- Beyond the Headlines: Israel’s Credit Ratings Remain Strong
With geopolitics taking center stage in the media, you might have missed some of the exciting economic developments out of Israel. For instance, there are now more than 20 Israeli-founded unicorns (private companies valued over $1 billion) in both New York and California; as well as over 60 unicorns in Israel itself – more than all of Europe combined. In addition, Israel’s tech sector has raised more than $5 billion to-date in 2021, and is on pace to double its single-year record of fundraising3.
Looking past headlines is crucial when reconciling the many negative and positive aspects of a country. Israel is no different in this regard and a credit rating is perhaps the single most important economic assessment that conducts such a deep-dive analysis.
Generally, the better a country’s credit rating, the cheaper it can borrow abroad. In a typical year, Israel raises ~2 billion dollars/euros in the global markets. These funds are used to help finance the deficit and cover budgetary costs. Even though the vast majority of Israel’s debt is raised domestically, a credit upgrade or downgrade can still have a sizable impact on its cost-of-borrowing. The sheer weight of a credit decision, therefore, requires a rating agency to read past good or bad headlines to make a fair call.
Last year was especially difficult for the 130-or-so countries that receive credit ratings. COVID-19’s global impact also led to Israel falling into its first recession since 2002. And yet, while many countries were downgraded over the past year, Israel’s rating remained unchanged. Why?
Rating agencies looked beyond the headlines to factor in Israel’s well-diversified economy, natural gas exports, the global step toward digital adaptation, and the robust government programs to manage the virus. They evaluated regional geopolitics, but also carefully analyzed the resiliency of the population and its economy, the structure of Israel’s debt and astute debt-management, along with the State’s powerhouse tech sector. The conclusion from all agencies, following their thorough analysis, was to preserve Israel’s ratings.
And maintaining the ratings appears to have been a sagacious decision. Israel’s 2020 GDP (gross domestic product), although negative, was better-than-forecast. In early 2021, Israel led the world in vaccinations per capita, earning it the moniker “Vaccination Nation”. Also, at this time, most analyst expectations are for Israel to have a strong bounce back year.
Israel is currently rated AA- by S&P Global Ratings (its fourth-highest rating), A1 by Moody’s Investor Services (its fifth-highest rating), and A+ by Fitch Ratings (its fifth-highest rating). All three ratings are the highest Israel has ever had.
The Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy operates a network of 50 diplomatic missions around the world. The goal of these “Israeli Economic Missions” is to promote trade and investment between Israel and international markets. The Economic Missions promote collaboration between Israeli and local companies across all sectors, including cyber, investment, fintech, digital health, life sciences, consumer goods, wine, retail tech, sports tech, smart cities, clean energy, homeland security, software IT and water technology.
The Economic Missions provide service in three main areas:
- By initiating and maintaining trade agreements, and facilitating strategic cooperation with foreign companies, organizations and government agencies;
- Presenting opportunities from Israel to the local business community, including providing general information about the Israeli economy, industries, or specific companies;
- Making introductions for Israeli companies to local strategic partners, distribution channels and investors, encouraging foreign investment in Israeli companies, and identifying local entities that are open to cultivating, developing R&D or other strategic cooperation with Israeli companies.
- Digital Health Makes Strides to Prevent Food Allergies
In the United States, over 32 million suffer from severe to potentially life-threatening food allergies. One out of every ten adults and one of thirteen children have to adjust to sometimes severe dietary restrictions and eating practices. There is no cure for food allergies, but through recent research and development, there has been a significant breakthrough in preventing food allergies altogether (FARE). Israeli digital health start-up companies are at the forefront of food allergy prevention innovation by developing several food allergy solutions with the assistance of artificial intelligence.
The possibility of food allergy prevention was actualized in a 2015 study, LEAP (Learning Early about Peanut). When LEAP measured the levels of the peanut-specific IgG4 antibodies in three participant infant groups: consumption, avoidance, and both, these groups were set to indicate the peanut intolerance in individuals and to determine if developing a food allergy could be avoided by diet alone. LEAP’s hypothesis proved accurate; children exposed to peanuts as infants are less likely to develop a peanut allergy during childhood. Out of 98 participants, 35.3% developed a peanut allergy in the avoidance group, while only 10.6% of the consumption group developed the allergy. These findings have further advanced critical food allergy reduction research and fostered the development for preventative methods. These Israeli digital health start-ups have adapted this research to create innovative solutions to relieve current allergy sufferers, and food allergy prevention for consumers/patients:
MYOR– Is a digital health start-up that specializes in precision health solutions for infants and children. Its primary focus is on allergic conditions and nutritional deficiencies. MYOR produced a healthcare provider-facing app called NURTURE that identifies newborns at risk of developing allergies through the AI analysis of personal skin biomarkers. After the identification MYOR, creates a specialized plan to prevent future allergies.
SensoGenic – SensoGenic is developing a consumer biosensor based on its patented molecule-allergen interaction and electronic detection technology. The company aims to provide a comprehensive solution for people suffering from food allergies.
Ukko – Ukko’s mission is to improve the lives of people with food allergies and sensitivities. Ukko uses immunology, machine learning, and protein engineering to make measurably better and safer proteins for use in food and therapeutics. Ukko does this by designing and controlling the molecular interactions between allergen proteins and the immune system.
Ukko’s technology uses samples from patients and machine learning to guide the engineering of superior proteins that can be incorporated into food products and therapeutics. These proteins maintain or improve beneficial properties (taste, nutritional value, yield, physicochemical and mechanical properties) but do not trigger an immune response. Ukko’s initial product pipeline includes celiac-safe gluten proteins, allergy-safe and therapeutic peanut proteins, as well as a channel of additional allergen proteins.
SupimS Allergy – is a technology solution that helps people overcome existing allergies by desensitizing their immune system to be less reactive (or not reactive at all). The solution combines a proprietary method of digitalizing specific psychological techniques for allergies with advanced analysis, artificial intelligence, and biosignal devices. The tool implements a concept based on the field of psychoneuroimmunology.
For more details contact Medical and Healthcare IT Manager Jeremy Ungar
- Israeli Startup YO-Egg Creates Hyper-Realistic Product Offering Same Nutrients as Poultry Eggs
YO-Egg, a startup from Israel, has created a unique plant-based egg using proprietary, patent-pending ingredients. The company says that after focusing on Israel for a few months, it plans to enter the UK market.
Like a conventional egg, YO-Egg’s product is made up of two parts — the “white” and the “yolk”. The white consists of several ingredients combined into a liquid mass, with all the same beneficial nutrients as chicken eggs and no cholesterol.
For the centre of the egg, a molecular process is used to shape a proprietary combination of ingredients into a “yolk”. The formulations of both the white and the yolk are patent pending.
The startup’s innovation has led one of its founders, Yosefa Ben Cohen, to be selected as a finalist in the 2021 AgriFood Women’s Entrepreneurship Competition.
Last year, vegan eggs were the fastest-growing plant-based product segment, outperforming Beyond Meat and Oatly. But while several companies have launched egg alternatives, particularly for foodservice, research last year found that there were nowhere near enough plant-based eggs on the market.
“YO-Egg seeks to provide a viable solution for consumers who wish to enjoy a sunny side up egg without harming animals or the planet, and without having to settle for less in terms of the egg’s looks, texture, nutritional values and, of course, its taste,” the startup says.
- Coronavirus: Electronic bracelet quarantine pilot ends successfully
The Health Ministry has expressed immediate demand to help ease restrictions.
The pilot program for the coronavirus electronic bracelet, designed to monitor quarantined Israelis who landed back in the country, concluded on Friday and was deemed a success, the company behind the bracelet announced in a statement.
Israel’s SuperCom had launched the pilot on Monday as a means of ensuring Israelis quarantine themselves after landing back in the country due to concern they might have been exposed to COVID-19 during their time overseas.
The pilot program saw Israelis arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport offered the PureTag bracelet and PureCare smartphone ahead of their required 10-14 day at-home isolation. Agreeing to wear the bracelet enabled the returnees to quarantine at home as opposed to a government-run coronavirus hotel.
The bracelet cannot monitor any details about the person wearing it, except whether they are complying with their quarantine, SuperCom president and CEO Ordan Trabelsi said ahead of the pilot program’s launch.
Should the quarantine be violated, the bracelets won’t track their location once they leave their home but will only alert authorities that the person has left the confined area they were supposed to remain through the duration of the quarantine. According to the company, the bracelets were in high demand, with over 91% of travelers arriving at the airport opting for the program.
Reception from the program was positive, and was accompanied by a high satisfaction rate. As a result, the Health Ministry has expressed immediate demand for the bracelet in order to aid in the country’s easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. This includes plans to increase the amount of Israelis able to return to the country for abroad, many of whom are not vaccinated and will need to isolate.
And Israel isn’t alone in being interested in SuperCom’s bracelets, with the company reporting interest from multiple nations worldwide. As a result, the company has expanded its production capacity to over 20,000 units per month.
“We are very pleased with this pilot, utilizing our proprietary technology with people under home-quarantine in Israel, and we are proud to help Israel validate an important strategy to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” Trabelsi explained, adding that other nations are welcome to run their own pilot programs as well.
Rossella Tercatin and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
- Imagindairy makes milk proteins for ‘no-cow inside’ dairy duplicates
Year-old company hopes to hit market with its no-cow milk-protein powder in 2023; tech uses precision fermentation that makes animal-free versions of whey and casein
Israeli startup Imagindairy, Ltd. is jumping into the no-cow-milk space, saying its precision fermentation technology is able to create milk proteins that are just like the real thing – but without using animals.
The startup said its technology recreates nature-identical, animal-free versions of whey and casein proteins that can be used to produce dairy duplicates. The non-dairy products have the flavor, texture and the nutritional value of products that are animal-based. This opens up the opportunity of developing a full range of non-dairy products that mimic dairy versions yet contain no cholesterol and are lactose-free, the company said. Leaving animals out of the process also lowers the burden dairy livestock place on the environment.
Precision fermentation is a technology that enables the programming of micro-organisms to produce complex organic molecules such as proteins, explained Eyal Afergan, the co-founder and CEO of Imagindairy, in a text message. “One of the biggest advantages of this technology is its scalability.”
The fermentation process has been used in the food industry for the last 40 years, he said. The most-used enzyme in the dairy industry — rennet, which helps curdle the casein in milk — is produced though precision fermentation, he noted.The Imagindairy team, including co-founder Prof. Tamir Tuller, far left, and Eyal Afergan, the co-founder and CEO, third from left; June 2021 (Rami Shlush)
“Imagindairy harnesses this technology to produce animal-free milk’s proteins,” Afergan said.
he vision, he said, is to “deliver an animal-free version of the primary dairy proteins — whey and casein — that can allow product makers to match real dairy products in terms of protein concentration, nutrient profile, and the full sensory experiences of the animal-derived versions.”
Imagindairy was co-founded in April 2020, building its first applications in the home kitchen of one its employees, a single parent who needed a solution that would allow her to work on development while tending her homeschooled children during the coronavirus pandemic.
The startup is made up of a multidisciplinary team of experts in microbiology, computational systems, and biotechnology with the support of Israel-based The Kitchen FoodTech hub. Co-founder Arie Abo is a specialist in protein biochemistry, and the technology is based on 15 years of research led by Tamir Tuller, Imagindairy co-founder and a professor at Tel Aviv University.
Afergan said that the startup is the only one in the no-cow milk space with technology that yields, in a cost-effective manner, the significant amounts of proteins necessary for commercialization.
“Imagindairy is the only company in our domain with the required technology to successfully address the industry bottleneck of high production cost,” he said.
The product is still under development, he added. The firm hopes to launch its product, a powder or a liquid that can be used by food and dairy manufacturers and be integrated into existing dairy food production facilities, in 2023, he said.
“We developed an advanced protein production platform that allows us to optimize every step in creating milk proteins,” notes Tuller, Imagindairy’s co-founder and CSO. “This allowed us to achieve the yield that is needed to achieve commercial production.”
The startup has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, led by The Kitchen FoodTech hub, with contributions from the Israeli Innovative Authority, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital, and Entrée Capital. The firm will soon start raising funds for a series A round, the company said.
The market for dairy alternative or plant milk beverages made from soy, almond, coconut, oats and hemp is projected to grow from $21.4 billion in 2020 to $36.7 billion by 2025, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.
According to a World Wildlife Fund report, demand for dairy products continues to rise due to the global population growth, rising incomes, urbanization and the westernization of diets in Asian giants such as China and India. This increases the pressure on natural resources, including soil and water.
There are some 270 million cows that produce milk along with greenhouse gas emissions that add to climate change. Furthermore, dairy farming and feed production can lead to the loss of ecologically important areas such as wetlands, forests and prairies. Global estimates say that to produce one liter of milk, a massive 1,020 liters of water are needed.
Imagindairy is not the only company operating in this space: Israeli startup ReMilk says it has developed milk proteins that are chemically identical to those in cow-produced milk and dairy products.
Australian-US firm Change Foods uses bioengineering technology to create animal-free cheese and dairy products, its website says. San Francisco-based New Culture says it makes “cow cheese without the cow.”
Germany’s Legendairy Foods also uses microbial fermentation to produce the same proteins that are found in cow’s milk, and Belgium’s Those Vegan Cowboys says it makes products with the taste of cows’ milk but without the use of animals.
Israel’s Bio Milk, on the other hand, isolates the milk-producing cells in cows’ udders and transfers them to a bioreactor, where they are exposed to materials patented by the firm to produce milk.
- Sprout’s new CEO on what drew him to New Zealand – and why startups should follow him there
When Israeli venture investor Gil Meron told colleagues that he was considering a career move to New Zealand, people thought he was mad.
“They said: ‘It’s a joke, right?’ Israel is one of the biggest hubs, there’s a ton of deal flow, and you want to move to New Zealand? It’s just sheep and cows!,” he recalls.
But for Meron, moving to a place with plenty of sheep and cows made perfect sense.
After leaving the armed forces — having gained his engineering chops — in the 1990s, he joined IBM, where he worked on a variety of exciting tech projects – including Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console, for which ‘Big Blue’ helped co-develop processing units.
It soon became clear to him, however, that IT wasn’t his passion. He left IBM and engineering behind, studied business administration, and joined Boston Consulting Group.
“[I had] the plan of finding another industry which could match the excitement and caliber of people in the IT industry, with better environmental and social goals,” he says.
At the consulting firm, Meron was assigned to carry out an analysis project with a client in the water sector.
“Together we looked 30 years into the future and I realised: in water, and more so in food, is where I wanted to be,” he says.
“It’s a huge industry, worth trillions of dollars, and if you compare the amount of investment going to fintech or transportation, it’s marginal. But the implications reach far further, and actually the growth opportunity — which is to feed the entire world — is huge.”
Sprout Agritech’s first-ever venture investment was 400 million years in the making – read more here
It was during his work with IFC that Meron got to meet much of the global agrifoodtech investment community – including the team at San Diego, California-based VC Finistere Ventures.
Shortly after, he joined the firm, building a pipeline of agrifood startups from Israel and launching its incubator operations in the country.
A few years later, when Finistere was helping to transform New Zealand agrifood accelerator Sprout Agritech into a similar setup, Meron was the go-to man.
“I said, ‘I want to run it!’ And the partners were first-class: [Israel-based venture crowdfunding platform] OurCrowd, who are so active and so dynamic; and then Fonterra – you don’t need to tell anyone in New Zealand who they are. They’re a dairy powerhouse and New Zealand’s largest company with over NZ$20 billion [$14 billion] in revenue. With agriculture making a significant contribution to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions Fonterra sees a huge opportunity to decarbonize production and engage with disruptive technologies.”
Nevertheless, many of Meron’s associates in the US, Europe, and his native Israel urged him to think again.
“But when I looked more closely, I realised there was actually a lot of venture activity going on [there]. The Kiwis don’t shout about it — they’re doers more than talkers — but companies like Rocket Lab and Xero came out of New Zealand,” he says.
“So I thought, ‘This is an opportunity like no other,’ with almost zero downside risk in a place that, from a VC maturity standpoint, is a bit like where Israel was in the 1990s – with international players just beginning to take a look.”
“If we can do even half of [what Israel has achieved] this would be the most amazing run.”
The future of meat and milk
Meron took up the post of CEO at Sprout in February this year, just months after the accelerator and new investor partners OurCrowd, Finistere had jointly won a tender to run a new agrifoodtech incubation program for the New Zealand government.
While he admits that it’s still early days and he still has plenty to learn about the Kiwi agrifood ecosystem, Meron has been thoroughly impressed by what he has seen so far.
“We certainly see more and more interest [in agrifoodtech] from industry and investors. My network here is still limited, but just in the last few months I’ve been here, I’ve seen six new funds enter the market or being raised,” he says.
Sprout — which runs two of its flagship accelerator programs each year — is in the midst of accepting applications for its next batch of startups.
Submissions are welcome from teams based anywhere in the world (so long as they can make the journey down under given ongoing Covid-19 travel restrictions). They can also be working in pretty much any area of ag and food – though some may benefit more than others from what New Zealand’s well-established agricultural industry, substantial agrifood exports, and unique biodiversity has to offer.
“New Zealand puts a huge spotlight on ag, and specifically on livestock. These animals are not just greenhouse gas emitters, they also — if not farmed in a sustainable way — can harm the waterways and the soil,” Meron says.
“There is still a lot to do there. Dairy, beef, and lamb exports are a huge share of the economy, and this means that, to build the Kiwi farm of the future, we need to do it around animal livestock.”
That doesn’t mean that ‘animal-free’ proteins are irrelevant for New Zealand, Meron adds.
The very fact that the country is a longstanding center of livestock agriculture puts it on the front foot when it comes to alt-protein production – particularly in terms of dairy analogs.
“While they want fresh and high-quality food, consumers also want food that is sustainable and low-emission. New Zealand can be a hotbed in the development of these products,” he says.
“Another place where we would like to see either locally grown or foreign companies coming into New Zealand is alternative proteins – especially alt-dairy, or dairy-like proteins. With a huge amount of knowledge and expertise in dairy science there is a significant opportunity to leverage this to produce better alt-dairy products and ingredients.”
“Whether it’s simple rice or almond or soy milk, to fermented or plant-based or cell-cultured products, the growth opportunity is there – and New Zealand has the expertise, people who are researching proteins and researching dairy and have a lot of in-depth knowledge.”
LIC lost out on Afimilk courtesy of Covid-19. But it’s still hunting for tech deals, says CEO – read more here
“I don’t think it’s an ‘either-or’ thing. I think people will continue consuming real dairy and real meat, but a lot of the growth will come from alt-meat and alt-dairy – especially if they reach the same price,” Meron says.
Another area of particular interest for Sprout going forward is regenerative ag – farming methods and practices that can encourage better soil health and water use, and more sustainable farm operations overall.
“The [indigenous] Māori culture has been using regenerative ag practices for centuries, in the way they were thinking about, and treating, the land,” Meron says.
“It’s not easy to turn those kinds of practices and knowhow into technology-based companies, but we would like to find a way to use some of that knowledge that has been practiced by the iwi [tribal group] farms and match it with government-funded research and tech, and our company-building capabilities and investment. We believe New Zealand would really be able to benefit from this.”
For its upcoming accelerator program, Sprout is looking for “highly-driven entrepreneurs working on the broad challenges in ag and food,” Meron says.
“The program is valuable, regardless of the maturity of your product.”
Applications close on June 4.
Looking farther ahead, Sprout intends to start running more sector-specific cohorts, Meron reveals.
These thematic programs may be horizontal — focusing on viticulture, dairy, or aquaculture, for example — allowing Sprout to leverage its industry network and provide more value for partners and entrepreneurs alike.
Other programs may take a horizontal approach, zeroing in on themes like sustainability, or research from New Zealand’s state-owned Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), for instance.
“Paradoxically, when you narrow the search, you can actually get a lot more dealflow – because you discover people who didn’t think they needed the assistance, or didn’t know they could be entrepreneurs, and we can really help them with the heavy lifting of building a company,” Meron says.
One example where Sprout has already seen this is with Scentian Bio, its first venture investment. Sprout investment manager Warren Bebb is acting as an interim CEO for Scentian, which is a spin-out from CRI Plant & Food Research founded by scientist (and now chief technology officer) Andrew Králíček.
