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. 2017-03-23T14:31:38Z NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israel’s Tallest Buliding Approved For Tel Aviv]]> 2017-03-23T14:31:38Z 2017-03-23T14:27:36Z

Te; AvivMarch 23, 2017 | The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Committee has approved a plan to build a 100-floor building in Tel Aviv. The new high-rise, which will be the tallest building in Israel, will be located on a 11 dunam (2.75 acre) plot owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality near the entry ramp to the Ayalon Highway by Tel Aviv Central Savidor Station. At present the lot serves as a car park. The planned building will have 166,500 square meters of space zoned for offices, hotels and commercial premises. Once the plan has passed the objections hurdle, Tel Aviv Municipality will issue a tender, which is expected to attract the country’s largest income producing property companies. The original plan was for 75-floors but the Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Committee accepted the recommendation of Tel Aviv city engineer Oded Gvuli, to increase it to 100-floors. The plans will be drawn up by Amnon Schwartz Architects Ltd.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[BGU Undergrad Wins Intl Robotics Award]]> 2017-03-23T12:29:41Z 2017-03-23T12:29:23Z BGUMarch 23, 2017| Shir Kashi, an undergraduate student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev won the best Late-Breaking Report award at the 2017 Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) in Vienna, Austria earlier this month. Kashi, a research assistant in Dr. Shelly Levi Tzedek’s Cognition, Aging and Rehabilitation (CAR) Lab, presented the results of her study on people playing the mirror game with a robotic arm. The study was conducted at the Department of Physical Therapy, as part of broader research in the CAR lab on interactions between people and robots, with the aim of understanding how to design optimal interactions for integrating robots in the rehabilitation reconstruction process in the future. 


Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli 3D Printing Technology Helps Surgeons Separate Conjoined Twins]]> 2017-03-23T09:41:23Z 2017-03-23T09:41:23Z From 3D-printed shoes to 3D-printed cars, 3D technology is changing everything around us, even the medical world. An Israeli company has developed innovative software for 3D printing anatomical models that enable doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery using a 3D model that matches the anatomy of the patient. This innovative technology can even help them prepare for extremely complex operations, such as separating conjoined twins.

The company behind the software is Israel’s Simbionix, which 3D Systems bought for $120 million three years ago. At a recent medical conference, Colorado-based 3D Systems exhibited this new Israeli development, which allows doctors to print in three dimensions the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure and study it while holding it.

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

MacDonald Twins, twins joined at the head

“As complicated as it gets”

Perhaps the most phenomenal application of this Israeli technology is in helping separate conjoined twins. Jadon and Anias McDonald were born joined at the skull and shared blood vessels. Last fall, when they were 13 months old, they were finally separated during a 27-hour operation performed by doctors at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, supported by 3D Systems technologies and training sessions.

The remarkable surgery was made possible thanks to a dedicated team that included several members of 3D Systems’ healthcare division, who were present in the operating room for the surgery, along with nearly 40 other healthcare professionals.

Using medical scans and imaging of the twins, 3D Systems was able to create 3D models to facilitate planning of the complex procedure. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Goodrich, who has told the media “this is about as complicated as it gets.”

Custom devices tailored to the patient’s anatomy

Another example of a surgery that can apply this innovation is aneurysm repair, which can be done as an open operation or by using a minimally invasive technique where surgeons introduce tools through the femoral arteries in the groin and eventually place a stent-graft to repair the aneurysm.

During the course of the implantation, surgeons must pay great attention to maintain blood flow to vital arteries that originate from the abdominal aorta. The procedure becomes more complex when the aneurysm involves arteries to the kidneys and intestines. In such cases, stent-graft repair requires the use of custom devices tailored to a patient’s anatomy.

Improving safety 

“Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the US,” Susan Vetrone of 3D Systems tells NoCamels. “Our goal is to improve patient safety through advanced medical education.”

Combining 3D printing and healthcare, this project was spearheaded in Israel, but is “used by renowned surgeons in the US,” she says. It showcases “how our training tools help prepare future surgeons.”

3d printing software for surgeons

3D models used in classes 

Dr. Jean Bismuth of Houston’s Methodist Hospital and Dr. Jason Lee from Stanford University Medical Center have long been collaborating on teaching vascular surgery trainees. Their insight and experience were key to developing a complex training course which was brought to life by the 3D printed models created by 3D Systems.

SEE ALSO: 3D Printing: How The Technology Brings Energy And Hope To The Third World

According to Bismuth, “in the future, we hope to train and practice these procedures using pre-operative CT information as a tool for deciding how to most efficiently operate on a particular upcoming patient.”

Course attendees practiced the procedure, as it is performed in the OR, using a 3D printed model based on patient CT

Practicing the procedure using a 3D printed model based on a patient’s CT

3D Systems can also combine 3D printed models with virtual reality (VR) medical simulators, which creates a one-of-a-kind blended reality experience for surgical training and planning, which can be personalized based on patient-specific data.

Photos: 3D Systems/Simbionix, Christine Pogliano GrossoThe Children’s Hospital at Montefiore

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[BGU’s Dr. Yonatan Dubi Awarded Krill Prize]]> 2017-03-23T09:31:42Z 2017-03-23T09:30:07Z BGUMarch 23, 2017| Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Dr. Yonatan Dubi of the Department of Chemistry is to be awarded the prestigious Krill Prize from the Wolf Foundation for excellence in scientific research. The prize will be presented at a ceremony to be held next week. Dubi was part of the US-Israel collaboration with Prof. Bingqian Xu of the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia, USA which made headlines last year for their creation and characterization of the world’s smallest diode – one molecule small. Initiated in 2005 by the Krill family, six prizes of $10,000 each are awarded annually in life sciences, medicine, agriculture, engineering and exact sciences. Selection is made by the Wolf Foundation Scholarships Committee on the basis of an untenured candidate’s excellence and the importance of his or her research field.

The Wolf Foundation was established in Israel in 1975 by inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Dr. Ricardo Wolf, “to promote science and art for the benefit of mankind.” 

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Smart Car Co. Autotalks Raises $30M]]> 2017-03-23T08:24:46Z 2017-03-23T08:18:01Z AutotalksMarch 23, 2017 | Israeli V2X (Vehicle to Everything) communication solutions startup Autotalks has completed a $30 million Series D financing round. The new funding round includes the company’s existing investors: Magma Venture Capital, Gemini Israel Fund, Amiti Fund, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Liberty Ventures and Delek Motors, as well as new financial investors: Israeli institutions, Fraser McCombs Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners and Samsung Catalyst Fund. The proceeds will be used to expand the company’s worldwide operations and accelerate deployment of technologies for safer and smarter autonomous vehicles. Autotalks, which specializes in vehicle to vehicle communications in autonomous driving, has raised $70 million to date including this round. The company was founded in 2008 by Onn Haran and is based at Kfar Netter near Netanya.

Luke Tress, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Sweet Dreams: New Cannabis Sleep Aid Developed In Israel]]> 2017-03-22T12:56:55Z 2017-03-22T12:56:55Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

American pharmaceutical company CannRx and accelerator iCAN: Israel-Cannabis have partnered to launch a sleep aid, called ican.sleep, made from cannabis extracts. The product will be the first pharmaceutical-grade cannabis formulation for sleep on the market, and could be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry in Israel, said Bill Levine, the executive chairman of CannRx Technologies.

The product will consist of a precise cannabis formulation that will be inhaled by users for a rapid onset. The formulation will also determine the duration of users’ sleep.

“You take a puff or two, depending upon the dosage, and basically within ten minutes you’ll be drowsy enough to sleep,” Levine said. “We can give you a predictable, dose dependent response every single time.”

Sleeping woman

The companies announced the new product at the CannaTech medical cannabis conference in Tel Aviv this week. CannRx and iCAN plan to launch the sleep supplement globally following patent trials this year.

SEE ALSO: Research: Small Quantities Of Marijuana Protect Against Brain Damage

Similar, existing products are meant to be swallowed and are unpredictable, since medical cannabis products tend to be hard to control, Levine said.

The sleep aid could provide an inroad to the US market, said Saul Kaye, founder and CEO of iCAN.

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

Israel’s progress in successfully medicalizing and controlling cannabis was a common theme at the CannaTech conference, which is meant to highlight the innovation and normalization that is happening with medical cannabis in Israel, Kaye said.

“We’re doing more research in Israel than anywhere else. We have destigmatized better than other places, and we have an approach to medicalizing cannabis, rather than legalizing cannabis,” Kaye said.


To read the full article, click here

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Secret To Eternal Life? Hydras Know Where To Regrow Lost Body Parts]]> 2017-03-22T13:38:55Z 2017-03-22T12:25:02Z Hydra, a small freshwater animal, knows exactly where to regenerate lost body parts, and its “trick” could someday be used to regenerate human muscles, a new Israeli study suggests. And, if the hydra can infinitely regenerate itself, perhaps it knows the secret to immortality.

Until recently, it was thought that hydras – small, tentacled animals that can literally be shredded into pieces and regrow into healthy animals – use chemical signals to regenerate body parts, but researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology now suggest that hydras have structural memory that guides the regeneration of cells in the right direction.

Recently published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, the study suggests that pieces of hydras have structural memory that helps them shape their new body plan according to the pattern inherited by the animal’s “skeleton.” Previously, scientists thought that only chemical signals told a hydra where its heads or feet should form.

SEE ALSO: Parasite Genetically Related To Jellyfish Could Defy Everything We Know About Animals

Hydras use a network of tough, stringy protein fibers to align their cells. When pieces are cut or torn from hydras, this pattern (called “cytoskeleton”) survives and becomes part of the new animal. The pattern generates a small but potent amount of mechanical force that shows cells where to line up.

This force can serve as a form of “memory” that stores information about the layout of animal bodies. When pieces of hydra begin the regeneration process, the scraps of hydra fold into little balls, and the cytoskeleton has to find a balance between maintaining its old shape and adapting to the new conditions.

Hydra attached to a substrate

“If you take a strip or a square fragment and turn it into a sphere, the fibers have to change or stretch a lot to do that,” the study’s senior author, biophysicist Kinneret Keren of the Technion, said in a statement.

However, some portions retain their pattern. As the little hydra tissue ball stretches into a tube and grows a tentacle-ringed mouth, the new body parts follow the template set by the cytoskeleton in fragments from the original hydra. The main cytoskeletal structure in adult hydra is an array of aligned fibers that span the entire organism. Tampering with the cytoskeleton is enough to disrupt the formation of new hydras, the researchers found. In many ways, the cytoskeleton is like a system of taut wires that helps the hydra keep its shape and function.

Regenerating human muscles?

In one experiment, the researchers cut the original hydra into rings which folded into balls that contained multiple domains of aligned fibers. Those ring-shaped pieces grew into two-headed hydras. However, anchoring the hydra rings to stiff wires resulted in healthy one-headed hydras, suggesting that mechanical feedbacks promote order in the developing animal.

