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. 2017-10-19T08:56:41Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/ NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Just Blink: New Device Detects Disease Through Eye Movement]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59257 2017-10-19T08:56:41Z 2017-10-19T08:56:41Z

Now you can find out what’s making you ill in the blink of an eye.

Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology‘s Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering have created a method for diagnosing disease through eyelid motion. The team has developed a device that identifies diseases – such Parkinson’s and Grave’s  – with an eyelid motion monitor (EMM.)

The device was developed by Technion Professor Levi Schacter and doctoral student Adi Hanuka, who began the research as an undergraduate and continued working on it during graduate studies with the help of a team of students.

eyelid motion monitor Adi Hanuka

Technion’s Dr. Oz Levinkron (left) wears the eyelid device developed by researcher Adi Hanuka (right) and team

The Eyelid Motion Monitor succeeds in detecting full blink motion. The system can easily extract information from different types of eye movement, including blink interval, blink duration, and eye  opening and closing motions.

SEE ALSO: Mobileye Founders Develop Wearable Device To Give The Blind Near-Complete Independence

The device can be installed on standard refraction glasses used during eye exams at the doctor’s office. A hardware and software system monitors and interprets eyelid movements during the test.

While not yet offered to the public, the device has been used in clinical trials for two years at Haemek Medical Center in Afula under ophthalmology department head Dr. Daniel Briscoe.

The device has already won several international awards and was ranked in the top 20 at the Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge (TIIC) – Europe Design.

Technion lead researcher Adi Hanuka presenting the Eyelid Motion Monitor

“Along with designing the product for purposes of commercialization, we are working in several directions: developing the device as a platform for multidisciplinary research on various topics such as the effect of emotions on blinking patterns; eyelid communication amongst the paralyzed; and automatic diagnosis through machine learning and based on a computerized comparison between the specific monitoring and an extensive database,” Hanuka said in a statement.

The team collected blinking speed and frequency measurements of 100 subjects in order to define eyelid motion patterns of a healthy person. They analyzed these eyelid motions using a signal processing algorithm written by students Tal Berkowitz, Michal Spector, Shir Laufer, and Naama Pearl.

SEE ALSO: Involuntary Eye Movements May Be Clear Indication of ADHD, Tel Aviv Researchers Find

The team then examined blepharospasm dystonia, a disease that causes involuntary contraction of muscles that make eyes close. Later it was found that the device could also diagnose neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and autoimmune diseases such as Grave’s, according to Hanuka. Using the tech to examine Botox injections, conventional treatment for the blepharospasm dystonia, the team found that contractions decreased and blink rates returned to a normal pattern within 15 minutes.

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Green – Blepharospasm Dystonia patient blinking at high speed. Blue – blinking more slowly after treatment.

 

With further study, the researchers say this device can potentially diagnose neurological diseases such as Thyroid eye disease, Myasthenia Gravis, third and seventh cranial nerve palsy, and Ptosis.

According to the full report recently published in Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, eyelid motion and function is imperative to providing important and beneficial information about ophthalmic, neurologic, and systemic diseases. While most clinical tools are often expensive and difficult to operate, Hanuka hopes the team’s device will be something easily offered to the public, but also a springboard for more research on the effect of blinking patterns as means for conveying emotion.

Photos: Courtesy, Insight Imaging: John A. Ryan Photography

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Kite Pharma Cancer Treatment Drug Approved]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59311 2017-10-19T08:36:46Z 2017-10-19T08:36:10Z kite pharma logo October 19, 2017 | A cancer treatment drug developed by Israeli-based biotech company Kite Pharma has been approved by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company’s Yescarta drug is approved for treatment of certain kinds of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It uses a technology to take out T-cells (white blood cells that fight infection), engineers them to fight the cancer, and then returns them to the cancer patient, to produce a specific form of treatment. The drug will sell at $373,000 for each treatment. This news comes after American pharma giant Gilead Sciences Inc. announced the acquisition of Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion at the end of August. Kite Pharma was founded by Arie Belldegrun and Joshua A. Kazam in 2009. [Photo: mTOR-FKBP12-RAPAMYCIN]

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Simona Shemer, NoCamels <![CDATA[Sink Or Swim? Will Architect Daniel Libeskind’s Controversial Underwater Hotel in Eilat Happen?]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59212 2017-10-17T12:35:36Z 2017-10-17T12:35:36Z Imagine waking up to images of fish swimming past your window. No, this isn’t a bad dream, or even a highly fantastical one.

According to reports, a proposed underwater hotel by architect Daniel Libeskind has been approved by the Eilat municipality. The plans were presented to a small municipality panel by Libeskind, the same Jewish-American architect behind the winning proposal chosen for the World Trade Center project that replaced the Twin Towers.

The hotel would seemingly float on water and descend 15 meters (50 feet) into the Red Sea, with rooms that look like capsules, and are surrounded by coral reef.

Like with Berlin’s Jewish Museum, which he designed, Libeskind’s plans for this underwater hotel are controversial and face a lot of criticism.

In his plans, the base of the hotel would be opposite the Kisovsky beach and next to Mall Hayam (Mall of the Sea), at the exact spot of an abandoned underwater restaurant that used to operate there. This hotel will be much larger than the restaurant, and critics believe it could severely damage the coral reef and its many.

SEE ALSO: Rising CO2 Could Lead To Collapse of World’s Coral Reefs, Say Hebrew University Scientists 

As Professor Amatzia Ganin, head of the Inter-University Institute of Marine Sciences in Eilat said in a report, “Ecologically speaking, it’s the destruction of the reef. Plain and simple. It’s worth noting that there’s an unusual reef there with a wealth of corals and rare fish. The currents are slow and any pollution in the water, such as metals, will stay there. If a hotel is built, the reef will be destroyed immediately.”

underwater hotel eilat

An artist captures the look of Eilat’s proposed underwater hotel.

Furthermore, the beach where the hotel will be located is currently a public beach and will close once the underwater hotel is built.

Prof. Ganin and other naysayers believe that in the long run Eilat will suffer from a socioeconomic standpoint. Instead of making money, the underwater hotel, which will probably only be an option for a small number of wealthy customers, is likely to take it away. Currently, the only underwater structure in the region is the popular Coral Beach Underwater Observatory in Eilat. But unlike the future underwater hotel, this observatory is open to the general public for a fee of 79NIS ($23) for adults and 69NIS ($20) for children. Plus, it received its building permit more than 40 years ago and currently operates in a nature reserve.

The developers for the planned underwater hotel are brothers Tzahi and Chen Neumann from the Alon Group. Construction of the hotel will reportedly cost 200 million shekels ($57 million). It will have somewhere between 82 and 106 rooms over an area of up to 25,000 square meters (270,000 square feet), according to reports. The project is supported by Eilat City Hall and the Tourism Ministry, which assured the media and the general public that it will preserve the reef.

underwater hotel eilat daniel libeskind 3

A three dimensional rendition of the proposed underwater hotel 

Does Eilat need an underwater hotel?

With its sunny beaches, stunning coral reef, hot climate, luxury accommodations, and plethora of water activities, the busy southern resort town of Eilat has become one of Israel’s top vacation spots. Still, numbers have been on a downward spiral as the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that incoming tourism in the area between 1997 and 2015 collapsed by 83 percent. Still, the Tourism Ministry was optimistic about 2017 as the CBS reported that 26 percent more tourists visited Israel at the beginning of the year, than had in the corresponding period the year before. Many of those tourists went to Eilat.

eilat

Ongoing reports say that while the height of tourist season notes packed beaches and hotels, the actual city is rather deserted. Business owners claim it is because hotel prices are high and visitors want to take advantage of the hotel they paid for, and not necessarily the city itself. The solution would be to create more attractions and upgrade the city.

As Eilat is one of Israel’s most popular vacation spots for locals and tourists alike, it may be no surprise that the Tourism Ministry has supported the underwater hotel venture. It’s also not the first time it has supported such seemingly unusual ideas that could prove to be a success, or could easily fail in planning or construction stages.

There is still a website up for The Red Sea Star, the underwater bar, restaurant, and observatory that opened sometime in the late 90s. There were high hopes and a sense of optimism for this restaurant, which received press in The New York Times. It was built 5 meters (16 feet) below sea surface and 70 meters (230 feet) away from the shore and had to be entered via bridge. Oddly enough, it later operated as a strip club until it was finally shut down in 2012.

SEE ALSO: Top Vacation Destination: Israel Is One Of Harper’s Bazaar “Best Places to Travel in 2017

Other unconventional ideas in Eilat’s past included a biblical theme park that operated for 20 years until it was closed in 2015, and an IMAX cinema, which recently closed.

In March of last year, there was talk of building a large Disneyland-style amusement park on Kibbutz Eilot. The park would be called Aquaria and would include a huge mall and a variety of attractions. It would also employ 2,000 residents of the region a year. Alas, nothing has yet been decided.

The “uncomfortable” controversy behind Daniel Libeskind’s work

Will US-based architect Daniel Libeskind’s well-received, yet controversial reputation help or hurt the planned endeavor?

Libeskind may be a renowned architect with successful structures under his belt, but many of his projects have received a lot of flak from the public. He received criticism for his Jewish Museum in Berlin, for example, because his plans for the building did not resemble a conventional museum. The building, which was unveiled in 2001, is a sharp zigzag of a structure with voids that bring light into the galleries. It leads out to a Garden of Exile, where visitors stand among tall, foreboding concrete monuments. Libeskind told reporters that he doesn’t listen to criticism. His reasoning was that it’s a new era and architecture is different than what it used to be, that not all architects should conform to designs that fit expectations, and that a memorial should not be a comforting site, as it relates to a tragic history that is uncomfortable.

His plan for the World Trade Center memorial was also seen as “uncomfortable” because it was so different from the looming towers that once stood there. Libeskind was selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to oversee the rebuilding of the area. He opted to work at ground level and gave over half of his 16-acre land to public space, which later became the sunken memorial and David Brody Bond’s Memorial Museum, opening in 2014. The One World Trade Center skyscraper by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill was completed in 2015.

One World Trade Center

Today’s rebuilt World Trade Center complex envisioned by Daniel Libeskind

Investors decided not to go ahead with the Libeskind-led project to construct the Pyramid Tower on what was once the Eden Theater on Agrippas Street in Jerusalem, after they said in a statement that “the design requirements prevented them from implementing building rights.” The developer of the project faced opposition from the Society for the Preservation of Israeli Heritage Sites and the architects’ association.

Will the underwater hotel end up like Pyramid Tower? Eilat City architect Yisrael Hayun told Haaretz that the plan is still in the initial stages and has yet to be approved. “Everyone supports a new idea that will bring tourists to the city,” he says, “We understand there is a great sensitivity here.”

Photos: Courtesy, JMabelLehava Kirya Malachi

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[The Junction Now Accepting Applications For Wave 18]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59236 2017-10-17T12:05:40Z 2017-10-17T11:48:55Z the junction logoOctober 17, 2017 | The Junction, an Israel-based seed stage program operated by VC fund F2 Capital, is ready to receive applications for Wave 18, a program that works with 5 to 6 selected companies for a 6-month time frame to focus on growth, achieve market traction,and empower founders, CEOs, and CTOs for future B2B tech success. Companies should be focused on industries that include Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Connectivity, including more specifically energytech, fintech, drones, robotics, enterprise software and more. These firms can become part of a community of more than 130 companies that have raised over $360 million between them. Upon acceptance, companies will receive guidance from leading F2 capital mentors as well as mentors in their field, access to corporate partners like HP, Deloitte and more, connections to an international network of customers, investors, and recruits, and perks like free office space in Tel Aviv, cloud hosting credits and more. To apply, click here.

