NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. 2017-06-22T06:51:13Z NoCamels <![CDATA[AI startup Codota Nabs $2M In Seed Round]]> 2017-06-22T06:46:30Z 2017-06-22T06:46:18Z

codota logoJune 22, 2017 | Israeli startup Codota has raised $2 million in seed investment from Khosla Ventures, bringing the company’s total equity funding to $2.55 million. Codota has developed a pair-programmer for Java. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the program learns open-source code from the web, studies the augmentation of the code over time, suggests code for developers based on the open source knowledge, and predicts new code. This allows developers to save time by negating the need to skim through the web for code or recode, something that has already been developed. Codota was founded by Dror Weiss and Prof. Eran Tahav in 2013.

NoCamels <![CDATA[Biomed Company Gamida Raises $40M]]> 2017-06-22T06:35:24Z 2017-06-22T06:35:24Z gamida cell logoJune 22, 2017 | Israeli biomed company Gamida Cell has raised $40 million in a financing round led by Israeli venture capital firm Shavit Capital. Also participating in this round were VMS Investment Group, Israeli Biotech Fund, Novartis, Clal Biotechnology Industries (CBI) and Israel HealthCare Ventures (IHCV). Through this new support, Gamida will be able to push the commercialization of its flagship product NiCord, which facilitates in-bone marrow transplants. Founded in 1998 by Tony Peled, the company has so far raised $90 million.
NoCamels <![CDATA[OurCrowd To Help Global Firms Invest in Local Startups]]> 2017-06-22T06:18:54Z 2017-06-22T06:18:54Z OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogoJune 22, 2017 | Israeli crowd-funding firm OurCrowd has launched OurNetwork, a global investment community designed to help multinational corporations support, collaborate and invest in Israeli startups. Founded in 2012 by CEO Jon Medved, OurCrowd already boasts 17,000 individual  investors from 110 countries, who have invested some $400 million in 110 portfolio companies and funds.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Intel Joins Israel’s Team8 Cyber Venture]]> 2017-06-22T06:51:13Z 2017-06-21T12:36:13Z intel, intel logoJune 21, 2017 | Technology giant Intel is teaming up with Israeli think-tank and venture capital firm Team8, to foster cyber-security innovation. The chip maker, which already employs thousands in the Startup Nation, joins current Team8 cyber syndicate members Microsoft, Cisco, Qualcomm, AT&T, Citigroup, Accenture, Nokia, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and others. Intel will work with Team8 to secure future computing, IoT, mobile, automotive and cloud technologies. In other news, Israeli startup Illusive Networks said it would collaborate with Intel on cyber-security.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Cybereason, Which Helps Prevent Massive Ransomware Attacks, Gets $100M Boost]]> 2017-06-21T11:34:04Z 2017-06-21T10:32:19Z Israeli cybersecurity startup Cybereason has raised $100 million from Japan’s telecommunications giant SoftBank, which previously invested $59 million in the company.

Cybereason’s solutions have helped individuals and businesses avoid massive ransomware attacks, including the most recent attack WannaCry, which last month wreaked havoc on over 300,000 computers. Ransomware is malicious software that blocks access to the victim’s data or threatens to publish or delete it until a ransom is paid.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Cyber-Security Experts Weigh In On WannaCry Ransomware, Offer Protection Tools

To protect against ransomware attacks, Cybereason offers a free tool (among others), which was also recently recommended by Israel’s National Cyber Event Readiness Team (at the Office of the Prime Minister). After downloading Cybereason RansomeFree software, the company says your computer will be protected against 99 percent of ransomware strains.

According to Lital Asher-Dotan, senior director of marketing at Israeli cyber-security firm Cybereason, “ransomware evolves, and new variants attack organizations and individuals every day.”

SoftBank is Cybereason’s biggest investor and one of its biggest customers and distribution partners. “This new financing solidifies Cybereason as the leading cybersecurity startup changing the status quo in the security industry, with 500 percent growth in revenue and nearly 200 percent growth in employees across the globe last year,” the Israeli startup said in a statement.

“Hackers still have a big advantage over the vast majority of corporations”

According to Lior Div, co-founder and CEO of Cybereason, “we’re thrilled with our incredible growth, but we are never satisfied because hackers still have a big advantage over the vast majority of corporations. This new funding allows us to increase our growth through new distribution channels and to develop new technologies.” He added that the startup’s partnership with SoftBank will also enable Cybereason to further expand its presence in the cybersecurity market.

Says Ken Miyauchi, President and CEO of SoftBank: “We strongly believe Cybereason will be one of the global leaders in cybersecurity.”

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

Cybereason’s automated SaaS technology and monitoring services have protected hundreds of companies from highly advanced attacks including, most recently, the global WannaCry Ransomware attack. The Cybereason platform is powered by an automated hunting engine that detects behavioral patterns across every endpoint and surfaces malicious operations in a user-friendly interface.

“Software is the most powerful force in today’s connected world,” Div said in a statement. “People can use its power for good or evil, and the mission of Cybereason is to stop the adversary from gaining an unfair advantage by giving our customers the upper hand,” Div said in a statement.

Cybereason founders by Ryuji Suzuki

Cybereason founders (from left to right): Yonatan Amit, Lior Div and Yossi Naar

Founded in 2012 by Div, Yossi Naar, and Yonatan Amit, Cybereason has so far raised a total of $189 million from investors, including Lockheed Martin, Spark Capital, CRV and SoftBank. It employs some 200 people in Tel Aviv, with additional 50 employees in Boston, London and Tokyo.

Photos and video: Ryuji Suzuki, David Whelan, Cybereason

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[These Surreal Toyota Cinema Ads By An Israeli Director Have Everybody Talking]]> 2017-06-22T06:06:50Z 2017-06-21T09:39:18Z A group of Israeli filmmakers, led by wunderkind Vania Heymann, is behind Toyota’s new series of short, thought-provoking films that recently debuted in movie theaters across the US.

Called “Toyota Shorts,” the films were produced by world-renowned ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which commissioned Heymann and his team for this unusual task.

After producing a stunning Lilliput-style video clip for rock band Coldplay last year, and winning an MTV Award for it, Heymann is now dabbling again in advertising (he has made Pepsi and American Express commercials) – but in a non-traditional way.

vania heymann

Israeli film director Vania Heymann

Traveling in time 

His first short film for Toyota features a young woman driving a Prius. As she’s driving her car, she ages, while other cars speed up and bypass her. She looks distraught and anxious. But at some point, she decides to accelerate and bypass the other cars that had previously passed by hers. As she accelerates, she becomes younger, until she’s a very young girl.

Once she seems to realize that being young is not about your age but about your spirit, she returns to being the same young woman from the beginning of the film.

The film is accompanied by an original soundtrack composed by Israeli musician Assa Raviv, which adds much drama to the narrative.

SEE ALSO: Check Out CeeLo’s Crazy-Cool Interactive Music Video For Robin Williams

In addition to director Heymann, other Israelis involved in the production of this film are producer Natan Schottenfels, film editor Gal Muggia, writer Gon Ben Ari, creative director Daniel Barak, soundman Udi Ben Ari, title designer Tal Baltuch, and visual effects supervisor Itay Schiff. Post-production was done by Israeli firm Gravity.

The infinite roundabout 

The second film in the two-part series, oddly – yet purposely – dubbed “Story No. 3 – The Roundabout,” focuses on the Toyota Camry.

In the beginning, the male driver picks up a female hitchhiker holding a tambourine, who asks him to “get her out” of the close-by roundabout. Half a circle into the roundabout, another hitchhiker – holding a guitar – is asking for a ride. As she enters the back seat, the viewers can see that she’s identical to the first hitchhiker.

The bewildered driver continues to circle the roundabout, as a third identical hitchhiker – holding both a guitar and a tambourine – comes onboard. The first hitchhiker asks the driver not to exit, and he continues to circle the roundabout.

Then, a fourth identical hitchhiker (with a guitar, tambourine and a harmonica) gets in the driver’s seat as the driver is putting her bag in the trunk.

Leaving him on the curb, the four identical musicians continue to drive, finally exiting the roundabout while playing the instruments and singing cheerfully.

