Zero Co breaks the Internet on crowdfunding launch, receives $6m investment from Square Peg

Square Peg – Empowering exceptional founders in Australia, Israel and Southeast Asia with a focus on Series A and Series B.

Byron Bay-based Zero Co today announced it has received a $6 million investment from global investment firm Square Peg, but it was the zero-waste company’s equity crowdfunding raise that broke the Internet, with demand sending the Birchal platform offline for one hour.

In addition to breaking Birchal, Zero Co broke Australian records after becoming the fastest company on the platform to raise $3 million – hitting the milestone in just 47 minutes, beating fintech Thrive’s previous record of three days.

Birchal’s systems were overloaded this morning after 2,500 registrants flooded the website to join the Zero Co raise, making it the fastest Australian company to raise $1 million ever, hitting that target in under five minutes, again beating Thrive which held the old record of three hours and 46 minutes.

The single-use plastic-free personal-care and home-cleaning brand was looking to raise up to $5 million in its first-ever crowd-sourced funding campaign, and did so within six hours and 27 minutes, becoming the largest crowdfund in Australian history.

The campaign attracted 3,082 investors, beating the previous record held  by Shebah for a single campaign on the Birchal platform of 2,126.

Zero Co operates a model whereby products are sent directly to consumers in bottles made from landfill-bound plastic. The company then periodically sends customers refills in pouches (also made from recycled materials) to top up supply. Those pouches are then returned to Zero Co for repeated use.

Since launching in November 2020 off the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Zero Co has signed up more than 44,000 Aussie households and claims to be turning over more than $1 million every month.

Founder Mike Smith believes that asking customers to become shareholders is the solution to building a powerful community that will help Zero Co solve the global single-use plastic platform.

“We want our customers to help write the next chapter for Zero Co. We’re growing at a rapid pace and now we are looking to scale the business and take our audacious mission into international markets,” Smith said.

“We want to expand our product range, scale our operations and launch globally so that we can eliminate single-use plastic from every kitchen, laundry and bathroom.

“We’re at such an exciting phase of the business where we are growing a team of incredibly talented people, expanding with the help of our board members whose wealth of knowledge I learn from every day, all whilst fostering and building a passionate customer community who genuinely want to be a part of this journey with us.”

The company also announced today it has received a $6 million investment from Square Peg – news overshadowed by the group’s monumental morning crashing Birchal.

Square Peg partner Dan Krasnostein said he was honoured to have joined Smith and the Zero Co community on its mission to rid the world of single-use plastics.

“Community sits at the heart of Zero Co, so it’s particularly special that we’re joining them as investors at an exciting juncture where thousands of Aussies have the opportunity to also become shareholders through their October crowd-sourced funding,” Krasnostein said.

“The campaign is yet another example of how unique Mike and the teams’ first-principles thinking and customer orientation is, and it’s fantastic to be on this journey together.”

Zero Co’s existing shareholders will also be investing a further $2 million via a private round. These investors include Skip Capital, former St George Bank CEO Rob Chapman and NASDAQ-listed Kanbay International founder Raymond Spencer.

“We’re incredibly excited to have Square Peg join Zero Co’s audacious mission and are blown away by the support of our community who have shown such strong interest in becoming shareholders of the business,” Smith said.

“I can’t wait to grow our team of passionate business partners and work together to solve the single-use plastic problem.”

By David Simmons

19 October 2021

https://www.businessnewsaustralia.com/articles/zero-co-breaks-the-internet-on-crowdfunding-launch–receives–6m-investment-from-square-peg.html

IAI showcases satellites and lunar lander at upcoming International Astronautical Congress

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Israel’s Space House will oversee the country’s Space Exhibit at the International Astronautical Congress in Dubai, showcasing their new array of space technology.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Israel’s Space House will oversee the country’s Space Exhibit at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress in Dubai later this month, showcasing an array of new space technologies in Earth observation, communications and lunar landers.

The company is expected to showcase their new OPTSAT-3000 and TecSAR observation satellites, a new mini-communications satellite prototype, a cloud-based ground station, as well as their new Beresheet lunar lander.

Shlomi Sudri, IAI executive vice president and general manager of the IAI space division, welcomed the opportunity the present the company’s space capabilities and help build regional co-operation.

“IAC brings together the greatest minds in the space sector and we are very excited to participate in this event and showcase our latest cutting-edge technologies and insights as Israel’s leader in the sector,” Sudri said.

“The space sector is an important field where we can advance regional cooperation and bring to life new collaborations with our neighbors while learning from each other.”

Earlier this month, the company was selected to as the new prime contractor and integrator for the development of the Israeli Army’s future armoured fighting vehicle (AFV).

Dubbed the Carmel, the AFV is expected to be a two-man operated, closed hatch vehicle that is supported by autonomous systems assisting with mission planning, situational awareness, driving and lethality.