 

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Simona Shemer, NoCamels <![CDATA[A Look Inside Israel’s Booming Travel Tech Industry]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59147 2017-10-17T09:29:58Z 2017-10-16T16:52:44Z Travel tech is a booming industry. It has provided travelers with a completely new way to experience travel, in a much more personalized way. It has radically changed the way hospitality staff connect with guests and presented new opportunities to small businesses who would have otherwise never been able to compete with the larger companies. According to a study by American Express83 percent of millennials would even allow travel brands to track their digital patterns, if it meant they would provide them with a more personalized travel adventure. Eighty-five percent believe a personalized, customized itinerary is more desired than the general mass-market offerings. Travel tech is there to give those travelers exactly what they need.

Never one to stray far from transformative innovation, Israel has already honed in on this enterprise. Some of the biggest travel tech companies in the world have come out of the Startup Nation. Israel is currently home to more than 300 travel tech startups making an impact in all travel sectors from tourism to hospitality and travel giant Booking.com just announced it will open an R&D center here in Israel.

SEE ALSO: Five Super Cool Israeli Technologies Making Air Travel Safe and Smart 

Trying to make sense of all these startups, though, is no easy feat. That where  the Israel Travel Tech Startup (ITTS) comes in.

Founder Itai Green has established a community of at least 250 Israeli travel tech entrepreneurs brought together with a common interest. While travel tech is one of the most competitive industries in Israel , the ITTS hopes to increase and strengthen an internal collaboration between Israeli startups, while also connecting them with investors and increasing their engagement with multinational corporations and investors.

“We want the travel corporates and investors from around the world to discover the rapidly growing travel tech ecosystem in Israel, from which they can get a huge benefit,” Green tells NoCamels.

Green had this in mind when he got behind the launch of  the first-ever Israeli Travel Tech Ecosystem Map that reviews all the local travel companies.

Israel travel tech startup map

Together with Green, we review some of the hottest players out there:

ROOMER 

Roomer, the travel marketplace site, makes finding a hotel room affordable and profitable for both the consumer and the hotelier, by delivering canceled accommodations at a discount rate. Roomer takes the idea of hospitality and the sharing economy and points it to travel sector. By alleviating the frustration of travelers who need to cancel non-refundable hotel rooms and offering those hotel rooms to other travelers, it is creating a marketplace that is mutually beneficial for all parties.

Roomer raised $5 million in a Series A funding round in 2014. It was founded in 2011 by Gon Ben-David, Ben Froumine, and Adi Zellner.

ROUTEPERFECT 

RoutePerfect is the free, interactive, and fun trip planning tool that helps you create a European trip itinerary based on your preferences. The user-friendly platform also allows you to plan your itinerary based on your interests, budget, and the type of landscape you prefer. In other words, you can create an itinerary based on everything from a laid-back beach vibe or to posh, high-brow vibe. You can visit historical landmarks or you can just relax and walk the streets, taking in your surroundings for the remainder of the trip.

The company’s gets a percentage of hotel rooms revenue booked through their platform.

RoutePerfect had already reached 2.5 million users in 2016 and is on its way to 3 million, according to founder Boaz Lantsman. It has an R&D center in Tel Aviv and offices in Miami and London. According to Startup Nation Central, the company has raised $4 million from investors, that include Cyrus Angel Fund, Elevator Fund, AltaIR Capital, entrepreneur Yanki Margalit and businessman Leon Recanati.

GUESTY 

Travel tech’s next big thing might just be Guesty, a company taking advantage of bigger travel companies like Airbnb and building cutting-edge technology to help property managers optimize their listings and rental businesses to grow. Property managers and Airbnb hosts can use Guesty to screen guests to fit the host’s demands, send emails before and after the rental period, and even determine a rental rate for the host by comparing it to prices of other hotels and rentals nearby.

Guesty is considered one of the leading cloud-based firms in the travel industry right now. Currently located in Tel Aviv, Guesty has become one of the fastest growing startups in Israel.

The company just raised $3 million in a Series A funding round in May 2017 and looks to be a force to be reckoned with where travel tech is concerned.

GOOSTER

Those who live on the social media world know that getting recommendations upon traveling shouldn’t be limited to phone calls to the front desk or conversation with hotel staff. Gooster knows this too and  has created a free smart chatbot that acts as hotel concierge, offering guests recommendations on restaurants, shopping, sightseeing and more.  With a location-specific platform and a database of more than 50,000 tips, Gooster is already available in Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and Berlin and is making its way to other cities very soon.  Gooster works through Facebook Messenger and its product is powered by artificial intelligence, helping hotels increase engagement and revenue.

Gooster caters to hotels that don’t have a physical concierge service including boutique hotels and even hostels. It plans to target even bigger hotel chains in the future.

The company was founded in August 2016 by Amit Ben Dor and Ardon Wesly.

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

The four travel tech startup highlighted above are just a small sample of the varied assortment of travel tech companies making their way on to the somewhat competitive Israeli travel tech landscape. But while an estimated 300 travel tech startups might appear a bit crowded, there’s room for everyone — from the smaller hotel discount service to the bigger smartphone and social media-infused travel experience.

Meetey

The future of travel tech is in Israel

“Multinationals in the travel industry are in the process of investing in open innovation, and they should know that Israel is definitely the best place to put their money,” he tells NoCamels. “As more international travel corporations invest in Israel and collaborate with Israeli startups, more and more startups in various fields will adapt their technology to the travel world.

“I think that in the upcoming year we will see more travel corporations open innovation hubs in Israel and we will see a significant growth in the number of startups that offers tech solutions to this industry, including in the areas of virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and e-commerce,” he explains.

For a larger version of the ITTS travel tech ecosystem map, click here.

Photos: Courtesy, AurelienDP-453169

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Ultrasound Device Maker Vensica Medical Raises $2M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59205 2017-10-16T08:42:27Z 2017-10-16T08:42:27Z vensica medicalOctober 16, 2017 | Israeli-based overactive bladder treatment startup Vensica Medical has raised $2 million in a round led by Minnesota-based urology and gynecology device proprietor Cogentix Medical. Cogentix will receive one seat on the Vensica board with options to acquire the entire company for an additional $8 million. Vensica Medical is a private preclinical startup in the process of developing a system to treat overactive bladder (an urgent need to urinate and involuntary loss of bladder control) by using a type of needle-free ultrasound device that will deliver Botox to the bladder using ultrasound technology. Vensica Medical was founded by Avner Geva in 2014.

 

 

 

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Kathryn Dura, NoCamels <![CDATA[Five Israeli Companies Changing The Face Of International Fashion Tech]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59105 2017-10-16T06:50:17Z 2017-10-15T12:10:05Z The world is on the brink of a digital fashion revolution that may soon affect every consumer worldwide.

With physical sales plummeting in brick-and-mortar shops and entire shopping malls closing, the fashion industry is changing, and evolving, hopefully for the better. In its place, a fashion technology development is reshaping the style industry.

Ranging from e-commerce and 3D online shopping to 3D printed clothing, wearable technologies and eco-fashion, digital fashion is incredibly broad but making a strong and swift imprint.

It’s no surprise that Israel is in the midst of it all. With its “Startup Nation” title and its dominance in the technology realm, the innovative entrepreneurs of this country are working to bring this struggling industry into the modern, digital age.

The rise of fashion tech in Israel

The global fashion technology movement may be in its infancy, but in Israel, it’s off to an inspiring start.

Israeli companies such as Fash&Tech and GeekChicTLV are seeking to stimulate the process.

Founded in 2013, Fash&Tech is an innovation center for fashion, ecommerce, and retail technologies whose goal is to support fashion and retail tech startups through all stages from growth to funding.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Top Ten Israeli Companies Revolutionizing Fashion Tech

“Our goal is to help startups grow and better connect with the industry and their target market, especially outside of Israel like the US, UK, and China,” Fash&Tech co-founder and COO Alla Foht tells NoCamels.

Fash&Tech started as a small meetup group in Tel Aviv and has grown to a center that now works with over 150 startups to identify technologies and fashion tech companies through incubation, investment, and acceleration.

According to Foht, Israel’s technological prowess is its competitive advantage in the fashion tech industry. Foht states, “Unfortunately, Israel is not a fashion leader, but one thing we know to do is tech. We have amazing minds and entrepreneurs and very motivated people who want to change the world and that includes the fashion tech industry.”

Viktoria Kanar, the founder of GeekChicTLV, agrees. “Almost every company that exists in Israel might have someone doing something similar elsewhere, but what they don’t have is the tech know-how,” she tells NoCamels.

With GeekChickTLV, Kanar hopes to build a bridge between international fashion companies and Israeli fashion startups fit for international exposure.

Both Fash&Tech and GeekChickTLV want to use that tech know-how to drive Israel’s fashion startups and entrepreneurs to the forefront of the fashion industry, but they also want to help build a name for Israeli fashion startups that aren’t already doing it themselves.

NoCamels joins them by rounding up some of the hottest fashion tech startups currently in Israel.

KORNIT DIGITAL

kornitdigital

Kornit Digital enables the mass customization of printed textile products by developing, manufacturing, and marketing digital printing technologies. Founded in 2003 by Avi Shterling, this company is headquartered in Israel with five international branches. With customers in more than 100 countries globally and printing 70 million printed garments annually, it went public on Nasdaq in April 2015.

This environmentally-friendly company has developed high-speed DTG printers that are the first industrial digital printers that offer direct-to-garment printing. Given the machines’ high production capacity in the fully integrated printing services, the supply chain takes days rather than the standard unit of months. As such, the company minimizes the negative impact on the environment caused by printing production.

Businesses of any size, requiring entry level product or mass customization, benefit from easy-to-use web-to-print options. Recently, the company gained international attention from its collaboration with the hit reality television show Project Runway.

DONDE FASHION

invertex

When trying to find a particular brand or desired item of clothing, sometimes searching online is time consuming and often, plain frustrating. Donde Fashion is a website and app allowing users to find items from brands in women’s and children’s fashion using an image-based experience.

Instead of relying on text searches and complicated filters, the Israeli startup has users narrow their search with images of clothing items, colors, clothing specifications (for example, sleeve lengths, necklines, etc.), materials, and patterns. Traditional filters of size, price, and brand are also available. Donde Fashion was by Liat Zakay, Shai Katzir, and Or Ron in 2014.

Thus far, Donde has raised undisclosed capital in two funding rounds. TechCrunch reported that Donde takes a slice of each transaction made through the platform. Some of its fashion partners include brands and companies like Zara, Bloomingdale’s and Banana Republic.

AWEAR SOLUTIONS

awear solutions

Since 2013, Awear Solutions’ mobile app has helped fashion companies obtain data about how customers use a particular product after purchase. The app gains this information through “smart tag technology,” with a tag inserted into the product. The technology provides fashion companies with an understanding of customer behavior post-purchase, which could ultimately increase sales.

Additionally, the customers benefit by receiving rewards from the company’s frequent flyer program. Consumers who use the product frequently will receive targeted promotions and perks in real-time. The consumer’s personalized experience is conducted through game fiction to make using the product fun and easy to use. As such, the company is on the cutting-edge, using Internet of Things and big data analytics to benefit fashion brands and consumers.