Directed by Heymann and produced by Schottenfels, this short film was edited by Israeli Amir Winkler; it was written by Haymann, Ben Ari and Barak (also the creative director); music by Raviv, Tom Darom, and Nadia Kutcher; soundwoman was the Israeli Yael Haim; Baltuch, Schiff and Gravity was involved in this film as well.

SEE ALSO: Bob Dylan’s Israeli-Made Music Video Is Voted Best Of The Year By Time Magazine

Heymann became famous about four years ago when he created an interactive video clip for legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, now a Nobel Prize laureate. Last year, the young film director  received an MTV Award for the music video “Up & Up” he created for Coldplay.

A graduate of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Heymann is only 31 years old, but as each Toyota ad concludes, he’s going places.

Photos and videos: Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Vania Heymann

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israeli, Australian Firms Launch Cannabis Joint Venture]]> 2017-06-20T12:21:06Z 2017-06-20T12:21:06Z iCAN logoJune 20, 2017 | Israeli medical marijuana startup iCAN has announced a joint venture with Australian company LeafCann Research and Advisory. The new venture will take advantage of Israel’s leadership position in the research and development of medical marijuana, in combination with Australia’s lax regulations. Founded in 2015, iCAN is a leading Israeli developer of cannabis-based formulations, clinical trials and cannabis testing. The firm is headed by Saul Kaye.

Kathryn Dura, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Via Teams Up With Verifone’s Curb To Offer Cheap Shared Rides In NYC]]> 2017-06-20T09:08:05Z 2017-06-20T09:06:37Z The market for ride-sharing is becoming increasingly competitive in New York City, with major companies – including Uber, Lyft, Gett, and Via – vying for customers.

To gain some leverage over their competition, Israeli ride-sharing startup Via has signed a cooperation agreement with taxi app Curb, in order to bring Via’s innovative ride-sharing technologies to a digital wallet that can be used on yellow taxis across the Big Apple.

Founded in 2012 by Israelis Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, Via has developed an algorithm that matches, in real time, multiple passengers traveling in the same direction with a single large SUV or van.

via taxicab ride sharing app

The startup seeks to make on-demand mass transit simple with efficient travel and flat rates. Its technology is designed to benefit both the users and the drivers: passengers enjoy lower fares thanks to sharing a ride , while cabbies benefit from increased ride durations, decreased downtime, and therefore increased earnings.

In Manhattan, Via rides are $5 (flat), and each additional passenger traveling in the van is charged $3. Rates for other New York City boroughs slightly vary.

Founded in 2007, Curb connects users to taxi drivers with the help of e-hail and payment apps from Verifone, which acquired it four years ago. It  can now leverage Via’s technology thanks to the newly signed agreement.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Transportation Technologies Are Powering New York City Taxicabs

The collaboration allows passengers to request yellow taxi rides through a mobile app, and, if necessary, re-route the vehicle that best matches their desired route. The algorithm’s smart routing allows passengers to be picked up and dropped off in an endless stream, without taking riders out of their way to accommodate other passengers.

However, the benefits of the agreement do not simply run in one direction; Curb is thoroughly integrated into the NYC taxi market. With the agreement, Via can use Curb’s reach to increase its own user base in the city.

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

Despite the saturated market and fierce competition, Via has been able to raise $137 million from Israel’s Pitango Venture Capital and Poalim Capital Markets, and additional international VCs.

Such agreements and acquisitions are becoming more common as the market is increasingly replete. Two months ago, Israeli taxi hailing app Gett acquired its rival Juno (also founded by Israelis) for a reported $200 million.

With ridesharing giant Uber in trouble due to company culture and controversial events, Via and Curb are seizing an opportunity to drive their way to the top.

Photos: Courtesy

Anouk Lorie, NoCamels <![CDATA[Mending Broken Hearts: Israeli Scientists Find The Molecule That Regenerates Heart Cells]]> 2017-06-19T12:03:29Z 2017-06-19T12:03:06Z Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, yet the few available treatments are still mostly unsuccessful once the heart tissue has suffered damage. Mammalian hearts are actually able to regenerate and repair damage – but only up to around the time of birth. Afterward, that ability disappears, seemingly forever.

Research at the Weizmann Institute of Science has uncovered a molecule in newborn hearts that appears to control the renewal process. When injected into adult mouse hearts injured by heart attacks, this molecule, called Agrin, seems to “unlock” that renewal process and enable heart muscle repair. These findings are already pointing to new directions for research on restoring the function of damaged hearts.

Human heart cells cannot regenerate

Prof. Eldad Tzahor, who led the study with Elad Bassat, Alex Genzelinakh and other team members in the Weizmann Institute’s Molecular Cell Biology Department, explains that following a heart attack in humans, the healing process is long and inefficient. Once damaged, muscle cells are replaced by scar tissue, which is incapable of contracting and thus cannot participate in pumping. This, in turn, leads to further stress on the remaining muscle and eventual heart failure.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s CollPlant To 3D-Print Human Organs Using Tobacco-Derived Collagen

Heart regeneration into adulthood does exist in some of our fellow vertebrates. Fish, for example, can efficiently regenerate damaged hearts. Closer relatives on the evolutionary tree – mice – are born with this ability but lose it after a week of life. That week gives Tzahor and his lab a time window in which to explore the cues that promote heart regeneration.

Looking for outside sources

Woman holding heartTzahor and Bassat believed that part of the secret might lay outside of the heart cells themselves – in the surrounding supportive tissue known as the extracellular matrix, or ECM. Many cell-to-cell messages are passed through this matrix, while others are stored within its fibrous structure. So the team began to experiment with ECM from both newborn and week-old mice, clearing away the cells until only the surrounding material was left, and then observing what happened when bits of the ECM were added to cardiac cells in culture. The researchers found that the younger ECM, in contrast to the older, elicited the proliferation of heart muscle cells.

A screening of ECM proteins identified several candidate molecules for regulating this response, among them Agrin.  In mouse hearts, levels of this molecule drop over the first seven days of life, suggesting a possible role in heart regeneration. The researchers then added Agrin to cell cultures and noted that it caused the cells to multiply.

Next, the researchers tested Agrin on mouse models of heart injury, asking whether it could reverse the damage. They found that following a single injection of Agrin mouse hearts were almost completely healed and fully functional, although the scientists were surprised to find that it took over a month for the treatment to impart its full impact on cardiac function and regeneration.  At the end of the recovery period, however, the scar tissue was dramatically reduced, replaced by living heart tissue that restored the heart’s pumping function.

SEE ALSO: Listen Up: Study Shows Your Voice Can Tell If You Have Heart Disease

In other words, Tzahor speculates that in addition to causing a certain amount of direct heart cell renewal, Agrin somehow affects the body’s inflammatory and immune responses to a heart attack, as well as the pathways involved in suppressing the scarring, which leads to heart failure. The length of the recovery process, however, is still a mystery, as the Agrin, itself, disappears from the body within a few days of the injection.

“Clearly this molecule sets a chain of events in motion” he says. “We discovered that it attaches to a previously unstudied receptor on the heart muscle cells, and this binding takes the cells back to a slightly less mature state – closer to that of the embryo – and releases signals that may, among other things, initiate cell division.” Experiments with mice that were genetically engineered to lack Agrin in their hearts further support this idea: In its absence, newborn mice could not properly regenerate heart tissue following injury. Because mice cannot live without the other functions of Agrin, this was a technically challenging experiment to perform, adds Tzahor.

Testing on human heart cells proves successful

The team then proved that Agrin has a similar effect on human heart cells grown in culture. He and his team are now working to understand exactly what happens in the period of time between the injection of Agrin and the return of full cardiac functionality. In addition, members of Tzahor’s team have started pre-clinical studies in larger animals in Germany in collaboration with Prof. Kupatt of the Technical University of Munich to determine the effect of Agrin on cardiac repair.

Among other things, the findings of this study have highlighted a role for the ECM in both directing heart growth and promoting regeneration, and this insight may help in the design of breakthrough biomedical research.