SEE ALSO: Smart Plant Drugs Birds Into Forgetting Their Bitter Taste

Hydras are much simpler than most of their cousins in the animal kingdom, but the basic pattern of aligned cytoskeletal fibers is common in many organs, including human muscles, heart, and guts. Studying hydra regeneration may lead to a better understanding of how mechanics integrate with biochemical signals to shape tissues and organs in other species.


Photos and video: Technion, Frank Fox

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Eye Care Co. EyeOn Medical Raises $6.5M]]> 2017-03-21T11:05:35Z 2017-03-21T11:02:24Z eyeyonmedicalMarch 21, 2017 | Israeli ophthalmic device company EyeOn Medical founded by ophthalmologists Dr. Arie Marcovich and Dr. Daphna Ofer, and managed by CEO Nahum Ferera, has raised $6.5 million. The company, which emerged from the Val Leer incubator, has developed a special contact lens designed to treat corneal edema. The investment round was led by China-based venture capital fund Rimonci Capital and co-investor Gauss Group, as well existing investors Triventures and Pontifax, with a grant from Israel’s Chief Scientist.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Urban Jungle: Tel Aviv Named World’s 7th Greenest City]]> 2017-03-21T11:47:53Z 2017-03-21T10:53:09Z Tel Aviv, Israel, is among the greenest cities in the world, ranking No. 7 on a prestigious list compiled recently by MIT researchers in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

No. 1 on the list is Vancouver, Canada, followed by Sacramento, US, and Geneva, Switzerland. Rounding out the top five are Seattle and Toronto.

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

Trees and plants in urban environments have been known to improve air quality and provide shade. According to the WEF, making available significant ‘green’ living space is now virtually mandatory for cities around the world. But are they up to scratch?

To answer this question, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) teamed up with the WEF to create Treepedia, a website which measures and compares cities’ green canopies, including that of Tel Aviv.

Rothchild Boulevard, Tel Aviv Israel

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv, Israel

Using Google Street View data, Treepedia could become a tool for both city planners and dwellers. Urbanites can inspect the location and size of trees in their neighborhoods, as well as input their own data and request for more trees to be planted where they live. In addition to visualizing cities’ green spaces, a metric called the ‘Green View Index’ helps city planners to evaluate and compare green canopy coverage relative to other cities around the globe.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Revolutionizes City Transportation With New $26M Car-Sharing Service

The initiative is designed to “help shape the cities of the future; teach urbanites a greater appreciation of the green spaces around them, and reinforce the role of the green canopy in responding to climate change,” Alice Charles of the World Economic Forum said in a statement.

260,000 trees cover 52 square kilometers 

Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial center, has launched several green initiatives in recent years, including city-sponsored bicycle and car-sharing services.

According to city officials, the number of trees in Tel Aviv (excluding trees in parks) has doubled over the past decade, reaching 260,000, averaging 5,000 trees per square kilometer.

“We’ve cleaned up vacant lots to make room for parks and promenades,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement. “Today, our hard work has paid off, and our green city provides a high quality of life.”

Photos and video: Vered Versano/City of Tel Aviv, World Economic ForumInaani333Sambach

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Storage Solutions Co. Reduxio Raises $22.5M]]> 2017-03-20T13:33:57Z 2017-03-20T13:33:57Z Reduxio Raises $15 millionMarch 20, 2017 | Israeli storage and data management solutions company Reduxio Systems has raised $22.5 million of its Series C financing in a round expected to reach $32 million. The round, which was led by London-based C5 Capital, more than doubles the capital invested in the company, and will fund continued innovation and global marketing of Reduxio’s software-defined storage platform. All previous investors, including Jerusalem Venture Partners, Carmel Ventures, Intel Capital and Seagate Technology participated in this financing round. Reduxio CEO Mark Weiner, CTO Nir Peleg, and VP R&D Amnon Strasser founded the company in 2012 at the JVP Media Quarter in Jerusalem. The company has 80 employees of which 50 are in its Israel offices in Petah Tikva. Reduxio also has offices in San Francisco.

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Happy Nation: Israel Ranked 11th Happiest Country For Fourth Year In A Row]]> 2017-03-20T11:21:10Z 2017-03-20T11:21:10Z Disneyland may proclaim itself  ‘the happiest place on earth’, but Israel is not that far behind. According to this year’s World Happiness Report, Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world – for the fourth year in a row. 

Although Israel ranks behind countries like Norway (1st), Denmark (2nd), Iceland (3rd), Switzerland (4th) and Canada (7th) on the list, it placed ahead of the US (14th), Germany (16th) and the UK (19th). When the report first launched in 2012, Israel was ranked at number 14 out of the countries surveyed, but has held firm on 11th place since then.

In honor of International Day of Happiness, celebrated annually on March 20th, the World Happiness Report 2017 was released today by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for the United Nations. The report, a worldwide survey of the state of global happiness, ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels.

SEE ALSO: International Day of Happiness: What Top Israeli Studies Say About What Makes Us Happy

The report is based on an annual survey of 1,000 people in more than 150 countries that simply asks them to rank, on a scale of 0 to 10, whether they are living their best life.

happiness, world happiness

World Happiness Report 2017 Rankings (1-53)

Researchers then use six measures to try to understand the results: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity/charitable giving, and perceived levels of government and corporate corruption.

“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” the report noted.

SEE ALSO: Five Israeli Startups That Aim To Make You Happier

Happiest Country: Norway

After ranking fourth for the last two years, Norway jumped three spots and displaced three-time winner Denmark to take the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time. Denmark dropped to second place this year, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden. Denmark has won the title three of the four times the report has been issued, while Switzerland has won the title just once.

Meanwhile, the United States came in 14th place, dropping one place from last year.

According to the survey, people in Tanzania (153), Syria (152) and Rwanda (151), are are unhappiest with their lives.

Keys to happiness: Trust in society, strong social foundations

Director of the SDSN and a special adviser to the UN secretary general, Jeffrey Sachs, said in an interview that: “Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government.”

“As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations,” Sachs said. “It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let’s hold our leaders to this fact.”

Photos: SDSN, Pixabay
Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Bringing Pride To The Tribe: How Team Israel Hit It Out Of The Ballpark At The World Baseball Classic]]> 2017-03-20T11:03:34Z 2017-03-19T12:08:20Z For years, rooting for Team Israel meant cheering for the country’s national soccer, basketball or Olympic teams. But this month, thanks to their surprising success at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), when sports fans talk about Team Israel, they mean baseball.

First played in 2006, and played every four years since 2009, The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament modeled after the FIFA World Cup. Professional players from the major leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball (MLB), also take part.

This year was the first time Israel had qualified for the tournament.

WBC, Team Israel, Israel baseball

SEE ALSO: The Top 10 Israeli Startups Changing The World Of Sports

Odds of Israel winning: 200 – 1

Before this year’s WBC began, American Sports network ESPN considered Team Israel, ranked 41st in the world, to be the biggest underdog in the 16 team tournament. They even went so far as referring to them as the “Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC”. Israel’s odds to win the WBC were set at 200-1, before the tournament started. But, as Team Israel began to win games at the WBC, the team’s scrappy performance began being described as “a Cinderella story” and a “David vs. Goliath tale”.

In the first round of the WBC, Israel stunned the baseball world by winning Pool A with a 3-0 record to advance to the last eight. Team Israel, which is built around MLB-affiliated Jewish Americans, defeated South Korea, Chinese Taipei and then the Netherlands in Seoul before surprising Cuba in its first game in the last eight in Tokyo, to improve their overall record to 4-0.

However, a 12-2 loss to the Netherlands on Monday complicated Israel’s situation. On Wednesday, in a must-win game for Israel, Japan and Israel were tied at 0-0 for five innings until the Japanese team scored five runs in the sixth inning, a deficit which the Israeli team was not able to come back from. The 8-3 defeat to Japan sealed Team Israel’s fate and ended their hopes of advancing to the final round of the WBC in Los Angeles.

On the positive side, the top three from each pool automatically qualify for the 2021 WBC, so thanks to their success this year, Team Israel has already locked up a spot to compete in the next WBC in 2021.

Team Israel: Jewish players from all over the world

Under WBC rules, any player eligible to be a citizen of a country is entitled to play for that country’s baseball team, even if the player has not obtained citizenship. Israel’s Law of Return gives anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent, or who is married to a Jew, the right to return to Israel and to be an Israeli citizen. The WBC rules thus allow non-Israeli citizens of Jewish heritage to play for Team Israel.

“We had to hunt far and wide and find the best guys who could potentially be eligible,” Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, told USA Today Sports. Many of the players have had some major-league experience, with virtually all being Americans of Jewish heritage.

Israel’s roster included 20 MLB-affiliated minor leaguers, making up 86 percent of the team, more than any other team in the qualifiers, even before including recent Major Leaguers Craig Breslow (an 11-year MLB veteran), Ike Davis, Sam Fuld, Josh Satin, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, former 15-year MLB veteran All Star pitcher Jason Marquis, Cody Decker, Nate Freiman, and Josh Zeid.

WBC, Israel, Team Israel, Israel baseball

Members of Team Israel remove their caps and put on their yarmulkes for the Israeli national anthem.

One of the team’s oldest players is pitcher Shlomo Lipetz, 37, who grew up in Israel and lives in New York. Lipetz is also the only player on the team with no MLB affiliation. Team Israel’s youngest player was pitcher Dean Kremer, 20, a Californian drafted by the Dodgers whose parents are Israeli expatriates.

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

A visit to Israel

“Playing for Israel is the last thing I thought I would be doing,” Ty Kelly, a utility player in the New York Mets farm system, said in an interview. “And there is nothing I would rather be doing. It really does have a deep meaning.”

Kelly was part of a group of players to visit Israel in January on a promotional tour aimed at increasing baseball awareness and boosting the number of players from its current level of around 1,000.

“When we went to Israel we saw the pride they have in their country,” Kelly said. “To be able to give the people another outlet to express that pride, by supporting a team in a sport that Israel has never been known for, it just feels really cool.”

Mascot: The Mensch on the Bench

Cody Decker brought the team’s mascot with him to Asia from the United States for the WBC. The mascot is “Mensch on the Bench”, a five-foot-tall plush stuffed toy that looks a bit like a rabbi or Hasidic Jew with a long beard and mustache who is wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) and holding a candle.”Mensch”, in Yiddish, means a person of integrity or honor.

Mensch on the bench, masot

Team Israel’s Mascot: The Mensch on the Bench

Decker said he tried getting the mascot a first-class ticket, but that didn’t work, so he was put in a duffel bag and checked. The mascot proved to be a big hit, and the team takes him everywhere they go. He has his own locker, sits on Team Israel’s bench in the dugout during every game, and even sat alongside Decker at a press conference in South Korea.

“He’s a mascot, he’s a friend, he’s a teammate, he’s a borderline deity to our team,” Decker explained in a recent interview. “He brings a lot to the table. He had his own locker, and we even gave him offerings: Manischewitz, gelt, and gefilte fish.”