Awear Solutions was founded in 2013 by Liron Slonimsky. It is based in Tel Aviv. Israel21c reports Awear is one of two Israeli fashion-tech companies chosen to participate in the New York Fashion Tech Lab, a 12-week program for startups led by females.

 

INVERTEX

invertex

Invertex tackles the issues of online fitting and mass product customization. The company produces omnichannel measure-to-fit solutions for top footwear brands and retailers using mobile applications. The company’s unique combination of accurate 3D-body-mapping technology and its cognitive AI fit engine allows consumers to enjoy a guided shopping experience on e-commerce and in physical stores, with the confidence that each product they select will always fit them perfectly.

This product will decrease the amount of product returns and allow customers to have a more pleasant online experience. In turn, retailers are able to boost their online sales capabilities in increase efficiency.

SEE ALSO: Meet the Israeli fashion designers who dress Gigi Hadid, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian

This Tel Aviv-based company was founded by David Bleicher and Robert Williams in 2014. As of July 2017, Invertex has raised $2 million in a round led by OurCrowd, a Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding ventural capital firm. Global retail and fashion group Permoda also participated in the round.

SYTE.AI

Calling itself the “leading visual search engine,” Syte.ai has developed an “automatic visual search” using artificial intelligence and machine learning. This search engine allows users to tap on any image to discover where to purchase it.

Syte.ai is geared toward aiding online publishers and retailers. For publishers like fashion bloggers, the product shows users similar items from multiple brands and prices, which increases the odds that a visitor to the blog will click and purchase an item. Meanwhile, when a business integrates the search engine into its website, its consumers can hover their cursor on a picture and receive additional results for similar, on-sale products. Therefore, Syte.ai’s business model includes revenue-sharing with publishers and a subscription fee for e-commerce stores.

Syte.ai was founded in 2015 by Helge Voss, Idan Pinto, Ofer Fryman, and Lihi Pinto Fryman. It is based in Tel Aviv.

The company has thus far raised a total of $10.1 million from three fundraising rounds, the latest of which contributed $8 million in July 2017. The round was led by NHN Investment, but also included Naver Corporation, Line Corporation, Magma VC, Remagine VC, KDC Ventures, and NBM Ventures. The company wants to use the funds raised to grow and expand in United States.

Photos: Thirdwavefashion.com / Invertex / Syte.ai / vargazs

Video: Kornit Digital

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Microsoft Ventures Launching $3.5M AI Startup Competition]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59174 2017-10-16T08:45:12Z 2017-10-15T10:07:31Z Microsoft Ventures October 15, 2017 | Microsoft Ventures is partnering with Israel’s Vertex Ventures, North America’s Madrona Venture Partners,  and Europe’s Notion Capital to launch an AI startup competition in Israel, North America, and Europe. Winners will receive a total investment prize $3.5 million. The Innovate.AI competition will look at very early-stage AI startups in the above mentioned regions and award $1 million to one startup per region. This will be in addition to the $500,000 “AI for Good” prize. All prizes will come with $500,000 Azure credits. Microsoft’s Executive VP of Business Development Peggy Johnson says the competition isn’t about cash, but rather the fact that the partners will really invest into very early-stage startups that aren’t even on anyone’s radar yet. Startups can apply to the Innovate.AI competition until December 31. Microsoft Ventures is the venture capital arm of Microsoft, currently investing in technology companies (Series A and beyond).

 

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Alibaba To Open R&D Center In Israel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59170 2017-10-15T09:23:46Z 2017-10-15T09:23:46Z alibabaOctober 15, 2017 | Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is opening an R&D center in Israel. CTO Jeff Zhang revealed at Alibaba’s Computing Conference in China that the company was opening seven R&D centers around the world over the next three years as part of a $15 billion global research program. The R&D labs will be located in Tel Aviv, Beijing, Hangzhou, San Mateo, Moscow, Bellevue,  and Singapore. Zhang says Alibaba is looking to recruit 100 talented researchers worldwide in areas like data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, and more. The Chinese firm has greatly expanded in the past year, and is now in direct competition with US e-commerce giant Amazon.

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Sustainable Packaging Group Raises $11M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59164 2017-10-15T09:27:19Z 2017-10-15T08:37:29Z tipa packaging logoOctober 15, 2017 | Israeli and US-based manufacturer,  TIPA Sustainable Packaging, an eco-friendly developer of groundbreaking bio-based flexible packaging, has closed an $11 million Series B finance round. Leading the round is Austin Hearst, an owner and director of Hearst Corporation. Austin and Gabriela Hearst were joined by TIPA investors GreenSoil Investments and Horizons Ventures. The company hopes this new round will allow it to expand sales in new territories as develop new generations of sustainable packaging solutions for a wider amount of food and non-food goods. TIPA, whose office is based in Hod HaSharon, was founded by Daphna Nissenbaum and Tal Neuman. It’s products are available in the US, France, England and the Netherlands.

 

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Beersheva ‘DNA Bridge’ Wins International Award]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59150 2017-10-11T14:00:42Z 2017-10-11T14:00:42Z footbridge awardsOctober 11, 2017 | The Beersheva High-Tech Park Bridge was chosen by a panel of judges to win the long span category at the triannual Footbridge Awards. This bridge, also called the double-helix bridge or DNA bridge, for its unusual design, links Beersheva’s University railway station with the Gav Yam High Tech Park, next to the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The $25 million bridge opened in January 2016. The bridge, commissioned by the Beersheva municipality, was designed by Bar Orian Architects with Rokach Ashkenazi Engineers taking part as structural engineers. Lighting design was by Orly Avron-Alkabes. The Footbridge Awards 2017, which highlight the best in bridge design, renovation, and lighting for cycling, pedestrian, and equestrian bridges, are presented once every three years. The long span category is for new footbridges with a maximum span greater than 75 meters. Beersheva’s bridge beat out competitors from Canada and New Zealand. Beersheva’s bridge was announced as the winner in the 6th International Footbridge Conference in Berlin. [Photo: Ben Gurion University of the Negev]

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Apax Israel Acquires 3M’s Electronic Monitoring For $200M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59139 2017-10-13T01:25:39Z 2017-10-11T11:02:55Z October 11, 2017 | Investment firm Apax Israel has completed the acquisition of 3M’s electronic monitoring business for $200 million. Based largely in Israel, the business’s electronic monitoring technologies are used by law enforcement agencies in at least 34 countries with annual sales at about $95 million.  The business will be renamed Attenti, the name of the Israeli company which was acquired by 3M for $230 million in 2010. Originally called Dmatek, Attenti offers a range of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Radio Frequency (RF), alcohol verification monitoring, and tracking solutions, through an integrated software monitoring platform.

 

 

 

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Life Sciences Group Lonza To Open Innovation Center In Israel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59132 2017-10-11T10:14:16Z 2017-10-11T10:14:16Z lonza logoOctober 11, 2017 | Swiss pharma and biotech supplier Lonza announced it will establish an innovation center in Haifa Economic Corporation’s life sciences park. The 1,000 square meter  Lonza Collaborative Innovation Center will begin operating by the end of 2017. Fifteen to 20 researchers are expected to be working there in 2018. Lonza plans to use the center to accelerate its R&D projects in its pharma and biotech divisions, while gaining exposure to Israel’s strengths in engineering, molecular biology, cellular biology, software, and tech. Lonza has already signed a memorandum of understanding with each schools like Tel Aviv University, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and Weizmann Institute of Science and has begun conducting an initial survey to find breakthrough technologies. The Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza Group supplies products and services to pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. [Photo: Lonza]

 

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Azura Ophthalmics Raises $16M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59143 2017-10-11T13:32:18Z 2017-10-10T12:33:18Z October 10, 2017 | Israeli clinical-stage biotechnology company Azura Ophthalmics has raised $16 million in a Series B funding round led by investors that include a syndicate of Orbimed, TPG Biotech, and Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialization. There was also participation from existing investor Ganot Capital. The company, based in Tel Aviv, will use the funds to advance their development of a drug therapy for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) to the next stage of their clinical research. The company’s current treatment is being prepared for a Phase IIa trial. Meibomian glands in eyelids produce an oily layer that forms the outermost layer of tears. If not treated, MGD affects tears, causes eye irritation, inflammation and severe dry eye often leading to Dry Eye Disease.

 

 
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Amanda Ngo, NoCamels <![CDATA[Aiming High: Israel Expects To Export $1 Billion Worth Of Medical Cannabis Annually]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59014 2017-10-10T09:26:27Z 2017-10-10T09:26:27Z Earlier this year, the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture officially classified the growing of medical cannabis as a ‘farming sector’, paving the way for marijuana growers to receive government aid, grants, training and water quotas, just like any other eligible farmer.

The Ministries of Health and Finance also recommended legalizing the export of medical cannabis; with Israeli farmers potentially exporting $1 billion worth  of medical cannabis annually. Currently, companies are only allowed to export medical technology for cannabis, but not the plant itself.

marijuana

Israel is considered a pioneer in marijuana research mainly thanks to Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University, who is known as the father of medical cannabis. Beginning his research in Israel in the 1960s, he was the first scientist in the world to identify various compounds of cannabis, including THC, the chemical known for causing a “high.”

Since then, Israeli researchers have continued to push the boundaries, from using cannabis to kill cancer cells, to applying micro-dosing techniques to heal brain damage. The government is encouraging this research; Israel is one of the few countries where medical cannabis is allowed to be tested in clinical trials on humans.

It also invests resources in the industry. Earlier this year, the Israeli government announced that it would invest $2.13 million in 13 research projects on cannabis, making Israel one of three countries with a government-sponsored cannabis program. In 2016, foreign investors poured $100 million into Israeli cannabis startups, according to Saul Kaye, founder and CEO of cannabis tech startup accelerator iCAN.

The epicenter of marijuana research

Both within and outside of Israel, there is optimism about the country’s potential in the cannabis sector. “There is significant demand for Israeli cannabis,” Clifton Flack, CEO and co-founder of Israeli cannabinoid company CIITECH, said at the recent Cann10 conference held in Israel. “We’ve been talking about this country as the epicenter of research for a number of years.”

The country’s expertise in high-tech is also a contributing factor. “Israel has very good experience at enabling new ecosystems,” attorney Yoav Etzyon, a partner at law firm APM & Co., said at Cann10.

Sea of Galilee

Israel has a proven track-record in the areas of AgTech and food food tech.

Given Israel’s success in the areas of AgTech, food tech and medical devices – which are all adjacent areas to the nascent cannabis industry – it is no surprise that eyes are turning towards the Startup Nation as the field of medical cannabis continues to grow.

SEE ALSO: Turning High-Tech Into ‘High’ Tech: Behind Israel’s Blooming Medical Cannabis Industry

The legal export and use of medical and recreational cannabis is becoming more common around the world. Some 30 US states have legalized cannabis for medical use, and eight others allow recreational use of the drug. Countries such as Canada and Australia are already exporting the cannabis plant for medical use.

There is an advantage to being one of the first movers in this industry. As research continues to progress, it is likely that we will see the gradual dismantling of regulations against medical cannabis around the globe. This will create more demand in an industry that is already suffering from supply shortages.