NoCamels <![CDATA[Kaspersky Opens R&D Lab In Israel]]> 2017-06-19T08:34:32Z 2017-06-19T08:34:32Z June 19, 2017 | Kaspersky Lab has opened a research and development center in Israel called the Future Tech Lab. Located in Jerusalem, the center will research cyber threats targeted at new technologies such as Internet of Things and automotives. Kaspersky Lab is a Russian cyber-security and anti-virus provider that has a presence in cyber-security hubs around the world. Researchers at the Future Tech Lab will work with other Kaspersky labs around the globe, providing organizations with information to protect against cyber-criminals.

NoCamels <![CDATA[Intel’s $15B Acquisition Of Mobileye Approved]]> 2017-06-19T08:29:38Z 2017-06-19T08:22:47Z mobileye-logoJune 19, 2017 | Mobileye’s shareholders approved their company’s sale to giant chip maker Intel for $15.3 billion. Mobileye was founded in Jerusalem, Israel, by Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram in 1999 and went public 2014. It developed a warning system that alerts drivers of road hazards using software, cameras, and sensors.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[CompuLab Files For Nasdaq IPO]]> 2017-06-19T07:09:39Z 2017-06-19T07:03:25Z June 19, 2017 | Israel’s CompuLab has filed for a $24 million IPO (initial public offering) on Nasdaq. Founded in 1992, the company is considered one of the world’s leading manufacturers of computer boards for embedded systems and miniature, fanless PCs.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Earliest Human Impact On Climate Change Took Place 11,500 Years Ago]]> 2017-06-18T11:34:38Z 2017-06-18T11:21:01Z A new Tel Aviv University study has uncovered the earliest known geological indications of manmade impact on geological processes, from 11,500 years ago. Within a sample retrieved from the Dead Sea, researchers discovered basin-wide erosion rates dramatically different to known rates period.

“Human impact on the natural environment is now endangering the entire planet,” said Prof. Shmuel Marco, Head of TAU’s School of Geosciences, who led the research team. “It is therefore crucial to understand these fundamental processes. Our discovery provides a quantitative assessment for the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems.” The results of the study were published in Global and Planetary Change.

SEE ALSOHow Israel Is Helping The World Fight Water Shortage

It took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, which harnessed a 1,500-foot-deep drill core to delve into the Dead Sea basin. The core sample provided the team with a sediment record of the last 220,000 years.


The newly-discovered erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution, the wide-scale transition of human cultures from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. The shift resulted in an exponentially larger human population on the planet.

“Natural vegetation was replaced by crops, animals were domesticated, grazing reduced the natural plant cover, and deforestation provided more area for grazing,” said Prof. Marco. “All these resulted in the intensified erosion of the surface and increased sedimentation, which we discovered in the Dead Sea core sample.”

A natural laboratory in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea drainage basin serves as a natural laboratory for understanding how sedimentation rates in a deep basin are related to climate change, tectonics, and man-made impacts on the landscape.

“We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods,” said Prof. Marco. “This intensified erosion is incompatible with tectonic and climatic regimes during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago.”

SEE ALSO: Genetically Modified Bacteria Could Eat Away The World’s Massive Plastic Problem

The researchers are currently in the process of recovering the record of earthquakes from the same drill core. “We have identified disturbances in the sediment layers that were triggered by the shaking of the lake bottom,” Prof. Marco said. “It will provide us with a 220,000-year record — the most extensive earthquake record in the world.”

The research was conducted by TAU post-doctoral student Dr. Yin Lu and in collaboration with Prof. Dani Nadel and Prof. Nicolas Waldman, both of the University of Haifa.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[WhiteSource Raises $10M From Microsoft, 83North]]> 2017-06-15T12:06:06Z 2017-06-15T12:06:06Z June 15, 2017 | WhiteSource, an Israeli provider of continuous open source software security and compliance management, has secured $10 million in Series B financing. The round was led by 83North with additional participation from Microsoft Ventures and David Strohm of Greylock Partners. Founded in 2011 by Azi Cohen, Rami Sass and Ron Rymon, WhiteSource allows engineering, security and compliance officers to secure and manage the use of open-source components in their software.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israel’s Eloxx Pharmaceuticals Raises $24M]]> 2017-06-15T10:28:34Z 2017-06-15T10:27:44Z June 15, 2017 | Israeli bio-pharmaceutical company Eloxx  has raised $24 million from Catalyst CEL Fund, Israeli venture capital fund for life sciences Pontifax, and others. The company develops treatments for patients with rare genetic diseases triggered by mutations like Cystic Fibrosis and Cystinosis. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Silvia Noiman, Eloxx recently merged with Sevion Therapeutics and became a Sevion subsidiary. Sevion will use the name Eloxx and attempt to list its shares on Nasdaq. [Photo: GeneG]

Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[White-Hat’s Israeli Hackers Trawl The Dark Web To Hunt For Criminals]]> 2017-06-15T08:56:57Z 2017-06-15T07:00:45Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. 

The offices of White-Hat, a cyber-security firm in the heart of Tel Aviv, contain the typical trappings of a startup: workers waltz in at all hours on electric scooters or bikes, a ping pong table dominates the large open space and rows of desks with computers jostle each other around the sides of the room, to promote teamwork.

This startup different, though. None of the workers, except for the managers, agrees to have their photos taken and quickly cover their faces with their hands. That’s because they are hackers and they know the dangers of having your photos posted on social media or anywhere else. Once you are out there, on the web, anything is possible. Moreover, most of them are graduates of the Israeli army’s elite intelligence units and prefer to remain in the shadows.

courtesy of White-Hat

These hackers know the shady secrets that lurk in that online universe called the dark or deep web, a world that works in parallel to the internet we know in a realm most of us are thankfully unaware of. It is a zone where users can surf anonymously and largely without a trace, and it is populated by arms dealers, pedophiles, terrorists and cyber criminals, among others. You can hire a hit man on the dark web, or buy a stolen credit card, and do it without leaving a footprint.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Check Point Discovers ‘Fireball’ Malware; 250 Million Computers Worldwide Infected

White-Hat’s hackers, mostly young men and women who joined after serving in the intelligence units of the Israeli army, live in this world and man the office desk 24/7. They plow through the web, set up false and numerous virtual identities, or so-called online avatars; they infiltrate hacker groups and forums to discover planned cyber-attacks, then prepare their clients before they occur. Watching them work is a bit like watching the latest season of “Homeland” or the movie “Snowden”: their screens are filled with diagrams and dots that connect one person or event to many, many others.

“Our company deals with civilian cyber intelligence,” said Sharon Nimirovski, the CEO of the 4-year-old, 34-employee firm. The White-Hat hackers – white hats in the cyber world symbolize the good guys — collect intelligence about criminal or ransom attacks the black hat hackers — or the bad guys — are plotting.

“When you use hackers as hunters you get results,” Nimirovski said.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Cyber-Security Experts Weigh In On WannaCry Ransomware, Offer Protection Tools

Instead of the firewall or antivirus products offered by many other cybersecurity firms, White-Hat offers a service performed by its hackers.

“People are the core of the company,” said 29-year old Reut Menashe, White-Hat’s chief technology officer and head of its hackers team. “We don’t sell a product, but a service. Our product is intelligence.”

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Technion Launches $200M VC Fund]]> 2017-06-14T17:13:50Z 2017-06-14T17:12:23Z Technion logoJune 14, 2017 | The Technion Research & Development Foundation (TRDF) has partnered with UG Capital Management Ltd (UCG) to establish a $200 million venture capital fund. The fund will focus on technology and science companies associated with the Technion-Israel Institute of technology, and its alumni. UCG is a Chinese venture capital firm, part of the larger United Gain Investment. The partnership will support the Technion’s efforts to commercialize its faculty’s inventions.

Amanda Ngo, NoCamels <![CDATA[‘X-Ray’ Vision: Vayyar’s 3D Sensor Can See Through Any Surface]]> 2017-06-14T16:59:30Z 2017-06-14T11:30:49Z Who didn’t watch Superman and wish they could see through walls? Now, thanks to Israeli technologies developed by startup Vayyar, what was previously confined to the realms of science fiction is becoming a reality.

Vayyar has developed sensors that can detect and visually display – in three dimensions – what lies on the other side of any surface. From detecting breast cancer cells through the skin, to finding people on search and rescue missions – this technology can change the way we interact with the world, and save lives.