“[This way] we can actually increase our pipeline and also provide more interest to the corporate partners we work with, and really take a more important role in building the ecosystem here,” Meron says.
“At Sprout we really want to be business builders and ecosystem builders, rather than just providers of money. The dollar is a commodity – yours is as good as mine. We want to find the people who want to build a business, and who want our specialist skills, to attract them and help them do that.”
Sprout is accepting applications for its July 2021 accelerator program until June 4. Head here to find more details and register.
- ChickP Announces APAC Initiative With New Singapore Office as Demand For Plant Protein in Asia Continues
Israel’s ChickP Protein, Ltd. announces it is expanding into the APAC region with the launch of a new office in Singapore, in response to the rapidly growing demand for plant-based products in the region. The company also announces the appointment of Moy Teo as the company’s Business Development Director for Asia, to lead the venture’s business development and marketing activities.
“I’m excited to start this journey with ChickP in the alt-protein ingredient segment,” Moy Teo
With 20 years of hands-on experience in the food ingredient space within the APAC region, she joins the ChickP team to lead their foothold in Asia with their patented and highly functional chickpea isolate that boasts a 90% protein content. This move follows the acquisition of her distribution business by a group in the Netherlands.
“I’m excited to start this journey with ChickP in the alt-protein ingredient segment,” says Moy. “Chickpea is a well-known and highly venerated crop in Asia. The region makes up more than 85% of chickpea consumption globally, only behind India.”
The new Singapore office will include a warehouse to alleviate the logistical bottlenecks experienced throughout the pandemic era that slowed supplies to its APAC-based customers in 20 countries. “We believe in strong customer relations and partnerships in product development,” explains Ron Klein, CEO of ChickP. “While plant-based products pose many functional and flavor challenges, getting closer to your clients’ advances development, helps control the supply chain, and shortens time to market. Singapore has become the center of plant-based products and alt-protein, and ChickP is there to help its clients.”
“Asia is an important market for ChickP; we already partner with local food companies to advance plant-based innovations,” notes Itay Dana, VP of Sales and Business Development of ChickP. “This move is part of ChickP’s global extension beyond the joint market development agreement with Socius Ingredients, Inc. in the US. We also signed a contract with a distributor in South Africa, with the next step in the European market.”
- IPO Watch: The Next Israeli Tech Company Set to List on the ASX Made $16m Last Year
Gefen Technologies is set to be the next Israeli tech company to list on the ASX having closed its $25 million IPO offer on Friday.
The company has a software platform that is targeted at “regulation-heavy industries” starting with insurance and finance. It involves agents selling complex products to customers where a human touch is required, helping such companies reach more customers.
It’s clientele include insurance giants TAL, Generali Group and Manulife and co-CEO Orni Daniel says more companies and industries such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, tourism and electronics will be targeted in the future.
The company made $16.4 million in revenue in 2020 representing a 264 per cent Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
The IPO proceeds come on top of the $6.5 million in seed capital raised over the last 12 months from ASX fund managers Regal, Ellerston, PACCapital and Perennial among others.
Another Israeli tech company
When Gefen lists, which it is scheduled to do on June 17, the company will join a cohort of approximately a dozen of Israeli companies on the ASX, most of which are tech.
Here’s a list of Israeli companies on the ASX…
Code Company Price %Mth %Yr MktCap APV Appsvill 0.081 -13 -48 $7.3M DTZ Dotz Nano Ltd 0.295 -16 278 $119.1M ELS Elsight Ltd 0.4 -12 22 $53.3M ESE Esense-Lab Ltd 0.018 0 64 $9.2M FLC Fluence Corporation 0.175 -26 -42 $109.3M HMD Heramed Limited 0.2 67 74 $32.7M MOB Mobilicom Ltd 0.063 2 2 $20.3M ROO Roots Sustainable 0.016 -16 -33 $8.6M SBW Shekel Brainweigh 0.105 -25 56 $16.8M SMX Security Matters 0.345 -3 19 $49.2M SPT Splitit 0.655 -22 39 $308.9M WBT Weebit Nano Ltd 1.84 -20 448 $219.0M
Stockhead asked Gefen Technologies co-CEO Orni Daniel on an investor webinar held on Friday why his firm chose to list in Australia.
He was intrigued by the ASX’s increased focus on technology companies and also thought listing generally would help his company grow.
“We’re a global company, however our main market is in South East Asia and … the largest agent networks are in the region,” Daniel said.
“I believe we’re at the stage where going public helps the company with growing.
“And why? On one hand, when you’re a public company, more information is visible and transparent and it helps onboarding new corporate clients.
“On the other hand, having a present relationships with the capital markets helps to get capital to fuel the growth.
“We’re very happy to see the ASX has an increased focus on technology companies in recent year – they’ve just launched a tech index just last February – February 2020.
“And I believe a combination of all those elements was a natural fit for the next step on our journey.”
- NASA Harvest and CropX Partner to Support Sustainable Agriculture
Combining Critical In-Soil Insights and Satellite Observations to Improve Global Agricultural Monitoring
NASA Harvest (NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture program area) and CropX, a global leader in soil analytics for agriculture, today announced a strategic partnership that will give NASA Harvest unprecedented soil insights for its global agricultural monitoring efforts. Supporting a more sustainable food ecosystem, together NASA Harvest and CropX will provide farmers and industry experts with the data and information they need to improve farming sustainability by conserving resources and improving crop yields.
The partnership will further NASA Harvest’s mission to improve food security and advance sustainable agriculture, supporting farmer productivity while preserving natural resources in the United States and worldwide through the use of satellite data. Combining the power of CropX soil data monitoring, comprehensive insights provided by the CropX ag analytics platform, and NASA’s network of Earth-observing satellites, this partnership will result in delivering critical insights to governments and farmers around the globe in support of informed and science-driven decision making.
“Soil health and nutrient management is at the very root of food security and sustainable agriculture concerns – an accurate understanding of what is actually happening underneath the ground is essential,” noted Nadav Liebermann, CropX chief technology officer. “Satellite imagery has long been an integral part of CropX algorithms, and our partnership with NASA Harvest will deliver valuable agronomic insights by connecting critical data at different depths underground and from an expansive network of satellites in space. We are looking forward to working with the NASA Harvest team to improve farming decision-making in both developed and undeveloped regions of the world.”
CropX has implemented strategies across a group of alfalfa farms in Arizona controlled by Integrated Ag Financial (IAF) Investments Group to test and finetune the algorithms that will become the foundation of nationwide, and potentially eventually global, agriculture insights. Over a 12-month time period with the integration of NASA data and international partner agency satellite data, the pilot program will quickly establish the parameters for water usage estimates, yield prediction, soil quality and land usage assessments based on multiple crop growing cycles.
A CropX team member installs a soil quality sensor.Credits: courtesy of CropX
“We are delighted to collaborate with CropX and NASA Harvest on this most important deployment,” stated Jon-Michael Nahon, IAF senior managing partner, “Optimal and sustainable use of farm inputs is crucial to meeting the world’s food challenge.” Particularly in light of a renewed focus on soil moisture metrics spurred by NASA efforts such as the Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission and the upcoming NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) mission, the team hopes to build upon the pilot study in the coming years by using the best available technology to analyze and support more cost-effective and environmentally efficient farming methods.
“We are in a constant race to produce and supply enough food in order to feed a rapidly growing global population, with finite land and natural resources. NASA Harvest is dedicated to collaborating with top innovators to make the best possible use of our agricultural land; CropX unites our space-led vision with on-farm intelligence and results,” added Inbal Becker-Reshef, program director of NASA Harvest.
“We were impressed by the accuracy and reliability with which the CropX soil monitoring platform was able to both pinpoint various soil health and environmental challenges, as well as determine opportunities for water, energy and nutrient conservation,” Becker-Reshef said. “CropX offers the advanced tools and global farm footprint needed to understand and improve soil health and water quality tied to farming ecosystems around the world. Paired with satellite data, this provides the opportunity to scale these insights in support of farmer productivity and more effective use of available resources.”
First introduced via their involvement in Farm2050, an ecosystem of agrifood industry leaders led by the private companies Innovation Endeavors and Finistere Ventures, the new partnership between CropX and NASA Harvest puts collaboration across the public, private and academic sectors into practice. NASA Harvest is a multidisciplinary consortium of over 40 partners funded by NASA HQ through a competitive selection process and based at the University of Maryland. It is dedicated to creating the partnerships needed to unlock innovation in agriculture. Together, NASA Harvest and CropX plan to quickly scale the program based on learnings from the initial pilot.
Last Updated: Apr 3, 2021Editor: Aries Keck
- Rise of Travel-Tech post Covid-19
As the world begins to open its borders to eager travellers many of the globe’s biggest travel companies have seen their share prices rocket. IAGs value rose by 3% and TUI’s shares also increased by 4% as a result of the news that travel restrictions in places in the world were to be lifted.
So what does this mean for business and how can it be capitalised on to ensure the Travel industry rises from the ashes like a vaccinated Phoenix post-Covid 19? The rise of value in these travel companies means the parallel growth of investment into Travel Technology, which presents a huge opportunity for the sector as a whole. The industry will have to adjust to the new demands that post-Covid presents such as the increased likelihood of holiday cancellations, socially distanced queuing at airports and more digital forms of booking trips abroad. However, as Israel has proven in the past and still proves today, with any problem comes an opportunity. Not only will the travel sector need technology to help rebuild itself after a year of paralysis, but new technologies will play a pivotal role in making sure that the travel industry doesn’t fall back into the dark abyss of 2020.
Yet, although last year saw the industry stagnate and seemingly cease to exist, it allowed travel tech companies to build their technologies, leading to newer trends and innovative ways for the industry to grow in the future. One of the latest trends that have come from the travel industry is the rise in robotics technology. Robots are now starting to become more common in hotels for concierge-like roles or helping to greet guests, whilst at airports, we are seeing automated luggage as people travel terminal to terminal without having to worry about holding anything. In Israel, this type of technology has been around for years with NUA Robotics creating a form of robotic luggage that not only follows but communicates with its owner.
Another area of the travel tech industry that has grown during the pandemic is contactless payments. What started as a convenience pre-Covid has now become an essential part of the travel industry, with travellers no longer feeling comfortable handling cash many companies are having to adapt their system to this new form of payment. It is not just contactless cards though that are making a breakthrough, Israel has created other forms of e-commerce payments that do not just require the generic tapping method that we see today. An example coming from Chromepay, a technology that enables merchants and travel businesses to receive payments via a unique QR code with users being able to seamlessly transfer money between each other.
On top of the robotics and contactless payments trends, the travel industry has adapted its technology to include chatbots in its online services. These AI-powered pieces of machinery provide customers with an online 24/7 service through travel websites, meaning that the drop in staff availability due to COVID doesn’t affect the customer service of the company. These chatbots are extremely useful in helping travellers to get answers about their holiday and responding to any queries that they may have about COVID policies, which are changing repeatedly. Botson, an AI-based system from Israel, not only includes chatbots but has also developed an engagement prediction engine that personalises travel content for customers. When the travel industry begins to fully open up in the next few months, do not be surprised in seeing more companies use technologies like Botson in providing both a chatbot and a more customisable service to their customers.
Although the world is still extremely cautious about the industry opening its doors to eager travellers across once more, there is a lot that the travel sector can look forward to. Any problems that might arise in the coming months will be tackled head-on by innovation and forward-thinking as we have seen in the past when the pandemic first hit. These types of technology with not only keep customers safe but on a macro scale will have a lasting impact on the survival of the industry as a whole.
- Stretching Communication: How Israeli Solutions are Addressing Last-Mile Connectivity
With the rapid infrastructural expansions that we are accustomed to in the global telecoms industry, it is impossible to believe there are often a minority of consumers of telephony services who are consistently under-served.
Despite the meteoric growth of the Internet and broadband connectivity in the past two decades, about 49 per cent of the world’s population, or 3.7 billion people, were still offline and excluded from the direct benefits of the global digital economy at the end 2019. Further, over 750 million people (approximately 10 per cent of the global population) are not covered by mobile broadband (3G or higher) and this lack of coverage is particularly concentrated in rural and remote areas.
The estimated global telecom services market size was USD 1.66 trillion in 2020 and expected to reach USD 1.70 trillion in 2021. It is therefore underwhelming to find that companies are still hesitant to invest in extending coverage of mobile telephony services to rural environments and less densely populated remote areas, in the era of 3G and 4G.
Admittedly, this is a numbers game and most will point to the lack of long-term return on investment (ROI) of such novel ideas, averaging 6% globally, to validate their reluctance. However, where technological solutions can lower the CAPEX significantly and remove the business constraints, telecom companies should at least commit to the vision of universal access and inclusive economies.
Israel’s telecommunication sector is considered as one of the most sophisticated in the world, characterized by high mobile penetration, extensive R&D presence, high-level talent pool and strong service competition. It is, therefore, not a surprise to have some established and start-up Israeli communication technology companies leading the efforts to address the global Last Mile Connectivity challenge.
Find a few excellent solutions worth considering:
- Comarcom is a well-established vendor of special antennas for Cellular Radio coverage enhancement solutions. This unique very high gain, narrow beam, dual polarization antennas called “Very High Gain Antennas (VEGA)” enables the Cellular Operator to extend and improve coverage of difficult-to-service areas at a far lower cost, covering remote communities, long roads, rails, ferry routes and long bridges.
- MTI Wireless Edge Ltd is offering high quality, low cost, flat panel antennas for commercial applications such as WiMAX, Wireless Networking, RFID readers &, Broadband Wireless Access. With over 40 years’ experience of supplying antennas 100KHz to 90GHz, including directional antennas and Omni directional for outdoor and indoor deployments, as well as for Base Stations and Terminals – Utility Market.
- Curvalux’s phased array multi beam system, designed specifically for operators and ISPs to provide highest fixed wireless broadband capacity for the last mile, rural and urban environments. Its revolutionary technological solutions provide the highest fixed wireless broadband capacity at the best ownership cost.
- Gilat Satellite Networks is a leading global provider of satellite-based broadband communications. Gilat provides an assortment of communication solutions for both permanent and temporary sites, which include both fixed and mobile solutions.
- Israel’s Drones set to Improve Civilian Life
The global interest in drones is growing in exponential pace. Advancements in technology and reduced costs are some of the reasons fueling the rapid growth. Kenya is not an exception, and recently the use of drones in Kenya was allowed by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
Israel is one of the world’s largest exporter of unmanned aircraft, in terms of the number of systems sold. Over the last eight years Israel has exported $4.6 billion worth of unmanned aerial vehicles to countries ranging from Britain, India and Uganda, according to a study by the business consulting firm Frost and Sullivan
Israel’s UAV’s ability to operate beneath radar detection level yet unnoticed by those on the ground makes it a unique and essential part of any military arsenal these days. Today Israeli combat & surveillance drones are used worldwide.
However, in recent years Israel is developing drones to be deployed for public use, with the aim to ultimately reduce congestion on public roads, transporting medicine and medical equipment and performing medical tasks and delivering various commercial goods more quickly.
In March 2021 Israel Innovation Authority together with Transportation Ministry, the Israel Aviation Authority, the Ayalon Highways Co. and the Prime Minister’s Office commissioned a pilot drone project which will see hundreds of drones from a variety of firms test out their technologies in different sections over a shared airspace in the next two years.
Over the course of the project, the unmanned vehicles from a variety of firms will make 300 flights a day in the designated area, first in over unpopulated spaces in Hadera and then gradually moving to fly over urban areas, each vehicle simulating the execution of a variety of increasingly complex tasks: food delivery, transport of medicine and medical equipment, transport of packages and agricultural services.
According to research the global commercial drone market is projected to grow significantly by 2025, driven by a rise in demand for aerial services and advancements in camera, mapping and other software. Israel is hoping to use the technological prowess it has developed in the military drone sector to become a global player in the growing multibillion-dollar civilian sector. Some of the key start-ups in the drone sector include
Heven Drones, which has developed breakthrough stability technology that enables drones to fly in the most difficult environments while offering a highly customizable and actionable platform. The drones are capable of lifting upwards of 45kg in extreme weather conditions while flying at a speed of 90 kph for 45 minutes and are used for medical supply deliver, urban logistics, and agriculture, to industrial and security use-cases. The drones can be customized to provide solutions to a wide array of challenges across many different industries.
Nando Drones offers autonomous drone-based platform that turns the archaic model of site security upside down. Instead of guards making the rounds and patrolling a perimeter to detect intrusions into the secured site, with a response team on call, the drone in the sky hovers above commercial sites for up to 70 minutes at a time, capable of detecting both movement and the human form at a range of up to 250 meters. The Nando autonomous drone-based platform is also efficient for non-security applications including but not limited to solar farms monitoring, agricultural and mining surveillance.
Highlander provide a software-only solution that provides drone fleets with autonomous flight, intelligent airspace control, and coordinated air continuity. As a fully hardware-free system, they integrate with all the leading drone manufacturers, giving customers the freedom to build their drone fleets with best-in-class devices for whatever their specific purposes may be. High Lander clients around the globe use Mission Control to manage robotic aerial security, public safety, precision agriculture, facilities inspections, drone delivery networks, border patrol operations, etc.
Airwayz offers software-based AI that allows any drone of any type to be part of an autonomous drone fleet and perform multiple tasks in a variety of fields. Airwayz drones are used for the inspection and mapping of assets and sites that help to reduce manpower requirements and business risk while improving operational efficiency and compliance. They are also used for autonomous or remote operated Search and Rescue missions as well as package delivery.
- Look into the Telecommunication Industry
The global Telecommunication industry is transforming large communication and Technology companies with the maturity of intelligent edge. The intelligent edge is the combination of advanced connectivity, compact processing power, and Al located near devices that use and generate data. Predictions are that in 2021, there will be an expansion by Telecoms deploying the intelligent edge for 5G networks, and hyper scale cloud providers. The intelligent edge will benefit any business that manages data centres, cloud, and networks. Telecoms are key partners for intelligent edge. Large Telecoms sell their own edge computing and IOT solutions. As providers with the edge ecosystem telecoms can offer their enterprise consumers end-to-end connectivity for advanced 5G solutions, cable, fibre, and wired or wireless networks.
The Israel Telecommunication markets have witnessed growth in the recent years and are expected to grow in this direction over forecast period to 2025. The growth in this industry comes from the increasing adoption of mobile phones that supports 5G, 4G, and 3G across the country. This sector is further expected to grow over the forecast period with the increasing adoption of IOT, which is connected to wireless broadband.
The new trends in the telecommunication industry are major growth from value –added services. Digital transformations of new technology are helping to provide opportunities for the telecommunication industry to grow on their service offerings and solutions to add value added services to customers and consumers. Innovation Technology, if used correctly, can help Telco’s separate themselves in the market and increase productivity. This will call for the telecommunication industry to think outside the connectivity box and innovate technology in increasing value added services.
The below are some of the technology and trends set to influence the future of Telco’s:
The 5th generation of mobile wireless connectivity is 5G. According to GSMA this technology will account for 20% global connections. 5G technology will set to change the way businesses operate as it will allow for faster connectivity. This will influence the IOT and edge computing which will enable management of business process, operations, digitisation and automation. 5G connectivity will allow for Telco is to target companies with 5G related applications specifically built for industries, example, telemedicine apps that allow us to connect with the qualified doctors whenever needed, get a diagnosis and treatment plan online. In the hard times of COVID-19, these solutions are valuable if not critical.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Making use of AI, telecommunication industry will be able to process and analyse huge volumes of big data to gain access to actionable insights that can be used to enhance customer experience and increase profitability. This is done by using AI technology for network optimisation and automation which will enable Telco’s to detect or predict any problems or issues with the network and will allow them to identify and fix the problem before it negatively affects customers. The use of Virtual assistants allows for operators to implement self-service platforms and solutions that enable customers to do more themselves.
FinTech innovations, in the form of mobile wallets, mobile money, and digital payments have become an innovative and essential service globally. Telecommunication industry has the opportunity to connect with billion unbanked customers. The Fintech market has a huge growth potential and is looking for financial inclusion for simple and convenient ways to make payments. The Covid 19 pandemic has demonstrated the requirement for the FinTech solutions that enabled payments to be virtual either by mobile phones or online. FinTech related trends will continue to grow and impact the future of the Telco industry and provide the telecommunication industry with an opportunity to increase on their service offerings.