“It is a race,” said Mark Chess, managing director at Infinity Venture Partners, at the Cann10 Conference. “Israel has a lead, but we need the continued support and execution of the entire ecosystem to maintain our edge.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Study Shows Medical Cannabis Can Treat Autism In Children

Legalizing the export of medical cannabis may be a necessity if Israel wants its domestic industry to continue to grow. The Israeli market for medical cannabis is small, making it difficult for companies to scale up, and discouraging startups that are aiming for international growth. Removing this ceiling will entice more companies to enter the market, fueling further research and international investment.

According to government officials, over 500 Israeli companies have already submitted applications for licenses to grow, manufacture, and export cannabis products.

The new entities entering the market will join a range of Israeli companies that are already flourishing. Dr. Tamir Gedo, CEO of Israeli medical cannabis startup BOL Pharma, estimates that in 2016, there were approximately 70 Israeli companies working in the field of cannabis.

For example, startup Syqe Medical has developed a 3D-printed, hand-held cannabis inhaler that vaporizes tiny granules of medical cannabis in small doses. In 2016, cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris invested $20 million in the startup.

syqe-inhaler-new

The cannabis inhaler developed by Israel’s Syqe Medical

Pharmaceutical company Therapix Biosciences has developed cannabinoid-based drugs, creating a unique formulation of a tablet for sublingual administration. The tablet is currently undergoing trials, and has the potential to treat impairments in cognitive functioning, such as Alzheimer’s and Tourette’s syndrome.

In addition, Tikun Olam, the largest supplier of medical cannabis in Israel, is already cooperating with companies in Canada, the US, Australia, and Spain. It has one of the largest cannabis treatment databases in the world, and also developed a variety of marijuana strains.

If Israel allows its farmers to export medical cannabis, the economic benefit could be immense. Says Israeli parliament member Tamar Zandberg: “This is an export Israel can be very proud of, because we stand at the forefront of technological, medical and cultural developments.”

Photos: Syqe Medical, IsraelTourismEsteban Lopez

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Simona Shemer, NoCamels <![CDATA[Losing Momentum? Israeli Hi-Tech Needs Urgent Increase In Number Employed, Says Israel Innovation Authority]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59055 2017-10-09T09:13:46Z 2017-10-09T09:13:46Z Israel’s hi-tech industry is nothing short of a success story for the country, as it earns recognition on a global scale. Still, this success is missing one key ingredient: so far it is not trickling into other areas of the economy. This is according to the Israel Innovation Authority, which warned of changes that need to happen in its 2017 report.

According to the report, examining trends and characteristics of the Israeli hi-tech sector, the major challenge facing the industry is not why the striking achievements in hi-tech aren’t flourishing, but rather, why the rest of the Israeli economy doesn’t follow suit.

The report says just 8.3 percent of all salaried employees in Israel are in the hi-tech industry. And while the average monthly hi-tech salary has grown to an average of ILS 21,000  ($5,986) between 2005 and 2015, the average national salary  less than half at just ILS 9,800 ($2,793.)

innovation

According to the Israel Innovation Authority, the main solution is to increase the amount of hi-tech employees in Israel. The goal is to double the current number of employees in Israeli hi-tech, bringing the total number to 500,000.

Israeli innovation at its peak 

Still, Israeli hi-tech is an unprecedented success story enjoying a period of consistent growth, the Israel Innovation Authority report says. Israel is first in the world in R&D investment and in venture capital investments as a percentage of GDP, it reports. Six hundred new startups are established every year and there are 307 multinational R&D centers in Israel, including Intel, Google, IBM, and Apple.

In 2016, NoCamels reported that Israel ranked second in innovation in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-2017. While it ranked 24 overall, it’s significant strengths were in innovation, venture capital, and university-industry R&D collaboration.

The World Economic Forum reported that Israel has about 4000 startups, and raises venture capital per capita at two-and-a-half times the rate of the US and 30 times that of Europe.

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

 

“The 2017 Innovation Report published by the Israel Innovation Authority encompasses a range of achievements and challenges faced by the Israel innovation industry and presents a roadmap for future development,” said Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, MK Eli Cohen.

SEE ALSO: The Other Silicon Valley: The Role Of Multinational Companies in Israel’s Startup Ecosystem

The value of investing in economy, not just tech

“The Israeli model of innovation is largely based on creating added technological value in startups and R&D centers.  The Israeli innovation ecosystem, however, is still in the first stages of developing efficient mechanisms for seizing the economic value emanating from the technological value created in Israel,” Director of the Israel Innovation Authority Aharon Aharon said in a statement.

To bring the current number of people employed in the hi tech industry (270,000) to half-a-million people within a decade, the report suggests a number of steps, including expanding spheres of employment in hi tech — including integration of women, members of the Arab sector, Ultra-Orthodox Jews and engineers above the age of 45 and developing other sectors of innovation outside software, computing, and communication, with an emphasis on the life sciences.

Handshake

Other strategies taken to focus on shifting the success of Israel’s hi tech sector to other areas of the economy include nurturing human capital for hi-tech through “coding boot camps”, promoting innovation in manufacturing industries, and increasing the economic value of R&D activity of multinational companies in Israel.

The Israel Innovation Authority was established to provide effective and hi quality services for the Israel innovation ecosystem. Formerly known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy, it operates for the benefit of the country’s innovation ecosystem as well as the Israeli economy.  It is responsible for the country’s innovation policy, distributes grants to companies, and approves the creation of support programs, innovation labs, biotech incubators, coding boot camps and more.

The first innovation report was created under the Office of the Chief Scientist in 2015.  Since then the annual report has presented the accomplishments of the Israel’s innovation scene and provided strategies to combat some of its challenges.

Photo: Innovation Israel, Ministry of Economy and Industry

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Firm Chosen To Develop Robot First Responders]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59094 2017-10-09T01:39:25Z 2017-10-09T01:38:06Z beeper communicationsOctober 8, 2017 | Israeli emergency communication provider Beeper Communications and US robotic systems developer Mantaro Networks have been chosen to receive funds from the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation to develop robots and other search and rescue technologies as first responders. The two companies will receive a $900,000 award over an 18-month period as part of the Unmanned Search and Rescue Systems (USRS) project for the foundation’s NextGen Responders program.   Since 1988, Beeper Communications is Israel’s leading provider of emergency communication services for security, military, and homeland defense organizations.  The BIRD Foundation was founded in 1977 as an Israel-US partnership organization that sponsors R&D projects in the scientific and technological sector.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[ForeScout Technologies Files For $100M Nasdaq IPO]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59087 2017-10-08T17:48:19Z 2017-10-08T16:40:04Z forescout technologiesOctober 8, 2017 | Israeli-founded information security company ForeScout Technologies has filed for a public offering of up to $100 million. Underwriters for the initial public offering are Morgan Stanley and J.P Morgan. The company intends to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol FSCT.  To date, ForeScout has raised more than $125 million. While it currently has locations in San Jose, California, and Tel Aviv, it was originally founded in Israel in 2000 by Israeli-born founders Oded Comay, Dror Comay, Hezy Yeshurun, and Doron Shikmoni.

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Storage Company Raises $95M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59078 2017-10-08T15:41:41Z 2017-10-08T15:38:23Z infinidatOctober 8, 2017 | Israeli digital storage company Infinidat has raised $95 million in a Series C fundraising round led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, with participation from previous investor TPG Growth. This brings the company’s total equity funding raised to $325 million. The company is now valued at $1.6 billion. Infinidat was founded in 2011 by Israeli-born engineer Moshe Yanai, who is currently the company’s CEO. The company currently has headquarters in both Herziliya, Israel and Waltham, Massachusetts. There are also offices in over 15 countries worldwide. Infinidat offers enterprise data cloud storage solutions to telecommunication firms, banks, and cloud service providers. [Photo: Thompson Reuters]

 

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Mixing Chemo With Bacteria-Killing Antibiotics May Prove Much More Effective]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58960 2017-10-08T09:08:57Z 2017-10-08T09:08:57Z To the reasons why chemotherapy sometimes does not work, we can now add one more: bacteria.

In a study published recently in the prestigious journal Science, Israeli researchers have found that certain bacteria can be found inside human pancreatic tumors. Some of these bacteria contain an enzyme that inactivates a common drug used to treat various cancers, including pancreatic cancer.

In the experiment, mice were used to demonstrate how treatment with antibiotics, on top of chemotherapy, may be significantly superior to treatment with chemotherapy alone.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Find Why Leukemia Recurs After Successful Chemotherapy

bacteria

Bacteria (illustration)

According to Weizmann Institute’s Dr. Ravid Straussman,”we first used different methods to prove that there really were bacteria inside the tumors. Then, we decided to look at the effect that these bacteria might have on chemotherapy.”

The researchers isolated bacteria from the tumors of pancreatic cancer patients and tested how they affect the sensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug. Indeed, some of those bacteria kept the drug from working. Further investigation showed that these bacteria metabolize the drug, making it ineffective.

The researchers were able to find the bacterial gene responsible for this, a gene called cytidine deaminase (CDD). They demonstrated that CDD comes in two forms – a long and a short form. Only bacteria with the long form of the CDD gene could inactivate gemcitabine. The drug had no apparent effect on the bacteria.

A mechanism that inactivates drugs

The research team examined over 100 human pancreatic tumors to show that these particular bacteria with long CDD do live in the patient’s pancreatic tumors. They also used multiple methods to visualize the bacteria inside human pancreatic tumors. This is crucial, since bacterial contamination is a real issue for lab studies.

Oddly enough, it was an earlier incidence of bacterial contamination that led Straussman and his team to this present study. They had been looking for evidence that normal cells in the cancer’s environment contribute to chemotherapy resistance. While testing the effect of many normal, non-cancerous, human cells on the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy, they found a specific sample of normal human skin cells that rendered pancreatic cancer cells resistant to gemcitabine.

Tracking down the cause led the team to bacteria that had accidentally contaminated these skin cells. “We nearly threw it away,” says Straussman, “but then we decided to follow it up, instead.” After revealing how these bacteria degraded the drug, he began to wonder if other bacteria might have a similar mechanism for inactivating the drug, and whether such bacteria might be found inside human tumors.

In the present study, further experiments in mouse models of cancer were done with two groups of bacteria: those containing the long form of the CDD gene and those in which the gene had been knocked out. Only the group with the CDD gene intact exhibited resistance when the drug was given to the mice. After treatment with antibiotics, this group also responded to the chemotherapy drug.

SEE ALSO: Nanotech Drug Delivery Method For Cancer Could Replace Conventional Chemotherapy

The researchers are now examining whether bacteria are found in other cancer types and, if so, what effects they might have on the cancer and its sensitivity to other anti-cancer drugs, including a novel family of immune-mediated anti-cancer drugs.

Mice were used to demonstrate how treatment with antibiotics, on top of chemotherapy, may be significantly superior to treatment with chemotherapy alone.

Mice were used to demonstrate how treatment with antibiotics, on top of chemotherapy, may be significantly superior to treatment with chemotherapy alone.