SEE ALSO: Innovation Nation: Twelve Israeli Inventions That Are Changing The World

Designed to see through materials, objects and even liquids, Vayyar’s sensors look through known barriers to deliver 3D images. Its technology can see through skin and tissue to detect cancer masses, look through walls and create a 3D image of hidden structural foundations; or, it can be used to create a smart home that tracks the location of persons needing care, as well as their vital signs as they move around the house.

Its 3D sensors rely on antennae that are constantly sending out radio frequency signals to create a 3D map of the environment. The signals travel through objects, detecting their location, size, movement, and makeup.

Granted, radio frequency sensors have been around for a while; but Vayyar’s advantage comes from the quantity of antennae that can transmit and receive many signals at once, and the strength of the algorithms used to interpret the data. The startup packed these antennae into a compact, inexpensive system – which would be priced at a fraction of the cost of an MRI system – giving Vayyar an edge over other, more expensive and unwieldy technologies.

Screening for breast cancer

Their sensor could revolutionize the way illnesses such as breast cancer are detected. In contrast to MRI, x-ray, and ultrasound machines, which generally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and are confined to specific screening locations, Vayyar’s sensors are small and cheap, and the breast cancer screening device they are developing could be used in general practitioners’ offices.

“A woman can comfortably hold [the screening device] in her hand, bring it to her breast, and in a matter of seconds, scan it to detect for malignant growths,” Malcolm Berman, director of product and marketing at Vayyar, tells NoCamels. “It uses non-ionizing radiation, so they could actually screen themselves every day.”

“A highly sophisticated radar system”

In addition to the healthcare sector, Vayyar’s tech can be useful in other fields: The sensors don’t rely on visual detection, which makes them a better fit for monitoring environments like bathrooms, where privacy is a concern, and burning buildings, where smoke would block the camera.

Walabot. A small black box containing the sensors magnetically attaches to the back of a smartphone, and connects to a mobile app.

Although there are other sensors that use radio frequency, such as those produced by international aerospace and defense company Raytheon, Vayyar claims to more effectively combine capability with low price.

“It’s a highly sophisticated radar system that’s been created at a fraction of the cost of other solutions,” says Berman. In fact, his team put the sensors into a consumer product called Walabot DIY, which is sold for $199.

A shift from businesses to consumers 

Initially, Vayyar worked only with other businesses, selling them sensors and developing products such as the breast cancer screening device. In April last year, the company entered the consumer market with Walabot DIY. The device uses Vayyar’s sensors to detect and display the location, size, and material of objects on the other side of walls, making it useful for builders and DIY home renovators.

The product is fairly intuitive to use. A small black box, about the size of a smartphone, contains the sensors. It magnetically attaches to the back of a smartphone, and connects to a mobile app currently available on Android devices.

The app provides a real-time visual feed: As you hold the device against the wall and move it over a metal pipe, a pipe-shaped object and text indicating that it is a metal pipe will appear on the phone screen. The app also has a map mode, which allows users to scan larger spaces, and to see a colored diagram of all the objects in that space. While the interface can seem a bit cryptic to new users, it doesn’t take long to figure out what different colors and shapes mean.

Walabot has proven popular: it sold out in the US, and though it only launched in Europe last month, it has already sold out of inventory twice. Earlier this year, it received much attention at CES 2017, the largest consumer electronics show in the world.

Founded in 2011 by Raviv Melamed, Naftali Chayat and Miri Ratner, Vayyar has so far raised $34 million from venture capital firms Amitai, Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Israel Cleantech Ventures and Walden Riverwood.

An imaging revolution

Vayyar’s sensor comes on the heels of another Israeli gadget that “sees through” objects – Scio, which scans objects and identifies their molecular makeup. SCiO is a tiny handheld scanner that can tell you whether an apple you want to bite into is fresh, what’s in the pills your doctor prescribed, how many calories are in your meal, or whether your plant needs more water.

Similarly, the applications of Vayyar’s sensors seem almost infinite. This year, the company will focus on smart homes, the automotive industry, and robotics. For example, the technology can monitor whether elderly people have fallen in the bathroom based on motion and breath detection, without using optical cameras to breach their privacy.

The applications for the automotive industry and robotics are also far-reaching. For example, the sensors can alert robots to where people are in relation to them, reducing injuries in industrial settings.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Nano-Sensor Can Sniff Out Explosives From 16 Feet Away

Vayyar has the potential to develop in many different directions, as its team is constantly updating the Walabot app with new features, as well as working with a range of business partners to integrate Vayyar’s sensors in new ways. Walls are no longer a barrier for this company, or for anyone using its sensors.


Photos and videos: Vayyar, Walabot, Superman

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israel’s Bancor Raises $153M In 3 Hours]]> 2017-06-14T09:12:50Z 2017-06-14T09:05:18Z June 14, 2017 | Bancor, an Israeli startup that has developed a virtual currency conversion platform, yesterday raised $153 million in just three hours. This Initial Coin Offering is the second-largest fundraising campaign in the blockchain industry, according to Bancor. Founded in 2016 by Guy Benartzi, Eyal Hertzog, Yehuda Levi and Galia Benartzi, Bancor enables its users to instantly convert or trade their money.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Toronto Stock Exchange Seeking Israeli IPOs]]> 2017-06-13T11:29:39Z 2017-06-13T11:25:59Z June 13, 2017 | Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) have announced that Canada’s leading equity markets have expanded into Israel. Yossi Boker, who has more than 25 years’ experience in entrepreneurship and high-tech in Israel, has been appointed to lead the expansion as the Head of Business Development. The move will give Israeli companies access to North American investors who can support companies at all stages of growth. It will also encourage Israeli companies to conduct initial public offerings (IPOs) on TSX. TMX Group, which operates the TSX and TSXV markets, has labeled Israel as a key market going forward. [Photo: Raysonho]

Kathryn Dura, NoCamels <![CDATA[How Israeli Transportation Technologies Are Powering New York City Taxicabs]]> 2017-06-13T10:56:18Z 2017-06-13T09:13:18Z Israel’s unbridled success in the transportation tech industry was recently manifested when Mobileye, a developer of driverless car technologies, was acquired by giant chip maker Intel for $15.3 billion.

Now, New York City taxicabs are giving Israeli tech the seal of approval, with the widespread adoption of Israeli transportation apps and solutions. The success of the carpooling “Via” cabs, which is based on the Israeli phenomenon called “Sherut”, is just one of the latest examples of the transformative transportation solutions spearheaded by the Startup Nation and picked up in NYC.

Here are some of the leading Israeli car technologies currently used by cab drivers in the Big Apple:


Founded in 1999 by Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, Mobileye’s Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) provide in-car collision and pedestrian warnings, among other features. Increasing the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, Mobileye provides the building blocks for autonomous vehicles. The company is also developing fully autonomous cars with the world’s leading car manufacturers, including BMW and Volkswagen.

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

Currently, the company is working with roughly 113 automakers to make autonomous driving a reality by developing camera sensors, light detection systems, and mapping. Its technologies will eventually serve to replace human decision making with algorithms. To achieve this, Mobileye is using machine learning and data exposure to “teach” the technology to make decisions.


Nexar is an Israeli mobile app that uses the consumer’s smartphone camera which, when propped to the car’s dashboard, detects potential driving dangers and provides verbal warnings. It automatically saves the information to a secure cloud account, where it can be accessed for insurance claims.

Additionally, the app creates a real-time network with nearby vehicles to warn other users of road events. These could entail congestion, traffic, collision risk, pedestrian crossing, and infrastructure breakdown.

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

Founded in 2015 by Eran Shir and Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz, Nexar has raised $14.5 million from venture capital firms Aleph, Expansion Venture Capital, Mosaic Ventures, Slow Ventures, True Ventures, and Tusk Ventures.


An overview of Israeli technological prowess in transportation is not complete without mentioning Waze and its impact on navigation. Founded in 2007, Waze is the world’s largest community-based navigation and traffic app. It shares real-time road information, like traffic, accidents, hazards, and police, and therefore saves its users time and money. Additionally, the GPS-based program provides turn-by-turn directions using the most up-to-date maps possible.