IOT (Internet of Things)
Internet of things continues to gain grip and impact the different industry verticals globally, especially since we see shifts towards smart manufacturing, industrial automation, smart cities and vehicle telematics. The estimated total operator –billed revenue from 5G IOT will reach 8 billion by 2024. This move towards internet of things provides an opportunity for the telecommunication industry to innovate their product offerings and make use of 5G capabilities, like network slicing, and multi edge computing solutions to add value to their customer base with solutions that talk to the changing needs of customers.
The companies highlighted below display variety of value added services for Telecoms:
OKO – Provides effective, affordable insurance to farmers in emerging markets and delivers instant claim settlement. By leveraging the increasing influence of mobile technology, OKO aims to help overcome income distribution insufficiencies for those who feed the world.
Trackimo – Trackimo develops various personal safety and object tracking solutions, with the most cost-effective, compact GPS devices, and a global GSM/IoT service. With trackimo you can locate and track any person, vehicle, pet or precious object in seconds, using web or apps, and get alerts through multiple channels. Trackimo’s cloud-based API enables integration to multiple security and tracking systems.
AirDoctor – Platform that helps travellers locate an appropriate physician abroad by language spoken, location, medical specialty, and reviews. And it is now preparing for a world where travel may look completely different. Air Doctor introduced a telemedicine service in December 2019 that allows travellers to virtually meet with physicians who can speak their native language. It saw a 150 percent increase in the use of its virtual network in the last two months, as the corona virus pandemic continued to spread throughout the world.
Pay key – PayKey enables banks, e-wallets, telcos and other businesses to offer customers instant access to financial services, including P2P payments, balance check and top-ups – from within ANY mobile app, including all messaging apps. Pay Key patented Social Payments Solution™ is based on a state-of-the-art smartphone keyboard that includes your branded payment button, opening a menu of your services – always available to your customers, no matter what they’re doing on their phones.
The future of the telecommunication industry entails partnerships and other service providers. This helps the Telco’s to differentiate them, enhance service offerings, and create new business models that aim to provide customers with value added services that they looking for.
- “Massive Growth” of Alt Protein Field in Israel as Total Investment Increases 8X Since 2018
From: Vegeconomist – May 3
According to a new GFI Israel study, the total investment in companies developing alt proteins in Israel has increased eightfold across the plant-based, cell-cultured and fermentation fields. The total of all investments in 2020 was almost three times higher than the previous year, with 154% annual growth (YOY).
As global investments in alt protein companies reached $3.1 billion in 2020 – three times higher than in 2019 – the GFI has identified Israel as playing a key role in the alt protein movement, with record-breaking numbers and capital investments reaching $114 million. Between 2018 and 2020 the total investment in companies developing alt proteins rocketed from $14 million in 2018 to $114 million in 2020.
Additionally, in 2020:
- Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies received $77 million in investments.
- Cultivated meat companies received $16 million.
- Fermentation companies devoted to alternative proteins received $21 million.
- Sales of plant-based products in Israel grew 13 times more than sales of animal-based products.
Findings also recently revealed that the growth of the alt protein market in Israel was 13 times greater than that for animal products in 2020, with the Israeli alternative meat market growing by about 24% overall. The latest GFI report backs this up by revealing the “Massive growth” of the alt protein field when compared to other industries, with an average annual investment growth of 187% and a huge advantage over other leading high-tech industries in Israel.
Israel aims to position itself at the forefront of the global alt protein market, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a well-publicised trip to Aleph Farms’ facilities and becoming the first world leader to sample cell-cultured meat. In another example of the aforementioned investment, Israeli startup Chunk Foods last week raised $2 million in a pre-seed funding round to develop its fermentation technology to produce whole-muscle meat alternatives. Cell-cultured leader MeaTech also recently announced its $25 million IPO and Nasdaq listing, which you can read a vegconomist interview regarding here.
“GFI Israel focuses on advancing alternative protein innovation in the “Startup Nation”. Israel is recognized as a world leader in agricultural research, tissue engineering, stem cell research and engineering and thus has emerged as a hub for alternative protein innovation and cultivated meat companies. Israel is ranked 2nd in the world (after the United States) in the number of fermentation companies (10) and cellular agriculture companies (9).
“As this industry is still in its infancy, we are expecting to see more emerging startups and bigger investments being made as mature companies scale up, in the coming years. Startups in Israel are no longer in a rush for an exit, and although their target market is in most cases overseas, they have learned to scale effectively and build global brands. This is why we see more and more tier 1 international investors active in Israel,” says Aviv Oren, Business Engagement Manager at GFI Israel.
- Israeli Company Chunk Foods Raises $2M to Develop Whole Cut Alt-Meat Products
While there now exists a large number of alt-meat producers, the focus tends to be on alternatives to processed meat, such as burgers, meatballs, and nuggets. Making whole cuts of meat is challenging, and few companies have attempted it.
Spotting a gap in the market, Chunk Foods decided to use solid-state fermentation to make beef alternatives containing only natural ingredients. It plans to use the new funding to improve its products and hire new staff.
Whole alt-meat cuts
There are a few other companies working to make whole alt-meat cuts possible — Paris-based Umiami has recently unveiled a proprietary texturisation process to create plant-based whole cuts, while US company Meati Foods has made steak from mycelium. Last year, food scientists at the University of Massachusetts received a grant from GFI to make alt-meat products more like whole cuts of conventional meat. However, none of these approaches use fermentation.
“Whole muscle cuts of beef such as sirloin, chuck or ribs have been the Holy Grail for alternative meats as they account for about 60% of the beef market in the USA,” says Amos Golan, founder and CEO of Chunk Foods. “We have overcome the technological limitations of other approaches by naturally creating delicious and realistic products with many of the attributes of meat, while ensuring a clean and short ingredient list using our novel fermentation technology. Stray Dog Capital shares our vision of the future of food and we’re excited to be partnering to make that vision into reality.”
- Israel Rolls Out Covid-19 Passport Program to Children, Who Can’t Yet Be Vaccinated
Move comes as U.S. and other countries turn their attention to reopening child-centric businesses
TEL AVIV—Israel has extended its Covid-19 vaccine passport system to children who aren’t yet eligible to be inoculated, allowing them to visit cinemas, restaurants and other entertainment businesses as it continues to reopen its economy.
Under the program, children with negative PCR tests will be eligible for a three-day so-called green passport that will be associated with their parents’ passes. The passports take the form of a QR code that can be carried on a smartphone, though their use isn’t always enforced.
Religious-affairs ministry officials had stipulated that only those carrying a green passport could attend a religious festival on Thursday at Mount Meron, where dozens of people were killed in a stampede, but health officials had said it would be impossible to check the status of those attending.
Organizers estimated that some 100,000 people were at the site by midnight.
The country of nine million has led the world’s fastest vaccination program, with nearly 75% of its eligible population fully vaccinated. But given a lack of clinical trial data for children, policy makers haven’t yet extended the campaign to those under 16, meaning about 2.6 million aren’t eligible to be vaccinated.
This has limited the extent to which Israel can reopen its economy without causing further outbreaks. Israel says its solution is a stopgap measure until medical trials demonstrate that children can be safely vaccinated against the virus.
Other countries with high vaccination rates, such as the U.S. and U.K., face similar problems. Herd immunity requires between 70% and 85% of a population being protected, health officials say, and this is impossible in countries like the U.S. and Israel if children aren’t vaccinated. Children under 16 account for 22% of the current U.S. population.
“We haven’t had any outbreaks from green-pass activity over the past eight or nine weeks,” said Tomer Lotan, executive director of Israel’s coronavirus task force. “We are very confident that the green pass is a very effective defense layer on the economic activity in Israel.”
Last month, Israel began offering rapid tests at sites such as hotels and sports stadiums, costing about $10 to $20, which allowed children with negative test results to enter. The expansion will include regular PCR tests that are much more accessible and are free for everybody.
Israeli health officials said they would begin to vaccinate children between the age of 12 and 16 when the vaccine is approved by Israeli and international regulators. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in April that Israel signed new deals to buy millions of vaccines from Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. to begin vaccinating children later this year and launch another vaccine campaign for adults.
So far, many businesses that largely cater to children such as cinemas and amusement parks remain closed. But officials hope the expanded green passports will allow them to reopen next week when additional restrictions are lifted, including the elimination of caps on the number of people frequenting venues using green passports, such as restaurants and stadiums that have been operating at reduced capacity.
Health officials in Israel say it remains an open question as to what role children play in spreading the coronavirus when the adult population is largely vaccinated.
Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer of Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit, said that because the country was the first to introduce the mass vaccination of its adult population, it will be at the forefront of establishing what restrictions can be safely removed without sparking a resurgence of infections.
“We have to try to have a stepwise and gradual approach and are continuously measuring to make sure that we haven’t crossed this invisible threshold that we aren’t sure where it lies,” he said.
Appeared in the May 3, 2021, print edition as ‘Israel Grants Children Access to Vaccine Passes.’
- Press Release – “2020 High-Tech Human Capital Report”, published by the Israel Innovation Authority and Start-Up Nation Central
- E-commerce Fraud Detection & Prevention
The increased digitization of global commerce and banking globally — with the expansion of cross-border ecommerce and the adoption mobile banking in the past decade — presents a juicy target for organized criminal groups who only need an Internet connection to make easy money.
Financial fraud prevention is a big business, with the market expected grow 20 percent per year to reach $42.6 billion in size by 2023, according to global consultancy KBV Research.
Within this environment, Israel-based or Israeli-founded companies have quietly built a large and growing presence in the anti-fraud market, with at least 35 companies active in the field, ranging from early-stage startups to post-exit companies that have become divisions in larger multinational corporations.
The Israeli hi-tech scene is well known for producing cutting edge solutions across a variety of industries and verticals. Ecommerce fraud is no different. A number of Israeli startups are pushing the envelope on the machine learning and AI techniques required to fight increasingly sophisticated fraud attacks. From phishing attacks to credit card skimming hacks, there is no type of eCommerce fraud problem these companies aren’t trying to solve.
To date, the 35 Israeli-founded anti-fraud companies have raised over half a billion dollars in venture capital investment and generated $1.5 billion in successful exits, according to data compiled from Crunchbase.
Some examples of Fraud Prevention companies from Israel:
- ClickCease: ClickCease is a software company that prevents fraudulent clicks on Google Adwords ads. Click fraud will waste 20% of PPC advertisers’ budgets in 2021. Competitors and bots can click on your ads and waste your advertising budget. ClickCease™ Google Ads click fraud protection software will exclude invalid IPs and block fake clicks. This will boost your campaigns and allow you to acquire more customers.
- Riskified: Riskified aims to help the eCommerce industry realize its full potential by making it safe, accessible, and economic. Brands from airlines to luxury fashion houses to gift card marketplaces trust Riskified to increase revenue, manage risk, and enhance their customer experience.
Riskified uses powerful machine-learning algorithms to recognize legitimate customers and keep them moving toward conversion. Using Riskified, merchants can safely approve more orders, expand internationally, and fulfill omnichannel flows while providing a frictionless customer experience.
- BioCatch: BioCatch delivers behavioral biometrics, analyzing human–device interactions in order to protect users and data. Banks and other enterprises use BioCatch to significantly reduce online fraud and protect against a variety of cyberthreats without compromising user experience.
- Segasec: Segasec is a cybersecurity start-up specializing in helping organizations mitigate the risk of their customers becoming victims of online fraud and phishing scams.
The company’s patent-pending technology provides early intelligence for upcoming phishing scams (scams in preparation mode), running quadrillions of targeted scans that identify even unknown attack patterns. Once these attacks are identified, and before customers are targeted, Segasec’s solution works to confuse and defuse the attackers, taking down and blocking the compromised assets while deceiving the attackers in order to reduce the risk of exposing customers’ personal information.
Segasec’s solution requires zero onboarding and no integration, so companies can start getting protected immediately.
- Forter: Forter has developed a fully automated fraud-prevention platform that avoids a cumbersome verification process for customers. The company’s triple-layered technology observes models and anomalies in online user behavior, learning from every transaction to distinguish between authenticity and fraud in order to produce an immediate approve/decline decision.
- Identiq: Identiq’s identity-validation solution creates a completely anonymous distributed network that allows members to validate new users and vouch for ones they already know. All of this is done without sharing any customer data or identifiable information.
This approach enables members to make accurate decisions regarding fraud based on a greater number of data points as well as offer a better user experience to their customers. It also provides strong proof of identity by connecting multiple assets such as email, phone number, address, IP address, and funding source at the time of onboarding, first payment, or after indications of account takeover.
For further information on fraud prevention technologies from Israel, contact the FinTech Manager.
Rochelle Ives; Trade Officer, Sydney
- Electric cars – The Automotive Ecosystem in Israel
Global car sales experienced an unprecedented drop. Despite gradual recovery over the course of the year, early market data suggests that global car sales contracted in 2020 by an estimated 14% year-on-year, mirroring closely the drop in global car sales in 2020 was significantly larger comparatively.
Ford said during his keynote speech. “It sparks innovation.” The automotive ecosystem in Israel, he added, is “amazing.” You didn’t need to hear Ford to understand that Israel has become a world leader in everything from the sensors and cameras that power self-driving cars to the software that will find an open parking spot in a lot or on the street (no small feat in a perennially parked-up city like Tel Aviv).
A technological breakthrough is needed, and many Israel companies are working on ways to make charging faster and travel range longer. Electric vehicles can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at least in theory. A small Israeli start-up called Electreon has another idea: electrify the roads to recharge vehicles as they are driven.
Electric cars, which are a major part of global attempts to tackle the climate crisis, have faced the challenge of batteries taking hours to fully charge, giving rise to “range anxiety” — the fear of a battery running out mid-journey and the driver getting stranded at a charging station. But now, provided that charging stations undergo a major upgrade, which could take years, charging an electric car could become as quick as stopping to refuel a gas-run vehicle.
ISRAEL- From flat battery to full charge in just five minutes — an Israeli start-up has developed technology it says could eliminate the “range anxiety” associated with electric cars. Ultra-fast recharge specialists StoreDot have developed a first-generation lithium-ion battery that can rival the filling time of a standard car at the pump. They are changing the entire experience of the driver, the problem of ‘range anxiety’ that may get stuck on the highway without energy,”
Phinergy, company’s main focus is on the development of aluminum-air and zinc-air batteries, they claim to have successfully integrated aluminum-air battery system into an electric vehicle resulting in more than three times the driving range of current EVs.
Driivz, offers a cloud-based software platform for operations management, grid management, user management, public and workplace charging management including billing services. They offer the product to the public charging infrastructure managers.
Aquarius Engines is an Israeli startup focused on developing engines for application in hybrid and electric vehicles. The company has developed a patented engine which has only one moving part, the engine only has a single piston that moves from side to side instead of up and down. The generator charges a battery located beneath the car floor under the back seat.
Chakratec has develops a highly efficient energy storage system based on flywheel technology which gives a low cost per charge/discharge cycle. The company offers storage systems ranging from 5 kWh to high end 1 MWh systems for small to medium size applications.
Addionics is a provider of 3D architecture rechargeable batteries. Has developed a 3D architecture for batteries for reducing the internal resistance of the batteries. Claims to reduce the charging time by half and increase in the range at high speeds. Develops this technology for electric vehicle batteries.
IRP Systems has developed a patented software defined electric motor/actuator for unmanned systems which provides a high level of SWAP (Size Weight and Power) ratio. Their solution, named Hummingbird, consists of a patented intelligent control algorithm coupled with an electric motor design which helps in achieving the high-power efficiency metrics. The motion system is sufficiently versatile and can be implemented in any system with an electric motion requirement. It is intended to be used in drones, electric vehicles, unmanned ground vehicles or as robot actuators.
UrbanAero, an aviation technology company that develops ducted-fan based aircraft (that it calls Fancraft), for multiple uses. The current focus of UrbanAero is on developing a VTOL unmanned aerial vehicle called the AirMule and its export variant, the Cormorant.
ElectReon, developing electric wireless charging of e-vehicles. The technology uses dynamic wireless power transfer (DWPT) system which will be laid under public roads. The vehicles are retrofitted with a receiver under the chassis.
ETV Energy, an Israeli startup focused on developing lithium-ion batteries for the electric vehicle market. The company’s technology is based on High Voltage Nickel-Manganese-Oxide (Spinel) cathode material. The Spinel oxides possess high cell voltage and the company is working on developing a commercially viable product using these oxides.
If you are interested to explore these innovative technologies and believe EVs are definitely the future, please contact Jeremy.
- Meet Virtual Reality, Your New Physical Therapist
While use of the gaming technology for improving physical ailments is still in the early stages, it shows promise — and it’s fun.
This article is part of our new series on the Future of Health Care, which examines changes in the medical field.
Four years ago, Michael Heinrich was riding his motorcycle on the University of Michigan campus when a rotted tree fell on him and snapped his neck, causing him to permanently lose use of the lower half of his body. He spent weeks in intensive care and then went to inpatient rehabilitation for more than two months,
About halfway through his rehab stint, his occupational therapist, Michael Blackstock, asked whether he was interested in trying virtual reality for his therapy. Mr. Heinrich, now 26 — who is returning for his master’s at the university — was game.
“What I really enjoyed was being an eagle trying to go through rings,” he said, describing a virtual reality experience. “From an emotional standpoint, coming off an injury where I lost the majority of the use of my body, V.R. pushed the boundaries of what I thought was possible.”
And now researchers and therapists say it has shown great promise for physical and occupational therapy.
“I’ve been through P.T. for various injuries, and you know, sometimes I get home and I’m sort of like, well, I forget exactly what I was supposed to do,” said Brennan M. Spiegel, a professor of medicine and public health and director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “How am I supposed to set up my body for this? And also, do I have the motivation to do it right now? And V.R. can help both of those, both by reproducing precisely what that physical movement is supposed to be and hopefully providing some additional motivation to do the exercise.”
Using virtual reality for rehabilitation was growing before the coronavirus pandemic for a variety of reasons, including rapid advances in hardware and software technology and a younger generation of practitioners more comfortable using such technology. But the greater acceptance of telehealth during the pandemic has further spurred its use.
For one thing, it’s simply a lot more fun than traditional rehabilitation exercises. And “V.R. has this uncanny ability to kind of nudge the human brain in ways that other audiovisual media cannot,” said Dr. Spiegel, who is one of the foremost experts on the use of virtual reality in health. “The bottom line is it motivates us to do things that we might not be able to do.”
That’s what Pamela Pleasants, 59, found when she started doing virtual reality therapy for an injured shoulder. An associate dean at an independent school outside Boston, she learned that she was eligible to get virtual physical therapy, which she did through a company, XRHealth.
She did an intake over a video call with a physical therapist provided by the company, and then the V.R. headset arrived in the mail. Based on the intake, the therapist decided what applications — out of eight currently offered by the company — that Ms. Pleasants would use, as well as for how long and how frequently, and then trained her how to use them.
The therapist could also adjust all the settings within a program. For example, when Ms. Pleasants found the range of motion in one application caused her too much pain, the therapist adjusted it lower. The patient can change programs either using a controller or by eye gaze.
She loved the different programs, especially Balloon Blast, Ms. Pleasants said, which consisted of popping balloons with a virtual sword in each hand. “In the background was how high my range of motion should be.”
Ms. Pleasants also found the programs geared to reduce stress, such as a guided meditation while walking through a forest, very useful for her shoulder and mental health. She continued meeting her physical therapist on video calls semiweekly.
“After four months, my shoulder felt tremendously better,” she said.
XRHealth is one of the few companies focused on providing V.R. physical and occupational therapy at home; based in Boston, it is covered by many insurance programs in Massachusetts and nationally by Medicare. The company is working to get more insurance companies to cover its services. Without insurance, people can pay $179 monthly for the headsets and two physical or occupational therapy appointments monthly from a panel of therapists the company provides.
The company has all of its programs registered with the F.D.A., said Eran Orr, founder and chief executive.
Not all the programs offered for V.R. rehab are games; some clinics allow a patient to virtually practice real-life skills they may have trouble doing, such as grocery shopping or dishwashing.
To really push the use of virtual reality for physical and occupational therapy, “we’ll need to build a body of evidence that shows it’s effective, how we pay for it and how we can develop it in a way that’s easy to use,” said Matthew Stoudt, chief executive and a founder of AppliedVR, which supplies therapeutic virtual reality. “We have to be able to demonstrate that we can bring down the cost of care, not just add to the cost paradigm.”