Team Israel’s Manager Jerry Weinstein added: “He’s on the team. Everybody brings something to the team, and certainly The Mensch is a unifying factor for the ball club.” Pitcher Gabe Cramer added: “The Mensch on the Bench is … a symbol we can rally around as a team. We are proud to be Jewish, but we know how to make and take a joke, something Jews have a long history of doing. The Mensch is a great way to have fun in the dugout while reminding us of why we’re here and who we’re representing.”

Making a difference in Israel

Team Isreal’s manager Weinstein is also hopeful that the team’s display will help the growth of baseball in Israel.

“My hope is that by virtue of playing in the World Baseball Championship and doing well it heightens awareness worldwide, but especially in Israel, so it can get more government support, build fields, hire staff,” he said.

“There’s a lot of American Jews that follow baseball and maybe they will sign up to support and donate money so that we can grow the program in Israel so the next time a manager sits in front of you, he’ll be talking about Israeli national players playing in the WBC. Not a group of American Jewish players who are identifying or connected to Israel. But players that were born in the State of Israel and compete in this tournament.”

Inspiring Jewish-American kids to play ball

“I think that there are Jewish kids in the United States that maybe wouldn’t play baseball, but as a result of seeing this Jewish team, who are made up mostly of Americans, they will,” he said. “I think everybody has recognized what they have done and I think that will inspire all young kids, but especially young Israelis and young Jewish kids in the United States.”

Photos and Video: WBC Israel

cap, baseball cap, team Israel, WBC, Israel baseball
NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Authors Oz, Grossman Up For Intl Fiction Prize]]> 2017-03-16T12:09:30Z 2017-03-16T12:09:30Z Man Booker PrizeMarch 16, 2017| Two Israeli writers are among the 13 nominees on the longlist for the Man Booker International Prize, which honors global fiction translated into English. Seventy-seven-year-old Amos Oz, considered Israel’s most famous living author, was nominated for “Judas,” his first novel in a decade. Also making the list was Israeli David Grossman, for “A Horse Walks Into a Bar.” On April 20, a shortlist of six books that have been translated into English will be announced by the prize foundation, considered among the world’s most prominent literature awards. The winner will be proclaimed at a London award ceremony on June 14 that will celebrate the top global fiction translated into English. The winning author and translator will split the grand prize of £50,000 ($61,000).

Natasha Hunt, NoCamels <![CDATA[No Oven? ‘Uga Uga’ Makes Instant Cake In A Rice Cooker]]> 2017-03-16T10:32:28Z 2017-03-16T10:32:28Z In China, baking at home has never really been common practice. In fact, most Chinese homes don’t even have an oven. While American culture gave us Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart, the Chinese are not so much into baking.

Israeli entrepreneur Ronen Mechanik teamed up with his Chinese friend Piu Piu to provide the Chinese with easy-to-make cakes. Mechanik, a former sous-chef in Tel Aviv, can make a pretty good cake. A few years ago, he sent a photo of one he made for his son’s birthday to Piu Piu, who instantly wanted to try and recreate it.

She soon realized that baking was no simple task in China. A lot of the necessary ingredients weren’t even available. And how do you even make a cake without an oven? Mechanik took up this challenge and after some experimenting, offered Piu Piu a revolutionary idea: make a cake in a rice cooker.

Though some have tried this in the past, Uga Uga has actually come up with a Betty Crocker-style instant cake mix especially for rice cookers, with the potential to reach over 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Calling their joint business endeavor “Uga Uga,” which literally means “Cake Cake” in Hebrew – but is also a popular Israeli children’s song – Mechanik and Piu designed a simple do-it-yourself cake kit for steaming in a rice cooker.

No oven? No problem. The concept is very simple and seems to have taken off with a bang in China, where ovens may be lacking but rice cookers are a kitchen staple. Over 4,000 kits have been sold already, just from word of mouth and social media – no marketing campaign; the startup launched its website just a couple of months ago.

rice cooker by Philips

A rice cooker

The Uga Uga basic kit includes cake powder, icing squeeze bags, toppings and a handy heart-shaped tin foil cake pan to keep the mixture separated from the rice cooker. All you need to add are eggs, oil, and water to make the mixture, which then only takes about 20 minutes in the rice cooker to come out a full, moist cake. Uga Uga provides three flavors: Chocolate & Nuts Brownie Crush, the Classic Chocolate Must Have, and the Vanilla Berry Scandal.

The cakes have been designed to appeal to the Chinese taste buds, which are said to prefer less sweet desserts. The kits are sold through the hugely popular Chinese social media app WeChat and the online shopping site Taobao.

SEE ALSO: Grow More Rice With Less Water

Uga Uga has met with great popularity already, with happy buyers posting photo after photo on social media of their own individualized Uga Uga creations.

One cake, including the mix and ingredients, will cost about $7, a very pricey purchase compared to what Betty Crocker offers. Still, it’s relatively more affordable for a Chinese family than ordering a cake from a pastry chef or seeking out expensive non-local ingredients to make a cake from scratch.

SEE ALSO: 5 Israeli Apps That Make Eating Healthier A Piece Of Cake

Uga Uga intends to penetrate other Asian markets where rice cookers are commonly used, and even market to students in the US and Europe, where ovens are typically not allowed in dorm rooms, but rice cookers are.

With no baking experience needed, anybody with a rice cooker can make an Uga Uga cake. Doesn’t that take the cake?

uga uga cake mix for rice cookers

Photos and video: Uga Uga, Philips

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[TAU Prof. Nili Cohen Gets Israel Prize In Law]]> 2017-03-15T15:49:21Z 2017-03-15T15:23:10Z tel aviv university March 15, 2017 | The Israeli Minister of Education has announced that Prof. Nili Cohen, of The Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, will receive the Israel Prize in Law for her lifelong, groundbreaking work in the field. Prof. Cohen’s received her undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees at Tel Aviv University and has served as a teacher and researcher at TAU since the 1970s. A very popular professor, Cohen received the rector’s award for excellence in teaching several times. Between 1994 and 1997 she served as the vice rector of Tel Aviv University and then between 1997-2001 as the university’s rector. Since 2004 she’s been a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences, and since 2015 she’s served as the president of the Academy and has helped shape academic research in Israel in general and the study of law in particular.

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Miracle Pill: A Decade On, Israeli-Designed Drug Gleevec Still Battles Leukemia And Saves Lives]]> 2017-03-15T12:12:42Z 2017-03-15T11:41:14Z Just 15 years ago, the prognosis for someone diagnosed with myeloid leukemia (CML) was extremely bleak. But now, thanks to a decade-long study on an Israeli-designed drug, that’s no longer the case.

Sam Fields, a Jewish-American professional hockey player, was diagnosed with CML in 2003 at the age of 27.  At the time, his doctors told him he only had two weeks to live. “They gave me a death sentence,” Fields said in an interview.

Amazingly, Fields, who is now 40-years-old, has been cancer free for almost 15 years. He attributes his being alive today to Gleevec, a cancer drug which was still in an experimental phase in 2003 when he first started taking it, but which has now come full circle.

SEE ALSO: Breastfeeding May Reduce Risk Of Childhood Leukemia, Study Shows

Mel Mann was a 37-year-old major in the U.S. Army with a wife and a five-year-old daughter when he was diagnosed CML and given three years to live. In August 1998, Mann was one of 20 patients that started the Phase I clinical trial for the drug STI571, now known as Gleevec. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2001 and Mel is still taking the drug today, making him one of the longest living Gleevec patients.

An 11-year study, 83.3% survival rate

Dr. Brian Druker, who led the original clinical development of Gleevec, co-authored the worldwide study which included 1,106 participants at 177 cancer centers in more than 16 countries. The study, published in the March 9th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that Gleevec keeps chronic CML at bay a full decade into treatment — with no signs of additional safety risks.

The story really begins  back in 2001, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) granted priority review for imatinib mesylate, sold under the name Gleevec, as an oral therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML.

The nearly 11-year long follow-up study showed an estimated overall survival rate of 83.3 percent. According to the National Cancer Institute, prior to Gleevec’s 2001 FDA approval, fewer than 1 in 3 CML patients survived five years past diagnosis.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Find Why Leukemia Recurs After Successful Chemotherapy

“The long-term success of this treatment confirms the remarkable success we’ve seen since the very first Gleevec trials,” Dr. Druker, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research in the OHSU School of Medicine, said in a statement. “This study reinforces the notion that we can create effective and non-toxic therapies.”

Gleevec: Shutting down cancer cells without harming healthy ones

The discovery of Gleevec ushered in the era of personalized cancer medicine, proving it was possible to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy ones.

Gleevec was the first drug on the market to directly target the cancer-causing cells in CML, while leaving healthy cells alone. Fast-tracked through clinical trials and approved by the FDA in 2001 for treatment under certain circumstances, Gleevec held out the promise of turning a fatal disease into a manageable condition. Time magazine even put the drug on its cover and dubbed it a “bullet” against cancer.

Inspired by Israelis

Gleevec was in fact invented in the 1990’s by biochemist Nicholas Lyndon, although it’s success is most often attributed to Dr. Druker, who pioneered its use for the treatment of CML.

But Druker’s work was built on groundbreaking scientific research carried out in the 1980’s by an Israeli researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Professor Eli Canaani, working together with visiting American hematologist Robert Gale. At Canaani’s lab in Israel, he and Gale were the first to discover that when two key genes had a deviation in which they swapped pieces of genetic material, the result was a fused protein that triggered the cancer.

Gleevac, Time magazine

“This was the first demonstration that a cancer-specific DNA rearrangement joins two specific genes and causes a fusion of their encoded proteins to form a cancer protein,” Canaani said in a statement.

Eli Canaani

Prof. Eli Canaani of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science

The abnormal fusion, known as the Philadelphia translocation or Philadelphia chromosome, results in a gene called BCR-ABL. Gleevec works by inhibiting the fusion of the BCR and ABL genes.

Until Canaani’s discovery, doctors knew about the binding of the two genes, but had not understood its significance.

“Along came Eli Canaani and Robert Gale, and they showed that a new gene that isn’t present in any normal cell is actually created. It then became apparent to everybody in the field that this new gene could be driving the formation of the cancer cells,” Druker explains.

“If Dr. Brian Druker is the father of Gleevec, then Professor Eli Canaani is the grandfather,” Eric Heffler, national executive director of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, a charity that supports cancer research in Israel and funded Canaani’s research said.

He shoots, Gleevec scores

Hockey player Fields was very straightforward when talking about the option of taking Gleevec.

“I had two choices,” Fields said in a recent interview. “I could quit or I could fight, and I wasn’t about to quit. If this is the only shot I have, why not try it and die than not try it and die?”

For Fields and Mann, and many others. it ended up saving their lives.