“We are very proud that the IMoD and the Land Forces Division selected the Carmel solution presented and developed by IAI. The central principles behind the company’s concept of land combat include intelligence gathering and acquisition of targets in the battlefield, conducted autonomously,” Boaz Levy, president and CEO of IAI, said.

Avnon Academy | Planting Knowledge – Harvesting Futures

https://avnonacademy.com/

Avnon Academy is part of Avnon Holdings, a derivative of the Avnon HLS Group activities over the past thirty years that can be applied to other market sectors not directly related to HLS and defence. The Avnon Group – is a recognised global leader of HLS & Defence solutions working with governments and HLS organisations in over 70 countries. The foundations of the Avnon Academy Group are built upon years of accumulated knowledge, experience and uncompromising professionalism.  The Avnon Academy provides professionals with new insights and capabilities to implement and help build a safer and sustainable future. 

Our mission is to create an innovative educational platform, combining ield proven expertise with advanced teaching and research methods, creating relevant, innovative, and up to-date courses appealing to students from all over the world.

The Avnon Academy Group aspires to become a primary professional academy and research center in HLS, Cybersecurity, National Security, Fin-Tech, Sustainability, Agri-Tech, Environment & Global Warming, Leadership & Capacity Building

Binah.ai | Funding Web-Event

Sign up with OurCrowd and search Binah.ai: https://www.ourcrowd.com/

Binah.ai logo

Funding Target

Circa $20,000,000

Round

Series C

Co Investors

iAngels

Website

www.binah.ai

Sector

Healthcare

OurCrowd is hosting a webinar/conference call for investors to meet CEO David Maman and to learn more about Binah.ai

Thursday, October 21st, at 8:00PM Israel/ 1:00PM New York/ 10:00AM San Francisco

Binah.ai is enabling dramatic improvements in telemedicine by providing an array of vital signs using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or any device with a camera. Binah.ai can collect heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiration rate, heart rate variability, and mental stress within one minute using the device’s camera. In the near future, the system will also be able to provide blood pressure and hemoglobin level.

Binah.ai’s software-only solution is based on a mix of signal processing, AI, and a proprietary mathematical framework. The user simply looks into the camera. A person’s skin is constantly undergoing rapid changes in color which reflect the body’s physical state and functioning. Binah.ai’s technology detects these changes to draw conclusions about a person’s vital signs. Testing indicates the system determines these vital signs with comparable accuracy to an Apple Watch or manual readings.

All processing is done on the end-user device – the system can provide readouts to the user even without an internet connection. If coupled with a wearable device, this provides the possibility of continuous monitoring. Computing on the edge device is also desirable from a data security standpoint.

Binah.ai supports a number of different applications including digital health, insurance, and wellness.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Emerging leader in fast-growing telemedicine sector accelerated by Covid-19
  • Platform embedded in insurers’ own smartphone app uses AI and machine learning to upload vital medical signs to insurance providers via standard video without special hardware
  • Full analysis of vital signs including heart rate/variability, oxygen saturation, respiration, mental stress level and more; hemoglobin and sector holy grail of blood pressure expected soon

WHY WE ARE INVESTING IN BINAH.AI

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2030 there will be a shortage of more than 18 million health care workers worldwide, placing tremendous additional pressure on health systems to adopt the greater efficiencies possible through telemedicine.

OurCrowd is investing in Binah.ai, an Israeli startup that is disrupting the remote, real-time health data monitoring market with a software-only solution that extracts vital signs in one minute using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or any digital device with a camera. The details herein are based on information received from, and verified solely by, the company.

Current techniques for remote vital-sign monitoring include an array of different devices including oximeters, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, respiration monitors, heart-rate monitors, smartwatches and other wearables. The use of these devices produces constant friction in terms of cost, maintenance, shipping, charging, usability limitations and upgrades.

By detecting subtle changes in skin color via a standard video from a digital camera, Binah.ai can provide heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiration rate, heart rate variability, and mental stress. Binah.ai reports that its technology is superior to that of its competitors as it is equipped to extract more of the body’s vital signs and functions without an active internet connection. Soon, the system will also be able to provide hemoglobin level and even blood pressure – the holy grail of the health-monitoring industry.

https://www.ourcrowd.com/ search Binah.ai

Oracle opens underground Israel cloud data centre

JERUSALEM, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Oracle (ORCL.N) opened the first of two planned public cloud centres in Israel on Wednesday, enabling companies and other Israeli customers to keep their data on local servers rather than rely on other countries.

The underground data centre is nine floors – about 50 metres – below one of Jerusalem’s technology parks. Designed to operate in the face of potential terror acts, the centre is estimated to have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

“This facility … can withstand a rocket direct hit, a missile direct hit or even a car bomb – and the services will keep running with customers not even knowing that something so horrible has happened,” Eran Feigenbaum, Oracle’s Israel manager, told Reuters.