While research specifically on V.R. use in physical and occupational therapy is in the early stages, an analysis of 27 studies, conducted by Matt C. Howard, an assistant professor of marketing and quantitative methods at the University of South Alabama, found that V.R. therapy is, in general, more effective than traditional programs.
“Does it mean V.R. is better for everything? Of course not,” he said in an interview. “And there’s a lot we still don’t know about V.R. rehab.”
Much of the research uses small samples with varying degrees of rigor, and more needs to be studied about how a patient’s activity in the virtual world translates into improved performance in the physical world, said Danielle Levac, an assistant professor in the department of physical therapy, movement and rehabilitation sciences at Northeastern University. Professor Levac researches the rational for using virtual reality systems in pediatric rehabilitation; many of the children she works with have cerebral palsy.
“We have to consider the downside of a lack of one-on-one contact with therapists,” she said. “I view V.R. as a tool that has a lot of potential, but we should keep in mind it should fit in — and not replace — an overall program of care.”
Robert Ferguson, a neurorehabilitation and therapeutic technology clinical specialist at Michigan Medicine, which is part of the University of Michigan, has treated numerous patients over the past four years doing in-hospital V.R. occupational therapy.
In fact, his first patient to use virtual reality was Mr. Heinrich, who made him realize the potential of V.R. to get patients to move in a way they — and their therapists — didn’t think they could. But, he said, clinicians must be well- trained on how to use the technology in the most helpful and effective way.
For example, he said, cardiac patients need to be closely monitored because people tend to work harder and longer on V.R. than in traditional therapy with a decreased awareness of pain, which could be dangerous for such patients.
One of the great benefits of V.R. therapy is that it can provide a stream of specific data to the clinician and patient on how often and how well the patient accomplished each exercise and where adjustments are needed.
And technology keeps pushing that boundary; a new headset by Oculus allows more degrees of freedom to interact with a virtual environment, and one just released by HP can track heart rate, pupil dilation and sweat.
Such tracking matters, because a doctor or technician can adjust the amount of exertion delivered to a patient.
While older people — who are more likely to suffer from strokes, Parkinson’s or simply falls, that will require physical or occupational therapy — may seem less able or more hesitant to use such technology, Mr. Ferguson and others say that typically isn’t the case.
“We’ve treated people from 18 years old up to 90,” he added. And in fact, V.R. therapy has been shown it can be particularly helpful for those with Parkinson’s and other central nervous system disorders.
And he has repeatedly found that people have unknowingly done things while using virtual reality that they didn’t think they could. He remembers a patient in his 50s whose leg had been amputated. He couldn’t balance when trying to do seemingly simple movements, such as pulling up his pants.
The man was a hunter, and Mr. Ferguson suggested he try a virtual reality program involving bow hunting. As part of the program, the patient was standing on one leg “and changing his center of gravity all over,” something he had not been able to do in regular therapy.
“When we showed him the video, he said, ‘I can’t do that,’ Mr. Ferguson recalled. “We said, ‘you just did.’”
- 85 Israeli companies will present breakthrough technologies in the field of medical device and digital health to Global healthcare industry leaders at MEDinISRAEL 2021
The 6th Biennial MEDinISRAEL Conference and Exhibition, Israel’s leading medical device and digital health event will be held virtually on April 20-21, 2021. The event will feature Israel’s leading medical device and digital health companies and host healthcare community members and experts from around the globe. The conference will address the issues of the digital future of healthcare, global opportunities in healthcare, the shift in point of care- hospital at home & telemedicine, private sector investments in the future of digital health, harnessing AI and data, the consumerization of health care and many more. The much-anticipated MEDinISRAEL 2021 will host key decision-makers and executives who generate thousands of business interactions with the global healthcare community, notable experts, leading hospitals, distributors, investors, and corporate members.
COVID-19 has created a tremendous challenge for the medical industry, and innovation is the key factor in meeting those challenges. The Israeli medical landscape represents a broad spectrum of companies that offer various medical products and technologies, making Israel an important global medical innovation hub. MEDinISRAEL will showcase innovative breakthroughs and new medical technologies through a Virtual Exhibition of 85 state-of-the-art Israeli medical device and digital health companies. Through and with the help of economic attachés of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy, the Israeli companies will participate in hundreds of pre qualified one on one meetings with senior decision makers in leading companies, e.g. Philips, TEVA, INSIGHTEC, EarlySense, TytoCare, Bioview and many more.
The event will include the OpenMED Innovation Competition by Sanara Ventures, a pitch contest celebrating visionary achievements from the very best Israeli innovators focusing on digital health, bio-convergence, and medical device technologies. And a variety of panels with world-class speakers who will discuss the latest topics in the industry and trends in the post-pandemic era and share their best practices in health and care delivery to build healthier societies
MEDinISRAEL’s speakers will include:
- Frans van Houten | Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Philips, The Nederland
- Dr. John D. Halamka | M.D., M.S., President, Mayo Clinic Platform, NY, USA
- Harold F. Wolf | President and CEO, HIMSS, USA
- Michael J. Dowling | President and CEO, Northwell Health, NY, USA
- Prof. Ran D Balicer, MD, Ph.D., MPH|Founding Director, Clalit Research Institute, Chief Innovation Officer, Director of Innovation Division, Clalit Health Services, Israel
- Prof. Arnon Afek | Associate Director-General, Acting Director of Sheba General Hospital and the Chairman of the Department of Medical Administration at Sheba Medical Center, Israel
Ohad Cohen, head of the Foreign Trade Administration – Ministry of Economy & Industry: “Israel has been blessed with a prospering and diverse healthcare ecosystem with more than 1600 life science companies. The healthcare ecosystem is driven by Israeli entrepreneurship spirit, ongoing collaborations between academic institutes and the healthcare industry, governmental support tools, and one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world. These factors, alongside with 25 years of expertise in implementing Health IT, electronic medical records, and Big Data Analytics have made Israel a center of attraction to the world’s leading companies and investors. MEDinISRAEL provides an opportunity to explore business opportunities and be informed about the current trends from healthcare experts from around the world, as we showcase Israeli models of advanced technologies, research and innovation.”
Adiv Baruch, Chairman, Israel export institute: “We are proud and excited to host the world’s leading healthcare and business community members on our virtual event. In the course of two inspiring days, we will take a firsthand look at outstanding achievements, understand potential breakthroughs, witness productive collaborations, and explore the most innovative and state-of-the-art healthcare technologies coming from Israel. Especially nowadays, when a COVID-19 is challenging us all to create better and more efficient solutions, It is essential to keep pushing innovative minds into creating new health technologies. Israel is a major global player in the fight against the corona virus, and the Israeli companies are leading the changes in the HealthTech field, structuring the digital acceleration. we anticipate thousands of visitors from around the world to join us, be part of this event, and create new business interactions which will lead to real business opportunities in the near future. MEDinISRAEL, alongside additional activities generated by IEI, continues to be the main on-the-ground platform for doing business with Israel’s medical device & digital health industry”.
MEDinISRAEL is initiated and produced by the Israeli Export Institute, in cooperation with the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Healthcare Israel. MEDinISRAEL is partnering with a number of distinguished anchor of the Israeli Healthcare system and Digital Health Industry including, PHILIPS, Sanara Ventures, the Israel Innovation Authority Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), Ramban Healthcare Campus, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center ,Clalit Healthcare Services, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Merage Institute, and Life Science Nation (LSN).
For more information about MEDinISRAEL 2021, please visit >
Media Contact: Liron Hadar | Director, International Public Relations | Israel Export Institute
+972(3)5142942 / +972(54)3195654 /email@example.com
- Quantum Computing in Israel
Quantum Computing is currently one of the most sought after technologies across the world. Israel being one of the most technologically advanced nations, has much to offer in this front.
Earlier this year it was announced that Israel is to invest about $60 Million in order to build its first Super computer. This project is a part of Israel’s $380 Million national initiative to develop quantum expertise. In order to facilitate this, the Government of Israel has formed the Israel National Quantum Initiative (INQI) that is a joint venture between the Council for Higher Education, the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Finance.
According to INQI, Quantum science and technology (QST) is a paradigm-shift and hence there is a need to build and develop the community and capabilities in a wide-spread, long-term approach. They also affirm that activity in Israel is booming in Quantum Computing, and already there is a 30-40% increase in academic activity, and a jump from a small number of industries to several dozen industries, from small to large.
The Israel Innovation Authority under it’s the MAGNET project , has created a consortium that includes members from the industry and academia. The consortium is named The Quantum Technologies Development Consortium. In their own words, the research is aimed at gaining improved technologies by cooperation between the researchers, which will boost the industry towards improved quantum sensors, namely, atomic clocks, quantum magnetometers and quantum gravimeters.
Besides this consortium that has mainly established companies as its members, Israel boasts of several Start Ups that are doing some ground breaking work in this sector. Following are some examples:
- Quantum Machines is the creator of complete hardware and software solution for the control and operation of quantum computers. The company’s Quantum Orchestration Platform (QOP) aims to facilitate current quantum research and development and enable future quantum breakthroughs. At the solution’s core is the OPX, the hardware portion of the QOP, which comprises multiple waveform generators, digitizers, and processing units, all integrated on a single FPGA with unique and scalable architecture. The OPX is designed to be easily programmed using QUA, a standard universal language for quantum computing. QUA allows researchers to intuitively program complex quantum programs that are tightly integrated with classical processing and real-time decision-making. The language addresses all of the requirements of an anticipated quantum computing software abstraction layer.
- QuantumLeap is a startup specializing in quantum-as-a-service (QaaS) solutions. The company’s mission is to build simulators, algorithms, and a full-stack QaaS system based on deep knowledge in physics, math, computer science, and material engineering in order to solve global challenges in healthcare, chemistry, finance, logistics, the search for new materials, and other domains.
- QuantLR provides a solution designed for organizations interested in communicating highly sensitive data between two points, as well as for telecommunication providers (5G in particular) seeking to provide ultimately secured communication lines for a significant competitive advantage. Initial adopters of the company’s technology will include financial institutions, government and defense organizations, and infrastructure facilities (for authentication purposes). QuantLR’s ultimate goal is to enable worldwide mass deployment of quantum key distribution.
- LightSolver is planning to build an optical solver to find solutions for complicated computational problems. The company is developing an all-optical, quantum-inspired device that will use the natural properties of light such as deep connectivity and massive parallelism to find the optimal solution. This device, based on a coupled lasers array, will be desktop sized, operate at room temperature, and have low power consumption.
- Classiq tackles complex challenges in quantum computing development, bridging the gap between complex quantum logic. The company builds a new layer of the quantum software stack, increasing the level of abstraction and allowing developers to implement their ideas and concepts without the need to design the specific gate-level quantum circuit.
- AccuBeat Ltd is a leading manufacturer of frequency and timing solutions for aerospace, defense, telecommunications, and research applications. The company’s patented rubidium atomic clock and its OCXO technology with optional GPS disciplining provide frequency accuracy in the range of 10 to the -12th power, frequency stability in the range of 10 to the -13th power, and time accuracy in the range of nanoseconds. AccuBeat’s products are designed for commercial applications as well as for military use, including communication networks, cellular base stations, computer networks, calibration laboratories, test equipment, military communication systems, command and control systems, telemetry appliances, mobile radios, and more. Accubeat is a subsidiary of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
- Nitromia is a privacy solution that bridges and enables quantum-safe transactions on virtually any platform (on private or public networks) in order to provide complete privacy for any type of data. The Nitromia Dynamic Privacy Suite allows transactions and agreements to be recorded and managed quickly and accurately in a secure, reliable, private, and legally compliant manner directly on the public blockchain. The algorithm essentially camouflages data in public and private databases and allows users to complete transactions on the blockchain that are fundamentally invisible to threats.
- Random Quantum provides a random-number-as-a-service solution using quantum information processing as its underlying technology. This solution would be suitable for many industries such as casinos and gaming, surveys, cryptography, online messaging platforms, and financial institutions.
- Vaccine Rollout Comparison: Israel and Australia
The Australian government has fallen behind on its Covid-19 vaccination rollout timeline only a little more than two weeks into the nationwide program. According to Australia’s Chief Medical Officer the overall timeline objectives remain and is designed to enable every Australian adult who is seeking the jab, get vaccinated by the end of October.
Comparatively, Israel has right from the beginning of 2021 been leading the global rollout race, having vaccinated over half of its population (including its non citizens ranging from foreign workers to diplomats) with close to five million people having received two doses as required by Pfizer’s guidelines.
Israel’s population of 9.053 million has reported 829K cases and 6,257 deaths due to Covid-19. Comparatively, Australia’s population of 25.36 million has reported 29K cases and 909 deaths due to Covid.
Suffice to say, the effects of Covid has hit Israel harder than Australia and resulted in three nationwide hard lockdowns in Israel, which took a significant toll on the economy and the country’s social fabrics. Despite that, the ‘startup nation’ has recovered much more rapidly than Australia, largely due to an immensely effective nationwide vaccination rollout campaign, championed as being the most vaccinated population in the world. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and Israel has proven again to be her innovative child.
Reflecting back to a year ago when the pandemic hit, Israel manufactured millions of Covid-19 testing swabs in a short period of time, developed AI software that enabled easy communication with patients, and a nationwide software to track and quickly update the probability of community transmission and infections in specific demographics, communities and locations.
The outbreak of the pandemic in Israel posed several challenges. Firstly, the shortage of medical products needed for Covid-19 test kits (including swabs). These swabs were not produced in Israel and the immense global demand for them in such a short period made them an incredibly scarce and valued commodity.
Secondly, the virus’ massive interference to normal supply chain of materials that were only manufactured abroad, but used in Israeli factories, posed a significant threat to the production of essential goods (pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, baby formula, etc.). The cessation of imports created a nationwide shortage of necessary items which posed a further unwanted challenge for Israel to overcome.
In this time of crisis, the Israeli Innovation Authority, which serves as the country’s leading government entity that supports research & development through technology and innovation, was quick to create and offer new programs and schemes for entrepreneurs. Supported by, financial vehicles to companies and start-ups, inviting them to join the national effort aimed at providing necessary solutions to deal with, and fight, the spread of the pandemic, and manage its medical, social and economic implications.
The Director of Strategy in the Innovation Authority’s Advanced Manufacturing Division, Ronit Eshel, explained their approach in transforming these challenges into opportunities:
“The State of Israel needed local production of medical products and basic consumer products. Companies that succeed in manufacturing the required products in a short period of time will fill their production capacity and safely navigate the crisis. We, therefore, published calls for proposals to companies to turn the crisis into opportunity and initiated contact with large numbers of industrialists. We were happy to find a positive and quick response to our call to advance technological developments that meet today’s pressing needs. Within just one month, 75 factories submitted requests to develop a product or a process that will help cope with the crisis.”
Australia and Israel both have universal health care systems and advanced digital health records for each of their citizens. The combination of these factors, as well as their comparatively small population sizes, makes both nations fertile grounds for collecting responsive data on the vaccine’s performance, including tracking the effects of herd immunity and effectiveness on new variants. Pfizer realised this advantage and entered into an agreement with Israel for access to anonymized data on vaccine recipients. Despite the breadth of similarities, Israel has been able to implement an effective vaccine roll out at a rate that Australia is currently unable to mimic.
- Innovative Israeli Solutions for Industrial 4.0 Deployment
Industry 4.0, a term that describes the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, promises to enhance stability and performance of industrial operations. Using technologies such as IoT, imaging, and sensors, businesses will be able to capture and process data from industrial assets, generating previously unavailable insights on how the machines are utilized.
Israel, as an innovative ecosystem with strong ties and deep understanding of technological gaps in this space, has become a major IIoT player. In fact, Israel ranks third in industry 4.0 venture investments and second in early-stage investments according to Israel21c.
According to Startup Nation Central, there are 23 R&D centers, 11 hubs, and 8 accelerators supporting innovation within this space. The government has also earmarked more than $100 million to support IoT implementation in the local manufacturing industry.
Industry 4.0 can be divided into multi subsectors; Startup Nation Central categorize the industry into Operations Optimization, Maintenance, Supply Chain, Inspection, Cybersecurity, IoT Platforms, Sensing and Imaging, Robotics, and 3D Printing.
Some interesting companies within this space include:
- RobotAI – RobotAI develops AI-based software that transforms cameras into 3D measurement devices. It detects objects and extracts their position and orientation from a single image. Objects’ 3D positions allow robots to understand their environment and adapt to it. RobotAI enables multiple applications in industrial settings. The company’s customers use this technology for sensing and measurement, pick-and-place tasks, bin picking, indoor navigation, and augmented and virtual reality.
- Trieye – TriEye is a fabless semiconductor company that develops technology to improve the safety of advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicles in adverse weather and low-visibility conditions. The company’s semiconductor design uses patent-pending technology to enable the production of shortwave infrared (SWIR) cameras at a fraction of their current cost. Its semiconductor technology is based on nanophotonics research that enables CMOS-based SWIR sensors.
- Kitov – KITOV Systems develops a universal solution designed to identify defects in 3D geometry using advanced machine vision, artificial intelligence, and deep-learning technologies. The company aims to reduce manufacturing costs, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve yield without the need for any experience in programming, machine-vision technology, or automation.
- FeelIT – Feelit is the developer of RetroFeel, an IoT platform for the real-time remote sensing of structural changes in mechanical assets, using nanomaterial printing technology. RetroFeel consists of flexible, non-invasive nanomaterial sticker sensors that easily attach to any equipment, together with wireless communication units and AI-driven cloud analytics. The system serves as an “electronic skin” that alerts on critical structural and operational anomalies in advance, prevents downtime, and radically cuts maintenance costs. By instantly pinpointing anomalies in strain, temperature, humidity, and vibration, RetroFeel offers real-time remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. The system is non-invasive and easy to deploy, requiring no downtime for installation and providing instant results.
- Vayyar – Vayyar is a global leader in 4D radar imaging technology, providing affordable, highly advanced sensors to a wide variety of industries. With applications in the automotive, smart home, robotics, retail, RF testing, consumer electronics and medical sectors, Vayyar’s intelligent sensors can see through walls and objects, tracking movement in real time in all environmental conditions. Its state-of-the-art Radar-on-Chip covers imaging and radar bands from 3-81 GHz, with up to 72 transceivers on each chip and an integrated high-performance DSP delivering unprecedented levels of accuracy and generating high-resolution 4D point cloud imaging.
- 3DSignals – 3d Signals has developed a solution designed to accelerate manufacturers’ digital transition into the Industry 4.0 era. Its solution enables immediate visibility into production floors through the quick, non-invasive, machine-agnostic deployment of a wide range of sensors. The company’s AI-based asset-performance-monitoring platform transforms data into powerful insights, providing multiple business intelligence and analysis tools in the cloud. The solution has been proven to significantly improve machine productivity and overall equipment effectiveness within three months of installation.
- Hoopo – hoopo is a provider of low-power, wide-area (LPWA) monitoring and tracking solutions. Its proprietary technology enables end-to-end tracking both outdoors and indoors, while maintaining low ownership costs and extremely high power-efficiency levels. hoopo’s geolocation solution allows devices to transmit messages across long distances using batteries that can last for years. hoopo’s trackers transform assets into a smart, manageable system and allow informed decision-making based on real-time data. The company’s solution also enables geo alerts based on predefined rules; fast recovery of temperature-controlled goods; motion and events-based analytics; and loss prevention.
- BionicHive – BionicHIVE is developing an automated warehouse solution based on a fleet of synchronized autonomous robots that can be retrofitted onto existing warehouse infrastructure. The solution consists of multiple autonomous robots with 3D movement capabilities that extend the picking face from floor to ceiling. A real-time algorithmic engine is designed to dynamically change fleet management, providing the flexibility to constantly shift operational needs, a high level of response to volatility, and seamless scalability achieved by adding more robots to the same infrastructure.
- CoreTigo – CoreTigo provides high-performance IO-Link wireless communication solutions for machine builders, system integrators, and industrial equipment manufacturers. CoreTigo’s products enable the design and retrofit of machines and production lines that were not possible before. These solutions increase flexibility, adaptivity, and modularity, resulting in cost effectiveness, increased productivity, and downtime reduction. Embraced by industrial leaders, the IO-Link Wireless global standard, fit for harsh factory environments and motion control applications, provides cable-grade connectivity for millions of sensors,
- Wiliot – Wiliot is a fabless semiconductor company providing passive SoC platforms for the IoT market. The company is developing a wireless technology designed to eliminate reliance on batteries and wired power in order to vastly accelerate the internet of things. The new technology powers itself by harvesting energy from radio waves, and aims to enable everything to be intelligent.