Photos and video: Israel Cancer Research Fund, Courtesy

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Logistics Platform Co. Bringg Raises $10M]]> 2017-03-15T15:47:50Z 2017-03-15T10:02:51Z bringgMarch 15, 2017 | Israeli customer-centric logistics platform for enterprises Bringg has raised $10 million in a financing round round led by Aleph VC and joined by Coca-Cola and previous investor Pereg Ventures. This follows earlier investments from Ituran and Cambridge Capital. Bringg’s products are used by retail, ecommerce, CPG, food and third/fourth-party logistics providers and customers in more than 50 countries including some of the world’s leading brands. With offices in Tel Aviv, New York and Chicago, Bringg was founded in 2013 by CEO Raanan Cohen and CTO Lior Sion.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Behind Israel’s Largest Exit: Why Intel Acquired Mobileye For $15.3 Billion]]> 2017-03-15T09:06:05Z 2017-03-14T14:31:21Z Israeli company Mobileye made history twice in the past three years: it went public in 2014, marking the largest Israeli IPO (initial public offering) in the US; and earlier this week, it was sold to giant chip maker Intel for a whopping $15.3 billion – the largest acquisition deal in Israel’s history, far surpassing Warren Buffett’s $6 billion acquisition of Iscar in 2006.

SEE ALSO: Intel Buys Mobileye For $15.3 Billion In Biggest Deal In Israeli High-Tech History

A developer of cutting-edge autonomous driving technologies – including pedestrian detection, collision warning systems, and others – Mobileye is now considered the leader in advanced driver assistance systems aimed to prevent road collisions.


A Jerusalem-based company that was founded in 1999 by Prof. Amnon Shashua, a researcher at the Hebrew University, and entrepreneur Ziv Aviram, Mobileye has already partnered with several leading auto makers. General Motors and Volvo, for example, are already offering the Mobileye system as a standard option in their new cars. The company also partnered with prominent car makers BMW and Volkswagen to manufacture the driverless cars of the future.

Despite one fatal crash of a self-driving Tesla car equipped with Mobileye’s autopilot technologies in June 2016, and a subsequent end to their partnership, Mobileye moved forward in full force.

Amnon Shashua - Courtesy Intel/Mobileye

Prof. Amnon Shashua, co-founder of Mobileye

71 million self-driving cars on the roads by 2030

Last summer, in what can now be viewed as somewhat of a telltale sign, Intel and Mobileye, along with BMW, announced they would be co-developing autonomous vehicles for the consumer market.

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

According to a recent report by research firm Berg Insight, 71 million self-driving cars are expected to hit the road by 2030. That’s a huge market for Mobileye, and now for its suitor – Intel. In other words, Mobileye’s potential is worth much more than its current market cap on NASDAQ ($13.5 billion, after Monday’s 30 percent share price jump) and even its acquisition price, $15.3 billion.


One-stop shop for self-driving technologies

According to Berg Insight analyst Ludvig Barrehag, “the advent of autonomous cars is expected to have a tremendous impact on our society in several ways… The economic benefits are vast – the challenge is to succeed in making self-driving cars sufficiently reliable at a reasonable cost to enable commercialization.”

And that’s where Mobileye and Intel come in. Mobileye’s computer vision expertise, combined with Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity expertise, could produce supreme automated driving solutions. The combined global autonomous driving organization, which will consist of Mobileye and Intel’s Automated Driving Group, will be headquartered in Israel and led by Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO.

“All the hottest technologies are developed in Israel”

According to Intel Israel‘s spokesman Guy Grimland, “Intel’s advanced computer chips are developed and manufactured in Israel; we also develop ultra-fast internet locally; our virtual reality revolution is happening here. And now, the autonomous car revolution will also take place here. The fact that all the hottest technologies are developed in Israel is a testament to Intel’s enormous appreciation of its Israeli branch. This makes me proud.”

Intel employs some 10,000 people locally, in manufacturing, research and development, and more. It’s one of the largest exporting companies in the Startup Nation.

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

According to Uzi Scheffer, General Manager of SOSA, which connects Israeli innovation to international corporations, Intel’s “historic purchase of an Israeli tech company… is further proof that forward-thinking corporations are willing to invest the money and resources needed when they find the right innovative technologies. After years of hard work, Mobileye is showing that staying the course and making the right connections are key to obtaining success.”

The success of the founders will now trickle down to Mobileye’s employees (many of who hold stock options), and even to Israeli citizens, through taxes. While the founders and employees are expected to earn billions from Monday’s acquisition, the State of Israel will also realize taxes of at least $1 billion, according to estimates.

Netanyahu: “Israel is becoming a global technology center

Yesterday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with Aviram and congratulated him on the largest deal in the history of Israel, “which is a source of Israeli pride,” according to a statement.

“The deal dramatically proves that the vision which we are leading is being realized,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is becoming a global technology center not just in cyber but in the automotive sector as well.”

In a letter to Mobileye’s 600 employees, Aviram wrote: “Amnon (Shashua) and I will continue running Mobileye just as we have done in the past. We will continue to do what we believe is best for our business, our goals and our long-term vision.”

He further stressed that “combining forces will help accelerate our plans and lower our execution risks. We aim to become the leading team in autonomous driving. We want to make an impact on the world, and this acquisition will enable us to accomplish that. The transaction with Intel provides a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move faster towards our long-term vision.”


Intel and Mobileye will compete against Tesla, Google’s Waymo and Uber, which all develop driverless car technologies.

The two companies will now compete together against Tesla, Google’s Waymo and Uber, which all develop driverless cars. By joining forces, Mobileye and Intel “can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers and high-performance computing platforms,” Aviram said in a statement. “Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”

Intel is also looking forward to leading the autonomous car sector into the future: “I can’t wait to begin working with the combined global autonomous driving organization,” Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, wrote to his employees. “As you’ve heard me say, others predict the future. At Intel, we build it. This is not the first time we’ve taken bold steps that have transformed our future, the industry and the impact of technology on the world.”

He adds that the Mobileye acquisition “puts us in the driver’s seat to achieve our vision of creating the technology foundation on which the future of autonomous driving will be built.”

Photos and video: Intel, Mobileye

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Co. Dyadic Security Raises $12M]]> 2017-03-14T08:24:11Z 2017-03-14T12:00:38Z dyadicMarch 14, 2017 | Israeli company Dyadic Security (Dyadic), a world leader in Software-Defined Cryptography (SDC), announced today the completion of a $12 million Series B funding round led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Citi Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. The funding round will be used to expand Dyadic’s sales and marketing operations in North America.  As part of the investment, Innovation Endeavors’ Yuval Shachar has been named Chairman of the Dyadic Board of Directors. Dyadic provides enterprise customers and financial institutions both security and usability in managing their cryptographic keys, rather than the traditional tradeoff. Founded by world-renowned cryptography experts and a strong team of applied crypto software engineers, Dyadic has created the world’s first SDC technology, called Dyadic vHSM (virtual Hardware Security Module). The company was founded in 2013 by Nigel Smart, Yehuda Lindell, and Avner Mor and maintains offices in Petach Tikva, Israel and New York City.

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Singer Ninet Rocks USA, NPR Compares Her To Joan Jett]]> 2017-03-14T11:05:19Z 2017-03-14T10:00:10Z Washington DC is a long way from Kiryat Gat, the southern Israeli town where 33-year-old Israeli rocker Ninet Tayeb was born and raised. But, that’s exactly where Tayeb, one of Israel’s most popular musicians, found herself performing last week as a guest on Tiny Desk Concerts, an intimate concert show broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) from their offices in the US capital.

In fact, the performance was so well-received it prompted the show’s host to compare Tayeb to iconic American rock star Joan Jett.

“As I watched one of the most famous entertainers in Israel today here at NPR,” Tiny Desk’s host Bob Boilen wrote on NPR’s website, “I flashed back to a 1976 concert I saw by a not-yet-famous Joan Jett. Ninet has that same fierce and honest conviction, is walking that same path that Jett did and poised to find notoriety in this country, which she recently began to call home.”

“An unrestrained talent”

“Tiny Desk Concerts” is a video series of live concerts hosted by NPR Music at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. In describing how he discovered Tayeb, Boilen wrote, “Ninet won me over during a small concert at last year’s SXSW; it was early in the day, but she was fully on fire and intense. She and her potent band have put out five albums and their most recent, Paper Parachute, is the home of the songs she brought to us. It’s filled with a her husky-toned voice and guitar lines straight out of stateside ’70s rock, with a Middle Eastern lean. It’s a winning sound, performed by an unrestrained talent.”

SEE ALSO: Pitbull Sinks Teeth Into Israel’s A-WA, New Yemenite Rap Hit Remix Is Born

A Star Is Born

Tayeb was brought up around music and began performing at small events at an early age. Musically, she was influenced by rock bands like Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Oasis. Now her music is influenced more by the likes of PJ Harvey, Bjork, and Jeff Buckley. Her breakthrough came is 2003 when the 20-year-old was crowned winner of the very first season of Israel’s American Idol-style competition show Kochav Nolad (A Star Is Born), a win which instantly catapulted her to national fame.

Tayeb, known by most Israelis simply by her first name, Ninet, has released four successful albums in Israel (one of them in English), and has twice won Israel’s Favorite Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards. She has also worked with producer Mike Crossey (who produced her third album, Sympathetic Nervous System), and artists such as Steven Wilson, Gary Lucas, Cyndi Lauper, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Dead Daisies.

Coming to America

Alongside her musical career, Tayeb has enjoyed a successful acting career, performing both in movies and plays. But, after taking advantage of almost everything the local scene had to offer, she set her sights on the international stage, looking to take her music to America. Tayeb, who is married to music producer and guitarist Yosi Mizrachi, currently lives in Los Angeles.

“Here I’m starting from scratch,” Tayeb told Grimy Goods, a Los Angeles music lifestyle blog, in a recent interview. “I do have a fanbase in Israel and I’m pretty established there but I don’t want to think about it like that because I want to start fresh. I needed it for myself to discover new things about me, the way I see and feel things creation wise. I came here and just started to write because I was so inspired from the nothingness, we had no family or friends–we do now–but at the beginning it was just so hard and I just wanted to use that.”

Ninet Tayeb

In support of her new American debut album, Paper Parachute, Tayeb just wrapped her first North American tour, including a sold out show during a snowstorm at Mercury Lounge in NYC and will be heading to Austin as one of the official SXSW artists. 

Her new songs reveal an artist with fierce determination, yet honest vulnerability.

On girl bands: “Now is the time to make a change”

As one of Israel’s biggest female rock stars, the importance of female acts taking to the stage to sing is not lost on her. “Nowadays, as a woman, I want to believe it’s getting easier,” she told Grimy Goods. “I’m just calling every woman that’s here, that makes music to go out there and do it and to not be afraid of anything, because I really believe and feel that right now is the time. I feel it in my body. Now is the time to make a change, and the fact that there are so many girl bands just shows that.”


Photos and videos: NPR: Bob Boilen & Courtesy

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Predictive Analytics Co. Endor Raises $5M]]> 2017-03-13T13:54:16Z 2017-03-13T13:53:20Z EndorMarch 13, 2017 | Israeli predictive analytics startup Endor has closed a $5 million seed financing round led by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and Marker LLC. Based on MIT research, and with offices in Tel Aviv, Endor has developed a predictive software platform that lets business users ask any predictive question and get high-quality results in minutes. It requires no coding, data cleaning, knowledge of machine learning, or PhDs, and far less data history than standard machine learning methods.

