. To avoid this, Israel’s “TiME” (This is My Earth) launched a crowd-funding campaign, allowing donors from all over the world to purchase these lands and protect the monkeys.

“In order to ensure a safe future for this species, it is absolutely critical to create a reserve for the yellow-tailed woolly monkeys, to ensure their survival,” TiME said in a statement.

So far, the crowd-funding campaign – run through Indiegogo’s “generosity” platform – has raised $14,000 of $25,000, with one more week to go. This initial amount would be enough to purchase about 70 hectares of land, and a total of $100,000 could help the group buy more land in the area (donations are also accepted on TiME’s website).

“By saving monkeys, our species shows that we humans can do better”

Founded last year by Israelis Prof. Alon Tal of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Uri Shanas of Haifa University, TiME is a nonprofit organization comprised of environmentalists and scientists from various countries, working together to halt the sharp decline in global biodiversity.

Environmental activist Tal is also the founder of Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, and the co-founder of EcoPeace, among other organizations.

SEE ALSO: Wildlife Photographer Ofer Levy Wins International Acclaim

The Peruvian monkey is just one campaign TiME is currently running, with additional campaigns focusing on wildlife in Belize and Kenya. Donors vote on which project they’d like to focus on every year, and the Peruvian monkey was voted the most important for the coming year.

“Humans increasingly realize how much of our DNA we share with the animals on this planet,” Tal recently wrote in a Huffington Post column. “We also must learn to share critical places, like the El Toro forest in Peru, with the only other creatures with which we share creation… By saving monkeys and their home, our species shows that we humans can do better.”

Photos and video: TiME/Uri Shanas, Platyrrhinus,

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Pitbull Sinks Teeth Into Israel’s A-WA, New Yemenite Rap Hit Remix Is Born]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51106 2017-01-01T09:33:43Z 2017-01-01T09:33:43Z Every band dreams of being discovered by a major recording artist, but for a trio of Yemenite sisters from southern Israel, the dream has come true in a big way.

An Israeli band made up of three sisters, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim, A-WA (pronounced “ay-wah”, which is Arabic for “yes”) is taking the world by storm. Their single Habib Galbi (“Love of My Heart”), which was first released in March 2015, quickly became a worldwide hit, first in Israel, then within the Arab world and Europe, and now it’s climbing the charts in North America. The song combines some very different kinds of sounds: traditional Yemenite music mixed with the latest in techno and hip-hop.

The popularity of the song really took off after Pitbull, Cuban-American rapper Armando Christian Perez, discovered Habib Galbi and added his own vocals onto those of the singing sisters, bringing American rap to A-WA’s oriental sounds. On December 1st, the remix went live on YouTube and the iTunes store and rapidly scored tens of thousands of hits.

Steve Greenberg, the producer who heads the S-Curve Records label and is credited with making the connection between Pitbull and A-WA told Israel’s Calcalist, “The remix was done in the US by Pitbull’s people with him rapping over the music. There will also be a music video that they’ll work on together and it will be a big hit.”

SEE ALSO: Check Out Coldplay’s Stunning New Music Video Created By Israeli Wunderkinds

pitbull, A-WA

Pitbull

Accroding to Greenberg, legendary Israeli radio announcer Tony Fyne regularly sends him Israeli radio station Reshet Gimmel’s weekly hit list. One week, A-WA’s popular single, “Habib Galbi,” was on the list and the rest is history.

Greenberg, who is noted for “discovering” popular musical acts such as Hanson, Baha Men and the Jonas Brothers, has since gone on to sign A-WA.

SEE ALSO: Israeli-Palestinian Hip Hop Band

From a small village in southern Israel to the top of the charts

The Haim sisters grew up in a family of six siblings in southern Israel, in the small farming village of ‘Shaharut’, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Eilat. not too far from the Egyptian border. All three of the sisters studied music, sang, danced and performed both together and separately from a very young age.

The whole Haim family was very musical and growing up the girls listened to and were inspired by many different kinds of music, including: Greek, Yemenite, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, reggae, progressive rock and more.

“We stole our parents’ vinyl and used to listen to progressive rock like Deep Purple and Pink Floyd,” Tair Haim told Rolling Stone in an interview. “We love psychedelic music of the Sixties and Seventies, and you can hear that in our music. In the Nineties we used to listen to hip-hop on MTV and the radio, which we’d record with our little cassette players.”

A-WA

A-WA

The first big break

The sisters, who worked hard recording materials in English, Hebrew, and Yemenite, a language and culture which always held a special place in their hearts, filmed and uploaded their musical videos to YouTube. One day the girls sent a message on Facebook to Tomer Yosef, the singer and lead vocalist for the Israeli-American electronica-world fusion band Balkan Beat Box. Yosef listened to their clip and fell in love with the band’s style and harmony.

Since winning over Yosef, the girls have been performing non-stop. They became an integral part of the stage composition of Balkan Beat Box’s MINIMAL tour and later formed their own band, A-WA. They have performed shows to excited fans around Israel and in music festivals abroad, including Poland and France. At the same time they also worked in the studio with Yosef on their debut album he produced for them, also called “Habib Galbi.” A-WA’s first album includes 12 songs, composed entirely of original performance inspired by ethnic Yemenite folk songs. In fact, NPR music ranked A-WA 23rd in its Best 50 Albums of 2016, alongside the likes of Radiohead, A Tribe Called Quest and Rihanna.

A-Wa

Pictures and video: A-WA, Eva Rinaldi Celebrity

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Apple Israel CEO To Head Innovation Auth.]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51166 2016-12-29T08:47:44Z 2016-12-29T08:35:17Z Israel Innovation AuthorityDecember 29, 2016 | The CEO of Apple’s Israel activities, Aharon Aharon, has been appointed to lead Israel’s Innovation Authority. He will be in charge of strengthening and leading Israeli innovation. The post was formerly known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Economy Ministry. The Authority is in charge of the nation’s innovation policies and aims to help foster resources and conditions to promote the nation’s technological ecosystem. Aharon has served since 2011 as CEO of Apple Israel, and previously served in the IDF’s elite Intelligence Unit 8200. He holds two degrees from the Technion, in computer and electrical engineering. He began his career at IBM, and then moved on to work in a number of private sector posts, including at Zoran Corporation and Seabridge. Aharon was also involved in setting up two startups that were later sold in exit deals. He was instrumental in the establishment of Israel’s Apple activities. Avi Hasson, Israel’s Chief Scientist and chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, will be leaving his post in the coming months after heading the office for six years.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=50904 2016-12-26T10:42:02Z 2016-12-29T08:00:30Z 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

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.

upnride

Otto

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.

DayTwo

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.

daytwo-app-courtesy

Blindspot

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.

SuperMeat

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.

Photomyne

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.

GearEye

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

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Mobileye, Delphi To Showcase ‘Most Complex’ Driverless Car Drive At CES 2017]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51085 2016-12-28T10:58:56Z 2016-12-28T10:58:56Z 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.

mobileye

To read the full article, click here

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