Israel’s Startups In Battle For $1M World Cup Prize
Ten of Israel’s most promising startups are going head-to-head in the national final of a worldwide competition with a $1 million prize.
They’ll pitch to a panel of Israeli and international judges in the Startup World Cup Israel 2023 in Tel Aviv on March 27.
The winner, together with those from 60 other participating countries, will go forward to the semi-finals in November, and the finalists from there will compete in a grand finale in San Francisco, USA, in December.
Jessica Rosner, co-founder of the Israeli innovation agency Tech It Forward, which is coordinating the Israeli event, said: “We are thrilled to have such an impressive and diverse group of startups in the finals. This competition represents the best and brightest of Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, and we are excited to see what the future holds for these companies.”
Last year’s winner of the overall competition, organized by venture capital firm Pegasus Tech Ventures, was Canada’s SRTX, which makes ultra-durable fabrics and clothing.
Here are Israel’s top 10, all aiming for a place in the grand finale.
Air heralds a new era in flying with its two-person electric plane, which has a 100-mile range and a predicted $150,000 price tag. It’s designed for well-heeled commuters who want to beat the traffic, or for use as an air taxi.
The vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft can take-off from any flat surface, and can hover as well as fly.
“It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality,” said CEO Rani Plaut, CEO after Air One completed its first successful flight last December. It is due to hit the market at the end of 2024.
NakAI’s underwater robot cleans ships’ hulls, removing slime, algae, barnacles and other microorganisms. These build-ups slow vessels down because of the extra drag, and account for a 10 percent increase in fuel consumption.
The fully-autonomous robot travels with the ship, cleaning it while in transit, so there’s no down-time. It also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to inspect the ship’s hull for damage and maintenance.
EyeControl allows “locked-in” patients, and others who are unable to speak, to communicate through eye movements alone.
All three founders drew on personal experience, including the late Shay Rishoni, who had ALS, a type of motor neuron disease.
They developed a wearable, screenless, eye-tracking device that uses machine learning-based pattern recognition to analyze gestures. It is also suitable for ventilated ICU patients and those suffering delirium.
Todos can tell exactly when fruit and veg is at its best, using tiny gas sensors to measure the ethylene gas they release in the ripening process.
The hand-sized sensors detect extremely low concentrations of ethylene in fresh produce at all stages, from refrigeration, to shipping, to ripening rooms. The sensors keep a constant eye on the ethylene levels and send an alert if they reach pre-set limits, reducing food loss and increasing profitability.
They determine if the produce falls into one of four categories: best for storage and transportation; best for marketing; most delicious; or wasted.
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Salvador Technologies claims to provide the world’s fastest recovery from cyberattacks and IT failures.
The company was founded by childhood friends Oleg Vusiker, who served in an elite IDF cybersecurity unit, and Alex Yevtushenko, who was in army intelligence and studied electrical engineering.
“Our data loss prevention tools are easy to use,” they say. “Less than one minute of installation and only 30 seconds to return the system back to work in case of a cyber-attack or system malfunction.”
Amygdala takes its name from the part of the brain that controls emotions, and uses cutting edge technology to treat mental health disorders.
Former IDF combat soldiers Ohav Givaty and Shani Sofer harness the power of virtual reality, together with a device that reads signals from the brain, to generate new and healthy connections, leading to “more effective and measurable treatment outcomes”.
Their primary targets are PTSD, depression, anxiety and other traditionally hard-to-treat disorders.
Biotic is developing a new generation of plastics made from algae and that are fully biodegradable. It says only nine percent of plastics are currently recycled, leaving an estimated 350 million tonnes a year to be dumped as landfill, or to pollute oceans, rivers, and other marine life habitats.
Ari Goldman, the company’s CEO, its plastics “will have the same look and feel, with the same price tag. The only difference for the consumer is that the product will fully biodegrade in any environment”.
ZutaCore is revolutionizing the way data centers cool their banks of high-powered computers. It’s developed a sustainable and effective alternative to conventional methods that use air or water. The “waste” heat can then be transferred to homes, schools and offices.
The “two-phase boiling and condensation process” outperforms all other cooling methods, it says. No water is used in the system, so equipment is protected from corrosion and other water-related threats, and because it’s so effective, there’s no need for special air conditioning.
Olive Diagnostics uses sensors fitted to a toilet seat to scan urine for early signs of diabetes, chronic kidney disease, bladder cancer, UTIs (urinary tract infections) and dehydration.
A miniature spectrometer – a device that detects electromagnetic radiation – optically analyzes the 3,000 molecules contained in urine, each of which interacts with different frequencies of light.
“We’re trying to catch diseases before you go to the doctor,” said Guy Goldman, the company’s CEO.
HT Bioimaging has developed a new kind of medical imaging technology – called heat diffusion imaging (HDI) – that allows doctors to detect and analyze early-stage cancers.
It says 45 percent of cancer patients don’t survive, and that’s mostly due to late detection and misdiagnosis. “Early detection is key to saving lives,” says the company. “Our mission is to detect and classify cancer early on the spot.”
The HDI measures heat diffusion in biological tissues and translates it into an image to enable early detection of cancer in a non-invasive and real-time procedure.