The research, which was conducted in Straussman’s lab, was led by his graduate student Leore Geller and conducted in collaboration with Dr. Todd Golub and Dr. Michal Barzily-Rokini of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Photos: NanoRobotics Laboratory, Polytechnique Montreal / NIH

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Technion Graduates Win BizTEC 2017]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59041 2017-10-03T12:32:24Z 2017-10-03T12:32:24Z Technion Israel Institute of Technology logo October 3, 2017 | Three graduates from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have won the BizTEC 2017, an entrepreneurship program run by students at Technion’s Bronica Entrepreneurship Center, which has raised over $300 million over the years. The three graduates developed NowTecc, a technology that provides insight into network behavior by analyzing user preferences while still maintaining user privacy. BizTEC is a leading tech entrepreneurship program in Israel founded in 2004 as part of Technion’s Bronica Entrepreneurship Center with the goal to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among students at Israeli academic institutions. Its Demo Day took place on September 26 at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this year where 120 Israeli students and alumni applied to the program. Twelve of these students reached the final change.  NowTecc, run by graduates Anastasia Logvinenko, Taly Bonder, and Tal Yahav, have won $10,000 donated by David Cohn from Phoenix. Three other groups placed second and won a prize of $3,300. [Photo: BizTEC]

 

 

 

 

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Sue Surkes, Times of Israel http://www.nocamels.com <![CDATA[Amazon To Open 2 Israeli R&D Centers To Develop Alexa Voice Shopping]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59042 2017-10-03T11:28:54Z 2017-10-03T11:25:32Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The online shopping giant Amazon announced Monday that it will set up a research and development team in Israel to further improve its Alexa Voice Shopping system which allows shoppers to speak their order into a machine rather than typing it into a computer.

Two centers will be set up — in Tel Aviv and the northern coastal city of Haifa — employing a total of 100 workers, the business daily The Marker reported.

SEE ALSOIsrael’s Technion Inaugurates Cornell Tech Campus On NY Roosevelt Island

Amazon Alexa shopping

Amazon is currently seeking scientists, developers, engineers and production managers for the new locations.

Amazon recently employed former Microsoft Israel development director and board member Eyal Itah to head up the development of Alexa Voice Shopping, The Marker reported.

Yoelle Maarek, who formerly directed research at Yahoo, has been taken on as international deputy president for research. Part of her job will be to find additional researchers.

To read the full article, click here

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Binge Drinking In College Lowers Chances Of Landing A Job After Graduation]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58871 2017-10-02T12:33:52Z 2017-10-03T05:42:48Z Consuming alcohol in college could negatively affect your career: A new study links the drinking habits of students to their ability to land a job after graduation.

Drinking alcohol six times a month reduces the probability that a new college graduate will land a job by 10 percent, according to research conducted at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Cornell University.

According to the researchers, previous studies were unable to determine the precise effect of alcohol consumption on first-time employment. But according to the new study, each individual episode of student binge-drinking during a month-long period lowers the odds of attaining full-time employment upon graduation by 1.4 percent.

“The manner in which students drink appears to be more influential than how much they drink when it comes to predicting the likelihood of getting a job upon graduation,” TAU‘s Prof. Peter Bamberger, who co-authored the study, said in a statement.

young men drinking beer alcohol

“Binge-drinking” is defined as ingesting four or more alcoholic drinks within two hours by a woman and five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours by a man, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

How often, not how much

The research found that a non-binge pattern of drinking does not adversely impact job search results unless and until their drinking reaches binge levels.

Data for the study was provided by 827 individuals who graduated in 2014, 2015, and 2016 from Cornell, the University of Washington, the University of Florida, and the University of Michigan.

According to Bamberger, “a student who binge-drinks four times a month has a 6 percent lower probability of finding a job than a student who does not engage in similar drinking habits. Those students who drank heavily six times a month increased their unemployment probability to 10 percent.”

SEE ALSO: Many Seniors Turn To Substance And Alcohol Abuse After Retirement, Study Finds

Funded by a $2.2 million grant from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, the research is the first installment of a longitudinal study on how alcohol misuse affects the college-to-work transition. More than 16,000 individuals have been contacted as part of the five-year study.

SEE ALSO: Hand Over The Keys: Virtual Breathalyzer Uses Advanced Tech To Curb Drunk Driving

According to the researchers, who previously studied substance abuse in the workplace, their new paper is consistent with the recent emphasis on the impact of drinking behavior on career transition, and is in concert with previous work on the entry and socialization of newcomers into an organization.

whisky cocktail

The study, recently published in the scientific publication Journal of Applied Psychology, was co-authored by Prof. Peter Bamberger of TAU and Cornell and Prof. Samuel Bacharach of Cornell University, in collaboration with Prof. Mary Larimer and Prof. Irene Geisner of the University of Washington; Jacklyn Koopmann of Auburn University; Prof. Inbal Nahum-Shani of the University of Michigan; and Prof. Mo Wang of the University of Florida.

Photos: Tel Aviv University, Pixabay

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The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Druze-Jewish Startup Healthymize Taps Phone Calls To Monitor Speakers’ Health]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=59000 2017-10-02T11:40:26Z 2017-10-02T11:40:26Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Sometimes having somebody listening in on your phone calls isn’t a bad thing — it can even save your life.

Israeli startup Healthymize has developed a fully automated, cloud-hosted, artificial intelligence-based app technology to monitor voice patterns in patients affected by a range of health problems, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and mental diseases. The technology, which has already nabbed first prize in a connected-health startup contest, is now set to undergo trials internationally. The story of its birth is an example of the kind of synergy the Israeli startup scene is capable of creating.

SEE ALSO: Alvio Treats Asthma The Natural Way With Kid-Friendly Mobile Games

Healthymize founders Dr. Shady Hassan and Daniel Aronovich met at a 2015 hackathon at Technion — Israel Institute of Technology. Although both were alumni, the paths that had taken them there were very different. Hassan – born and raised in the Druze village of Julis in the Northern District – was an attending physician at Carmel Hospital. Aronovich – whose USSR-born family immigrated to Israel in 1990 — was a PhD student in electrical engineering who had worked at Microsoft and was a team leader in algorithm development in an IDF unit. Hassan and Aronovich’s first encounter led to a brainstorming session, which they say gave birth to Healthymize.

CEO Hassan says he had noticed that for certain voice-affecting diseases — e.g., COPD — symptoms and voice patterns were connected, with patients’ voices improving as they received treatment. The core idea for Healthymize came from this. Healthymize monitors incoming and outgoing calls for patients who choose to use it, detecting anomalies and signs of a possible flareup “so we can alert the patients, their families and the medical team,” said Hassan.

Shortly after giving birth to Healthymize, Hassan and CTO Aronovich met Rafi Gidron, a serial technological entrepreneur and founder of a number of startups. Gidron helped secure funding, and joined as active chairman. The company has benefited from funding from the Israel Innovation Authority, recently secured a lead investor on a major seed grant, and is looking for additional  backers, Hassan said.

SEE ALSO: Stem Cell Treatments Could Alleviate Asthma, Study Shows

While Healthymize has potential usages across a variety of medical conditions, it has encountered greatest interest among medical professionals specializing in the treatment of the respiratory condition known as COPD, Hassan said. The Israeli startup has met with leading specialists while developing the technology, and held a presentation at a conference of the COPD Foundation in July in Chicago.

“They were all excited, and offered their collaboration,” Hassan said. “They teach their students to listen to the voice,” he added, going on to explain that when doctors treating COPD receive emails from patients complaining of symptoms, they call them back to get a sense of the patient’s condition from their speaking patterns. Healthymize seeks to bring technology to this process.

“It’s 100 percent automated, based on artificial intelligence,” said Aronovich.

silenseeed physician doctor

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: courtesy

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Amanda Ngo, NoCamels <![CDATA[Miles Ahead: Cognata’s 3D Simulators Train The Autonomous Cars Of The Future]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58846 2017-10-01T11:34:10Z 2017-10-02T06:00:35Z Danny Atsmon, CEO of autonomous car startup Cognata, predicts that his grandchildren will never need a driver’s license.

Autonomous cars are set to disrupt the transportation industry – high-profile companies such as Google’s Waymo and Tesla are staking billions on it. While timeline predictions vary, a report from consultancy firm McKinsey estimates that up to 15 percent of new cars sold in 2030 could be fully autonomous, and up to 50 percent could be highly autonomous.

Yet, before these cars can be let loose on the roads, they must be trained to respond intelligently to environments with at least the same competency as humans. There’s no leeway for autonomous cars to get it wrong; incidents such as the recent Tesla autopilot malfunction have left people wary of putting their lives in the hands of machines.

Training cars to drive at the level that humans are capable of is no mean feat. According to think-tank The RAND Corporation, autonomous cars must drive 11 billion test miles before they can sense and respond to the environment as well as humans can. The reality is that despite the bravado of companies developing autonomous cars, no one has yet reached this number.

Israeli startup Cognata plans to speed up this process with its 3D simulator powered by deep-learning algorithms. The simulator trains autonomous car software through virtual driving instead of real-life driving, allowing the software to learn far more quickly.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Among 10 First Cities To Incorporate Driverless Cars In Public Transit

cognata 3d simulators for driverless cars - courtesy of Cognata

With the current number of miles autonomous cars are being driven per year, it would take 600 years to bring them to human level competency.

The real driving force

Autonomous cars are driverless vehicles controlled by a computer system. Sensor technologies on the vehicles collect data about the environment, which a computer then analyzes in order to adjust elements such as steering and speed.

The real driving force of autonomous cars, however, is artificial intelligence (AI). A branch of AI called deep learning allows cars to learn from data from previous scenarios. It’s impossible to program machines to have a pre-set response to every situation that could occur – using deep learning techniques, the cars are able to respond to new scenarios in a way that is similar to an intuitive human response.

Currently, leading autonomous driving companies are feeding the cars data by driving them in real life. It’s highly inefficient, according to Atsmon, who claims that with the current number of miles these autonomous cars are being driven per year, it would take 600 years to bring them to human level competency.

Cognata offers a 3D simulation of entire cities in which cars can virtually drive in order to train them more efficiently. Complete with roads, vehicles, pedestrians, and even weather, the simulator can be used to generate thousands of different scenarios from which the car can constantly learn.

SEE ALSO: Behind Israel’s Largest Exit: Why Intel Acquired Mobileye For $15.3 Billion

cognata 3d simulators for driverless cars

Cognata’s 3D simulator is based on deep-learning algorithms.

It’s no surprise that Cognata is at the frontier of autonomous vehicle technology: Atsmon has vast experience in computer vision and deep learning, and several successful ventures under his belt. In 2007, he founded computer vision startup Picitup, which identifies the content of smartphone images. His next venture, iOnRoad, used a smartphone camera to warn drivers if they are in danger. After selling iOnRoad to automobile technology company Harman in 2013 (the terms of the deal were not disclosed), Atsmon spent three years leading Harman’s advanced driver assistant team with over 30 engineers worldwide. This experience, he believes, gives Cognata an edge over its competitors.

“If you look at other startups in the simulation world, they’re recreating very small scenes, nothing close to what we have here,” Atsmon claims.

A three-tiered solution

Cognata’s simulator has three layers based on different deep-learning algorithms. The first is a static layer comprised of objects in the environment such as roads, trees, and lane markings. The second, dynamic layer adds elements such as other cars, pedestrians, weather, and time of day. Finally, the simulator has a sensing layer.

Cognata models around 40 sensors used in autonomous driving systems, mimicking how they would respond to the static and dynamic environment to generate data that the cars can process.

Advancing safety

The ability to test edge cases in a simulator rather than in real life is a significant step forward for the safety of autonomous cars.

People drive differently in every city – drivers in San Francisco have a different set of behaviors compare to drivers in Tel Aviv, Israel. This poses difficulties for autonomous cars, as they must be validated in the city in which they are going to be sold. In cities where you are not yet allowed to drive autonomous cars in real life, Cognata’s simulator will play a vital role. “We are bridging a huge gap,” Atsmon tells NoCamels.