The company, which was founded by Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar, was acquired by Google in 2013 for $1.3 billion.

waze carpool google navigation

Taxicab and ride-sharing apps

Israel’s Gett was among the first in the world to offer taxi-hailing apps, along with giant Uber. Now, Israeli-founded companies Via, GetAround, Juno (which was recently bought by Gett for $200 million) and Gett are all offering one-click taxi and ride-sharing services in cities around the world.

Revolutionizing transportation as we know it, these apps eliminate your need to own a vehicle in order to move from point A to point B. With these new services, you can simply use your smartphones to hail a ride, track the driver’s location, receive pertinent information about the driver and vehicle, and be charged directly through your credit card.

via taxicab ride sharing app

Photos and video: Courtesy of the companies

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Frutarom Completes Nutrafur Acquisition]]> 2017-06-13T06:50:01Z 2017-06-13T06:48:43Z frutarom-logoJune 13, 2017 | Israeli company Frutarom, one of the world’s largest companies in the field of flavors and specialty ingredients, has acquired 21 percent of the shares of Spanish natural ingredients company Nutrafur for $2.36 million, and is now the sole owner of Nutrafur. In September 2015, Frutarom – which was founded in 1933 by Yehuda Araten and Maurice Gerzon – purchased 79 percent of the shares of Nutrafur. [Photo: Courtesy of Taura]

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Bringing Down The Houzz: Israeli Home Design Startup Raises $400M At $4B Valuation]]> 2017-06-13T07:00:39Z 2017-06-12T11:52:51Z Israeli home design startup Houzz has raised a whopping $400 million from ICONIQ Capital, a closely held Silicon Valley investment firm, at a valuation of $4 billion, according to media reports.

The company has so far raised a total of $614 million and has doubled its valuation within less than two years.

A spokeswoman for Houzz declined to comment.

SEE ALSO: A Rare Glimpse Into Some Of Tel Aviv’s Most Beautiful Homes

Now boasting a community of over 40 million unique visitors every month, the startup was founded in 2009 by Israeli designer couple Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen, after they had been stuck in the process of trying to renovate their home. Today, Houzz is considered the world’s leading online home design platform.

Featuring a website and a mobile app, Houzz is a Pinterest-style platform dedicated to home decor, allowing users to browse through a vast collection of interior design photos and click on items they want to purchase. Houzz also gives users access to ideas and advice from design professionals online.

View the product in your room before buying it

Last month, the company added a 3D augmented reality feature to its app, allowing iPhone and iPad users to view hundreds of thousands of products and see what these would look like in their own homes before buying them.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Architects Build Eco-Home From Cannabis On Mount Carmel

“We’re focused on building technologies that can be used today, by the broadest number of people, to make the home improvement and home design experience more fun and productive,” Cohen said in a statement. “We have built an enormous product catalog that continues to grow daily, and integrated augmented reality into the Houzz browsing experience, making it fast and easy for people to virtually experience products in their own homes, and instantly buy them on the Houzz app.”

As the Houzz community grows – from 25 million just two years ago, to 40 million today – so does the company. The platform claims to boast the largest residential design database in the world, offering users access to home design images, products and professional advice. The Palo Alto-based company has expanded over the years and now operates offices in Tel Aviv, Israel; London; Berlin; Sydney, Moscow; and Tokyo.

So, whether you’re remodeling your house or designing the future home of your dreams, Houzz can provide you with seemingly infinite designs.

Photos and video: Courtesy

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Microsoft Buys Israeli Cybersecurity Firm Hexadite For Reported $100M]]> 2017-06-12T12:06:22Z 2017-06-12T10:54:13Z Microsoft said Thursday it is acquiring US-Israeli cybersecurity startup Hexadite, whose technology uses AI to identify and protect against cyber attacks, for an undisclosed amount.

Last month, financial website Calcalist said the US giant would pay $100 million for Hexadite.

“Our vision is to deliver a new generation of security capabilities that helps our customers protect, detect and respond to the constantly evolving and ever-changing cyberthreat landscape,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft. “Hexadite’s technology and talent will augment our existing capabilities and enable our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft’s robust enterprise security offerings.”

SEE ALSO: Israel Has World’s Second-Highest Concentration Of Cyber-Defense Firms

The acquisition is part of a larger trend in cybersecurity, with corporations spending large amounts to prevent and deal with increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Part of a new wave of cyber security companies, Hexadite uses AI and machine learning to identifies and stop smaller threats, while knowing how to identify bigger threats and pass these on to human security experts.

Research firm IDC projects that companies will spend close to $82 billion on security softwares this year.

Modeled after the investigative and decision-making skills of top cyber analysts, Hexadite says its solution can address threats and compress weeks of work into minutes. “With analysts free to focus on the most advanced threats, Hexadite optimizes overtaxed security resources for increased productivity, reduced costs and stronger overall security,” the company writes on its website.

Other cyber acquisitions Microsoft has made in Israel include Aorato, Adallom and Secure Islands.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Motorola, OurCrowd Launch Startup Incubator In Jerusalem]]> 2017-06-11T16:16:51Z 2017-06-11T16:16:51Z June 11, 2017 | Telecom giant Motorola Solutions, Israeli crowd-funding firm OurCrowd, Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries and the Hebrew University’s technology transfer arm Yissum have launched an early-stage startup incubator in Jerusalem, Israel. The incubator will focus on big data; analytics; artificial intelligence; fintech; storage; Internet of Things (IoT); and computer vision. [Photo: Gila Brand)

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Hebrew University Among Best In World]]> 2017-06-08T09:29:54Z 2017-06-08T09:24:32Z Hebrew U., Hebrew University, HU, HU logoJune 8, 2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s finest, according to the new 2018 QS World University Rankings, and ranks 145th in the world, rising three spots from last year. The rankings place the Hebrew University among the top 15 percent of the 980 higher education institutions surveyed by QS, and among the top 1 percent of the 26,000 universities in the world. To compile the rankings, QS analyzed 75 million citations from 12 million papers, and 115,000 survey responses from employers and academics, as well as considered more than 4,000 universities before evaluating 980 of them. The Hebrew University was founded in 1918 by such innovative thinkers as Albert Einstein, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud. [Photo: Grauesel/WikiVoyage]

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[For Some, White Bread Is Healthier Than Whole Wheat]]> 2017-06-08T08:43:12Z 2017-06-08T07:42:22Z White bread is among the processed foods known to contain “bad carbs.” But is whole-wheat bread really better for you? A new Israeli study shatters this myth.

Conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the study reveals that “wholesome” choices are not necessarily the healthiest for everyone. It all depends on the unique bacteria in our gut.

SEE ALSO: Is Sushi Healthier Than Ice Cream? Not Necessarily, Diabetes Researchers Say

Up to 40 percent of our diet

Bread accounts for about one-tenth of the calories many people in the West consume and up to 40 percent of the caloric consumption in some non-Western countries – more than any other food product. In the past few decades, since white bread has acquired a bad rep, bakeries have been going out of their way to produce high-quality whole grain breads.

But as it turns out, our individual microbiome – our specific intestinal microbes – will determine whether white bread is good or bad for us.

SEE ALSO: Diet Startup ‘DayTwo’ Creates Unique Personalized Diets By Checking Your… Gut Bacteria

In the study, recently published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, scientists compared two kinds of bread: One was industrial white bread made from refined wheat and considered less healthy; the other was sourdough-leavened bread made in an artisan bakery from freshly stone-milled whole grain wheat flour and baked in a stone hearth oven (it was prepared specially for the study and was assumed to possess superior properties).

The study’s 20 participants were divided into two groups and asked to consume large quantities of bread (supplying about a quarter of their caloric intake) for a week. One group ate the white bread, and the other, the sourdough bread. After a two-week break, they switched, and for a week the group that had previously eaten white bread ate the sourdough bread, and vice versa.

“No difference between the health effects of the two types of bread”

Tests revealed that eating bread of any kind affected the blood levels of sugar, minerals, liver enzymes and other substances. But when the scientists compared the effects of the two types of bread, they were surprised. “We were sure that the sourdough bread would come out a healthier choice, but much to our surprise, we found no difference between the health effects of the two types of bread,” Prof. Eran Segal, who led the study, said in a statement.