- THE NAAMA PROJECT – TOWARDS CREATING A NATIONAL DRONE NETWORK FOR COMMERCIAL DELIVERY, MEDICAL TRANSPORT, AND URBAN AIR MOBILITY
The Israel Innovation Authority, the Israel Ministry of Transport (through Ayalon Highways Co.), The Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) and The Smart Mobility Initiative at The Israel Prime Minister’s Office are delighted to present a first-of-its-kind pilot: The State of Israel has achieved significant progress over the last year in shaping the future of mobility, introducing a national drone network that will primarily enable cargo transportation in urban areas through smart and innovative airspace management. During this first-of-its-kind pilot, a large number of drones operated by several companies will fly over the city of Hadera. Those sorties will be managed by one centralized, autonomous Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) located in the traffic and air traffic control centers of the Ayalon Highway Company in the central Haifa Bay.
The drones flying in the demonstration will perform about 300 sorties a day. Each drone will be simulating the execution of various types of tasks and operations: food delivery, transporting medicine and medical equipment, agricultural services and many others.
The flights are being carried out by five different companies (listed below). About 20 drones are expected to fly simultaneously, and hundreds of others are scheduled to fly in various demonstrations over a two-week period. This is the first such demonstration in Israel out of a series of eight planned to take place over the next two years. This is a significant global breakthrough in the ability to manage drone operations at scale, which will lay the foundation for future national drone operations in many areas. To support the current phase of the pilot, the participating companies have been granted funds by the Israel Innovation Authority, as part of the Innovation Authority Piloting Fund Program.
Since March 2020, the Israel C4IR Center at the Israel Innovation Authority, in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Transport (through the Ayalon Highways Company) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel, and a number of other entities, have been working to promote the use of drone delivery as a service, as part of the NAAMA Initiative (a Hebrew acronym for Urban Aerial Transport). The project was established to enable drones to be deployed for the public good, ultimately reducing congestion on public roads, transporting medicine and medical equipment and performing medical tasks, delivering various commercial goods more quickly, and enabling Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to function at scale in the future. During this time, the NAAMA Initiative involved many local, international, public, and private stakeholders to enable technological breakthroughs while removing regulatory barriers and enabling Israel to become a “beta-site” for drone piloting and operations.
Itamar Ben Meir, CEO of Ayalon HIGHWAYS: “A smart traffic management and air traffic control center that manages and prioritizes a number of drones flying simultaneously in one geographic airspace is a remarkable achievement, setting the stage for the future of mobility applications, a field in which Ayalon Highways is primed to play a leading role. This demonstration is part of a long list of technological and regulatory developments required for the commercial operation of a national low-altitude air traffic network for drones in urban settings.”
Dr. Ami Appelbaum, Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority: “One of the Israel Innovation Authority’s most important goals is to harness Israeli technology and innovation in a way that will make a positive impact on the Israeli population. Until a year ago, when the NAAMA Initiative was established, transporting cargo and delivering medical equipment by drones would have seemed like a distant dream; today, it is becoming a reality. Demonstrations of simultaneous flights of dozens of drones over Hadera, managed by the control center in Haifa, are an unprecedented leap forward for the State of Israel – a monumental step towards a future of smart transportation, in which Israel is becoming one of the first countries worldwide to enable aerial cargo transport via drones.”
To view and download video footage from the pilot, please click the link here (credit: YOKO Studio).
The following companies are participating in the demonstration (more information upon request):
- High-Lander Aviation Ltd. and Cando – As part of the pilot for an air traffic control system which autonomously manages drone fleets, the companies will demonstrate capabilities for managing a crowded urban airspace with various operations while responding to unexpected circumstances. Their unique application can be utilized with all current drone solutions in the market and allows operators to control a large number of drones at once and conduct live broadcasts of the drones’ communication and video signals, maps, and planned routes.
- HarTek Technologies Ltd. – The company will demonstrate the operation of an advanced system for managing autonomous drones in a controlled airspace. It allows the autonomous execution of multi-drone missions, maintaining safe operations according to safety regulations, while taking into account other aircraft operated outside the system.
- F. T Technologies Ltd. and Skylinx Technologies Ltd. – The companies will demonstrate their experience in flying multiple drones in a shared airspace under one centralized air traffic control system. Skylinx develops autonomous airports for smart cities that will enable various drones to operate commercially, efficiently, and safely. Skylinx, together with Airwayz and Flytech IL, established the “SAFE GROUP,” a partnership tasked with developing Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) applications that can operate urban delivery routes commercially, and will start piloting in Tel Aviv together with various companies and vendors that have already agreed on future cooperation.
- Simplex Interactive Ltd. – Simplex Interactive has experience flying multiple drones in shared airspace. The pilot will demonstrate technologies developed by the company. The company will test its OpenUTM.io, enabling automatic synchronization, control, and coordination of an autonomous airspace (UTM) between dozens of manned and unmanned aircraft.
- Airwayz Drones Ltd. –The company will demonstrate a solution for a unified and autonomous UTM system used to fly multiple drones in a synchronized managed airspace with several companies simultaneously. With Artificial Intelligence-integrated applications and Machine Learning, the system allows autonomous and safe airspace management and coordinates between the various drone companies. Airwayz’s central management system uses advanced algorithms to streamline flights and carry out tasks such as deliveries in urban airspace.
About the NAAMA Initiative:
In early 2020, a government steering committee was established to support and promote a national drone network operation under the name “the NAAMA Initiative” (a Hebrew acronym for urban aerial transport). The project is supported by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of Israel (C4IR Israel) under the World Economic Forum, the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ayalon Highways Co., and the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office. The project is the result of the realization that promoting drone operations in Israel requires the creation of a suitable regulatory environment via ongoing dialogue between the initiative’s partners, regulatory bodies (CAAI) and industry. The initiative promotes the establishment of a national aerial network and the legislative framework required to operate drones for commercial use. During the past year, over 700 sorties were performed – mostly to support the health system in dealing with challenges exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit for attached photos: Zvika Goldstein
Ami Appelbaum & Itamar Ben Meir
International press coverage – Delivery Drones’ Pilot in Israel
- Times of Israel – https://www.timesofisrael.com/mimicking-an-air-traffic-controller-ai-orchestrates-multiple-drones-in-flight/
- CTECH (Calcalist in English) – https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3899685,00.html
- Ynet – https://www.ynetnews.com/business/article/Hyz8t914d
- Israel Hayom – https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/03/18/israeli-town-abuzz-with-delivery-drones-in-coordinated-airspace-test/
- Jewish Press – https://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israel-testing-national-commercial-drone-network/2021/03/18/
- i24 News – https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3068517120059846
- Drone DJ – https://dronedj.com/2021/03/18/israels-skies-are-filled-with-delivery-drones-in-a-huge-trial/
- Reuters – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-technology-drones/israeli-town-abuzz-with-delivery-drones-in-coordinated-airspace-test-idUSKBN2B91VV?il=0
- Aurora – https://www.aurora-israel.co.il/prueban-drones-para-delivery-de-comida-en-hadera
- Cyprus Mail – https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/03/19/israel-prepares-national-drone-network/
- Yahoo News – https://news.yahoo.com/israeli-town-abuzz-delivery-drones-115149218.html
- L’Usine Digitale – https://www.usine-digitale.fr/article/quel-systeme-de-gestion-de-l-espace-aerien-mettre-en-place-avec-l-arrivee-des-drones-de-livraison.N1073474
- The Yeshiva World – https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1958047/delivery-drones-tested-in-hadera-in-city-wide-trial.html
- Aeroflap – https://www.aeroflap.com.br/cidade-israelense-faz-testes-com-drones-de-entrega-em-espaco-aereo-coordenado/
- RallyMundial – https://rallymundial.net/ciudad-israeli-prueba-la-entrega-de-drones-en-espacio-aereo-coordinado-aeroflap/
- MSN news – https://www.msn.com/pt-br/noticias/brasil/c%C3%A9us-de-cidade-israelense-s%C3%A3o-tomados-por-drones-de-entrega/vi-BB1eJop1
- Antaranews – https://www.antaranews.com/foto/2048294/demo-pengoperasian-drone-pengantar-barang
- CNN – https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/video/israel-hadera-delivery-drone-espacio-aereo-cnn-redaccion-buenos-aires/
- Times of Israel (2nd article) – https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-launches-2-year-pilot-preparing-the-sky-for-network-of-delivery-drones/
- Xinhua – http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-03/20/c_139824193.htm
- Jerusalem Post – https://www.jpost.com/health-science/israels-drone-delivery-network-plan-aims-for-the-sky-662699
- Israeli company claims oral COVID-19 vaccine on its way
An oral vaccine could potentially allow for people to self vaccinate at home.
An Israeli-American pharmaceutical company is preparing to launch a Phase I clinical trial for what could become the world’s first oral COVID-19 vaccine.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company based on technology developed by Hadassah-University Medical Center, announced over the weekend a joint venture with India-based Premas Biotech to develop a novel oral vaccine. Together they formed the company Oravax Medical Inc. The vaccine is based on Oramed’s “POD” oral delivery technology and Premas’s vaccine technology.
Oramed’s technology can be used to orally administer a number of protein-based therapies, which would otherwise be delivered by injection. Oramed is in the midst of a Phase III clinical trial through the US Food and Drug Administration of an oral insulin capsule for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Premas has been working on developing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus since March.
The companies connected earlier this year and quickly realized they could revolutionize the marketplace, according to Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron.
“An oral COVID-19 vaccine would eliminate several barriers to rapid, wide-scale distribution, potentially enabling people to take the vaccine themselves at home,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “While ease of administration is critical today to accelerate inoculation rates, an oral vaccine could become even more valuable in the case that a COVID-19 vaccine may be recommended annually like the standard flu shot.”
The company completed a pilot animal study and found that the vaccine promoted the development of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies and Immunoglobulin A (IgA). IgA is necessary for longer-term immunity.The new Oravax vaccine candidate targets three structural proteins of the novel coronavirus, as opposed to the single spike protein targeted via the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Kidron said. As such, “this vaccine should be much more resistant to COVID-19 variants,” he said
In addition, it is a yeast-based vaccine, making the time and cost of production much cheaper than its already approved competitors.
The advantages of an oral vaccine go beyond safety and efficacy, Kidron said. Oral medications tend to have fewer side effects.
In addition, the vaccine can be shipped at refrigerator temperatures and even stored at room temperature, “making it logistically easier to get it anywhere around the world,” Kidron said.
Finally, an oral vaccine would not require professional administration.
Oravax anticipates commencing a clinical study during the second quarter of 2021. It is applying for trials in multiple countries, including the United States, Israel, Europe and Mexico, Kidron said. It hopes to also target Africa, where such an oral vaccine could prove essential. Kidron said he expects Phase I human trial data to be available within three months.
In February 2020, shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, another Israeli team began development on what they hoped would be an oral coronavirus vaccine. Scientists from the Galilee Research Institute’s biotechnology group said they were primed to develop their vaccine within a few months.
They had been developing a vaccine against avian coronavirus, which had been proven effective in preclinical trials, and they believed it would translate to a human vaccine. Despite a commitment by the Science and Technology Ministry to fast-track approval of the vaccine and a $12 million investment by OurCrowd, the vaccine has yet to come to market.
- Cyber 10101
Why is cyber important? To understanding this, one must understand who uses cyber and for what purpose. In short, everyone with a computer, including people and cars, use Cyber. What is cyber? Cyber is simply a prefix taken from Greek to describe a person, thing, or idea as part of the computer and information age. Cyber is used before terms like security to denote an umbrella defence mechanism. Cyber is not necessarily a tangible thing for your enterprise to be cyber secure, and you cannot feel the presence until something is caught or goes wrong. Cyber is beneficial to enterprises if they use computing to generate income as their income generated can be diminished or compromised if the enterprise is not cyber aware.
Israel champions cyber. Many believe the cyber and high-tech industry grew through the Israeli Military Unit 8200 – the force responsible for collecting signal intelligence and code decryption. Graduates of this unit are equipped with cyber expertise and go out into the world to bring military technology for civilian use. Our roles at the Israel Trade Commissions around the world is to connect local enterprises with Israeli best-of-breed innovations, including in cyber realms. So, what is out there?
Do you have employees logging in remotely and not through a secure server with firewalls? Cyber login protection company Safe-T trusts no-one when logging in, so you have piece-of-mind that only your employees are accessing your valuable files. Are your customers logging in to your system with their smart devices? Cyber ID company Transmit Security utilises biometrics coupled with your access site to ensure the person logging in is who they say they are and is authorised personnel or a guest invited. Are you unsure if your website and online data are secured from hackers? Cyber penetration company Pcysys ethically hacks your enterprise to detect network vulnerabilities and gives you a mindful report. Now, what if you wanted to defend your organisation against potential threats? Cyber defence company Intezer monitors real-time attempts at cyber espionage.
Though it’s not all about defence, the cyber education company HackerU educates offensive cyber, converting the next generation of students into professionals – “a good defence needs strong” regenerative offence mindset and capabilities. Lifesaving cyber is not just intercepting defence-forces – CyberMDX secures medical devices that aid human lives and when information needs security from physical and online threats – HUB Security commercialised a physical and cyber secure storage unit. Want Cyber access to smartphones of fiends? Try Cellebrite’s hardware and software. Cyber can be tangible, however, with fields like – education, medicine, homeland security, protection.
What about non-enterprise usage of cyber? Cars need cyber security because if they are cyber hacked, they might not open or self-drive off a cliff – that is where OttoSec comes in to play. Infrastructure Databases need cyber security, or else collected data by the government could leak – this is where Silverfort works its magic. Cyber can even help a business develop – lead generation through cyber company LeadSpotting is online and ready to match and uncover potential purchases of your product. Need more in-depth knowledge on people? Persons of interest information is generated with Digital Clues, for the good guys only.
Cyber has evolved to catch the cyber criminals before cyber attacks occur, luring them into honeypots thanks to Nucleon. Cyber attacks could also come through third party networks, thanks to Findings that is protected. Cyber coding might need increased communication between teams, purposefully, Checkmarx comes into play. Cyber fraud, through payment issues, can be regulated now that SecuredTouch is there. Cyber information ransomed can even be located on the dark-web thanks to KELA. And if your Active Directory is compromised, cyber restoration is achieved through adopting Semperis. Even if your whole business is on the cloud – Cyber cloud security can be safe with Reblaze. And importantly, and relatably, cyber phishing monitoring company Blaick is there for us.
The world of Cyber options for your enterprise to adopt is magnanimous, primarily because the world of cyber criminals is ostentatious. Dark-web filtered money is mostly untraceable with non-currency payments. Be careful when your enterprise faces threats, and make sure your reputation stays intact by employing cyber mechanisms and not leaking sensitive data.
- IVC & FTA | Israeli Tech EcoSystem
The Foreign Trade Administration (FTA) at the Israeli Ministry of Economy & Industry currently operates an array of 50 Economic & Trade Missions / Offices in leading target markets around the world. The FTA serves as a bridge to global economic systems, developing international business relations and promoting investments in Israeli industries. The role of the missions is also includes locating and creating business opportunities, encouraging bilateral joint ventures, assistance to companies, etc.
As Israel’s high-tech ecosystem becomes bigger and mature, we are using the services of IVC to collect and analyze relevant data to provide the most accurate and in-depth information, which assists companies with their scouting efforts, strategy, and position in the Israeli market.
Founded in 1997, IVC is a leading data source and business information company in Israel’s high-tech industry. We work with IVC so we could help our clients from around the world to understand the market, make connections, and identify opportunities.
The Foreign Trade Administration & the Economic & Trade Missions of the Ministry of Economy & Industry in the target markets, backed by IVC’s data, can help bring added value to the Israeli industry and to our partners, clients, and colleagues worldwide. We will be happy to assist and coordinate any inquiries to ensure the most efficient service.
We would like to share with you some of IVC’s 2020 highlights, all available on IVC website under News &Insights;
- An overview by IVC about the Israeli Tech Ecosystem (2015-2020) – Major trends, exits, unicorns, Israeli VC Funds’ activity, leading tech clusters’ analysis and more.
- Israeli Tech Review 2020 by IVC and Meitar Law offices.
- The Israeli Tech Ecosystem- Social Network Analysis by IVC for the Israeli Prime Minister Office and The Israeli National Economic Council.
- SPAC Insights by IVC
- Frontier Tech Map 2021 by IVC and Grove Ventures.
- UAE’s Tech-Investor Ecosystem Review Following the Normalization Agreements
- Japanese Investments in Israeli High-Tech Companies.
- Life Sciences Startups and COVID-19’s Investment Environment
The Israeli high-tech industry continues to produce about 1,000 new innovative companies every year. We invite you to visit us online to explore business opportunities and learn more about our services. Feel free to contact us with any question you may have. We will be happy to examine opportunities to collaborate in 2021.
- Economy and Industry Ministry: Encouraging Results for Israeli Exports in 2020
Chilly Forecasts were not Realized as Exports Declined by Less than Expected
(Communicated by the Economy and Industry Ministry Spokesperson)
Summary of trends in Israeli exports and activity of the Foreign Trade Administration in 2020
* Exports stand at approximately $112 billion – a decline of only around 3% over 2019 and an approximately 1% increase over 2018
* In comparison to Israel, the forecast for 2020 for OECD member states is expected to decline – on average – by around 11.7%
* The most significant decline was in the export of tourism services – approximately 66% in comparison to 2019
* The highest growth was in the export of business services and high-tech – around 20% growth in dollar terms in comparison to 2019
* Growth in exports to target states: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Chile
* Increase in assistance activity to exporters: 1,228 actions to promote exports –
11% growth; 4,090 requests for trade assistance by Foreign Trade Administration attaches – 36% growth
Economy and Industry Minister Amir Peretz:
“The very good Israeli export data in the year of the coronavirus is the result of outside-the-box thinking and a quick understanding of changing work conditions. I am pleased that the advance readiness of the Economy and Industry Ministry maintained and even increased Israeli exports in several sectors. In my view, one of the most encouraging pieces of data is the increase in activity by Israeli exporters in 2020. This proves that when you work correctly, in an orderly manner and with a work plan, the results are not long in coming even when the coronavirus crisis is striking the world.”
Economy and Industry Ministry Foreign Trade Administration Director Ohad Cohen:
“2020 was marked by the global economic slowdown, which very much affected Israeli exports. Nevertheless, while the forecasts at the start of the crisis projected a double-digit decline in Israeli exports, in practice exports shrank by around 3.2% only. In the past year, the Foreign Trade Administration offered exporters a broad range of assistance tools, which succeeded in obviating many impediments to trade for exporters, in providing real-time information on what was happening in global markets, and in issuing a tender for cargo flights with a government security net. The latter ensured functional continuity by operating airborne cargo routes to critical Israeli export targets. The economic attaches adapted their activity in 50 global centers so as to promote Israeli exports as per an online work model, with over 1,200 commercial and virtual events around the world. There was a considerable increase in support given in the framework of the assistance funds operated by the Foreign Trade Administration.”
Director Cohen noted that the economic attaches did so, “while working in a challenging reality of lockdowns and restrictions on movement, working from home, gaps in equipment and communications among many of the local foreign employees around the world and while continuously responding to the needs of emergency officials in the Health and Defense ministries. The economic attaches and their teams in the Foreign Service knew how to create the necessary connections for pharma companies, medical equipment and PPE manufacturers, lifted import and regulatory barriers, mapped vital suppliers and the like, and continued to promote Israeli exports while seeing the big picture and meeting conditions of unprecedented pressure and uncertainty. The bottom line is that the chilly forecasts were not realized and while Israeli exports declined, it was much less than expected. More than a little of the credit goes to the intensive work of the Foreign Trade Administration and the network of economic attaches around the world.”
The Foreign Trade Administration is due to publish the comprehensive 2020 export report later in the year when all of the data will have been received.
- The First Real-World Data for COVID Vaccines is in – and it’s Really Good News
The first real-world data for COVID-19 vaccines is in – and the vaccines’ effectiveness have once-again shot past scientists’ expectations.