Anouk Lorie, NoCamels <![CDATA[Intel Buys Mobileye For $15.3 Billion In Biggest Deal In Israeli High-Tech History]]> 2017-03-14T07:25:30Z 2017-03-13T11:43:55Z Computer chip giant Intel has agreed to buy Israeli autonomous driving company Mobileye for $15.3 billion, the biggest tech deal in Israel’s history.

“Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.

“Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”

Mobileye is the world leader in advanced driver assistance systems aimed to prevent road collisions, paving the future for driverless cars. Last year, Mobileye already partnered with Intel and BMW on a project to deploy 40 autonomous vehicles for testing on the roads later this year.

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

Intel and Mobileye also partnered with UK’s Delphi Automotive, an automotive parts manufacturing company, late last year.

Mobileye’s co-founder and chairman Prof. Amnon Shashua said earlier this year that “together with BMW Group and Intel, Mobileye is laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years.”

Founded in 1999 with a mission to reduce vehicle injuries and fatalities, Mobileye was listed in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange, where its market capital is now $10.6 billion. The company’s technology is used by traditional car makers competing with the likes of Google, Apple and Tesla on autonomous vehicles.

Intel, which has lost the advantage in the chip market to its competitor Qualcomm, has been actively looking to acquire technologies that will give the company an edge. As cars progress from assisted driving to fully autonomous, they are increasingly becoming data centers on wheels. “Intel expects that by 2020, autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day, which plays to Intel’s strengths in high-performance computing and network connectivity,” the company’s statement said.

By buying Israeli company Mobileye, Intel is also expanding its investment in Israel, where it currently employs 10,000 people.

Mobileye founders amnon shashua ziv aviram

Mobileye founders Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram

Photos: Courtesy

Dov Lieber, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Bridges For Peace: Can The Startup Nation Be An Incubator For Palestinian Tech Entrepreneurs?]]> 2017-03-12T07:06:48Z 2017-03-12T07:09:41Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

When Sari Taha, 28, began his mechanical engineering degree at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in the back of his mind he knew this would mean he’d be looking for a job in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates four years later.

Taha did not manage to land a job in the Gulf. Instead, he worked for a short stint in a local construction company before landing a job for six months in Nigeria. Afterwards, he returned home, to work in the restaurant management business. Finally, he decided he was going to go back to school to study business at the Technion Institute in Haifa.

SEE ALSO: Unique MIT-Backed Program Uses Technology To Bridge Gaps Between Israeli And Palestinian Youths

The city of Rawabi has been earmarked to host a new tech park.

Sari’s troubles are part of a much larger challenge for young Palestinians looking to break into the tech market.

Palestinian universities produce around 2,000 IT graduates annually, according to a 2014 Paltrade report. But there are not enough jobs for them in the West Bank, nor according to the report, are these graduates “adequately skilled” to work in the local Palestinian IT market. The result is that most grads need look for jobs in the Gulf. And competition there is fierce.

Fast-forward four years and Taha has sold his shares in a tech startup he cofounded and is now busy putting together the first-ever Palestinian tech park, which he hopes to transform into a Silicon Valley of the West Bank. The city of Rawabi — the first pre-planned Palestinian city touted as an example for what can be achieved in a future Palestinian state — has been earmarked to host the park.

SEE ALSO: Israelis, Palestinians Join Forces To Explore Local Flowers To Combat Cancer, Diabetes

The fortunes of Taha, an East Jerusalemite, were changed by the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP), a three-year old USAID funded initiative that handpicks Palestinian IT graduates and sends them on internships in multinational companies and Israeli startups.

The aim is for these Palestinian interns to soak up the knowledge of how to operate a successful and competitive tech startup and bring this knowledge back home to help build a Palestinian high-tech sector.

Palestinian Internship Program (PIP) interns

Palestinian Internship Program (PIP) fellows

To read the full article, click here

Photos: PIP, Rawabi City

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[BGU, Cincy Child Hosp. Launch Needle Co.]]> 2017-03-09T10:35:44Z 2017-03-09T10:30:41Z June 26, 2016 | Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have announced the formation of Xact Medical, a new company that will seek to commercialize the Fast Intelligent Needle Delivery (FIND) system. The FIND system uses robotics and ultrasound to guide and insert a needle into a patient’s body. This is particularly significant for children, whose vascular systems are so small and where precision can be critical. FIND will enhance clinician capabilities for precise, quick and convenient placement of a needle point that significantly improves the odds of successful vascular access on the first try.


NoCamels Team <![CDATA[App Builder ScyllaDB Raises $16M]]> 2017-03-09T08:58:38Z 2017-03-09T08:58:38Z March 9, 2017 | Israeli startup ScyllaDB announced it has closed a $16 million Series B financing round led by Western Digital Capital, Samsung Ventures, Magma Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners. Founded in 2012 by Dor Laor and Avi Kivity, and with offices in Herzliya and Palo Alto, ScyllaDB is an open source NoSQL database that facilitates application building and enables developers to build mission critical applications swiftly and ultra low latency.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Aiming High: Israeli Architects Build Eco-Home From Cannabis On Mount Carmel]]> 2017-03-09T13:45:36Z 2017-03-09T08:41:03Z Cannabis is known for its medical benefits, but houses made out of hemp can also protect the environment.

A newly built house in Ein Hod, Israel, was constructed using an innovative technique called “hempcrete.” By mixing hemp (cannabis) with local limestone to build the walls, the all-natural insulating materials can conserve up to 50 percent of the energy needed for cooling and heating.

“The house is sustainable because it’s made out of natural materials that come from nature and will go back to nature,” Israeli architect Maoz Alon, whose firm Tav Group designed the ecological house, tells NoCamels.

hemp house by Tavgroup;

An eco-home is an environmentally low-impact house designed and built using materials and technologies that reduce its carbon footprint and lower its energy needs. The process of constructing the 270-square-meter Ein Hod house was also environmentally friendly: “We used only local materials; you didn’t see trucks pulling in and out of our construction site, which reduced air pollution,” Alon says.

While the first floor is made of local stone, the upper floor walls are cast of hemp and hydraulic lime on a wooden framing.

hemp house by Tavgroup

“Designed to capture the summer sea breeze”

Located on Mount Carmel, facing the Mediterranean Sea, the house is terraced on the southward hillslope of Ein Hod, Israel’s artists’ village. “Enveloping a south-facing court, it is designed to capture the summer sea breeze and the winter soft sunbeams, and thus allow a moderate climate throughout the year,” according to Tav Group, which worked on the project with Israeli construction company Botzz Group.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Architects Create Tiny Artist Studio That Doubles As Living Space

According to Israel’s Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, hempcrete is good for thermal and acoustic insulation, which, in turn, translates into energy conservation and savings of up to 50 percent.

There are a few other hemp houses in Israel, but Alon claims to be the first to build one (for a client), with the design process starting some eight years ago.

hemp house by Tavgroup;

Capturing sunbeams and sea breeze, this eco-home allows a moderate climate throughout the year.

Founded by in 1987 by the late architect Reuven Cohen Alloro, along with Alon and Yoav Trifon, Haifa-based Tav Group is considered a pioneer in green building. Among the firm’s well-known projects are Kibbutz Hukuk’s ecological neighborhood and the Meyerhoff Art Center in Tel Aviv.

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

In the firm’s Ein Hod project, the goal was “to create an archetype of sustainable building, which would blend with the beauty of its natural surroundings,” the architects say. The design concept was to build a house “as nature would have it, like a bird feathering her nest, treading softly on the earth and leaving the faintest ecological footprint,” Alon says.

hemp house by Tavgroup

This low-impact house was built using materials and technologies that reduce its carbon footprint and lower its energy needs.

The house stands on the southern slopes of the village of Ein Hod, facing the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, this hillside served as quarry, providing the building stone for the village houses. Tav Group returned to this method to construct the house: the studio on the lower ground floor of the house is built with locally sourced stone, carved on site. The same stone was also used for paving throughout the house.

In addition to cannabis walls, cast using the hempcrete technique, the house also features ecological infrastructure systems, including greywater purification and reuse, rooftop solar panels, and more.

Its all-natural finishes, of sand and earthy tones, echo the color palette of the surrounding landscape and blend with it. The house manifests Tav Group’s ethos “to find beauty in simplicity, and create peaceful, modest and cozy spaces as a corollary of a harmonious exchange with the environment,” the architects say.

hemp house Israel

The kitchen features cannabis walls that were cast using the hempcrete technique.

Almost no concrete

The Ein Hod hemp house is unlike most houses and apartment buildings in Israel, and not just because it has a secret ingredient.

“It’s a groundbreaking residential project in Israel because there’s no concrete except in the foundations and the mandatory safety room,” Alon tells NoCamels. “There aren’t many houses like this here.”

While you cannot get high living in a cannabis house, it definitely has a good feel, Maoz says. “The walls are soft, they breathe and they smell good,” he says. “They make you feel wrapped in softness.”

hemp house by yoav_etiel

Photos: Tav Group, Yaeli Gabrieli, Yoav Etiel

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Inna Braverman: The Young Woman With Big Plans To Harness The World’s Oceans For Clean Energy]]> 2017-03-08T13:41:31Z 2017-03-08T13:06:34Z She grew up watching the waves breaking on the shores of Acre. With little entertainment going on in the historic walled port city, Inna Braverman studied the ebb and flow with great fascination.

Recently featured in WIRED Magazine and named one of the world’s “100 Makers and Mavericks” by Medium, the girl from Acre – now the co-founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power – is leading one of the most innovative Israeli companies, producing clean energy from sea waves.

The editors of Medium who compiled this year’s list of the 100 brightest people were undoubtedly impressed by Braverman when they wrote: “If surfers can use the energy of waves, so can the rest of the planet. Eco Wave Power has developed proprietary technology for extracting energy from ocean and sea waves and converting it into electricity. Nature has the answers.”

inna braverman, co-founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power. Courtesy.

“As a little girl, I was impressed by the sea waves,” the 31-year-old CEO tells NoCamels. “I wanted to produce energy from the waves. In Israel, it feels like anything is possible – and here I am today.”

Changing the world, one wave at a time 

Water covers about 75 percent of the earth’s surface, but the world has yet to truly capitalize on the power of ocean waves. Founded in 2011 by Braverman and David Leb, Eco Wave Power (EWP) is taking giant steps in the field of renewable energy harvested from the sea, already operating power plants in Gibraltar, China, India, Chile, Mexico and Israel.

SEE ALSO: TaKaDu’s Water-Saving Technology Saves Australia Millions Of Dollars

Eco Wave Power system in Gibraltar

Eco Wave Power’s system in action

“Wave energy can produce twice the amount of electricity that the world produces today, which is a very significant amount,” Braverman said during a recent TedX Talk in Israel.