The site, which has its own generators in case of power loss, is one of 30 such cloud centres globally. Until now, the closest to Israel was in the United Arab Emirates. Oracle also has a research and development centre in Israel.

Feigenbaum said there will be a second data centre in Israel as part of a plan to open 14 more centres by the end of 2022 to meet growing demand from Israeli technology companies and serve as a back-up to ensure data stays within Israel’s borders.

Oracle has already signed up a number of customers in Israel, Feigenbaum said.

The company has said its cloud operation has been gaining momentum globally in the past year by adding video conferencing platforms Zoom and 8X8 in addition to being a security partner of the U.S. government.

For Israeli companies, having a local cloud could reduce costs because they would have the ability to rent storage instead of building their own servers or relying on other countries.

“They will not have to move to Silicon Valley or other places. They can do everything from here, with strong back-up and short distances,” said Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel.

“It’s good for us to keep our own information inside Israel.”

The new cloud facility comes after Oracle lost out to Google (GOOGL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) this year in a government tender to provide cloud services for the country’s public sector and military.

Reporting by Steven Scheer Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and David Goodman

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/oracle-opens-first-2-cloud-data-centres-israel-2021-10-13/

Life on Mars: Simulating Red Planet Base in Israeli Desert

With Australian Space-Tech launching, this article is sure to wow!

https://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/life-on-mars-simulating-red-planet-base-in-israeli-desert/news-story/88dceb067ae1ad71b9f9464fea3d344f

Technicians assist a trainee astronaut to suit up in a spacesuit. Six members from Portugal, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Israel will be cut off from the world for a month

Inside a huge crater in Israel’s sun-baked Negev desert, a team wearing space suits ventures forth on a mission to simulate conditions on Mars.

The Austrian Space Forum has set up a pretend Martian base with the Israeli space agency at Makhtesh Ramon, a 500-metre (1,600-foot) deep, 40 kilometre (25 mile) wide crater.

“It’s a dream come true,” Israeli Alon Tenzer, 36, told AFP. “It’s something we’ve been working on for years.” 

During their mission, they will conduct tests including on a drone prototype that functions without GPS, and on automated wind- and solar-powered mapping vehicles.

“The group’s cohesion and their ability to work together are crucial for surviving on Mars,” said Gernot Groemer, the Austrian mission supervisor.

– ‘Largest voyage ever’ –

The Israel project is part of mission Amadee-20, which was expected to kick off last year but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

German astronaut Anika Mehlis, the only woman on the team, told AFP how happy she was to be part of the project. 

Mehlis, a trained microbiologist, will study a scenario where bacteria from Earth infect potential life forms that may be found on Mars, saying this “would be a huge problem”.

“Over here, we have temperatures of about 25-30 degrees Celsius, but on Mars the temperature is minus 60 degrees Celsius and the atmosphere is not fit for breathing,” said Groemer.

NASA envisions the first human mission to Mars will launch in 2030.

“I believe the very first human to walk on Mars is already born and we are the ship-builders to enable this journey.”

How Israeli Start-Ups Thrived During COVID-19

While the rest of the economy took a hit during COVID-19, the start-up tech sector thrived and sometimes benefited.

The original article was published by Alon Ghelber, CMO at Revuze on Jpost

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/how-israeli-start-ups-thrived-during-covid-19-681692

The COVID-19 pandemic has been disastrous for virtually every part of the economy in most countries around the world. Even if we champion Israel’s quick response at the beginning of the pandemic and our early vaccination campaign in 2021, the Past year and a half have been extremely challenging on most fronts.

There is one sector of the Israeli economy that, while deeply affected by the pandemic, has managed to shine throughout – our tech sector, which was largely not disrupted by the pandemic and, in some cases, benefited from some of its “silver linings.”

At the moment, Israel’s economy is on track for a good recovery; it is projected to grow by more than 5% in 2021, thanks to exports, consumer spending and investments. How did the Israeli start-up ecosystem evolve during the pandemic? I spoke with several industry insiders to see how the pandemic affected their sector.

Big investments

The greatest indicator that the tech industry in Israel has not been in distress over the last year and a half is the record-breaking number of unicorns, a number that is already impressive and is in continued growth. (“Unicorn” is the term used to describe a private start-up company with a value of over $1 billion.)While the number of Israeli unicorns was only one in 2013, today there are over 65 unicorns – over 8% of the world’s total number of unicorns!

According to Keren Levy, chief operating officer at Payoneer, which had a $3.3 billion valuation earlier this year, there is a “virtuous cycle of economic interests.” As more global actors see the success of many Israeli-born start-ups, they feel more encouraged to invest money in new Israeli ventures, facilitating a constant flow of cash.