Vaccines are typically less effective in the real-world than in clinical trials. But in data from Israel and the United Kingdom, both of whom have managed to vaccinate a large slice of their population, vaccine effectiveness appears to be matching that seen in clinical trials.
There are also positive signs the vaccines will significantly cut viral transmission, although it is too early to draw firm conclusions.
In Britain, Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine appears to be 88 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in those aged over 80.
Israeli scientists are reporting a 92 per cent effectiveness rate overall – similar rates to those seen in clinical trials that initially stunned scientists.
“I find it surprising,” said Professor Simon Foote, director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. “But it’s a nice surprise.”
“There is absolutely no doubt that people who have been vaccinated are substantially less likely to get symptomatic disease. They are much less likely to end up in hospital. And they are probably much less likely to die of the disease.”
Israel and Britain are among world leaders in vaccinating their populations. Israel has managed to give one dose to least 56 per cent of its population, while in Britain about 30 per cent of people have received at least one jab.
Both countries faced surging epidemics only a month ago, but daily cases have now been substantially curtailed.
The US has also made strong headway, reducing its daily caseload from a peak of 314,172 on January 8 to 66,481 on March 4. About 16 per cent of the US’s population had received a dose of vaccine.
However, these countries’ success was likely linked to more lockdowns and perhaps the end of winter, rather than the effects of vaccination, said James Wood, associate professor at the School of Population Health at the University of NSW.
Britain went into a national lockdown at the start of January, while Israel’s national lockdown started at the end of December. Israel’s progress appears to be plateauing, however, even as restrictions are eased.
Professor Wood estimated a country would need to give two doses of vaccine to at least 20 to 30 per cent of the population before there was a significant impact on infection rates. Israel’s success may partially be explained by their vaccination numbers, he said.
“If you go completely open when you don’t have a lot of vaccine coverage, you’re going to see rises again. You still have people who are unvaccinated who are at risk – and they are at higher risk now because you’re letting infection spread,” he said.
The vaccines work
Vaccine efficacy describes how well a vaccine works in a clinical trial. But a vaccine’s effectiveness – how well it works in the real world – is a different matter.
Vaccine trials enrol select groups of patients. Pfizer’s phase 3 trial, for example, excluded patients with uncontrolled chronic medical conditions.
In the real world, “you’re going to have people who would not have met the eligibility of the trials: older people, pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions, who are getting the vaccine. The chances are the effectiveness would be different from a very controlled trial,” clinical trial expert Professor Tammy Hoffmann told The Age in February. “Probably less; by how much, we just don’t know.”
But Pfizer’s vaccine appears to have held up. In a large, high-quality study drawing data from almost 1.2 million people in Israel (excluding nursing home residents and healthcare workers), the vaccine was 92 per cent effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID-19 and preventing severe disease from seven days after the second dose, similar to results seen in clinical trials.
Importantly, the study includes data from almost 80,000 vaccinated people aged over 70 – a group at high risk of serious illness and death.
Nearly all cases of COVID-19 in Israel come from the variant first spotted in Britain; the vaccine’s strong performance suggests it will cover this variant with ease.
In England, public health authorities have reported Pfizer’s vaccine is 88 per cent effective in those aged over 80 from seven days after the second injection. Infection and death rates in this group are down across the country.
In Scotland, a single dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was 85 per cent effective at reducing COVID-19 hospitalisations; AstraZeneca’s vaccine did even better, although there is significant uncertainty around those numbers.
“The bottom line is it’s really good news. We now have clearly effective tools against the worst effects of COVID,” said Professor Wood.
“This is going to allow us to start the move out of the emergency situation.”
But we still don’t know if they will stop the pandemic
To bring COVID-19 under control and return to something close to normal life, we need to both stop people dying and stop the virus moving through our community.
Conclusive studies showing vaccines cut transmission are hard to do, as scientists have to devise ways of showing a person did or did not pass on a virus.
But there are several data points that now all point in the same direction.
In a study of 20,641healthcare workers in England mainly given Pfizer’s vaccine, the vaccine was 85 per cent effective at stopping infection from seven days after the second dose.
Importantly, many people in this study were tested twice a week for COVID-19 even if they did not have symptoms; the strong results suggest the vaccine really is stopping infection altogether (rather than just protecting people from falling sick), the key step to stopping transmission of the virus.
And new Israeli data suggests people who are vaccinated have much lower levels of virus when they do become infected. The more virus someone has, the easier it is for them to spread it.
“Is the vaccine going to stop the spread of COVID? I think the jury is still out on that one, but this Israeli data suggests it is definitely going to decrease the infectiousness of people who get infected after being vaccinated,” said Professor Foote.
- Israeli study finds 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s largest healthcare provider on Sunday reported a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer’s vaccine in the country’s biggest study to date.
Health maintenance organization (HMO) Clalit, which covers more than half of all Israelis, said the same group was also 92% less likely to develop severe illness from the virus.
The comparison was against a group of the same size, with matching medical histories, who had not received the vaccine.
“It shows unequivocally that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is extremely effective in the real world a week after the second dose, just as it was found to be in the clinical study,” said Ran Balicer, Clalit’s chief innovation officer.
He added that the data indicates the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, is even more effective two weeks or more after the second shot.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, who have been tabulating national data, said on Sunday that a sharp decline in hospitalisation and serious illness identified earlier among the first age group to be vaccinated – aged 60 or older – was seen for the first time in those aged 55 and older.
Hospitalisations and serious illness were still rising in younger groups who began vaccinations weeks later.
Israel has been conducting a rapid vaccine rollout and its database offers insights into vaccine effectiveness and at what point countries might attain herd immunity.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Maayan Lubell; Editing by David Goodman
- PRESS RELEASE | J-WIRE | MedTech
- Israel is an Innovative Baby-Tech Powerhouse
Welcoming a new baby is such a special time but it also comes with its own sets of stresses and anxiety. Why is the baby crying? Is the baby hungry, cold, tired, wet? Fear not, the innovation nation has you covered!
Below is a list of leading baby-tech companies from Israel that helps make it easier for parents to care for their newborns:
The first company is Nanit which incorporated as Udisense Inc. “Nanit Plus smart baby monitor is described by TIME as a “sleep coach” for babies because it serves double duty as a live app-based video monitor and a tracking device that collects environmental info and makes relevant suggestions – such as adjusting the temperature or darkening the room to help baby fall asleep. The company has locations in Tel Aviv and New York.”[i] Nanit was named in New York Magazine among “The Best Baby Monitors, According to Parent and Sleep Consultants.”
Another TIME Magazine Best Inventions winner is Nanobébé breast-milk bottle which is “said to be the first baby bottle designed to preserve essential breastmilk nutrients by enabling rapid heating and cooling through an innovative geometric shape that resembles an actual breast and is topple-proof.” [ii]The bottles are made in Israel and the company also offers a complete line of additional baby products.
For wheelchair users FreeWill Ltd. “created a customizable adaptor that can connect any wheelchair to any baby stroller, allowing wheelchair-bound parents to independently take their babies for a walk. FreeWill was founded in 2016 by industrial designer Dana Yichye Shwachman, whose father was wheelchair-bound.”[iii]
Another company that helps ensure a baby’s safety and comfort is LittleOne.Care, a Tel Aviv-based startup that has created the first wearable wellness product for babies. “The LittleOne.Care device snaps onto a baby’s clothing just above the diaper line. It includes a tiny accelerometer — the same kind that’s in our mobile phones — to measure how and when the baby is moving. A voice recorder captures the baby’s babbles, cries and eventually words. Artificial intelligence then turns those moves and sounds into actionable data for parents.”[iv] “If the baby is crying because it’s tired, the lights change to deep blue. If the baby is crying because it’s hungry, it turns to green – the colour of food. If it’s yellow, that means it’s time to change the baby’s diaper. Red is about pain or danger.”[v]
For parents that are interested in environmentally friendly alternatives Tel Aviv-based Pika “is developing a diaper washing machine to make it easier for parents to forgo disposable diapers and use cloth ones instead. Founded in 2019, Pika says it is looking to make the planet “a better place for our children” by “developing products with the goal to end the use of plastic.”[vi]
The final company on the list is “Breast milk testing startup MilkStrip that was founded by Avital Beck, a mother of six, and Hadas Shatz-Azoulay, a mother of five, both molecular biology researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.”[vii] From the comfort of your own home this patented technology allows for the self-diagnosis of breast milk from a sample which is analyzed by the mobile app and offers dietary recommendations to treat any deficiency or issue.
This impressive list of innovative baby-tech solutions provides much-needed support with regards to comfort, safety and peace of mind allowing both the parents and the baby to have a good night’s rest.
- E-learning Becomes Imperative Not a Choice
In November 2020 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, (OECD) published a Policy Brief titled “The impact of COVID-19 on student equity and inclusion: Supporting vulnerable students during school closures and school reopenings “ which stated that the pandemic was having a “profound impact, not only on people’s health but also on how they learn, work and live. It highlighted the challenge faced by a global system of education that was built around physical school attendance and noted that at a peak in the pandemic during 2020 more than 188 countries, encompassing around 91% of enrolled learners worldwide, had closed their schools in an effort to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Israel, which was lauded internationally as a model of good containment in the early stages of the pandemic, sadly became the country with the world’s highest per-capita rates of new infections once the economy and society began to re-open significantly. Analysis, later on, suggested that the rapid reopening of schools was a significant factor in the virus’s transmission.
Presently with even greater viral transmission due to mutations of the virus, albeit at a time when vaccine campaigns have begun, schools have been shuttered once again. This time however the experience of previous closures have allowed schools and policymakers in education to be somewhat better prepared in terms of providing a substitute to traditional school-based learning. Along with this, however, comes the recognition that there must be further investment in this area and the realisation that mixing technology and education is no longer an option, but an imperative.
According to Merav Horev, Senior VP for educational policy at the National Digital Israel Initiative, a governmental initiative focused on harnessing digital technologies to help accelerate economic growth, reduce socio-economic gaps and promote the accessibility of government to citizens, “gone is the question of whether it is right to mesh tech with education, formal and informal. The question now is how to do it right and how to do it best,….“No one is talking about going back to what was. We’re all talking about the new normal.” 
EdTech Innovators to the rescue
As with the digital health and medical device sector, Israeli companies have for many years been innovating in the digital learning arena. As a result, this industry sector, comprising about four hundred companies, offers a plethora of advanced technological solutions to a variety of audiences, from educational institutions to home users. These include distance learning platforms, administration tools, internet safety solutions, training and authoring platforms, virtual classrooms, documentation and automatic distribution of live and recorded events, video libraries, archives and more.
For example in core subjects such as math, Matific offers an award-winning out of the box solution for distance learning at school, district, state, or national level. It provides thousands of curriculum-aligned activities and worksheets in over 40 languages and combines this with a robust reporting for teachers, administrators, or Ministries of Education. Other companies such as Class.me provides tools to help students avoid digital information overload and to communicate more easily with teachers and peers using real-time chat apps, on-demand online tutors, assessment tools for teachers, and a private communication network customized to each school, class and age group.
Not just content but engagement too.
Recognising that engagement between student and teacher and not just content is a critical feature of remote learning, Tailor-Ed offers a platform that provides holistic learning experiences to the needs of the teacher, the classroom and individual students. According to Maayan Yavne, CEO, “ Distance learning is not about using Zoom to deliver what you did in the classroom.”…“Our specialty is the social-emotional component, which is very important in distance learning because teachers don’t have the same interaction with students as in the classroom.”
In an interview with Israel21C last year, Avi Warshavsky the CEO of MindCET, the ed-tech innovation unit of Israel’s nonprofit Center for Educational Technology, said that “most technical issues surrounding distance learning are easily solved, however communication, time-management and self-learning difficulties are harder to address.”  Hence other companies, such as Composica helps organizations create compelling and highly interactive e-learning content. Its flagship product allows real-time collaboration and provides rich development features without the need for programming while being capable of delivery on any device.
This vibrant e-learning ecosystem is supported by organisations like EdTech Israel, a national business hub that successfully connects the Israeli Education business sector with international entrepreneurs, investors, and business partners and collaborates with other national EdTech hubs to share knowhow, and builds business relationships in education innovation all around the world.
It seems that for educators and for students alike, every day is a school day indeed.
- The Future of Healthcare – 2021 & Beyond
As the dreaded Covid-19 virus still remains a global threat to us all, one must stop and ponder the future of medicine during such challenging times. More and more, medical staffs around the world are succumbing to their stresses, exposure, and sometimes fatal consequences of their heroic actions.
So, what is the answer to mitigate the pressures off of these overworked individuals? One might say to implement more stringent Covid-19 guidelines and procedures, teach and constantly monitor individuals’ practice of safe-distancing measures, and so on. But the reality of the situation is that there will always be those who become infected despite their best efforts, as well as those who do not adhere to best-practices/rules, who’s addition into the healthcare ‘warzone’ only adds to the medical debacle we currently face.
Hospitals are over their capacities, doctor’s offices are now Covid-19 breeding grounds, and more and more people are working from home…so the question is: “How do we properly address and tackle the difficult tasks of continuing to provide high-quality, remote, patient-care to those still in need medical attention?”
The answer around the world is to provide a greater presence and stronghold in the field of telemedicine—more specifically, remote patient-monitoring, triage and care. The future of medicine is seeing a shift in these difficult times, just as the traditional war is shifting from battling on the front lines to waging war on the Ethernet lines.
Israel’s commanding intelligence and sophistication in the worlds of IoT, Cyber & Cybersecurity, Life-Sciences, Healthcare and Medical Devices make Israel one of the most logical and sound partners of Healthcare Providers/Institutions across the globe.
Companies such as:
Biobeat: An Israel-based Medical tech company that develops solutions for remote patient monitoring, and is able to measure 15 vital signs using its patented, minimalistic sensor, implemented in a wrist and chest monitor for long & short-term monitoring. Biobeat’s wrist monitor (watch) is a reusable device used for long-term care, and a perfect solution for those suffering from chronic diseases that require closer monitoring. Their chest monitor (patch) is a disposable device used for short-term care of up to 6 days, and provides closer observation for specific-case patients. Both devices are being used widely in the US, EU and Israel as a monitoring tool for COVID and pre-COVID patients. Also, Biobeat’s wearable devices are the first (and only) devices in the world to be FDA-Cleared for cuff-less non-invasive blood pressure monitoring, we also have FDA clearance for heart rate and blood saturation and should receive additional measurement cleared by end of February.
Binah.ai: Ready-to-use, AI-powered Digital Healthcare applications address the challenges of remote, contactless Health and Wellness monitoring. Its video-based-only monitoring solution removes the need for wearables and enhances telemedicine, remote patience monitoring and preventive medicine services. Binah.ai’s AI-based, unique technological mix transforms any camera on any device (smartphone, laptop, tablet etc.) into a medical-grade monitoring solution. Binah.ai’s heart rate variability (HRV) measurements offer the basis for a wide range of body measurements such as: blood pressure, mental stress level, oxygen saturation, respiration, alcohol blood level and more.
Hyro: Hyro’s free COVID-19 conversational AI was developed to help overwhelmed healthcare organizations currently dealing with an unprecedented spike in traffic across their communication channels, and to assist patients who are struggling to find the validated answers they need. Their virtual assistants are currently serving thousands of patients daily across organizations such as Mercy Health and Montefiore Medical Center, providing risk assessment and symptoms triaging while sourcing real-time preventative data from the CDC, WHO and others.
Datos: Datos’ COVID-19 solution, implemented within 48 hours, is specifically designed to support hospitals to keep suspected corona patients, and those infected, but not requiring hospitalization, at home while still providing them with optimal care. Datos manages large scale of patient numbers with minimal resources, helping to prevent Coronavirus patients from overloading hospitals by maximizing home hospitalization while protecting the clinical staff at the hospitals.
MyHomeDoc: MyHomeDoc’s mobile phone diagnostic add-on enables primary care tests and patient-clinician communication from home. During a pandemic, isolation and the urgent need for rapid, accurate, and safe testing increases exponentially; and MyHomeDoc helps to replace ‘contamination-risky’ face-to-face appointments between healthcare providers and infected patients. The secure, user-friendly device’s technology leverages 4 built-in smartphone sensors, and includes an otoscope [ears], stethoscope [heart & lung], infrared thermometer [temperature], pulse oximeter [heart rate & saturation] & skin and throat exams via smartphone camera.
These are just some of the amazing Israeli innovations, and life-changing technologies/companies stepping up to mitigate the risks/exposure of the virus, and assist the healthcare ecosystem in continuing to provide the upmost optimal patient-care and treatment in the days to come.
- Beyond Meat, PepsiCo to collaborate on plant-based snacks
Beyond Meat has formed a joint venture with PepsiCo to develop and sell snacks and beverages made from plant-based protein, sending shares of the faux-meat maker to an 18-month high.
The deal was the latest in a run of marketing successes for Beyond which include a distribution deal with Walmart, and partnerships with restaurants including Taco Bell, KFC and Starbucks.
The company’s burger patties and sausages have been among the leaders in the surge in interest in plant-based alternatives over the past two years as consumers worried about their health, animal welfare and food safety.
However, it reported a surprise easing in sales in the three months to October as a boom at the start of the Covid-19 crisis tapered off.
The new partnership will give the plant-based meat maker access to the beverage giant’s distribution and marketing resources and allow it to expand into new product lines, Beyond Meat Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown
PepsiCo, which apart from its namesake soda, owns the Lays, Quaker and Doritos brands. It has also been looking to expand its portfolio of health-focused snacks and beverages.
Beyond Meat said it could not provide additional details of the new deal as many of the snack and beverage products being made under this partnership were still under development. The operations will be managed through a newly created entity, Planet Partnership LLC.
Beyond’s shares rose as much as 39 per cent to US$221.
“Any time a relatively small company can partner in any way with a global behemoth like PEP, it’s usually good news,” JP Morgan analysts said but questioned the true benefit of the deal.
“Is there a huge, uncounted population clamoring for vegan Doritos? Probably not, in our opinion, and surely not big enough to justify this kind of stock move”
- Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel, of Reuters.
- Global Innovator Elbit To Establish Melbourne Centre
The Andrews Labor Government has formed a partnership with Elbit Systems of Australia to establish a Centre of Excellence for Human and Machine Teaming in Melbourne that will drive the research, development and commercialisation of defence technologies.
As one of the world’s leading global defence innovators, the investment by the Australian subsidiary of Israeli global conglomerate Elbit will bolster the state’s defence chain capability and create local jobs.
In Australia, Elbit provides digitisation technologies to the Australian Defence Force, including interfaces with airborne platforms, naval platforms and unmanned systems, some of which will be adapted and developed through the new Melbourne Centre for potential application in emergency services such as firefighting.
Utilising specialist Australian engineers, Elbit’s new Port Melbourne-based Centre will work with Victorian universities and research organisations to foster collaboration within the innovation ecosystem, create new products and develop existing research discoveries into licensed products.
Elbit will also partner with startups and small-to-medium enterprises to boost the commercialisation success of new discoveries in the fields of autonomous systems, machine vision, robotics, industrial internet of things networks and augmented and virtual reality.
The Centre’s first research project will focus on building innovative technology applications for emergency services and defence that are expected to save time and resources.
Development of the new technology will involve digitising manual processes and systems and fusing multiple data and sensor inputs to enhance situational awareness and decision processes, providing critical system improvements that will assist Victoria’s emergency services in the future.
Through the Victorian Budget 2020/21, the Government is providing $6 million to support the growth of the state’s defence sector which includes attracting global leaders such as Elbit to invest and work in Victoria.
Elbit Systems of Australia currently employs around 250 people across the country, including 80 military veterans, with plans to recruit six engineers for the new Centre in Melbourne.
Quote attributable to Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula
“We’re proud to be supporting Elbit to grow its global footprint in Melbourne, an investment that will boost the commercialisation of defence innovations and create new local jobs.”
Quote attributable to Victorian Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas
“By partnering with defence innovators like Elbit we are investing in Victoria’s future – creating jobs, attracting global tech leaders and cementing our position as a first-class destination for businesses from all over the world.”
Quote attributable to Elbit Systems of Australia managing director Major General (ret’d) Paul McLachlan
“The Centre of Excellence is a key milestone in the Elbit’s transformation to be an independent innovative technology company in Australia, employing locals to create products designed for the Australian market.”