The company’s latest achievement is launching a commercial-scale plant in Gibraltar, producing 15 percent of the country’s electricity.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Tech HARBO Cuts Down Response Time To Oil Spills To 20 Minutes

EWP turns water into electricity using uniquely shaped floating devices, which rise and fall with the waves’ up-and-down motion and the changes in water levels. The floaters are attached by robust arms to any type of man-made structure, such as jetties or piers. This motion is then transmitted to power stations on land, which convert the energy into fluid pressure used to spin a generator, producing electricity.

According to many scientists, wave energy has greater potential to create electricity than wind or solar power. Braverman says: “Because the density of water is greater than air, you can produce much more electricity with smaller, cheaper devices.”

The company has so far raised $2 million, and a new $5 million round is underway. “We could go public in two years,” Braverman wishfully tells NoCamels.

A man’s world

Born in 1986 in a small Ukrainian town not far from Chernobyl, Braverman moved to Israel in the 1990s. She was only 25 years old when she co-founded EWP. According to Braverman, it wasn’t easy being a young woman in the predominantly male world of engineers.

“We went to a conference and everyone thought I was David’s secretary,” she recalls. “People coming into our office would ask me for a cup of espresso or a glass of water.”

But the young entrepreneur who was mistaken for a secretary recently cut the ribbon with the prime minister of Gibraltar, inaugurating EWP’s innovative power plant.

Gibraltar by


Braverman also joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his official visit to Australia in February. Eco Wave Power was one of only 23 Israeli companies invited to take part in this Israeli delegation. The startup is about to receive $3 million from an Australian investment fund, with a possible initial public offering (IPO) on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Braverman is also hoping to build a plant Down Under. “Australia is definitely an amazing market for wave energy. We have been looking at it for quite a long time. You have great waves for that,” she recently told The Sydney Morning Herald.

This is the second time EWP is joining Netanyahu on an official visit, with the first time being a 2014 visit to China.

eco wave power

“Passion is the greatest source of renewable energy”

With air pollution killing one of eight people in the world, EWP’s solution could provide clean energy for many countries that have seas, oceans and even lakes.

“It seems like slowly but surely the world understands the great potential and undeniable resource, which is wave energy,” Braverman says. “There is a huge race in the world among large companies that are spending a lot of money to develop a wave energy solution. I want to be the first with a commercially viable solution.”

What’s her secret? “Believe in yourself; if you have a great idea and passion – go for it,” she says. “Passion is the greatest source of renewable energy.”

Photos and video: Eco Wave Power, TedX Talks, Ayala

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[RadiAction Medical Raises $5.7M]]> 2017-03-08T12:24:02Z 2017-03-08T12:08:28Z Radiaction – Freedom Made Safe  March 8, 2017 | Israeli startup RadiAction Medical has completed a $5.7 million Series A financing round led by HighGround Tairun Investment LLPs, an investment fund co-managed by HighGround Capital and Boya Capital from China. The company has developed an innovative radiation shielding device for fluoroscopic systems in interventional suites. The technology was invented by serial entrepreneur Dr. Amir Belson, M.D. and developed by RadiAction, which was founded in 2014 by Dr. Belson and Jonathan Yifat in the RAD Biomed incubator in Israel. The technology involves a device that transfers the radiation shielding from the personnel to the fluoroscopy system itself, while seamlessly integrating with the physician’s work flow and featuring zero-impact on the X-ray image quality.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Contract Review Co. LawGeex Raises $7M]]> 2017-03-08T10:15:32Z 2017-03-08T10:10:03Z lawgeexMarch 8, 2017 | Israeli contract review platform for businesses LawGeex announced the closing of a $7 million Series A financing round. The round was led by a group of high-profile investors including Japanese-based HR and information services company Recruit Holdings, the owner of Previous investors Lool Ventures and LionBird also participated in this round, bringing LawGeex’s total funding to $9.5 million. The LawGeex Artificial Intelligence reviews incoming contracts, approving them if they match pre-defined criteria, or escalating them to the legal team if needed. The company was founded in 2014 by Noory Bechor and Ilan Admon.

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Asleep On The Job? Israeli Designer Makes Office Nap Dreams Come True]]> 2017-03-07T14:41:23Z 2017-03-07T14:27:00Z Do you sometimes feel sleepy at work? Much like George Costanza, who in a 1997 Seinfeld episode devised a way to discretely nap under his office desk at Yankee Stadium, you may be looking for quiet corners to snooze. Now an Israeli design studio has produced an accessory for your desk that allows you to both work and nap with maximum comfort!

SEE ALSO: Israeli Architect Eran Chen Is Transforming The Face Of New York

“For the Rest”

The aptly named design, “For the Rest”, was created by industrial designer Assaf Israel and architect Sharon Liverant, a pair of Israelis from the hip Tel Aviv-based design company Joynout. How does it work? The design takes the existing partition that separates your workspace from that of your coworkers, and transforms it into a surface for you to rest your head on and nap. Simply fold the partition, rest against the padded part of the stand, and go to Zzz..

for the rest

Introducing Daydream

Continuing on the theme of dreaming, Joynout is now launching “Daydream”, a minimalistic, multi-functional seat, at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan. The sculpture-like seat, inspired by the lemniscate (the symbol for infinity), allows for new and unexpected ways of sitting, relaxing and interacting. Designed by Assaf Israel, the seat enables you to lounge in an inclined position, which is meant to promote a relaxed and meditative state. Made in Italy from high quality, durable materials, the Daydream is intended for both public and private spaces and seats up to two people at a time. The seat is formed by two interlocking identical cushioned panels, creating an object that has no clear beginning or end. The company says it will be available in up to 10 different colors.

The Daydream

“The importance of daydreaming has already been proven in studies. When we are not obsessed by challenges, our brains make cognitive leaps,” Assaf Israel, Founder of Joynout said in a statement. “After thinking about this for some time I had a vision of a fragile-looking object, with a strong feel of hovering. The Daydream is designed for mental and physical relaxation. It is an object that allows us to break away from the hectic reality and remind ourselves how important it is to enjoy the moment.”

Based in Tel Aviv and Milan and founded in 2012 by Assaf Israel, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem, the Joynout studio specializes in the creation of new products and concepts for contract and public spaces. Joynout provides design services and consultancy for furniture companies and architecture firms, while also producing their own creations.

As their website says, “Joynout aims to change people’s perceptions and conceptions, bringing new tiding to the tangible spaces which belong to all of us.”


Assaf Israel holding a model of Daydream.

Photos and video: Joynout, YouTube

Yonatan Sredni <![CDATA[Zimperium Raises $15M From Japan’s Softbank]]> 2017-03-07T12:57:25Z 2017-03-07T12:57:25Z zimperiumMarch 7, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company Zimperium Inc. has raised $15 million from Japan’s Softbank. Zimperium, which provides a mobile threat management platform to deliver continuous and real-time cyber threat protection for mobile devices and applications last year raised $25 million in Series C funding from Warburg Pincus, Sierra Ventures, Telstra Ventures and Lazarus Israel Opportunities Fund LLLP. With the investment from Softbank, Zimperium has raised $60 million. Zimperium, which is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Tel Aviv, was founded in 2010 by CTO Zuk Avraham and CRO Elia Yehuda.



NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cnoga Medical Raises $50M From China’s BOE]]> 2017-03-07T12:42:39Z 2017-03-07T12:32:40Z Cnogo March 7, 2017 | Chinese company BOE has invested $50 million in Israeli company Cnoga Medical for 23 percent of the company’s shares, reflecting a company value of $217 million, the two companies reported today. The shares given to BOE were newly issued, not sold shares. BOE is a Chinese laboratory equipment company that wants to establish itself as a leader in the medical sector. According to the BOE, Cnoga’s product, developed by the company since 2004, and which facilitates medical monitoring and processing of information on the cloud, matches BOE’s strategic plan. The deal also includes the signing of an agreement for joint marketing of Cnoga’s products in China and development of a new line of products for the professional health market. Cnoga, based in Or Akiva was founded by Dr. Yosef Segman in 2004.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Danaher Buys Israel’s AVT For $100M]]> 2017-03-06T13:31:26Z 2017-03-06T13:30:30Z avtJune 18, 2014 | US manufacturing company Danaher Corp. is buying Israeli automatic print inspection systems company Advanced Vision Technology Ltd.  for $100 million. Danaher will pay €14.5 per share in cash for AVT. VT’s board of directors has unanimously accepted the offer and has recommended that the shareholders also do so. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017. Based in Hod Hasharon, AVT’s automatic print inspection systems ensure quality and color for the packaging and labels market. The company will become part of Danaher’s product identification platform division. AVT’s optical inspection systems replace the human eye in inspecting packaging and labels and its leading products include X-Rite and Esko, which serve customers that use Danaher’s platform.

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Bra Finding Co. Brayola Raises $5M]]> 2017-03-06T10:49:29Z 2017-03-06T10:49:29Z BrayolaMarch 6, 2017 | Israeli startup Brayola, a new online service that helps women find bras that fit, has completed a $5 million financing round, according to Globes. Founded in 2011 by CEO Orit Hashay, the company operates online brassiere stores. The Firstime fund, managed by Ilan Shiloah, Nir Tralovsky, and Jonathan Benartzi, led the round with a $4 million investment, with participation from Gett (formerly GetTaxi) founders Shahar Waiser and Roi More and former fashion industry figure and Kidbox founder Haim Dabah. Following the new investment, Shiloah will become chairman of Brayola.

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Does Your Name Influence Your Looks? Survey Says: Yes!]]> 2017-03-06T10:32:22Z 2017-03-06T10:32:22Z “What’s in a name?” William Shakespeare famously wrote. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

No offense to Shakespeare, but a new study by Israeli researchers suggests that a person’s name can indeed influence how they look.

Led by Dr. Ruth Mayo and PhD candidate Yonat Zwebner, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem examined whether a person’s appearance can be influenced by their given name. To do this, they recruited independent observers and showed them color headshot photographs of complete strangers. Then they presented them a list of names and asked them to choose the stranger’s real name based on his or her facial appearance.

In a series of studies reported last week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the participants repeatedly beat the odds of correctly identifying a person’s name based on their facial appearance alone. For example, upon looking at one particular face and considering four possible name: Jacob, Dan, Josef or Nathaniel, the observers correctly chose “Dan” 38 percent of the time, significantly above the 25 percent chance level of a random guess. This effect held true even when the researchers controlled for age and ethnicity, implying that something more than simple socioeconomic cues are at work.

Photo: Hebrew University/Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

A self-fulfilling prophecy

“Our research demonstrates that indeed people do look like their names,” Dr. Ruth Mayo, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in a statement. “Furthermore, we suggest this happens because of a process of self-fulfilling prophecy, as we become what other people expect us to become.”

SEE ALSO: Study Reveals You May Be Much Younger (Or Older) Than You Think

Supporting the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the researchers found that observers beat the odds of correctly guessing a person’s name even when they were only allowed to see their hairstyle. This suggests that people may choose the hairstyle that fits a stereotype associated with their name.