A new transportation era

Founded in 2016 by Atsmon, Cognata has 20 employees and has raised $5 million from venture capital firms Emerge, Maniv Mobility, and Airbus Ventures.

Cognata is only one company in the growing Israeli AutoTech industry, which is led by Mobileye (recently acquired by Intel for $15 billion). The company has developed technology that allows autonomous cars to better sense, respond to, and learn from the environment.

The autonomous car movement could cause a complete paradigm shift in the way we view transportation. Ride-sharing, increased efficiency of parking, and the ability to work in the car are just a few of the changes we are likely to see. At this rate, it may not be long before we can put away our driver’s licenses and let a computer take the wheel.

Photos and video: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Farming Tech Startup Phytech Raises $11M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58985 2017-10-02T05:15:38Z 2017-10-02T05:14:10Z
phytech logoOctober 2, 2017 | Israeli-based agricultural tech startup Phytech has raised $11 million in a funding round led by Tencent Holdings.  Swiss seed and pesticide developer Syngenta and other investors also participated in the round. Phytech develops sensors and other applications that monitor irrigation levels and plants, offering recommendations through a mobile app to help farmers manage crops and increase profits. The investment will support the growth of this company in new locations. Phytech was founded in 1998 by Zohar Benner.  [Photo: HypnoArt]
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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Heart Device Maker Magenta Medical Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58976 2017-10-02T02:56:06Z 2017-10-02T02:54:17Z magenta medical October 2, 2017 | Magenta Medical, a medical device company specializing in the treatment of acute heart failure, has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round led by transcatheter hearts pump leader Abiomed Inc. and international venture capital firms Pitango Venture Capital (Israel) and JAFCO Co. (Japan.) Also contributing to the round are a group of private investors made up of industry and cardiovascular experts led by Professor Jacques Seguin. Seguin is a renowned cardiac surgeon, entrepreneur and founder of CoreValve Inc., a transcatheter developer acquired by medical technology leader Medtronic in 2009. He has since joined the Magenta Board of Directors. Magenta Medical was founded by Ehud Schwammenthal and Yosi Tuval in October 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

]]> Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Starving ‘Killer Cells’ Of Oxygen Could Help Destroy Cancerous Tumors]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58889 2017-10-02T05:34:14Z 2017-10-01T10:08:05Z

Mountain climbers and endurance athletes are not the only ones to benefit from altitude training – that is, learning to perform well under low-oxygen conditions. It turns out that cancer-fighting cells of the immune system can also improve their performance through a cellular version of such a regimen.

In a study published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have shown that immune system’s killer T cells (lymphocytes that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity) destroy cancerous tumors much more effectively after being starved for oxygen.

Harnessing the immune system to battle malignancy – an approach known as cancer immunotherapy – has already started saving the lives of cancer patients in the past few years. In one major version of this approach, killer T cells are removed from the patient’s blood, grown in a laboratory dish and adapted to identifying and destroying cancerous cells; they are then returned to the patient’s bloodstream.

Leukemia

A 3D rendered close up of isolated leukemia cells

This method has so far worked best against certain leukemias and lymphomas, but not against solid tumors, possibly because within such tumors, oxygen concentration is extremely low: 0.5 percent to 5 percent of the gas dissolved in the extracellular fluid – lower than in most healthy organs, and certainly much lower compared with a regular lab incubator, in which oxygen accounts for 20 percent of the gas dissolved in the culture fluid used for growing the cells.

Turning cells into more effective “killers”

Tumor cells don’t seem to mind the shortage; they manage to make effective use of glucose, the major cellular fuel, even when oxygen concentration is low. But the same is not true for T cells, which have a hard time penetrating tumors and performing their killing function. Previous studies have shown that growing T cells under low-oxygen conditions helps them kill other cells in a laboratory dish, but their actual cancer-fighting ability has never been tested.

“Killer T cells are the foot soldiers of cancer immunotherapy, they are the ones to target and destroy cancerous cells, but they don’t always manage to eliminate the malignancy,” research team leader Prof. Guy Shakhar of Weizmann Institute said in a statement. “We’ve shown that by growing these T cells in an oxygen-poor environment, we can turn them into more effective killers.”

SEE ALSO: Aiming High: Israeli Scientist Attempts To Kill Cancer Cells With Cannabis

In the new study, the research teams from Weizmann and the Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine, put T cells through an altitude training of sorts – by growing them in an incubator with an oxygen concentration as low as 1 percent. They then divided mice affected by melanoma tumors into two groups; one group was injected with the oxygen-starved T cells, the other with T cells grown under regular oxygen conditions.

Oxygen-starved T cells proved much more effective at fighting the cancer. Mice treated with these cells lived longer and their tumors shrank much more dramatically compared with the mice treated with regular T cells. Surprisingly, the oxygen-starved T cells did not penetrate the tumors better than the regular cells. Apparently, they countered the cancer more successfully because they had a higher content of the destructive enzyme, known as granzyme B, that penetrates and kills cancerous cells.

“Just as altitude training increases endurance in humans, putting killer T cells through a ‘fitness regimen’ apparently toughens them up,” Shakhar says.

If these findings are confirmed with human T cells, they may provide an immediate means of improving immunotherapy against solid tumors. Says Shakhar: “In cellular immunotherapy, T cells need to be removed and grown outside the body in any event. Growing them under low oxygen pressure is relatively simple, but this small adjustment to existing clinical protocols may significantly improve the therapy’s effectiveness.”

Cancer cells - Health News - Israel

Prof. Guy Shakhar’s research is suppored by the Dr. Dvora and Haim Teitelbaum Endowment Fund; and Marion Sharp, UK. Prof Shakhar is the incumbent of the Norman and Helen Asher Professorial Chair of Cancer Research.

Photos: Bigstock

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Media Darling ‘Playbuzz,’ Used By AOL, Fox, NBC, Raises $35M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58924 2017-09-30T20:09:51Z 2017-09-28T14:24:56Z Israeli startup Playbuzz, which operates a popular platform for interactive content, has raised $35 million in a Series C funding round, led by Viola Growth, with participation from existing investors such as media giants Disney and Saban Ventures. The round brings the company’s capital to a total of $66 million.

Playbuzz will use the investment to expand its global footprint, with a focus on its branded content business which already works with Fortune 500 brands to create and distribute advertising campaigns.

playbuzz content

Playbuzz is known for its simplistic quizzes that attract easy clicks.

Founded in 2012 by Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys, Playbuzz is a storytelling platform known primarily for its entertaining quizzes. It is used by top publishers such as AOL, Fox, NBC and Yahoo, to create and monetize interactive stories that drive audience engagement.

SEE ALSO: Exit Nation: Software Giant SAP Acquires Israeli Customer Identity Firm Gigya For $350M

The Playbuzz platform enables publishers to create visually engaging editorial content – no design or development skills necessary. Commercial brands also tap the company to create interactive branded content campaigns that Playbuzz then distributes to its network of tens of thousands of publishers.

“Working with top media companies over the last five years has put us in a unique position to identify opportunities for growth and develop innovative technology to improve audience engagement,” Olmert said in a statement. “Playbuzz’s evolution into providing monetized content solutions to publishers and brands is of substantial value to our partners.”

According to the startup, its platform powers 12,000 online engagements per minute. It boasts a four-minute session time, compared to the 15-second industry standard; and its branded content campaigns are consumed by 65 percent of the users, as compared to the 24 percent industry benchmark, Playbuzz claims.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Viral Content Startup PlayBuzz Vies For Social Media Stardom

According to Harel Beit-On, Founder and General Partner of Viola Growth, “as Playbuzz continues to grow, it will increasingly become a strategic partner for brands and publishers, all of whom must speak the language of modern consumers. The Playbuzz platform enables them to do just that, translating their content to meet the needs of today’s readers.”

Playbuzz's Tel Aviv Team

Playbuzz’s Tel Aviv Team

Playbuzz employs 150 people in its offices in Tel Aviv, New York, London, Hamburg, São Paulo, Moscow and Los Angeles. The platform’s growth is attributed to its adoption by leading publishers, who use the company’s interactive storytelling and real-time analytics tools to engage users, boost their reach, raise brand awareness, improve monetization capabilities, and optimize content for social interaction. The Playbuzz network reaches hundreds of millions of users every month through its partners and through its own website, playbuzz.com.

Photos: Victor Levy/Playbuzz

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Life Sciences Co Integra Holdings Raises $25M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58912 2017-10-01T16:29:35Z 2017-09-28T12:45:52Z integra holdings logo September 27, 2017 | Israeli life sciences innovations company Integra Holdings has raised $25 million in their latest funding round, led by Singapore-based company Temasek. Temasek raised $15 million for the company and was joined by investment fund Arie Capital, who added to $2 million to the current round.  The Israeli Teachers’ and Kindergartens’ Study Funds, who are Integra shareholders, also took part in the round. Integra Holdings is based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where the funds will be used to advance their current companies and launch new companies, based on new technologies developed at the University. [Photo: typographyimages]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Mayo Clinic Buys Israeli Sleep Apnea Device]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58919 2017-09-28T12:45:26Z 2017-09-28T12:45:26Z itamar medical logoSeptember 28, 2017 | The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic) has purchased the WatchPAT device, an FDA-approved sleep apnea home testing device developed by Israeli medical diagnostics company Itamar Medical. The purchase agreement was signed for three years starting May 2017, with automatic renewal possible for one-year periods moving forward. Itamar Medical estimates the purchase will not impact its expected revenue and profit. Itamar Medical was founded in 1997 by Giora Yaron and Peretz Lavie in the Israeli coastal city of Caesarea. The medical company develops and manufactures medical technology products including non-invasive diagnostic devices for sleep disorders and cardiovascular diseases. [Photo: Clare Black]

 

 

 

 

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel Innovation Authority Launches Tender For Biotech Incubator]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58903 2017-09-27T19:29:20Z 2017-09-27T19:25:22Z israel innovation authority logoSeptember 27, 2017 | The Israel Innovation Authority launched a new competitive tender to open its second biotech incubator. The incubator will be located in Northern Israel. It will serve as a space for multinational pharmaceutical industries and investment funds to support Israeli startups. The incubator will help Israel’s pharmaceutical industry by connecting investors with strategic partners, who will work together to find innovative tech projects they can help convert and reshape into new companies.  A previous tender  won by Israeli biotech accelerator FutuRX spurred the Authority’s decision to launch a new competitive tender. The FutuRx incubator has already invested in the establishment of 10 startups. This tender is responsible for bringing Johnson & Johnson from the US and Takeda from Japan to Israel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Content Platform Playbuzz Raises $35M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58897 2017-09-28T23:59:41Z 2017-09-27T16:54:04Z playbuzz logoSeptember 27, 2017 | Israeli interactive content platform Playbuzz has raised $35 million in a Series C funding round led by Viola Growth with help from investors that include Disney, Carmel Ventures, and more. This round brings the company’s total amount raised to $66 million. Playbuzz will use the investment to grow its branded content worldwide, as well as distribute new advertising campaigns. The company, providing publishers with a free way to enhance their brand with more viral content, was founded in July 2012 by Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys. [Photo: TeroVesalainen]

 

 

 

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Muvix Brings Innovation To Movie Theaters In Hopes To Revive The Industry]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58768 2017-09-27T11:57:58Z 2017-09-27T11:57:58Z Israeli startup Muvix is changing movie theaters as we know them. At its Tel Aviv complex – and at public screenings anywhere clients book them – moviegoers can pick any movie they want, at any time, in any language.