According to research team member Dr. Eran Elinav, that’s because “the body’s response to bread is a highly personal matter, so the differences among people in the study averaged themselves out.” His colleague Prof. Avraham Levy says: “We planned the experiment so that everyone would consume the same amount of available carbohydrates from both bread types. Because whole-wheat bread contains relatively fewer carbohydrates, this means that people ate more of it compared to the white bread. This difference in carbohydrate levels should also be taken into consideration when planning a diet.”

Which bread is better for you? It depends on your gut bacteria

The study further shows that about half of the participants had higher blood sugar levels after eating white bread, whereas the other half had higher blood sugar after eating sourdough bread. It is possible that these different responses were due to the differences in the individuals’ intestinal microbes – collectively known as the microbiome. The composition of the microbiome in the people whose response to white bread produced high blood sugar levels differed from that of the people who responded to sourdough bread with high blood sugar.

The scientists developed an algorithm connecting the microbiome’s composition with the person’s response to the type of bread. The algorithm was used to predict who will have high blood sugar after eating white bread, and who will have high blood sugar after eating the sourdough.

Additional researchers conducting this study include Tal Korem, Dr. David Zeevi, Dr. Omer Weissbrod, Noam Bar, Maya Lotan-Pompan, Dr. Tali Avnit-Sagi, Noa Kosower, Gal Malka, Michal Rein, Dr. Adina Weinberger, Dr. Niv Zmora, and Jotham Suez.

Photos and video: TiBineDaria Nepriakhina, Weizmann Institute

Melanie Lidman, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Company Will Oversee $1 Billion Worth Of Solar Field Projects In Africa]]> 2017-06-08T07:48:50Z 2017-06-08T06:57:05Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. 

An Israeli company will oversee $1 billion worth of solar field projects in Africa, harnessing the power of the sun, even as Israel itself struggles to bring its own plans for large solar fields online.

The massive deal to install the solar panels is part of an agreement that came out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Liberia to attend the Economic Community of West African States on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: Israelis Fight Hunger In Ethiopia By Helping Farmers Quintuple Crop Yields

Jerusalem-based Energiya Global’s deal will start with a $20 million solar field next to Liberia’s main airport producing 10 megawatts of power, and eventually expand to other ECOWAS countries, though further fields are still in the preliminary planning stages.

A mockup of the proposed Energiya Global 10 megawatt solar field near Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia. The field includes a star in honor of the Liberian flag. (courtesy Energiya Global)

Energiya Global CEO Yossi Abramowitz, who was in Liberia with Netanyahu and was part of Israel’s negotiating team for the COP21 Paris Climate Accords, said Israel’s legacy of bureaucracy and its struggling infrastructure mean that the deals Energiya Global is inking with African countries will put those countries ahead of Israel in terms of percentage of renewable energy consumption.

A mockup of the proposed Energiya Global 10 megawatt solar field near Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia. The field includes a star in honor of the Liberian flag. (courtesy Energiya Global)
Gigawatt Global, another company overseen by Abramowitz, is exploring solar fields in 10 African countries. In Rwanda, the 7.8-megawatt solar field it opened in 2015 now produces approximately 5% of the country’s electricity.

“In Africa, they deeply feel the effects of climate change because of increasing desertification,” said Abramowitz. “They are looking to Israel as a world leader to hold back desertification, and a lot of conflicts in the region are due to scarce water and food conflicts.”

He noted that the joint communique from ECOWAS and Netanyahu identified the top area for cooperation as agriculture, but the second area for cooperation was climate change and climate mitigation.

To read the full article, click here.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Computer & Entrepreneurship Program Accredited]]> 2017-06-07T14:05:24Z 2017-06-07T14:00:48Z June 7, 2017 | Israel’s Council for Higher Education has accredited IDC Herzliya‘s double-major undergraduate program in computer science and entrepreneurship. It’s the first-of-its kind dual-degree academic program approved in Israel. A nonprofit interdisciplinary academic center, IDC Herzliya was founded in 1994 by Prof. Uriel Reichman. [Photo: Courtesy]

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s CollPlant To 3D-Print Human Organs Using Tobacco-Derived Collagen]]> 2017-06-07T08:31:36Z 2017-06-07T06:20:05Z Replacing human organs with printable ones may sound like science fiction, but research is currently being conducted on the transplantation of an artificial kidney, liver and even a heart.

Israeli biomed firm CollPlant recently established a new division that will 3D-print organs and tissues using a unique biological ink it is currently developing. CollPlant, a regenerative medicine company, is developing a collagen-based bio-ink intended for use in 3D printers that print organs, using various technologies. The company extracts the collagen from locally grown tobacco leaves.

CollPlant grows tobacco in greenhouses to produce ‘human’ collagen, which is used in the bio-ink that will eventually 3D-print tissues and organs.

According to Yehiel Tal, CollPlant’s CEO, over the past several months, “we have substantially ramped up our activities in the 3D printing field… The collagen protein is a key building block in connective tissues in the human body, and therefore is ideal for use as biological ink.”

He adds that the company’s product ‘rhCollagen’ is “suitable for use in humans, due to its superior homogeneity, its high safety profile and the fact that it does not cause an immunological reaction.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Nano Dimension 3D Prints Human Stem Cells

CollPlant is currently developing a number of formulations of biological ink for various indications, and is working with several large international companies, with the aim of collaborating on the development of organ and tissue printing. Ravit Levrann, a spokeswoman for CollPlant, tells NoCamels the company grows tobacco in greenhouses in order to produce ‘human’ collagen, which is used in the bio-ink that will eventually 3D-print tissues and organs.

122,000 Americans are waiting for organ transplants 

According to the National Kidney Foundation, nearly 122,000 Americans are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants (101,000 of these await kidney transplants). Thousands await liver and pancreas transplants, and the waiting list grows every year.

Several companies worldwide are working on 3D-printed organs that could replace human donations. The burgeoning 3D bio-printing market is expected to grow to $1.8 billion by 2022, and to increase substantially as the 3D-printing technology of organs and tissues continues to mature.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Find Key To Long-Term Preservation Of Organs For Transplant

Traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, CollPlant was founded in 1981 by Prof. Oded Shoseyov. In addition to its collagen-based bio-ink, the company develops bio-materials indicated for orthopedics, tissue repair products and advanced wound healing.

Photos and video: Courtesy

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Sports Tech Startup PlaySight Raises $11M]]> 2017-06-06T09:03:18Z 2017-06-06T08:58:17Z June 6, 2017 | Israeli startup PlaySight, which specializes in immersive sports video and analytics technologies, has raised $11 million in a funding round led by Verizon Ventures and veteran professional golfer Greg Norman. Founded in 2013 by Chen Shachar, Evgeni Khazanov and Yoram Bentzur, the company has so far raised a total of $16 million. [Photo: Courtesy]

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Check Point Discovers ‘Fireball’ Malware; 250 Million Computers Worldwide Infected]]> 2017-06-06T10:36:05Z 2017-06-06T08:14:50Z Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point has discovered new malware that recently infected 250 million computers around the globe. Called Fireball, the malware takes over browsers and essentially turns them into zombies. This browser-hijacker can reroute innocent victims to malicious sites and spy on them.

Fireball has the ability of running any code, downloading any file or malware, and hijacking and manipulating infected users’ web-traffic to generate ad-revenue. Currently, Fireball installs plug-ins and additional configurations to boost its advertisements, but just as easily it can turn into a prominent distributor for any additional malware.

Top infected countries include India and Brazil, with about 25 million computers infected each. 16.1 million computers in Mexico have been infected so far, 13.1 million in Indonesia, and 5.5 million in the US. “The scope of the malware distribution is alarming,” Check Point says.

Fireball’s global infection rates, with the darker pink indicating more infections.

A massive security flaw”

According to the research team at Check Point, this operation is run by Rafotech, a large digital marketing agency based in Beijing, China. “Rafotech uses Fireball to manipulate the victims’ browsers and turn their default search engines and home-pages into fake search engines,” the analysts say. “This redirects the queries to either or The fake search engines include tracking pixels used to collect the users’ private information.”

The team warns that Fireball “has the ability to spy on victims, perform efficient malware dropping, and execute any malicious code in the infected machines; this creates a massive security flaw in targeted machines and networks.”