- Major winemaker taps into Israeli grape-growing intel
Pernod Ricard Winemakers selects Trellis to dynamically predict yield, quality and timing of grape harvest across Australia and New Zealand.
Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the premium wine division of wine, spirits and Champagne international company Pernod Ricard, will support its operations across Australia and New Zealand with smart predictions on grape yield, quality, harvest timing and procurement cost prediction from Trellis of Tel Aviv.
“As we continue to lead the wine industry into the digital era, we are committed to working with artificial intelligence innovators that are reimagining global supply chains,” said Alex Kahl, who is optimizing technology for Pernod Ricard Winemakers.
“We were impressed by Trellis’s expertise in the industry and proven ability to scale across complex business units and multiple geographies,” Kahl said.
The food system intelligence company’s AI-powered platform integrates live data from throughout the supply chain to accurately predict quality, yield, timing of harvest and associated expenses.
Brett McKinnon, chief operations officer at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, said he expects Trellis “to help us significantly lower our procurement costs and overall production costs, while also ensuring a much more efficient harvest.”
Ilay Englard, founder and CEO of Trellis, called the traditional food and beverage supply chains “broken and volatile.”
“We look forward to helping Pernod Ricard Winemakers effectively navigate all of the challenges in the years ahead – from erratic weather and natural disasters driven by climate change, to surging international trade concerns, regulations and tariffs – to maintain their market leadership,” Englard said.
- Israel’s tech envoys identify challenges and opportunities of the post-covid world
Bareket Knafo (Romania and Ukraine), Shai Zarivatch (Australia) and Esti Ayalon Kovo (Beijing) discuss the biggest lesson they learned from the pandemic and what they believe will be the trends of 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the Foreign Trade Administrations (FTA) at the Israeli Ministry of Economy & Industry, and its economic attachés across the globe to completely rethink their role in the world of economic diplomacy. While facing an unprecedented financial crisis and a fog of uncertainty, the attachés discovered that many of their previous strategic tools became almost irrelevant. Simultaneously, the Israeli industry found that they needed them more than ever. After all, how else could an Israeli exporter promote cross-border trade transactions in remote regions, where technology cannot bridge the closed sky and cultural differences?
CTech asked five of Israel’s Economic & Trade attachés to discuss the biggest lesson they learned from the pandemic and 2020, as well as what they believe will be the trends of 2021 and where they intend to focus their efforts in the coming year.
Part one of this two article series will feature Bareket Knafo (Romania and Ukraine), Shai Zarivatch (Australia) and Esti Ayalon Kovo (Beijing).”We are here, on the ground, speak the language, understand the history and local mentality, and the interrelations between the public and private sectors. And we know how to bring tangible results,” said Knafo. “As the head of the Economic and Trade Mission of Israel to Romania and Ukraine, I have learned invaluable lessons on the importance of flexible management and how to turn challenges and obstacles into opportunities.”
Bareket Knafo, head of the Economic and Trade Mission of Israel to Romania and Ukraine. Photo: Noy Arkobi
Zarivatch spoke of how after a short period of adjustment, the economic missions shifted their work to the online virtual space and in no-time, many conferences and business events started to emerge. They began from fairly small and dedicated webinars focusing on Covid-19 and healthcare-related matters and grew to dedicated and professional business events, and then large exhibitions and conferences with professional speakers and pre-scheduled 1:1 business rooms, thus largely copying the experience of attending a global conference and exhibition.”This change and the adaptation to the new way of doing business, bridging and connecting between companies and representatives from both countries and markets which are far from each other, made us rethink altogether how we lived, worked and engaged before Covid, and how things will be after,” explained Zarivatch. “It became evident that so many meetings could be held and so much time saved when using online platforms and indeed the volume of events, direct business interactions, and commercial engagements have skyrocketed after our work-plan for the second part of the year had been utterly disrupted and a new, modified plan for the Covid era was put in place instead.” Ayalon Kovo hailed 2020 as “a year of great trials” for the economic missions. “Wherever there is a crisis, there is an opportunity,” she explained. “We witnessed distress and suffering from a threatening and unknown virus, but on the other hand, we were amazed at how resilient people can be. Taking this opportunity to research for new methods of coping with Covid-19, such as the development of remote monitoring, online treatment and digital health, things that usually take years to develop and produce were put on a super-fast track and have been successfully implemented to the market in a few weeks.”We still see a strong economic relationship developing with major trading partners. For example, the export of medical devices from Israel to China in 2019 accounted for 17% of Israel’s total export to China. During Covid-19, in 2020, Israeli medical product export to China increased by more than 2%, reaching almost 20% of Israeli total export to China.”
Shai Zarivatch, head of the Economic and Trade Mission to Australia. Photo: Shlomi Amsalem
Ayalon Kovo added that she is expecting an increase in investment by the government and the private sector in the healthcare sector with major trends being digital health, healthy aging, biotech and disease control prevention. Knafo said the pandemic has also paved the way for future development in the Health-Tech sector, explaining that “the evolving digitalization of the healthcare arena coupled with the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals and the increasing cyber hazards – presents ample opportunities for the Israeli industry.”Cybersecurity, in general, will be pushed to the fore more than ever before, according to Knafo. “The exponential growth in the scope, volume, and sophistication of malicious cybersecurity attacks in 2020 exposed an alarming reality: many industries are vulnerable, unprepared, and often lack adequate infrastructure and trained personnel. 2021 will be an important year for the global cyber industry. We already see a tremendous increase in the investment of public and private players in cyber protection. Amid the worldwide raging unemployment rates, we have also witnessed a continuous boost in cybersecurity job vacancies,” noted Knafo. Zarivatch said that while 2021 brings with its large amounts of uncertainty, there is also plenty to be hopeful about. “On the one hand, we continue with the practices of communicating, meetings, engaging and holding online business events, together with professional conferences and exhibitions, as was done through most of last year. At the same time, we hope that borders will be opened and travel will become possible, and while uncertainty continues to reign – we prepare for both,” explained Zarivatch. “Most of our activities, projects and initiatives this year promoting the sectors we feel represent the most relevant and promising for trade, economic and investment relations between Israel and Australia (cybersecurity, digital healthcare and Agtech to name a few) will continue to be held online. This means that Australian corporates, businesses, as well as investors and organizations we’re targeting, will designate sector professionals who will be meeting and presenting to Israeli companies and startups to discuss business, technological and investment cooperation. That said, we cannot ignore both countries’ visible achievements tackling the spread of the virus, especially with the ongoing large-scale roll-out of Covid vaccines in Israel. We are preparing for the same but looking forward with positive expectations that from the second part of the year, things will be utterly different and better. This makes us look forward with the firm belief that the change and a gradual return to pre-Covid practices – is around the corner and will be implemented sooner than we think.”
Esti Ayalon Kovo, head of the Economic and Trade Mission to Beijing. Photo: Gideon Sharon
Regarding the Australian mission’s main focus this year, Zarivatch said that the Australian economy is by and large modern, advanced and competitive, and is open and interconnected with global markets, providing a myriad of business opportunities to the Israeli industry, especially in the tech domains. “To learn more about the characteristics of the Australian economy and the opportunities it creates for the Israeli industry – I invite everyone to read the economic overview I prepared where I listed the exact sectors, their needs and future growth plans, including Australia’s government initiatives to grow in the future,” said Zarivatch. “Having said that, the Australian industry is characterized by very large industries in mining and resources, as well as agriculture, both have many shortcomings, growing challenges (many of them driven by the geopolitics of the region) and technological demands.”For example, the threats of cyberattacks are imminent and ever-growing, and awareness of the need to integrate advanced cyber defence and security IT systems in Australian corporates and businesses is high. In addition, Australia is also suffering from ongoing water shortages and challenges which only get worse over time, driven by seasonal bushfires and year-on-year draughts which require advanced water management tools and technologies which Israel, the best water laboratory in the world, can provide. Australia is also very keen to adopt Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence to upgrade its industrial production and move towards an advanced manufacturing hub, as such they are confident that Israeli knowledge and knowhow can provide them with the means to scale up, become more globally competitive and enjoy closer cooperation with Israel.”Ayalon Kovo said that the last year presented new opportunities to help Israeli companies get a foothold in the Chinese market. “This year we will continue to help Israeli companies enter the Chinese market and show that Israel is an important trade partner with China. We will increase our reach to Israeli companies and cement our role as the go-to address for companies in China,” said Ayalon Kovo. Knafo broke down the three main objectives of the mission to Romania in 2021. “Firstly, enhancing the bilateral trade in already booming sectors such as cyber, homeland security, digital health, energy, agriculture, and water management. We have already established strong connections with the private and public sectors in Romania, and we expect to see further success stories of Israeli companies in these domains. We will use our presence on the ground and vast connections to assist Israeli exporters in succeeding in the Romanian market,” she said. “The pandemic has also accelerated digitization processes in diverse fields, consequently opening the door for Israeli solutions in relatively ‘new’ operational sectors. For example, we observe a growing interest in fintech and smart city solutions. Lastly, Romania has placed itself as a key player in the European arena: As the new cyber capital city of Europe, Bucharest will soon host the EU Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology, and Research Competence Center.”Romania is also expected to enjoy unprecedented rescue and aid funds from the EU (approximately 80 billion Euros), and international financial institutions such as EBRD and the World Bank have already been targeting it for their large-scale projects. Undeniably, Israeli technologies could be proved relevant and even essential for such projects.”
- Year in Review
The past twelve months were by far the best to date for startups receiving funding within Start-Up Nation. Total investment in Israeli startups was close to $10.3B. This is incredible considering most of the rest of the world struggled with operations due to a global pandemic.
The hottest sectors for 2020 included Cybersecurity, FinTech, and Smart Mobility. The increase in workers operating remotely and the need for company data to be easily integrated from multiple locations supports the interest in investment in all of these. It was also unfortunately quite common in 2020 to hear about data breaches every few months, which strongly supports the need for better privacy control systems for companies.
FinTech has been a growing vertical worldwide for a while, and large players within Israel include eToro, and PayKey, among others. eToro is a website where you can learn the basics about different cryptocurrencies, and then once armed with that knowledge, purchase virtual currencies like ETH and BTC. There also is a feature where you can do the same trades as very popular traders, a relatively newer strategy for virtual currencies. PayKey is a company allowing businesses to offer customers immediate access to various financial services while on their phone. This will be especially popular with banks, who want to maximize their touchpoints with customers. The customer only needs to use their messaging keyboard in order to use their services.
Cybersecurity is the most well-known category for Israeli startups and by far received the most investment last year. Specific companies include Perimeter 81, Aqua Security, and Wiz. The incredible fact about Wiz, which is a cloud design platform, is that within one year of beginning, they secured their first funding round, which totalled eight figures and became backed by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Perimeter 81 was created to give secure network access to companies and touts itself as a leader in Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). Aqua Security protects a company’s applications from development to production, across all workloads, and up and down the stack. All three of these companies definitely have a sizable market, and a growing one too.
As for overall trends, sectors and their funding from 2020 as well as ’18 and ’19 can be summed up as follows:
Thinking in terms of investments for early-stage versus growth-stage startups, it should come as no surprise that later stage companies received the bulk of the funding, as investors took the year to reassess their winners and losers, and decided to pour money into startups that had previously been a success in terms of revenue, product-market fit, and already lean operations. Investors have been sitting on dry powder for a while, and in 2020 they seemed to take marginally less risk due to the impact of covid-19. This trend is likely to continue for the first half of 2021 but has a chance of evening out again amongst all companies looking to raise.
Another trend that has been noticeable for a few years which continued in 2020 is that the size of the investment round continues to go up. Series A rounds of 10 years ago now look like Seed rounds today, and this trend was not hindered at all by a global crisis. Some in the industry say that inflation is the cause for higher valuations, but more realistically it is due to there being many more private investors (VC’s, PE firms, Angels, Strategics) than ever before. Expect this aspect of valuations to continue in the future.
- New Battery Tech to have a Major Impact on EVs
One of the key drawbacks of electric car ownership could soon be a thing of the past thanks to exciting new technology from an unlikely source.
Electric cars might be about to get much more desirable.
An Israeli company called, StoreDot, is on the cusp of a major breakthrough that would remove one of the biggest hurdles to making electric cars mainstream.
The company is releasing its first production batch of a new type of lithium-ion battery, which it claims can be recharged in five minutes. This new battery would make electric cars as easy and quick to refuel as petrol or diesel vehicles.
StoreDot is providing the sample battery cells to showcase the groundbreaking tech to potential EV partners.
Long recharge times are one of the biggest issues holding back electric cars.
StoreDot has some big name backers including Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler, BP, Samsung and Japanese electronics giant TDK.
The tech company has previously demonstrated a full 100 per cent charge in a mobile phone and then a scooter and claims it can do the same with an EV.
Electric cars currently slow the rate of charge for the last 20 per cent to stop the battery overheating.
This is the biggest risk to lithium-ion batteries in electric cars; they can rupture and catch fire due to overheating.
StoreDot has worked through this issue by replacing the graphite used to store the energy in regular lithium-ion batteries with a new compound that doesn’t expand like graphite does when holding charge.
StoreDot hasn’t provided details on what kind of charge is necessary to achieve the breakthrough five-minute charge time.
Porsche’s new Taycan is one of the fastest charging vehicles. Using 800-volt tech and a 350kW supercharger it can add 100km of range in five minutes. Unfortunately, the base Porsche Taycan will cost more than $200,000 on the road.
But StoreDot isn’t the only company developing groundbreaking new battery tech. Toyota is rumoured to be on the cusp of something big, too.
COVID-19 stalled a the development of the brand’s solid-state battery.
Several electric car makers are pushing ahead with new, advanced batteries
The Japanese giant was due to unveil a working prototype of its new electric-car tech at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. But according to Asian business publication, the Nikkei, this is now due some next year.
A solid-state battery is a huge advancement over the current lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars.
In simple terms, a solid-state battery is smaller, faster to charge, more energy-dense and less likely to catch fire than current batteries. That’s because the battery uses a solid electrolyte instead of a liquid or gel.
Estimates put the range at more than 800km and up to 1000km, with the ability to charge in less than 10 minutes.
- Could Israeli Cyber Firms Prevent the Next Solarwinds?
While the U.S. Government was focused on election security last year, unbeknownst to senior American officials a secret cyber espionage campaign by a major nation-state adversary of unprecedented magnitude was already underway – lethal, stealthy and undetected.
In early December the U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. announced that it had been the victim of a massive cyber intrusion. When FireEye’s investigators set about looking into the origin of the breach, they discovered the attackers had breached FireEye’s defences through a vulnerability in a product made by one of its software providers named Solarwinds Corp. The attackers had managed to insert malware into a software update Solarwinds sent out to its thousands of customers, and any Solarwinds customer who downloaded this malware-infected update unwittingly opened the door to the hackers.
It quickly became apparent though that FireEye had not been the only victim, and that the hackers had gained access to hundreds of Government and private sector networks, including such agencies as the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and even the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration. And even today cyber experts believe the hackers may still be lurking inside of hundreds of networks.
While it’s exceedingly difficult for a single company to prevent a major nation-state cyber-attack if there’s one lesson to be learned from the Solarwinds fiasco its this: An organization can have the best cybersecurity protection in the world, but if one of their vendors is penetrated then that organization is at risk too.
The problem is many major companies and government agencies have no idea how secure their downstream supply chain is, and are frequently unaware of all the third parties who have access to their networks. While a company can mandate that its third party suppliers maintain an acceptable level of information security, for an organization with thousands of vendors it’s always going to be difficult to manually keep track of each supplier. That makes a solution that can automate the evaluation of a company’s vendors critical. Luckily for those organizations who are now fretting about supply chain security, there are three top Israeli cyber firms who can help:
Panorays specializes in automating third-party security lifecycle management. Its platform provides organizations with a rapid thumbs-up or thumbs-down view of supplier cyber risk by inherently combining automated dynamic security questionnaires with external attack surface evaluations and business context. Companies using Panorays can dramatically speed their third-party security evaluation process, streamline transparent collaboration between teams and suppliers, eliminate manual questionnaires, gain continuous visibility, and ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR and NYDFS. And because Panorays is a SaaS-based platform, it integrates seamlessly into existing organizational workflows with no installation needed.
Findings is a scalable, AI-powered assessment platform that streamlines and facilitates efficient and comprehensive security compliance across sectors, jurisdictions, and regulatory frameworks. The company’s platform provides automated security and data compliance assessments, gap analysis, benchmarking, and automated consulting for individual and vendor risk assessments.
Commugen offers information security regulation and governance, risk management, and compliance solutions, based on its AppChi no-code technology. Commugen’s AppChi technology is highly visual and offers flexibility in process implementation. Commugen’s cybersecurity supply chain management solution enables an organization to quickly improve its overall security posture with minimal effort by validating the security level of their suppliers. Commugen’s third party solution is a breeze to set-up, allows for automated monitoring of supplier status, and its information-rich but easy to read graphical interface allows cybersecurity professionals to quickly identify gaps in their vendors’ networks.
If you are interested in speaking with any of these amazing Israeli companies, please contact us.
- How Israeli Industry 4.0 Technologies Help the Global Economy Adapt to COVID-19
Despite unprecedented restrictions due to COVID-19, the global economy continues to deliver consumer and industrial products to sustain the needs and wants of the global population. The acceleration of digital transformation has promoted economic resilience across all sectors including food, housing, furniture, home appliances, water, energy, consumer electronics, media and much more. According to a recent IMF study, “In areas where firms adopted more IT the unemployment rate rose less in response to social distancing.” In this context, Israeli innovation has played a role in helping the global economy adapt to changing circumstances.
According to Startup Nation Central, there are over 250 companies in the Industry 4.0 sector that provide services within cybersecurity, infrastructure, supply chain & logistics, energy optimization, 3D printing, robotics, real estate, food, quality and yield improvement, predictive analytics, sensors, artificial intelligence, security, AR/VR and others.
Two Israeli companies with automated warehouse fulfilment solutions are Caja Robotics & Fabric. They have experienced a spike in demand due to the contact-less nature of their solutions. As consumers expect faster delivery, it also pays to have product stocked at fulfilment centres that are closer to the end customer. Retailers also find it convenient to automate the logistical and packaging responses to high e-commerce order demand. Even the real estate sector is paying attention, as landlords see the potential to convert empty retail locations into attractive micro-fulfilment centres.
In a more industrial segment of the economy, “digital twins” has emerged as a buzz word to help monitor and inspect everything from utility substations to large buildings, and even bridges. Pixtier and Rapida Sensing are two companies that seek to leverage real-time data processing using sensors and cameras, artificial intelligence, and big data to create 3D digital twins for the infrastructure industries, such as energy and transportation sectors. These businesses are often beneficiaries of local regulatory policy that demands the consistent upkeep and maintenance of critical infrastructure.
Within the manufacturing sector, companies such as QualityLine, Vanti Analytics (which just raised $4.5M), and Augury are “playing doctor” for industrial machinery, in the sense that they provide AI Diagnostics, “listen” to heavy equipment, and monitor “Machine Health.” These businesses have developed big data analytics – and in some cases sensors – that help big companies maintain their machinery in real-time. In fact, these technologies can even track the performance *across* contract manufacturers/vendors and, in some cases, the entire process is done with 100% software and without any physical installations!
For another mind-bender, have you ever witnessed a public company raise money from the markets three times in two weeks?! Nano Dimension has done just that on the heels of recent breakthroughs with partner HENSOLDT which assembled the world’s first 10-layer dual-sided 3D printed circuit board using Nano Dimension’s polymers. Nano Dimension’s stock has performed considerably well during this stretch.
One of the big themes of Industry 4.0 is big data and AI. The growing tide of digital transformation shows no signs of letting up. In fact, it is only accelerating! With more reliance on computing infrastructure globally, the cybersecurity component of Industry 4.0 is magnified in importance. Generally speaking, investments in Israel cybersecurity startups was up 30.5% from 2018 in 2019 to $1.4B – and this was before the impact of COVID-19 could be felt. The global cybersecurity investment market places approximately one out of every five dollars in Israeli startups!
Given the breadth and depth of Israeli innovation, it is not surprising that many global corporations who are researching and developing cutting edge solutions in the realm of digital transformation are choosing to look in Israel. Israel Industry 4.0 Global Leaders Summit is becoming a must-attend event for stakeholders who want to stay ahead of trends. Next year will mark the fourth consecutive year of events managed under this brand, which takes place in partnership with Grove Ventures, a leading venture capital firm for deep technology founders and businesses.