Moviegoing has essentially remained the same for decades, though the quality of films has progressed over the years. With video on demand (VOD) and home streaming services increasingly biting away at the movie theater industry’s revenues by offering fierce competition, it’s time to reimagine the cinema. Just like Netflix changed the way people view content at home, Muvix intends to change the way people consume content when going out.

Through its patented technology and mobile app, the company introduces its clients to a large veracity of possibilities for screening and viewing any content, including movies, television shows, sport events and live concerts, delivering a unique experience.

Want to host a big group of friends for pizza and a movie? Order a Muvix screening room, and leave the mess for them (including those annoying little popcorn crumbs).

movie screening rooms tel aviv - photo by shahaf haber

To enjoy the Muvix experience, viewers are asked to download the Muvix app, which along with the headphones provided on site, allows them to receive a high definition version of the soundtrack, in the language they choose, and in synchronization with the video displayed. The app also allows viewers to order food and drinks during the show, book tickets, and invite friends to watch with them. Tickets start at $6.

Muvix’s complex, designed by Israeli interior designer Alona Eliasi, includes 14 screening spaces, in various sizes, equipped with different screens. One even includes two king-size beds!

SEE ALSO: Israelis Develop Glasses-Free 3D Movie Screen

Founded in 2016 by Alon Cohen (founder of Israeli company CyberArk), the startup is currently self-funded, Cohen told NoCamels at the Muvix opening event. It is serving consumers as well as organizations and commercial companies, by enabling on-demand screening of multiple content channels in the same public place, at the same time. According to CEO Nithai Barzam, Muvix’s innovative platform serves as “a smart cinema, screening multiple content channels in the same place, at the same time.”

Screening events can be held at the beach, on rooftops, at the company’s complex in Tel Aviv, or at the client’s place.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Kaltura Raises $50 Million To ‘Videofy’ The World

movie screening rooms tel aviv - photo by shahaf haber

The Tel Aviv venue has a bar and a kitchen, and provides a rich menu with various, including alcoholic beverages. Israeli chef Shahar Barnea is in charge of the menu, which includes pizzas, focaccias, hot sandwiches, cheese plates, antipasti, and a variety of snacks such as nachos, nuts, popcorn and ice cream.

Photos: Shahaf Haber for Muvix

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Troubled Teva Appoints New CEO In Bid For Direction]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58791 2017-09-26T11:49:22Z 2017-09-26T11:49:22Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. on September 11, 2017, appointed Kåre Schultz to become the company’s president and chief executive officer, tasked with setting up the Israeli firm’s strategy, divesting assets, cutting its debt and restoring investor confidence.

Teva’s shares were trading seven percent higher at 11.01 a.m. in Tel Aviv after the news was released. Schultz, 56, has a nearly 30-year career in global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and most recently served as the president and CEO of Denmark’s H. Lundbeck A/S, where he led restructuring initiatives and launched a turnaround strategy.

Prior to his role at H. Lundbeck, Shultz served as Chief Operating Officer of Novo Nordisk, where he had a role in building the company into one of the world’s best-performing drugmakers and implementing a metrics-focused approach to the company’s operations, Teva said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Teva CEO Erez Vigodman Resigns

Schultz will be relocating to Israel, where he will work out of the Company’s Petah Tikva headquarters. He will succeed Yizhak Peterburg, who will continue to serve as interim chief executive officer until Schultz joins the firm. Separately, Teva said Schultz will take the helm of the company as soon as practically feasible.

“With global pharmaceutical experience, a strong track record executing corporate turnaround strategies, driving growth and international expansion at low incremental cost and delivering on promises to shareholders, as well as a commitment to a culture of compliance, Kåre is the right leader to take Teva to the next level,” said Sol Barer, chairman of Teva’s board of directors.

SEE ALSO: Teva Markets Israeli Medical Marijuana Inhaler Syqe

New Teva CEO Kåre Schultz

“Kåre has deep insight into the global pharmaceutical industry and a keen knowledge of the generic and specialty drug markets,” he said. “His proven strategic, financial and operational capabilities and his strong commitment to growth will enhance value for all stakeholders and position Teva for long-term success.”

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Courtesy, OpenGridScheduler

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Exit Nation: Software Giant SAP Acquires Israeli Customer Identity Firm Gigya For $350M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58827 2017-09-25T14:07:08Z 2017-09-25T12:31:53Z SAP, Europe’s largest software company, has acquired Israeli customer identity management firm Gigya for $350 million. SAP confirmed the acquisition Monday, but did not disclose the terms of the deal. However, since Gigya was valuated at $300 million during its 2014 funding round, it’s been reported that SAP agreed to pay $350 million for the Israeli company.

Gigya, which views itself as the “Facebook for organizations,” currently manages 1.3 billion customer identities in order to build identity-driven relationships for its clients, which include Fox, Forbes and Turner.

Gigya’s platform helps these publishers build digital relationships with customers, and allows them to manage customers’ profiles, preferences, opt-in options and consent settings, with customers maintaining control of their data at all times.

gigya cell phone customer

Gigya‘s solution addresses changing geographical privacy issues and manages compliance requirements, such as the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, which intends to strengthen and unify data protection for European Union citizens. Recently, Forrester Research positioned Gigya as a top vendor in its field.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startups ‘Exit’ For $10 Billion In 2016

Founded by Eyal Magen, Eran Kutner and Rooly Eliezerov, Gigya has raised $106 million since its inception in 2006, from Intel Capital, Mayfield Fund, DAG Ventures, Greenspring Associates, and Benchmark.

The acquisition of Gigya will “allow us to take leadership of the emerging customer identity and access management market,” SAP’s Carsten Thoma said in a statement. “Consumer trust is the main currency to succeed for customer-driven organizations. This is what Gigya is known and recognized for.”

SEE ALSO: Behind Israel’s Largest Exit: Why Intel Acquired Mobileye For $15.3 Billion

By way of acquisition, SAP’s Hybris Solutions division intends to offer a cloud-based data platform enabling companies to profile new customers, gather accurate conclusions from disparate consumer engagement sources, and collect data for enhanced consumer choices.

“A vital step for digitizing businesses”

According to Patrick Salyer, CEO of Gigya, the deal is “a vital step for digitizing businesses because companies need to be able to draw accurate conclusions seamlessly across all channels, including web, mobile, in-store or connected devices, and the Internet of Things, as well as collect data about consumer preferences. Together, we are well positioned to drive more effective marketing, sales and service through data, while the customer stays in control of how much data is shared.”

gigya

Gigya employs some 300 people in its offices in Tel Aviv, Israeli, and California. The company’s operations will become part of the SAP Hybris business unit for customer engagement and commerce. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year.

Photos: Courtesy

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The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Rescuers Search For Survivors In Mexico After Devastating Earthquake]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58810 2017-09-25T06:54:24Z 2017-09-25T06:54:24Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli rescuers were taking part in the search for survivors in Mexico this weekend following a devastating earthquake Tuesday that has killed nearly 300 people and destroyed dozens of buildings.

A 71-member Israeli delegation from the Home Front Command arrived in Mexico on Thursday, some 48 hours after the 7.1-magnitude quake hit. Two Israeli aid organizations — IsraAID and iAid — also said they were sending delegations to help with the search and rescue efforts.

Courtesy of IDF https://twitter.com/hashtag/idfaidtomex?f=images&vertical=default&src=hash

The Israeli team is locating and extracting trapped civilians.

Anxiety was mounting on Friday as Mexico approached the crucial 72-hour mark after the powerful tremor and exhausted rescuers raced to locate possible survivors trapped in the rubble.

Authorities put the death toll from Tuesday’s quake at 286 people, but it was expected to rise further with scores still missing in Mexico City.

SEE ALSO: Israeli “Earthquake Proof Table” Becomes Permanent Exhibit At MoMA

The Israeli military said that the 71-member delegation was made up of a small search and rescue team, with a majority being engineers who would help assess the structural integrity of buildings in Mexico City and other affected areas.

Locals rescuers said the Israeli teams came with equipment enabling them to detect cell phone signals in the rubble.

Israel did not set up a field hospital yet, but the army has said this could be added in the future.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Life-Saving Tech Is Leading Rescue Efforts In Nepal

The IDF is often one of the first countries to send humanitarian delegations to countries hit by natural disasters.

Israeli disaster relief delegations provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: IDF

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Simona Shemer <![CDATA[Further Encouraging Mobile Therapy, Talkspace Raises $31 Million]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58538 2017-09-24T11:16:07Z 2017-09-24T09:41:03Z In the age of cell phones, tablets and electronic devices, even a weekly therapist visit has become an online event.

Talkspace, an online platform providing psychotherapy and counseling through online and SMS, has honed in on this concept, and the world is intrigued.

So, too, are investors. Talkspace recently completed a third financing round of $31 million thanks to active growth fund Qumra Capital. Qumra Capital joins Spark Capital, SoftBank, and other firms to bring the company’s total investments to $60 million.

Talkspace was founded in 2012 by Israeli husband and wife team Oren and Roni Frank. According to CEO Oren Frank, Talkspace will use the $31 million investment to move forward and expand into commercial health markets. “This round comes at a time when Talkspace is experiencing dramatic growth,” said Oren Frank, in a statement. “More people than ever are using our platform for their mental health needs. The additional funding gives us the opportunity to build upon our momentum.”

According to the New York Business Journal, the Franks launched Talkspace after they overcame marital troubles through couples therapy. Today, over 500,00 people use their online platform. The Talkspace platform pairs clients with quality psychologists through their website and mobile app. The service is only in English and is not expected to expand beyond the US market anytime soon. It operates in New York with at least 50 employees.

SEE ALSO: SMS-Based Therapy Talkspace Already Popular In NYC, Raises $9.5 Million 

Talkspace offers plans for as little as $32 a week. They also have monthly subscriptions which allow you to receive unlimited communication with your psychologist, voice messages, and a limited amount of video calls at $160 a month. To compare, a traditional one-hour session with a licensed clinical psychologist usually costs around $100, so the financial appeal of TalkSpace is broad.

All therapists available through Talkspace are licensed and have background information already provided. According to their site, at least 1000 licensed therapists are available, including ones that specialize in depression, anxiety, or societal challenges.

The risks behind an online/mobile therapy app

Patient-therapist confidentiality is practiced on the Talkspace platform. But here’s where the controversy comes in. Due to a policy of patient anonymity on the online platform,  patients are not required to provide contact information. But what if the patient becomes a danger to himself or others? If the therapist only has the patient’s username, who then is responsible for the safety of the patient and the people around them?

While Talkspace is working on making its emergency and confidentiality policies clearer, this is just one of the dilemmas that comes with the new world of online and mobile therapy.

According to the Journal of Medical Research, nearly 6 percent of all mobile health applications are now devoted to mental health. But although the “tele-health” community has grown significantly in the last few years, there are still plenty of other issues that surround it. Thanks to the Internet, information is given out freely and there is no way to know who is seeing what. Also, therapists can and do use scripts. Ethics guidelines are loose and and not always followed.

Is mobile therapy a serious thing? 

Mobile psychology and the idea that platforms and apps are available to connect patients with therapists is not a foreign concept. Online therapy sites like Blah Therapy and Mobile Therapy are reinventing the world of therapy for a new generation of avid electronic device users.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Technology can contribute to an evolution in how people receive psychotherapy or work with a psychologist.” It can be convenient, cheaper, and easier for people who have a hard time getting to an actual office.