Rafotech’s website was down today and the company was not available to comment.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Check Point Reveals: More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Infected By ‘Gooligan’ Malware

According to Check Point analysts, among the 250 million computers infected worldwide, 20 percent belong to corporate networks. “The malware acts as a browser-hijacker but can be turned into a full-functioning malware downloader,” they say. “Fireball is capable of executing any code, resulting in a wide range of actions – from stealing credentials to dropping additional malware.”

Another indicator of the high infection rate is the popularity of Rafotech’s fake search engines. According to Alexa’s web traffic data, 14 of these fake search engines are among the top 10,000 websites, with some of them occasionally reaching the top 1,000.

“A pesticide armed with a nuclear bomb”

Check Point stresses that Fireball and similar browser-hijackers are “hybrid creatures, half seemingly legitimate software, and half malware.” Although Rafotech uses Fireball only for advertising and initiating traffic to its fake search engines, it can perform any action. “These actions can have serious consequences.”

How severe is it? Say the analysts: “Try to imagine a pesticide armed with a nuclear bomb. Yes, it can do the job, but it can also do much more.”

For tips on how to check if your computer is infected, to remove the malware, or to avoid future infections, you may visit Check Point’s blog.

Founded in 1993 by Gil Schwed, Marius Nacht and Shlomo Kramer, Check Point went public in 1996. Its current market cap is $18.5 billion, and its shares trade on Nasdaq for $113.

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

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

Cybersecurity israel

Photos and infographics: Check Point, Geralt

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israeli Startup Belkin Laser Raises $5M]]> 2017-06-05T09:53:51Z 2017-06-05T09:43:30Z June 5, 2017 | Israeli startup Belkin Laser, a portfolio company of Israel’s RAD Biomed accelerator, has secured $5 million in funding from Zicom Holdings, Rimonci Capital and the European Union (grant). The capital raised adds to the $1.5 million previously raised by the company. Belkin Laser develops a laser device for glaucoma patients who will receive short, efficient treatments, instead of the eye drops used today. Belkin Laser was founded in 2013 under a license agreement from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv University. Its product is based on Prof. Michael Belkin’s invention. [Photo: TobiasD]

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[World Environment Day 2017: Israeli Solar Energy Tree ‘Planted’ In Central France]]> 2017-06-05T07:19:51Z 2017-06-05T07:19:51Z American president Donald Trump stirred up global controversy when he withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement last week, just a few days before World Environment Day is observed. Meanwhile, some 250 kilometers south of Paris, in the city of Nevers, an Israeli-developed solar-energy tree which converts sunlight into power was “planted.”

Developed by Israeli firm Sologic, the eTree is a smart, solar-powered unit designed as a tree. This independent, self-sufficient scenic element is a sculpture of sorts that’s powered by solar panels located on its top, which are designed like square leaves. It’s also dubbed “The Solar Giving Tree,” after the famous Shel Silverstein children’s book.

Besides producing energy from the sun to power the unit’s USB charging ports, the solar panels atop the eTree provide shade during the day and illumination at night for all those who pause for a relaxing moment under its branches.

The eTree also offers a water fountain, free Wi-Fi, an LCD screen for surfing the internet, electrical outlets and benches. There’s even a trough filled with water for your dog!

The tree is 4.5-meter high, weighs 1.25 kilograms and has total capacity of 1,400 Watts.

SEE ALSO: Tesla, SolarEdge Launching Revolutionary Solar-Powered Home Battery

In Nevers, located in central France, residents can now use the eTree to charge their phones, surf the Web and simply get some shade during the summer. The town joins a dozen Israeli and American cities and towns where the eTree is already installed.

“A place of comfort and energy” 

“eTree is an ecological sculpture that aims to promote awareness to sustainability within the community,” according to Sologic. “It is powered by solar panels that produce energy directly from the sun. It is an independent unit that produces green energy and provides a place of comfort and energy for a wide variety of services.”

SEE ALSO: How Going Solar Can Earn You Some Extra Income

solar "tree"

The eTree in Nevers, France, with the Israeli flag in the back, shortly after the inauguration ceremony.

The first eTree was unveiled in 2014, and the operational model was presented at the climate conference in Paris one year later. According to Sologic, the eTree was selected in 2015 among hundreds of candidates by the international climate change summit, where the climate agreement that was back in the news last week – had originally been signed.

Founded by Israeli entrepreneur Michael Lasry, Sologic develops dependable solar solutions to cater to the power needs of families, businesses and institutions. Its eTree solution was designed by Israeli artist Yoav Ben Dov.

Photos and videos: courtesy of Michael Lasry/Sologic

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[National Australia Bank, OurCrowd To Collaborate]]> 2017-06-05T08:17:15Z 2017-06-04T12:48:30Z OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogoJune 5, 2017 | The National Australia Bank (NAB) will collaborate with Israeli crowd-funding company OurCrowd to provide its clients with direct access to exclusive OurCrowd startup investments. The first of its kind in Australia, the collaboration provides NAB clients with access to OurCrowd, which in recent years has raised over $440 million from 20,000 investors across 112 countries. Founded in 2012 by CEO Jon Medved, OurCrowd is a global equity crowdfunding platform for accredited investors who together invest in Israeli startups.


the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Apax Israel Buys Local ‘3M’ Division For $200M]]> 2017-06-04T08:51:58Z 2017-06-04T08:51:58Z June 4, 2017 | Investment firm Apax Israel is acquiring 3M’s traffic safety and security division, which is largely based in Israel, for $200 million. The division’s electronic monitoring technologies are used by law enforcement agencies in dozens of countries around the globe.

Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Ripe For The Picking: New Israeli App Assesses Freshness Of Produce]]> 2017-06-04T08:28:17Z 2017-06-04T08:09:20Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. 

Israeli startup AclarTech has developed a mobile app that allows to monitor, in real time, the ripeness, freshness and quality of fruits and vegetables.

The Ness Ziona, Israel-based firm’s AclaroMeter will change the way farmers make their decisions and will “revolutionize” the global food market by helping prevent wasted products and making them accessible to wider populations, the company says on its website.

SEE ALSO: Phresh Keeps Your Fruits And Veggies Fresh, Saves Up To $400 A Year


Today, farmers decide when to pick fruit based on instinct or lab tests. “These methods are extremely inefficient and not standardized, leading to a yearly loss of approximately 50% of worldwide grown fruit” and vegetables, the company said, with some wasted even before it gets to consumers’ homes.

With the Aclaro meter, users scan the fruit with their built-in smartphone camera and with a standard portable molecular sensor, the SCIO.

This captures a large set of measurements about the fruit and its environment, revealing data like the fruit’s sugar content, acidity, firmness, weight and color, as well as its GPS location and weather conditions at the time of sampling. The data is then uploaded to the cloud and is processed by a tailor-made algorithm that compares the data to tens of thousands of other samples of previously inspected fruit.

The algorithm then grades the scanned fruit for freshness, ripeness and quality within a few seconds, the company said. This data can help farmers decide when to pick their produce and monitor its freshness as it moves along the food chain via packaging houses to retailers and end users.

SEE ALSO: Helping Farmers Quintuple Crop Yields

AclarTech has just completed a pilot project with a local grape producer and is set to start a beta test with agricultural entities in Israel, including the Agriculture Ministry, the Plant Council, the agricultural research organization Volcani Center and wineries.

vineyard grapes

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Porsche To Invest In Israeli Driverless Car Technologies]]> 2017-06-01T16:45:37Z 2017-06-01T16:43:25Z June 1, 2017 | Luxury car manufacturer Porsche said today it plans to invest tens of millions of Euros in Israeli autonomous car technologies. The German automaker, which will launch an innovation center in the Startup Nation, said it will initially invest an eight-figure sum. The company didn’t specify the Israeli startups it’s interested in. [Photo: Porsche]

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Urban Place Raises $12M]]> 2017-06-01T09:34:31Z 2017-06-01T09:22:00Z June 1, 2017 | Israeli shared office space startup Urban Place has raised $12 million in a private funding round that included angel investors Claude Bismuth and Bernard Kalfon. The company plans to use the funds to open locations in Europe. Founded in late 2015, and headed by CEO Romain Levy, Urban Place currently operates in Tel Aviv, with plans to expand to Jerusalem, Haifa and Herzliya.

Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels <![CDATA[Groundbreaking Study Finds World Of Genetic Differences Between Men And Women]]> 2017-06-01T09:02:48Z 2017-06-01T05:29:50Z In a groundbreaking study, Israeli researchers recently discovered 6,500 genes that differ between the sexes. This research could change the way diseases are treated in men and women.

The comprehensive study of sex-biased genes, conducted at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, shows that while these 6,500 genes are present in all humans, they are expressed (copied out to make proteins) differently in men and women.

The researchers, Prof. Shmuel Pietrokovski and Dr. Moran Gershoni, believe that their mapping of these differences will contribute to the development of novel medical treatments. “Our findings reinforce what scientists have come to realize in the past decade – that we have to analyze medical issues differently for men and women,” Pietrokovski tells NoCamels. “Before talking about the concept of personalized medicine, we can explore different treatments and medicines for men and women.”


The study, recently published in the scientific journal BMC Biology, was based on the scientists’ analysis of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project, a large-scale study of human gene expression involving genetic data from 544 adult donors. “We took publicly available data for more than 50,000 genes from 544 adults across more than 50 tissues, and we looked across all these genes,” Pietrokovski explains.

For instance, the researchers identified a gene that is only expressed in the heart of women, and is also related to calcium uptake. This gene shows high expression levels in younger women, but they sharply decrease with age. The researchers believe that the decreased expression of this gene could contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis in older women.

The scientists also identified gene expression that is specific to women’s livers, which regulates drug metabolism. This finding provides further evidence for the known difference in drug processing between men and women.

Genes that lead to visible differences between the sexes

Some of these genetic differences lead to very visible physical differences. For example, the researchers identified genes that are more highly expressed in men’s skin than in women’s skin, and concluded that these genes are associated with the growth of body hair. Moreover, genes related to muscle building are more highly expressed in men, while those related to fat storage are more highly expressed in women.

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

The researchers also found that genetic mutations associated with infertility still exist in the human gene pool because these mutations are found in sex-biased genes, which are expressed only in men or in women. For instance, mutations in genes specific to sperm formation persist because these genes are only expressed in men. These mutations could still be carried by women and passed on to the next generation. The scientists then expanded their research to include genes that are not related to fertility, leading to the identification of thousands of sex-biased genes.

SEE ALSO: The Difference In Social Perception Between The Sexes

“Men and women undergo different selection pressures and, at least to some extent, human evolution should be viewed as co-evolution,” Pietrokovski says. “But the study also emphasizes the need for a better understanding of the differences between men and women in the genes that cause disease or respond to treatments.”

Photos: Jason Thomas, GeneG

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Cannabis Can Reverse Aging Process And Enhance Brain Performance]]> 2017-05-31T12:54:31Z 2017-05-31T05:30:51Z Memory performance decreases with age, but a new Israeli study suggests that cannabis can reverse these aging processes in the brain.

Scientists at the Hebrew University and the University of Bonn have shown that older mice were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with a prolonged, low-dose treatment of cannabis. This groundbreaking study, recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Medicine, opens up new treatments for dementia.

young versus old aging - photo by East Foundation

Slowing down the aging of the brain 

Like any other organ, our brain ages. As a result, our cognitive abilities decrease with increasing age. Thus, it becomes more difficult to learn new things, or devote attention to several things at the same time. This process is normal, but can also promote dementia. Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.

Israeli and German researchers have now achieved this in mice. With their short life expectancy (2-3 years), these animals display pronounced cognitive deficits even at 12 months of age.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Fight Alzheimer’s Disease 

The scientists administered a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis), to mice aged two, 12 and 18 months over a period of four weeks. Then, they tested learning capacity and memory performance in the rodents – including, for instance, orientation skills and the recognition of other mice.

Mice that were only given a placebo (the control group) displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses. In contrast, the cognitive functions of the animals treated with cannabis were just as good as the two-month-old critters in the control group.

“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” the researchers said in a statement.

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

THC imitates the effect of cannabinoids (the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis) produced naturally in the body, which fulfill important functions in the brain. “With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces; when the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid aging in the brain,” according to the research team.

To discover precisely what effect the THC treatment has in old mice, researchers at the Hebrew University, led by Dr. Mona Dvir-Ginzberg and the late Prof. Itai Bab, examined the changes in brains of aged mice treated with THC.

“The THC treatment induced molecular and epigenetic changes, which no longer corresponded to that of untreated old animals, but rather were similar to what we see in young animals,” Dvir-Ginzberg said in a statement.

Turning back the clock 

Moreover, the number of links between the nerve cells in the brain also increased again, which is an important prerequisite for learning ability. “It looked as though the THC treatment turned back the molecular clock,” the scientists say.

A low dose of the administered THC was chosen, so that there was no intoxicating effect in the mice. Cannabis products are already permitted as medications, for instance as pain relief. As a next step, the researchers wish to conduct a clinical trial to investigate whether THC also reverses aging processes in the brain of humans and can increase cognitive ability.

Photos: Bigstock, East Foundation

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israeli AI Startup Inflowz Raises $3.5M]]> 2017-05-30T08:12:42Z 2017-05-30T08:10:31Z May 30, 2017 | Israeli artificial intelligence startup Inflowz has completed its seed funding round, securing $3.5 million from Israeli venture capital firm Glilot Capital Partners. Founded earlier this year by Avinoam Nowogrodski, Rachel Haim, and Ori Ronige, the startup provides AI sales process optimization platforms.

Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Scientists Predict Resistance Of Cancerous Tumors To Chemotherapy]]> 2017-05-30T07:46:27Z 2017-05-30T06:00:46Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. 

Chemotherapy is sometimes thought to be a treatment that’s harsher than the disease it comes to fight.

Cancer patients are subject to rounds of chemotherapy treatments in which cells – both healthy and cancerous are expected to be destroyed in the process.

So, it’s especially awful when the targeted tumors have cell mutations that are resistant to chemo or develop resistance afterwards, rendering the potentially harmful therapy ineffective and pointless.

Now, Hebrew University researchers say they have developed a way to predict resistance to chemotherapy treatments, which can help doctors and patients better target their treatments, and helping reduce the rate of resistance levels “dramatically,” from the current 50 percent.

cancer cells

NewStem, a new biotech company set up by Prof. Nissim Benvenisty of the Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says it discovered and managed to harvest human pluripotent embryonic stem cells which have just one set of chromosomes — called haploid cells — as opposed to the diploid cells with two sets of chromosomes that are found in most human cells. These pluripotent stem cells have the ability to become any cell type, for example heart cells or brain cells.

SEE ALSO: To Stop Cancer From Spreading: Shoot The Messenger

Using these newly found and harvested haploid cells, the researchers created a so-called “cell line” in which a small number of cells are proliferated. They then mixed these cells with an existing genome-editing technique called Crispr Cas, which causes genetic mutations, managing to create a library with 180,000 mutations in 18,000 genes — or on average 10 mutations per gene.

SEE ALSO: How Elephants’ Genes Are Fighting Cancer In Humans

“This would cover all relevant genes for therapeutic purposes,” said Ayelet Dilion-Mashiah, CEO of NewStem.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and illustrations: Yissum, Bigstock

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israeli Startup GeneSort ‘Exits’ For $23M]]> 2017-05-29T11:27:27Z 2017-05-29T11:27:27Z May 29, 2017 | Hong Kong-based investment group AID Partners has acquired Israeli diagnostics startup GeneSort for $23 million. Founded in 2013, GeneSort is led by Dr. Gil Pogozelich. The molecular diagnostics company is focused on integrating genomics with personalized therapeutic approaches.

the NoCamels team <![CDATA[NetApp Acquires Plexistor For $20M]]> 2017-05-29T10:18:48Z 2017-05-29T10:18:48Z May 29, 2017 | American data management giant NetApp has acquired Israeli startup Plexistor, which specializes in high-capacity memory storage, for $20 million. The deal is expected to close in the next month. Founded in 2013 by Sharon Azulai and Amit Golander, the startup has so far raised an undisclosed amount from Battery Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partner.