Cloud-based solutions

Many of the start-ups operating in Israel offer cloud-based software solutions, which don’t require infrastructure and can be easily discovered and acquired from abroad. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as a significant portion of our economy had to transition online and work and school, for many people, became remote, cloud-based solutions quickly became very relevant.

Gadi Mazor, chief operating officer and general manager at BioCatch, a behavioral biometrics firm based in Tel Aviv, told me that, for the most part, the pandemic expedited many digital trends. “Many remote businesses and new ways of doing things grew out of the crisis,” he explained. “The technology segment as a whole got a major boost. Processes that in normal times would have taken years, were completed in months, giving the companies involved in them unprecedented opportunities.”

Cryptocurrency in finance and tele-health in health care are just two examples of this phenomenon.

Work from home

While working from home was not uncommon in the tech industry before the pandemic, it has definitely become much more mainstream and accepted since the first lockdown in 2020. Many start-ups are still maintaining at least part-time work-from-home policies, even now that the majority of Israelis are vaccinated against COVID-19.Ido Susan, co-founder and CEO of DriveNets, a telecommunications unicorn company based in Ra’anana, told me that for most companies the transition to remote working was smooth and easy. Companies quickly provided their employees with the equipment they needed to work from home and they managed to continue to recruit talent and hire new employees, even remotely.“

Many Israeli companies took the pandemic as an opportunity to become more efficient, in some cases repositioning themselves and in others capitalizing on the weaknesses of their competitors,” Boaz Grinvald, who is the CEO of Revuze, told me.

It’s easy to say that with every challenge comes new opportunities, but in our ecosystem, this saying rings particularly true. The pandemic has been devastating, but the tech scene is stronger than ever before, and this is a great time for many companies to shine on the global stage.

Get in touch to connect with Payoneer, BioCatch, Revuze, and more!

Israel Winery: 1,500-year-old Byzantine Wine Complex Found

A 1,500-year-old wine-making complex, said to have been the world’s largest at the time, has been discovered in Israel, archaeologists say.

Five presses were unearthed at the huge Byzantine-era winery at Yavne, south of Tel Aviv, which is estimated to have produced two million litres a year.

After a sophisticated production process it was exported around the Mediterranean.

Those working at the site said they were surprised by its size.

There are plans to make the complex a visitor attraction once preservation work is completed.

The site contains five wine presses spread over a square kilometre (0.4 sq miles), warehouses for aging and bottling the wine, and kilns for firing the jars used for storing it.

The end product was known as Gaza and Ashkelon wine, after the ports through which it was exported to Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor.

It had a reputation for quality throughout the Mediterranean region, but at that time wine was also a staple for many.

“This was a major source of nutrition and this was a safe drink because the water was often contaminated,” said Jon Seligman, one of the excavation’s directors.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/israeli-archaeologists-discover-ancient-winemaking-complex-20211012-p58z4j.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-58876369

For modern wines and wine-tech coming out of Israel… Get in touch

Ashton Kutcher Invests in MeaTech to Help Push Israeli Cultivated Meat to Market

In today’s most unlikely news, a collective called Sound Ventures led by actor Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, the Israeli-American businessman and investor known for Maverick Records and his work with Madonna and U2, has announced a partnership with Israel’s cultivated meat leader MeaTech, the world’s first publicly traded cultivated meat producer.

Sound Ventures describes itself as “an investment vehicle dedicated to the next generation of clean, circular and sustainable businesses. Anchored by a partnership program with some of the world’s leading brands and corporations, our unique investment thesis is focused on sustainable supply chain management. The partnership aims to accelerate growth and expedite the commercialization of MeaTech’s proprietary cultured meat production technologies.

Ashton Kutcher commented: “We are delighted to partner with MeaTech and assist it in its journey to become the market leader in cultured meat production. We are excited about MeaTech’s innovative technologies, which we believe position MeaTech to be the leader in industrial scale production of cultured meat, a key for a more sustainable and clean meat production. We intend to work closely with MeaTech’s management to help MeaTech implement its strategy and achieve its goals and global success by leveraging our marketing, strategic expertise, and network.

The engagement with MeaTech is in line with our group’s mission to provide sustainable solutions through company building, investment, and acceleration of companies and technologies across various sustainability domains.”

Sharon Fima, CEO of MeaTech, said, “We are extremely excited to announce our strategic collaboration with such an entrepreneurial, visionary group. We believe this engagement will help accelerate our journey in becoming the global leader in the cultivated meat industry. We will leverage their expertise and relationships with key industry players to help us propel our strategy, go-to-market activities and brand.”

https://vegconomist.com/hot-off-the-vegan-press/ashton-kutcher-invests-in-meatech-to-help-push-israeli-cultivated-meat-to-market/