SEE ALSO: Israelis Create Therapy ‘Bubbles’ In The Heart Of New York City with ‘Talkspace’

Furthermore, says APA in other research, if it’s possible that online and mobile apps can target health behaviors, why can’t therapy be used to “circumvent the barriers to mental health care” through online and SMS text? Those barriers, according to Talkspace, are the stigma and shame that may come from showing your face. Talkspace eliminates this stigma and allows the patient to remain anonymous, or at the very least, feel that way.

talkspace mobile therapy

As Talkspace looks to expand its commercial market, the answer is clear. The future of psychology may just be in the palm of our hands.

Photos and Video courtesy of Talkspace, Mimzy'”

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Using Smiley Emojis At Work Makes You Look Incompetent, Israeli Study Finds]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58568 2017-09-25T04:56:53Z 2017-09-20T11:37:11Z We use emojis very often – in emails, text messages and even on social media – to express joy, sadness or astonishment. But we rarely stop to think what kind of an impression we make at work when we use emoticons like the beloved smiley face.

A new Israeli study has found that a smiley is not regarded the same way as an actual smile, and can have a negative impact on the initial impression created in formal work-related emails.

“While an actual smile has a positive impact on creating an initial impression, adding a smiley can harm the person who included it in their email,” Dr. Arik Cheshin of Israel’s Haifa University, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Memoji App Turns Your Selfies Into Emojis

young woman smiling

Smiley emojis at work might be frowned upon.

In recent years, physical work meetings in offices have been replaced by email correspondence and online textual interactions. In these types of communication, it is impossible to see facial expressions. Accordingly, people often try to create a positive first impression by using emojis, and particularly the smiley.

SEE ALSO: Employee With Supportive Boss Likely To Recover From Illness Faster

In the latest study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers Cheshin, Dr. Ella Glikson of Israel’s Ben Gurion University, and Prof. Gerben van Kleef of Amsterdam University, ran a series of four experiments to examine the impact of smileys in creating a first impression.

The participants – 549 people from 29 different countries – were asked to read work-related emails from someone they do not know. They were then asked to evaluate the competence and warmth of the person who sent the email. Some of the emails related to formal work matters, while others related to less formal aspects of work, such as an invitation to a party related to the workplace.

The participants received similar texts, some of which included smileys while others did not, and some of which included a photograph of the sender smiling while in others the sender was not smiling. In the emails that did not include the sender’s photograph, it was impossible to determine their gender.

A photo vs. an emoji

The findings show that when a photograph was included, a smiling sender was perceived as more competent and friendly. The researchers note that this is similar to the pattern seen in face-to-face interactions. However, when emails on formal work-related matters included a smiley, the sender was perceived as less competent. The smiley did not influence the evaluation of the sender’s friendliness. In emails relating to less formal matters, the smiley led the sender to be perceived as more friendly, but did not influence the evaluation of competence.

The study also found that when the participants were asked to respond to emails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the email did not include a smiley.

Emoticons are perceived as feminine 

Then, the researchers sought to examine whether the inclusion of smileys influenced the perceived gender of the senders of the emails. They found that recipients were more likely to assume that the email was sent by a woman if it included a smiley, though this did not influence the evaluation of competence or friendliness.

“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect. For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender,” the researchers concluded.

meeting people laptops

 Photos: Climate KICSamsung

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Cyber-Security Firms Seek To Bolster Defenses Of UK Banks, Insurers]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58521 2017-09-19T11:36:50Z 2017-09-19T17:36:25Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

UK banks, insurers and telecom companies will be looking to Israel for cyber-security solutions this week, as part of an effort by the British government to increase the protection of companies and institutions from cyber-attacks.

Recently, firms like Aviva Insurance, BT, Goldman Sachs, RBS, Visa and others hosted 12 Israeli cyber-security startups in a series of events in London. The startups that will visit the UK are part of TeXchange, a program set up by the British Embassy in Israel that connects UK companies to “promising digital solutions.”

SEE ALSO: UK Deepens Cyber-Security Cooperation With Israel During Cabinet Minister Visit

The past year has seen UK companies and public institutions such as the Parliament and the National Health Service hit by cyberattacks. A government report published in August showed that Britain’s top firms and charities “urgently” need to do more to protect themselves from online threats. The UK Israel Tech Hub, a team within the embassy, is seeking to address the threat by connecting British companies to Israeli technologies.

“Israel is a major world player in cyber security solutions, both commercially and in research,” said Ayelet Mavor, acting director of the UK Israel Tech Hub, in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Cyber Security Nation: Why Israel Leads The World in Protecting The Web

There are some 400 Israeli cyber companies, and the local industry totals around eight percent of global cyber exports, she said. “UK companies can gain a competitive edge on their security needs by partnering with Israel’s cyber industry.”

TeXchange, organized annually by the UK Israel Tech Hub, has already resulted in more than 20 signed UK-Israel partnership deals. In previous years, TeXchange has focused on retail-tech, fintech, smart mobility and other areas. Hundreds of UK companies and over 60 Israeli startups have taken part in TeXchange activities so far, and this year’s program boasts the largest UK participation to date.

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Colin

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Technion Inaugurates Cornell Tech Campus On NY Roosevelt Island]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58733 2017-09-19T11:30:15Z 2017-09-19T11:28:58Z The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has marked a major milestone in its partnership with Cornell University. The academic institutes recently opened Cornell Tech, a sprawling tech-focused graduate campus on New York’s Roosevelt Island.

The new campus spans 12 acres on the 147 acre East River island, and includes academic buildings, offices and a housing complex for students and faculty.

Established in 2013, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, which stands behind Cornell Tech, is supported by a $133 million gift from Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm. Since then, it has become a catalyst for global entrepreneurship and a driver of New York’s emerging tech ecosystem and local economy.

SEE ALSO: Bloomberg Donates $100M To Groundbreaking ‘Cornell Tech’ Program

The Jacobs Institute draws upon professors, research and resources from both the Technion and Cornell, a longtime leader in engineering and computer science.

“In partnership with Cornell University, we’ve developed a model of graduate-level technology education that is unlike any other – one that’s tailor-made not only for New York City but for the challenges of the digital revolution,” Prof. Peretz Lavie, President of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, said at the opening ceremony last week. “Drawing upon Cornell’s incredibly strong presence and network in New York, we’ve cultivated meaningful new ties between academia and industry, and developed an ecosystem that directly fosters innovation, world-class research and entrepreneurship, driving both economic growth and public good.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Architect Eran Chen Is Transforming The Face Of New York: “Architecture Is Not A Privilege”

The Jacobs Institute’s master’s degree programs — in Connective Media and Health Tech — focus on driving innovation in industries in which New York City has historically excelled, while always remaining anchored in technology. Graduates of these programs receive master’s degrees from both the Technion and Cornell — which, as of 2016, makes Technion the first international university to grant an accredited degree on U.S. soil.

The Connective Media graduate program is centered on computer science and engineering, the human and social impacts of technology, and entrepreneurship. The Health Tech graduate program focuses on the cutting edge of transforming how healthcare is delivered and experienced, and was designed to develop innovative new products and services that address real healthcare needs.

New Cornell Tech campus, home of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. Photo by Iwan Baan

The new Cornell Tech campus, home of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

Meanwhile, the Runway Startup Program at the Jacobs Institute supports recent PhDs who are likewise able to draw on the resources New York City has to offer as they build on their research to develop tech companies on campus. Over the past three years, Runway postdocs have founded 16 companies — from a smart baby monitor to an urban planning analytics platform — and collectively raised $19 million in funding.

Cornell Tech arose from an economic development initiative of Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral administration in 2008. The initiative sought to attract another engineering school to the city in the hope that it would produce entrepreneurial engineers who would in turn start job-creating companies. Seven bids were submitted for the competition, with the administration ultimately selecting Cornell/Technion’s bid.

As proposed, Cornell Tech would create 28,000 jobs, including 8,000 for academic staff. It would also be able to create 600 companies, leading to $23 billion in economic benefits and an additional $1.4 billion in taxes, during its first three decades of operation.

Photos and video: Cornell Tech, Iwan Baan for the Technion

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Analytics Startup Panoply Raises $6M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58764 2017-09-19T08:06:29Z 2017-09-19T08:06:29Z panoply logoSeptember 19, 2017 | Israeli analytics startup Panoply has raised $6 million in a financing round led by C5 Capital, which brings its total equity to $13 million. Founded in 2015 by Roi Avinoam and Yaniv Leven, the startup delivers fast insights by eliminating the development and coding typically associated with transforming, integrating, and managing big data.

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli AR Startup Augmedics Raises $8.3M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58758 2017-09-18T13:58:15Z 2017-09-18T13:57:35Z augmedics logoSeptember 18, 2017 | Israeli startup Augmedics, a developer of an augmented-reality (AR) surgical visualization system, has raised $8.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Davos, Switzerland-based AO Invest, the Israeli Innovation Authority, Terra Venture Partners and other undisclosed investors. Augmedics will use the proceeds to complete research and development as well as pre-clinical and clinical trials of its ViZOR System. Founded in 2012 by Nessi Benishti and Nissan Elimelech, the company has so far raised $10.1 million.

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Sue Surkes, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[China Makes Massive Investment In Israeli Lab Meat Technology]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58715 2017-09-18T09:14:41Z 2017-09-18T09:14:41Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

China has signed a $300 million deal to partner with Israeli high-tech companies working to create laboratory-grown meat as the Asian giant looks to embrace technologies that will help it cut down on harmful emissions and pollution.

Israeli companies SuperMeat, Future Meat Technologies, and Meat the Future are three of only eight companies in the world growing meat from animal cells in laboratories, Quartz magazine reported.

The move potentially opens up the massive Asian economy for the Israeli companies. The Chinese market is potentially huge: China imported meat worth more than $10 billion in 2016, according to the International Trade Centre.

SEE ALSO: Vegetarian Meat Eaters: Israeli Startup SuperMeat Grows Chicken Meat In A Lab

As the country modernized and the standard of living rose for the average Chinese, meat consumption has rocketed.

“It is a colossal market opportunity,” said Bruce Friedrich, head of the The Good Food Institute (GFI), which supports and lobbies on behalf of meat alternative interests. “This could put [lab-made] meat onto the radar of Chinese officials who have the capacity to steer billions of dollars into this technology.”

SEE ALSO: Edible Insects Are The Future Of Food, Says Israeli Startup Flying Spark

The move is expected to garner applause from environmentalists as a step toward reducing greenhouse gases.

To read the full article, click here

chick

Photos and video: SuperMeat, CulturedBeef.Org

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Simona Shemer <![CDATA[Israeli AI Startup Zeitgold Raises $11.97M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=58694 2017-09-17T12:48:07Z 2017-09-17T12:46:18Z zeitgold logoSeptember 13, 2017 | Zeitgold, an Israeli AI company based in Berlin, just raised $11.97m in Series A funding. The company offers a solution for small businesses who want to save time managing their finances. Zeitgold’s end-to-end solution allows cafes, restaurants, and other small businesses to manage bookkeeping, payroll, invoices, and more through coordination with a tax adviser on a smartphone. The funds will be invested in a new Tel Aviv-based R&D facility as well as testing new products with customers. Zeitgold was founded in 2015 by Stefan Jeschonnek, Jan Deepen, and Kobi Eldar.

 

 

 

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