Tougher to match: Other cultures, nickname users

The researchers confirmed that observers in a second country and culture were also able to beat the odds. However while observers were good at matching faces to names in their own culture, they were not good at doing so in a foreign culture. This supports the idea that name stereotypes are important when matching faces with names.

The researchers also found that observers are less good at guessing the given name of people who use a nickname exclusively. This indicates that a person’s appearance is affected by their name only if they use it, and not if it simply appears on a birth certificate.

name, names, bill

Computers can match names to faces too

In one study, the researchers completely removed the human factor from the matching process. Using a computerized paradigm, they found that computers were able to beat the odds when asked to choose the correct name for 94,000 different faces. This further supports the idea that our faces contain relevant information related to our names.

The Dorian Gray effect?

The researchers have suggested that the “Dorian Gray effect,” cited in previous research on how internal factors like personality can influence facial appearance, may apply here as well.  Dorian Gray was the protagonist of an Oscar Wilde novel whose actions affected his portrait.

Dorian Gray

“We are familiar with similar processes from other stereotypes like race and gender, where many times the stereotypical expectations of others affect who we become. We hypothesize that there are similar stereotypes about names, including how someone with a specific name looks, and these expectations really do affect our facial appearance,” Dr. Mayo said in a statement.

Social structuring begins when you are given a name

According to the researchers, the possibility that our name can influence our look, even to a small extent, suggests the important role of social structuring in the complex interaction between the self and society. The research suggests that we are subject to social structuring from the minute we are born, not only by our gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, but also by the simple choice that others make in giving us our name.

“A name is an external social factor, different from other social factors such as gender or ethnicity, therefore representing an ultimate social tag. The demonstration of our name being manifested in our facial appearance illustrates the great power that a social factor can have on our identity, potentially influencing even the way we look,” added Dr. Mayo.


SEE ALSO: Your Body Reveals How You Feel Better Than Your Face

Future research could examine the precise nature of the mechanism leading to the emergence of this face-namematching effect, for example how a person’s name matches his or her face at different stages of life. Another question worth exploring is why some people have a very high face-name match while others have a low match.

In any case, following this study we may have to reconsider Shakespeare’s question, “What’s in a name?” Apparently, the answer is – everything.

Photos: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Pixabay

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Splacer, Israeli Airbnb of Event Spaces, Offers Coolest Party Pads]]> 2017-03-05T13:43:46Z 2017-03-05T11:58:18Z Looking for a unique place to host a party, screen a film, or have a cool company event?

Splacer, an Israeli startup developed by two architects, lets you rent some of the world’s most beautiful places – without having to search around town or deplete your bank account to do it.

Splacer, artist loft

New York loft on Splacer

Splacer, which combines the words “space” and “place”, is an online marketplace for event spaces. The startup curates and lists over 1000 spaces in the US, with hundreds of listings in major US cities including: New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Just two weeks ago, the company announced it has expanded into the Miami market and plans to add more metro areas in the coming months.

“The Airbnb of event spaces”

Dubbed “the Airbnb of event spaces”, Splacer not only lets users rent unique event spaces themselves, it also enables them to rent their own spaces to others, even for just a few hours, via their simple browse-and-book online platform.

SEE ALSO: ‘Guesty’: Israeli Startup Manages Your ‘Airbnb’ Property For You

Splacer, lounge

Sunlit Modern Pre-fab (San Francisco Bay Area)

With Splacer, users can list, discover, and book special spaces with a trendy, aesthetic edge for events of any type, shape or size – from meetings and off-site events to dinners, parties, engagement and wedding celebrations, corporate events, fashion shows, photo shoots, art exhibits, film productions and  more.

From art galleries to boxing gyms

Among the many unconventional venues listed for rent on Splacer, one can find breweries, art galleries, boxing gyms, former factories and houses of worship, in addition to some of the most amazingly designed apartments and homes Splacer’s cities have to offer.

Splacer Dome, splacer

The dome is one of the features of a working fiber farm in Upstate New York.

“We created Splacer to use urban spaces in a way they’ve never been used before,” Lihi Gerstner, CMO and Co-Founder of Splacer said in a statement. “People are already renting out their apartments, belongings, cars and more – so it’s about time we do the same with our available spaces.

Gerstner happily shared her favorite spaces on the site. “We have an amazing house on a lake in Upstate NY that I can’t wait to go check out,” Gerstner excitedly tells NoCamels, “There’s also an amazing new space in Queens which is an artist loft with a real creative atmosphere, beautiful daylight, views of the city, and natural elements throughout. And there’s another house in LA which I would love to live in. Plus there are amazing churches and converted factories and distilleries and so much more.”

Founded in 2014 by Gerstner and Adi Biran, two internationally accomplished Israeli architects, Splacer is especially designed for those seeking to rent out short-term spaces for events. The company, which is headquartered in New York, but has R&D offices in Tel Aviv, currently supports bookings in cities across the US. According to the company, Splace has raised  a total of $7.2 million in funding.

 As far as their business model, Splacer takes a commission from each transaction on their site, 15 percent from the amount of the rental of the space.

Artist loft in Queens, NY

Welcome to Miami

Following the lead of other US cities, Miami now joins the growing list of urban hubs that use Splacer.

SEE ALSO: Inside Tel Aviv’s Lavish Karim Rashid-Designed Boutique Hotel

“When people think of Miami, they think of the beach, palm trees and sunshine. But Miami is also a booming hub for commerce, innovation, culture, the arts and international business,” Biran, Splacer’s Co-Founder and CEO, said in a statement. “With Miami’s flourishing cultural and music scenes, creative minds are always looking for places to showcase their art and share it with others. Bringing Splacer to Miami has been an exciting opportunity to help Miami residents share incredible spaces that could be used for exhibits, parties, special events, new ventures, and more.”

Through the eyes of architects

“As architects, we believe we can improve the way we use and share space in order to foster creativity, build community and promote a more sustainable model of urban life,” the co-founders write on their website. “Our marketplace gives access to undiscovered and underutilized spaces, offering extraordinary arenas for events, experiences and activities of all shapes and sizes. Unlike other platforms, Splacer curates its spaces: all spaces are reviewed by our team with an eye for great design.”

Splacer Founders

Left to right: Adi Biran and Lihi Gerstner, Co-Founders of Splacer

Photos and videos: Splacer

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[24me Launches Task Manager App, Complete]]> 2017-02-28T12:45:28Z 2017-03-02T16:01:18Z March 2, 2017 |  24me, an Israeli company which developed a smart personal assistant, has announced that they are releasing a new task management app on the App Store today named ‘Complete‘.

SEE ALSO: Personal Assistant App 24me Among First To Be Featured On Apple Watch

The new app enables users to get things done quickly and on the go. Complete includes integrations to Amazon Alexa with advanced list management, Apple Reminders, and more. Complete has a unique concept of one-tap completion buttons – so sending gifts, calling, texting and emailing is automated from the to-do list.

Complete takes advantage of cutting edge technologies emerging in the market. With the new integration to Amazon’s Alexa, Complete adds tasks and lists by simply talking your thoughts out. Using Alexa, you can simply say things like “Create a new grocery list” and then list the items you need like, “2 Bananas, whole milk, 5 tomatoes…”. You can also add simple tasks by saying: “Add a task to set an appointment with the doctor tomorrow at 2pm“. The integration with Amazon Alexa is powered by a technology built by VoiceIDE. This technology streamlines the process of creating Alexa voice integrations. This is the first public integration of VoiceIDE.

Complete will be available for Apple Watch and localized to 13 different languages – including Hebrew. Complete is a paid app that will be available for free for limited time.

24me was founded in 2012 by Gilad and Liat Hertanu, both founders and partners in life. They found themselves wasting too much time on managing and coordinating their calendar, to-dos and errands. After failing to find the right solution to improve their productivity, they decided to build it themselves.

Photo and video: 24me

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Traders’ Increased Testosterone Levels Can Cause Stock Market ‘Bubbles,’ Israeli Study Suggests]]> 2017-03-02T10:02:22Z 2017-03-02T09:57:15Z High levels of testosterone could lead to stock market ‘bubbles,’ Israeli researchers say, and suggest that male-dominated financial markets should include additional women.

Research conducted at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) has determined that psychological momentum significantly affects performance among male stock traders but not among women, which may account for exaggerated risk-taking in financial and business endeavors among men.

the New York stock exchange NYSE

Psychological momentum is defined as a state-of-mind where an individual or a team feels things are going unstoppably their way, and is known to be caused, among other factors, by shifts in testosterone levels.

According to BGU researcher Dr. Danny Cohen-Zada, the purpose of the study was to estimate the causal effect of psychological momentum on performance in real tournament settings, and to examine whether there are any gender differences in the corresponding response.

Testosterone affects male performance in sports and finance

First, the researchers analyzed two different samples of men’s and women’s judo competitions from 2009 to 2013. They looked at the bronze medal fights of each tournament, and found that those who reached the bronze medal fight following a win have a potential momentum advantage.

men's judo

The authors examined this unique setting to determine whether the contestants with the momentum advantage had a higher probability of winning the fight. Based on an analysis of 106 men’s and 111 women’s fights from eight major annual judo events, having a psychological momentum advantage significantly increases the probability of winning in men’s contests but not in women’s.

SEE ALSO: Competitive Athletes Are More Prone To Gambling Addictions, Research Finds

The same psychological momentum was found in another experiment they conducted, based on 225 men’s and 231 women’s fights.

Taking exaggerated risks creates price bubbles

The researchers believe that their findings have implications for business. “We can connect our findings to the effect of psychological momentum in financial markets, where 90 percent of traders are men,” study co-author Dr. Ze’ev Shtudiner of Israel’s Ariel University, said in a statement. “Such an effect may lead male traders, driven by an increase in testosterone due to a successful investment, to take exaggerated risks, which, in turn, create price bubbles.”


By increasing the number of female traders in financial markets, “it may be possible to stabilize these markets since women have less dramatic shifts in testosterone levels, which can make them less prone to the momentum effect,” he adds. “This argument is consistent with our results that momentum effects are generated only among men, since it is only among them that testosterone levels increase after success.”

SEE ALSO: Even On eBay, Women Earn Less Than Men, Study Shows

Given these findings, additional research focusing on the role of psychological effects on performance in male-dominated positions, such as stockbrokers and military commanders, would be beneficial, and could hopefully contribute to the inclusion of additional women in high-profile professions.

The study, titled “Psychological Momentum and Gender,” was published in the March volume of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Photos: Gotcha2

Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[World Wildlife Day: Israeli Navigation App Waze Saves Animals From Becoming Roadkill]]> 2017-03-02T08:35:30Z 2017-03-02T08:35:09Z Every year, thousands of animals are killed on Israel’s roads by unsuspecting drivers, and sadly, there’s not much the average driver can do about it. But now, thanks to a new initiative utilizing Israeli popular navigation app Waze, motorists can help save innocent animals from becoming roadkill.

Just in time for the United Nations World Wildlife Day, observed annually on March 3, Waze and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) have joined forces to help save road-crossing animals. The program involves maximizing the use of an existing reporting function on the Waze app – the “Roadkill” button. When Israeli Waze users report a dead animal they see on the side of the road, SPNI will gather that data and use it to determine the country’s most dangerous spots for wildlife in order to find solutions for their safe passage.

deer, SPN, waze

A deer watches passing cars at the edge of an Israeli road.

“Putting our wildlife in grave danger”

“Israel’s transportation infrastructure continues to expand rapidly, providing thousands of kilometers of roads that allow humans to travel conveniently from place to place, but these same roads are putting our wildlife in grave danger,” Shmulik Yedvab, Director of SPNI‘s Mammals Center, said in a statement. “For gazelles, porcupines, badgers, turtles, hyenas, otters and many other species, crossing the road often results in death.”

SEE ALSO: GPS App Waze Announces New Alerts On Kidnappings, Hit-And-Runs

A major Israeli roadway fragments the natural habitats of the local wildlife population.

The increasing awareness regarding the risks roads pose to wild animals has led Israeli road planners to build special passages for animals when building new roads or expanding and upgrading existing ones. However, there are still no viable solutions on dozens of existing roads across the country.  It is for this reason that SPNI’s new campaign with Waze is so essential.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Group Saves Endangered Peruvian Ape

SPNI and Waze soft-launched the program in November 2016, and have been testing it ever since. Over the past four months, Waze users have embraced the app’s new function, with hundreds of reports streaming in monthly. In January alone, the Waze community of drivers logged 1,416 roadkill reports.

Just a few simple clicks

The public can ensure the success of this important campaign by being vigilant about reporting roadkill. After clicking the circular orange report icon within the Waze app, users should select the yellow triangular “Hazard” symbol, followed by “On road” and “Roadkill.”

Waze, Roadkill, SPNI

Waze roadkill icon

Using the accumulated data, SPNI experts will create a ‘Wildlife Red Roads Atlas’ and work towards reaching a profound conclusion as to which animal species are run over most and why, and what can be done to reduce the number of animal deaths and human injuries.

Expanding to additional countries 

Founded by Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar in 2007, Waze was acquired by Google in 2013 for $1.3 billion.

The Waze-SPNI program is currently only available in Israel, but if other wildlife organizations follow SPNI’s lead, Israeli environmentalists believe that it could be adopted in other countries as well.

Photos: SPNI/Dov Greenblat, Waze, Government of of Alberta

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[After Israel Success, UK Launches Global Tech Hubs]]> 2017-03-01T15:06:22Z 2017-03-01T15:06:22Z UKIsraelMarch 1, 2017 |  The British government announced today the launch of a global network of tech hubs, based on the successful model of the UK Israel Tech Hub that operates out of its embassy in Israel. The network was announced today as part of a new Digital Strategy focusing on expanding digital skills in the UK. The strategy includes the creation of five international tech hubs in emerging markets, based on the UK Israel Tech Hub model founded in Israel five years ago. The new hubs will create and develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms. Since its creation, the UK Israel Tech Hub has facilitated over 80 bilateral tech partnerships, with a deal value of £62 million.

The UK Israel Tech Hub was founded in the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv in 2011, aimed at promoting tech and innovation partnerships between the two countries. The Hub focuses on several areas with high potential for partnerships, such as online retail and fintech, biomed, cyber, mobility, smart cities, cleantech, educational technologies, creative industries and Arabic online content. The Hub is based at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and in London. Its Director is Naomi Krieger Carmi and the Chairman is Haim Shani.

Photos and video: UKIsraelHub

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Med Management Co. Medisafe Raises $14.5M]]> 2017-03-01T14:34:29Z 2017-03-01T14:33:35Z Medication Management Solution Company MediSafe Raises $1MMarch 1, 2016 | Israeli personalized medication management platform Medisafe announced today that it has raised a $14.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Octopus Ventures, with M (Merck)Ventures, to support the company’s rapid growth and global expansion. Other investors participating from previous rounds include Pitango Venture Capital, 7wire ventures, lool Ventures, TriVentures and Qualcomm Ventures. With over 3.5 million patient and caregiver registered users, Medisafe focuses on helping the hundreds of millions of people worldwide to take their medications as prescribed, solving the problem known as medication non-adherence. Based in Haifa, Medisafe was founded by CEO Omri Shor and CTO Rotem Shor.

Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels <![CDATA[Eddy The Robot Helps You Grow Veggies At Home With Hydroponic Farming]]> 2017-03-01T12:47:21Z 2017-03-01T12:20:38Z With just a tank, pipes and a pump, anyone can now grow their own vegetables at home. Hydroponic farming allows you to grow crops using nutrient-rich water in place of soil. And with some hydroponic farm kits selling for less than $100, you too could become an urban farmer.

However, this agricultural technique requires a certain degree of expertise in order to work. Now, Israeli AgTech startup Flux wants to simplify hydroponics with a unique, compact robotic farming assistant called Eddy.

A child of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) revolution, Eddy is a smart gadget equipped with sensors and Wi-Fi connectivity. As it floats in the water tank of a hydroponic system, it is able to measure key growing conditions, such as the pH levels and nutrient content of the water, as well as the surrounding temperature. It wirelessly communicates this information to the grower through a smartphone app, allowing users to monitor their crops anytime, anywhere.

Fresh food in the city

In addition, Eddy can advise growers on steps they should take to improve the health of their crops, giving them the leafiest lettuce and the most succulent strawberries, according to Flux. This small robot can also tell you which plants are compatible to be grown together, what nutrients should be added to the water, when to turn the lights on in an indoor farm, and other useful instructions.

Eddy’s advice is grounded in the experience of Flux’s hydroponics experts – wittily dubbed “Grow Gurus” – as well as a host of data collected from Eddy’s sensors, photos of the crops (taken by the grower), and even the grower’s nutritional preferences.

eddy hydroponic robot by flux

“People with different dietary restrictions can manipulate the nutritional content of their crops through controlled growing,” Flux Founder Karin Kloosterman tells NoCamels. Eddy also connects you to other growers, forming a community of like-minded farmers who can offer valuable tips based on their experience. “Eddy is always learning, like an organism that evolves,” she says.

“Bathing in a chemical stew” 

A major reason why people turn to organic produce or grow their own fruits and veggies is pesticides. “Pesticides are over-exploited by the conventional agricultural system,” says Kloosterman, who has been interested in food production and environmental issues since she was young. “These nasty chemicals destroy the soil and enter our food. We are bathing in a chemical stew.”

eddy hydroponic robot by flux

Hydroponic farming doesn’t require pesticides, since pests are usually soil-borne. Another advantage of the system is that its water usage is reduced, since water is recycled throughout the hydroponic system. Hydroponic farming is also more space-efficient than conventional farming, which makes urban farming possible. That’s why Kloosterman is so passionate about promoting this form of alternative farming.

Flux joins a growing list of Israeli companies that want to disrupt agriculture, such as GreenWall, which builds vertical gardens, and Phytech, which provides plant monitoring systems for conventional farming, to name a few.

SEE ALSO: Can Vertical Gardens End World Hunger?

With the rise of other companies working towards “smart farms” – such as Grownetics, Agrilyst and CropX – how does Eddy stand out in the field of AgTech? Kloosterman believes that Eddy’s competitive edge lies in its advanced sensor hardware, which is designed by former military experts.

The startup also intends to constantly improve its expertise in hydroponic farming by using Big Data. As Flux aggregates large amounts of data from Eddy units placed in different farms around the world, it will process these data using advanced algorithms to predict and optimize patterns of crop growth. According to Kloosterman, this data will also be made publicly available.

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

eddy app

Eliminating food insecurity? 

Founded in 2014, the eight-employee startup has offices in Tel Aviv, Dallas and Boulder, Colorado. Kloosterman declined to discuss the company’s financial standing, but according to media reports, it raised $270,000 in seed funding, and is now securing its Series A funding.

Priced at $179, Eddy is expected to hit the stores in the US in a few months. While the first model of Eddy monitors crops and advises growers, future models will include a control system which will allow Eddy to make changes to the growing environment automatically – almost like a self-driving farm.

Clearly, Eddy has the potential to increase the world’s food supply through urban farming, but it is not a silver-bullet solution to world hunger. “Our solution is a patch-up while the world’s food system is falling apart,” Kloosterman admits. “But Eddy can inspire people to start thinking differently about their food.”


Photos and video: Courtesy

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Behavior Analytics Co. Fortscale Raises $7M]]> 2017-03-01T09:15:42Z 2017-03-01T09:15:42Z fortscale March 1, 2017 | Israeli behavior analytics company Fortscale Security Ltd. has raised $7 million in its latest financing round led by Evolution Equity Partners and Valor Capital Group. The round also included investments from previous investors Intel Capital, Blumberg Capital, Swarth, CME ventures and UST Global. This latest investment round brings Fortscale’s funding total to $23 million and coincides with the release of the company’s newest offering: Presidio, the industry’s first embedded UEBA engine. With offices in San Francisco, Boston and Tel Aviv, Fortscale has developed machine learning-based user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) for security. The company was founded by CEO Idan Tendler and COO Dr. Yona Hollander.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israel’s LightCyber Bought For $105M]]> 2017-03-01T09:09:09Z 2017-03-01T08:44:31Z LightCyber March 1, 2017 |US enterprise security company Palo Alto Networks has acquired Israeli cyber security company LightCyber for $105 million in cash and  according to Israel’s “Globes,” an additional $25 million in shares. LightCyber has raised $32 million in funding, including $20 million last June. The company has annual revenue of $10 million.

LightCyber has been developing automated behavioral analytics capabilities, using sophisticated machine learning to quickly, efficiently and accurately identify attacks based on identifying behavioral anomalies inside the network.

This is Palo Alto Networks second Israeli acquisition after buying information security company Cyvera in 2014 for $200 million.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[OurCrowd, innogy Partner For Israeli Energy Solutions]]> 2017-02-28T14:10:36Z 2017-02-28T13:35:34Z OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo February 28, 2017 | innogy SE, a leading European energy company, and OurCrowd, leading equity crowdfunding platform, announced a new business partnership today. The partnership will combine the strength of OurCrowd’s network and ability to scout investment opportunities in Israeli startups and match the business objectives of innogy to provide innovative products and services beyond the energy market.

OurCrowd, a platform that connects investors and startups around the world, will help funnel Israeli technology startups that support innogy. This partnership will help innogy achieve its goal of enabling people to improve their quality of life by changing and enhancing the energy sector worldwide (and in Europe and Germany in particular) through decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation.

innogy’s Innovation Hub established an outpost in Israel to engage with innovative startups in its areas of interest (Smart & Connected, Urban Solutions, Disruptive Digital, Big Data and Machine Economy/Blockchain), aiming to collaborate and invest in accordance with its open innovation strategy. The innogy Israel outpost is managed by Mickey Steiner, who has a wealth of experience in the Israeli hi-tech industry and is based in Tel Aviv.
Photos: Courtesy