We hope Israeli innovation continues to contribute dynamic solutions to the global economy in the year 2021 ahead. Stay tuned!
- Ending on a High! Investment into Israeli Companies Skyrocket in 2020
It has been a crazy year, to say the least, but as we approach the end of 2020, it is a great time to reflect on what has happened over the past 12 months. Although the year started off with promise and potential for many companies around the world, the unfortunate events that were about to unfold in regards to COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.
However, the challenge of COVID did not present a problem to Israeli technology but instead an opportunity, which is why by the end of the year the number of start-ups that offered service-based solutions to the Coronavirus increased to 400. This has led to Israel being one of the only countries in the world an increase of capital investment into their technologies for 2020. Most recent December figures have confirmed that investment into Israeli companies during the year grew 23% since 2019 to a whopping $9.5 billion in capital. Compared to the rest of the world, the USA only 5% and Asia seeing a decline of 15%, Israel has stood out as one of the most successful innovators of the year that has seen the global economy on the brink of collapse.
Some of the biggest investments have come from COVID related technologies, however, there have been other areas which Israeli Tech has been successful; demonstrating the versatility of Israel’s economy as a whole.
The largest swathe of investment this year went to Hippo Insurance Services, which raised $350 million from a Japanese subsidiary of MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings called Mitsui Sumitomo. Hippo, an Insurtech start-up founded in 2015 by Assaf Wand and Eyal Navon, allows customers to save 25% on premiums and get smarter coverage for household goods through the understanding data from public data sets. The investment will help the company’s product roll out across the US and allow them to reach 95% of American homes over the coming year.
Another prominent investment opportunity that occurred earlier in the year was SentinelOne, who was able to close $267 million in funding to help with the demands for their innovative technology Their solution helps to deliver autonomous security for endpoint, data centre, and cloud environments to help organizations secure their assets with speed and simplicity. The company is taking the cybersecurity industry by storm and is currently valued at $3.1 billion.
Gongo.io Ltd was another company from Israel that received substantial funding from a joint deal worth $200 million by Coatue, Salesforce and Sequoia. The company’s software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze conversations, enabling sales teams to better understand the things that are going right and wrong in their sales calls. With some of their biggest customers being the likes of Paypal, Shopify and Slack – Gong has become a major player in the data analytics market and it’s led to their company being valued at $2.2 billion after only being founded in 2015, an impressive feat for such a new start-up.
These types of investment during a year like 2020 show the promise and potential that Israel can look forward to for next year. As the globe starts to come out of the pandemic and countries begin to return to normality, the investment trends towards Israeli technology from the previous year will almost certainly come to fruition in the future.
- Israel Water Technology Helping in the Fight Against Corona Virus
The world is in severe water shortage due to the gap between demand and supply. The increase in demand is due to population growth, urbanization processes, and economic growth. Supply is limited due to climate change, poor infrastructure, and inappropriate business models in the water infrastructure sector.
Given the challenges mentioned, global market interest in smart water technologies, including, for example, the use of smart water meters, big data, and IoT (Internet of Things) is increasing in favour of efficient management of water infrastructure.
Israel exports $2 billion in water technologies annually. Israel’s relative advantage in the global water market stems from the knowledge and experience gained for years, they have faced acute water shortages and droughts in the face of high development and agricultural needs.
The provision of safe water, sanitation and waste management, and hygienic conditions is essential for preventing and protecting human health every day and even more during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Ensuring communities, homes, schools, marketplaces, and healthcare facilities have a continuous supply of water as well as good water conservation management practices will ensure that the world has enough water for washing hands and clean water for drinking that will help in the management of the Covid 19.
New innovative solutions are needed to help fight the novel coronavirus. Here are some of Israel’s top water-technologies:
- Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have developed new methodologies to produce powerful, environmentally-friendly disinfectants, based on tap water, that can eliminate bacteria and kill viruses, including microbes from the coronavirus family. The disinfectants are effective and safe to use and do not contaminate groundwater. The technology works through an array of nanometer-shaped electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrodes creates a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment. The combination of these compounds gives rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and spores), while at the same time is safe for macro-organisms (larger bodies such as skin cells)
- BlueGreen Water Technologies has developed solutions to prevent harmful algal blooms (HABs) that are endangering the health and economy of nearby communities. BlueGreen was founded in Israel in 2014. Today, it has subsidiaries in the US and China. The blue-and-white solution begins out of the water – in outer space, actually – and uses its proprietary blend of algaecides to kill the algae, and prevent it from coming back, in an eco-friendly way. cyanobacterial blooms, algae that grow out of control, are also producing toxic effects and causing harm to animals, birds, marine life, people, and local ecology. But it’s not just the chemical solution that enables BlueGreen to combat the cyanobacteria problem. The company uses a near real-time monitoring system based on satellite imagery and AI analysis that allows it to monitor big water bodies all over the world, detect algal blooms at their earliest stages of development and prevent them from becoming a problem altogether
- Kando Founded in 2011, uses IoT, advanced algorithms, and artificial intelligence technologies to enable wastewater utility organizations to detect pollution anomalies and blockages in real-time to keep sewage systems hygienic and working. The company turned its attention toward SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in early April 2020. Kando’s solution, Clear Upstream, provides real-time awareness of events in wastewater networks. Using live maps, online dashboards, and text messages, the company looks at the collected data and identifies the problems, events’ sources, and tells its clients where to act. Kando’s solution allows cities to control – continuously and remotely – their wastewater quality and protect the public health
- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) scientists have developed a new methodology to trace the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the sewage and wastewater systems. They already determined that it is transferred through feces into the sewage in their first round of sampling. However, no one is sure yet if the virus remains contagious in sewage. Moreover, if their new methodology is added to the regular screening tests for sewage and wastewater, it could be used to determine the extent of the current outbreak and become an early warning system for future outbreaks. Looking to the future, the group believes that their new methodology could be incorporated as a standard screening test of sewage to provide early warning should another outbreak occur
- DevTech – Harnessing Israeli Innovation to Create a Better World for All
Israel is well known these days as the “Nation of Innovation” and “StartUp nation”. With nearly 4,000 startups and more than 300 multinationals opening R&D centres in Israel and the highest investment in R&D per capita in the world, Israel is living up to its legend. However, it is often forgotten that up until the 1970s, Israel was considered a developing country, struggling to provide its citizens with the most basic needs. Thanks to Israeli private sector investment, technology, innovations (along with other factors of course) that Israel was able to overcome many of its struggles and become the strong economy it is today.
As so, Israeli companies are well-positioned to support developing countries in their process of building a better life for themselves through the development of special products that are designed to fit the needs of these markets, especially in the field of agriculture, water, health, ICT, Fintech.
For example, N-Drip has developed a system that will allow areas that use water flooding for irrigation to use the more precise and efficient drip irrigation instead. Current drip irrigation systems require a source of energy to pump the water into the fields and a filtering system to keep the pipes from clogging. These requirements increase costs for farmers and make the systems harder to deploy. For this reason, just 3% of arable land today is watered with drip irrigation systems. N-Drip’s system is cheaper because it uses gravitational force only, and thus does not need a source of energy. The system is also designed to work without filters and enables drip irrigation even when the water source is not clean. This enables farmers to move from inefficient flood irrigation to high-quality drip irrigation at significantly less cost, and with lower operational requirements. NDrip special micro-irrigation solution could be implemented for as small as 1-acre farms, which makes it suitable for smallholder farmers as well as big commercial farms.
Another good example of an upcoming Israeli DevTech company is Keheala. The CEO and Founder of Keheala, Jon Rethauser has developed an impressive Digital Health platform from Israel. In only 6 years, Keheala is already operating in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and with a team of 10 people in Kenya alone. Keheala was featured in the World Economic Forum, New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times among others, following the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Michel Kramer, founder of USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), USAID featured Keheala as one of the promising ventures funded by the program.
The Pears Program DevTech Unconference
The Pears Program for Global Innovation is an Israel-based non-profit and non-governmental organization whose mission is to build bridges between the Israeli innovation ecosystem and the developing world to increase Israel’s contribution to innovation for development. The Pears Program supports Israeli entrepreneurs developing solutions in the fields of Food Security, Healthcare, and Digital Inclusion, from ideation to pilot stage, to work hand in hand with partners in developing countries to find solutions to international development’s most critical challenges and to increase innovation capabilities of developing countries.
This month the Pears program is hosting the first Israeli DevTech Unconference, an unconventional virtual event that brings together the Israeli DevTech industry startups, companies, NGOs, experts, and ecosystem builders, and everybody involved in technology for development. The Pears Program has partnered with 20 Israeli leading organizations to host this informal gathering where the doers will meet to exchange ideas. Out of 110 organizations registered for the unconference, 40 are startup companies targeting or operating in developing countries. The DevTech community in Israel has grown and matured over the past years. The Unconference is set to harness the knowledge and experience gained by various players, to promote collaboration and exchange of ideas, and to foster collaborations and partnerships. The agenda has been determined based on the needs, requests, and skillsets of the participants, through the registration’s survey.
- PRESS RELEASE – Opportunities in Western Sydney for Israeli Companies
Delivering the Western Sydney (Nancy-Bird Walton) International Airport and Aerotropolis City for 2026
Time: 17:00 – 18:30 AEDT
- Acting Israeli Ambassador to Australia
- Israel Trade Commissioner – Embassy of Israel in Australia
- Western Sydney Business Chamber Executive Director
- Western Sydney Airport Chief Corporate Affairs Officer
- Western Parkland City Authority Executive Director of Commercial and Economic
- Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Western Sydney Cities Lead Executive Director – Smart Place, Evidence & Insights
- IoT Alliance Australia Chair WSe3, Cyber Security and Network Resilience
The Israel Trade Commission in partnership with the Western Sydney Airport is excited to collaborate on an introductory webinar event featuring the Executive leaders of Australia’s largest infrastructure investment, Western Sydney’s International Airport and Aerotropolis City of 2026.
This is a rare opportunity for Israeli companies to learn about the many different projects underway where Israeli technology, knowledge and expertise will be relevant, and how they can be a part of Australia’s biggest infrastructure investment.
Shai Zarivatch – Israel Trade Commissioner said: “We are excited to collaborate with leaders and executives from the Western Sydney Airport, the future Aerotropolis and work with our partners at Western Sydney Business Chamber to spread the word to relevant Israeli companies and startups already operating and looking forward to venturing into the Australian market.”
“Israeli companies have advanced knowledge, technologies and expertise that could be very relevant to both the airport operation and the connected transportation infrastructure providing HLS and Cybersecurity solutions, advanced data and AI management capabilities. Together with capabilities in the domain of Smart Cities technologies, we are confident that companies from both countries can benefit enormously from mutual cooperation, joint partnership and investments.”
In 2021 there will be round-table virtual and in-person conferences discussing partnerships.
Nearly 100 Israeli companies’ representatives will be attending the virtual conference from fields including HLS, Cyber, Smart Cities and IoT, that are looking to enter or advance their presence in the Australian market.
For more information visit http://www.israeltrade.org.au/opportunity-in-western-sydney/
- Zoom in on the Israeli Payment Industry
The global Fintech industry has grown rapidly over the past few years and its profile has significantly changed. The niche start-ups that originally characterized Fintech and mostly offered a single service, have evolved into well-established and substantial financial institutions, powered by technology, and offering a wide range of services. Technology has changed the way consumers think about financial services. Fintech has redefined the customer experience standard; customers now expect a seamless digital experience, fast onboarding processes, personalized advisory services and remote loan approvals as a matter of course. Consequently, traditional financial incumbents are working hard to utilize similar technologies and keep up with the pace of innovation.
Global and local financial service providers have collaborated with startups through incubation and acceleration, Citibank and Barclays set up their innovation centres in 2011. The FinTech industry touches on trends such as payments, insurance, capital raising, investment management, training and investing, digital, analytics and many others.
Over 700 startups dealing with different aspects of fintech are estimated to be working in Israel today. They include payments solutions, business loans and credit, cybersecurity for payments, trading, and more. Israeli Fintech startups have raised more than $1.8B in total across 211 deals since 2014, excluding insuretech. Israel’s dedication to R&D is unparalleled with payment innovations such as mobile wallets and digital-only banks break the borders financially and enable users to make global payments.
One of the strong growing fintech segments is payment solutions. On top of R&D centres of foreign banks such as Barclays, Citi, HSBC, Santander and more there is a vibrant ecosystem of payment players that includes e-commerce (Paypal, Amazon) credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard) and Insurance (AXA, Sompo). Therefore, there is a variety of leading payment technologies from B2B via B2C up to B2B2C
Trends to look out for in the future of payments include mobile wallets; the rise of codes; biometric authentication; contactless payments and mobile point-of-sale.
The list includes selected start-ups in a variety of categories related to the industry, such as trading and investing, lending and financing, commerce, and payments.
The companies highlighted below display the diverse range of payment types:
Paygilant is a digital banking and payment anti-fraud company designed to provide strong fraud prevention, frictionless authentication, and user privacy.
It enables financial, e-commerce organizations to boost their revenue by enhancing the user experience, and preventing fraud before the transaction occurs. Its easy-to-integrate patented technology utilizes six proprietary intelligence sets, which work in harmony to deliver value from day one.
PayKey enables banks, telecommunications companies, and mobile wallets to offer customers the ability to initiate and complete a range of financial services, including peer-to-peer payments, balance checks, credit top-ups, and transfers, from within any mobile app, including social and messaging applications.
Sogur introduces a reserve-backed global digital currency that is supported by experts and is accepted by acclaimed financial institutions. The company operates an algorithmically governed backing reserve designed for reduced volatility.
Payoneer specializes in helping businesses transcend borders, limits, and expectations in today’s digital world. Payoneer gives businesses of all types and sizes access to new economic opportunities by enabling them to transact globally as easily as they do locally.
Melio is on a mission to keep small businesses in business by providing a smart B2B payments solution tailor-made for their needs. Melio’s digital accounts payable and receivable dashboard provides a single, integrated tool that allows small businesses to transfer and receive payments in a faster, easier way, giving oversight and control over cash flow, eliminating late payment costs, and giving businesses back valuable time.
The whole sector is undergoing a rapid transformation worldwide and, with increased investor funding, there is a lot to look to for Israel.
- The Dawn of a New Chapter in World History
Amidst the health crisis that overcame the world in 2020, new dawn arose in the mid of the year 2020. The first Arab – Israeli peace deal in 26 years was signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Bahrain on September 15th 2020. Indeed these new ties hold a very significant point in world history as well as geopolitically.
Alongside the diplomatic ties, in terms of business, the bilateral trade will be covering a range of sectors, including tourism, trade, healthcare and security.
On October 20th 2020 in a historic first, a senior delegation from UAE flew to Israel being led by Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq al-Mari and Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid al-Tayer. During the visit, four bilateral agreements were signed with Israel, in the areas of aviation, investment protection, science and technology. Also, a visa exemption agreement between the two countries was signed.
Following this, the first high-tech delegation post the official signing of the agreements departed from Israel on October 25th 2020. The delegation was led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) founder and Chairman Dr Erel Margalit and is comprised of 13 CEOs of leading Israeli technology companies. These 13 companies came from various sectors such as agritech, fintech, cybertech, insurance etc. Some of the companies from the delegation were, Earnix, ControlUp, Morphisec, Secret Double Octopus and InnovoPro from food tech and Agrint in agritech. The delegation attended several meetings with senior officials, entrepreneurs and investment counterparts in Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi during their visit. The invitation to the delegation was extended by the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC).
These newfound ties are laying the foundation for a stronger and newer region. With the Emiratis contributing through their expertise in infrastructure and planning and their abilities to execute complex projects, the Israelis can bring technology and innovation to the table and build a strong groundwork for a commercially successful association.
In conclusion, the economic ties between Israel and the UAE are currently being pursued in a fast pace and below are some of the preliminary highlights of the same:
- Israel based Mobileye and UAE based Al Habtoor Group (AHG) have announced strategic cooperation to operate autonomous vehicles and robotaxis.
- The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and the Israel Export Institute have signed bilateral trade agreements to foster trade and investment opportunities.
- The Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and Israel’s 2nd largest lender, Bank Leumi have signed an MOU to explore future cooperation in both countries and other markets internationally.
- DP World from Dubai and DoverTower, a company owned by Shlomi Fogel, the co-owner of Israel Shipyards and Port of Eilat signed MOUs to promote trade routes and be able to do business in a more efficient manner.
Given the current situation and the fact that a few more deals are in the pipeline, the bilateral trade is estimated to be up to $4 billion by 2022.
- OTT Digi-tainment- A “sneak-peek” into Israeli Technology
The global pandemic has been a mixed bag of outcomes for technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) businesses. As with most sectors, disruptions to supply chains and the economic slowdown are likely to have a negative impact on these businesses. However, there has been an upswing in the demand for digital services across sectors in response to the changing consumption habits and the need for ensuring business continuity. Within TMT, the hardest-hit segments are likely to be those that monetise social and physical interaction – such as cinema, hospitality, sports/events and out-of-home advertising (OOH) advertising. Telecom operators offering the critical commodity of reliable connectivity are reasonably isolated from the COVID-19 fallout.
As people are forced to work remotely, enterprises are expected to accelerate their pace of digitisation, powered by cloud, automation, artificial intelligence and big data. Thus, the other segments that are likely to benefit are over-the-top (OTT) players, internet service providers (ISPs), data warehousing companies. The new ‘at home’ environment has led to a significant rise in over-the-top (OTT) viewership, including paid subscriptions, as compared to the pre-COVID period.
Here are few Israeli companies that offer innovative OTT solutions:
Applause: Improve digital quality speeding time to market while reducing risk.
Applause harnesses the power of the world’s largest community of vetted, digital professionals to create custom teams that provide you with a full suite of testing and feedback solutions hence Increase customers, development velocity & deliver high-quality digital experiences.
Compira Labs: Solving Quality of Experience from the Edge.
Compira Labs develops an innovative software solution that dramatically improves user-experience for multimedia services such as video streaming, cloud gaming, video conferencing, the advancement of communication technologies, like fibre-access, 5G and Internet over Satellite, provides end-users with Internet connectivity at speeds well above 100 Mbps.
FlashNetworks: provider of optimization solutions that enable operators to improve RAN spectral efficiency.
FlashNetworks boosts network speed, optimize video and web traffic and generate over-the-top revenues from the mobile Internet.
Mantis-vision: Leading 3D imaging from mobile to live holographic communication.
Core Technology for depth acquisition utilized in mobile devices, industrial scanners and now, live holographic telepresence for immersive communication and broadcasting to drive the XR revolution.
NEXOG: Network management and orchestration solutions.
Leading provider of network management and orchestration solutions specially designed for managing and monitoring multi-vendor wireless, satellite, broadcast and IoT network
Panorama: World Leaders in Autonomous Telecom Intelligence.
Panorama is the world-leader in data analytics & AI for telecom. Panorama can integrate to any Network, OSS, BSS and IoT solution to transform CSP’s data into actionable insights that boost revenues, increase LTV, and streamline processes.
Saguna: The edge cloud computing pioneer.
An advanced Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) solution. It creates edgecloud-computing environments inside the access network; Close to end users and connected devices. Fast & simple to develop & deploy new Edge Applications for (IoT) industry 4.0, AR/VR, connected cars, drone control, 4K video delivery, enterprises & more.
Screenz: Advanced interactive digital events platform for live streaming.
Screenz partners with telecom operators, broadcasters, OTT apps, and digital publishers to increase audience engagement and build new revenue streams.
Talamoos: Real-time predictions, personalization and recommendations of users’ future events.
Talamoos Provides OTT players, broadcasters and any direct to consumer app access to the next generation of content discovery, individual recommendations and true real-time personalization, across all channels.
XVTEC: Ultra low-latency encoding and decoding technology.
Develops high-resolution, real-time video compression and layout technology. XVTEC develops all IP in house, including H/W, S/W, FPGA and algorithms.
TEXEL: Enabling content-owners to revolutionize their watching experience.
TEXEL enables viewers to connect households into a shared viewing experience together with family and friends. TEXEL is offered as a cloud/edge-based service to OTT providers.
- Human Ageing Process Biologically Reversed in World-First
The ageing process has been biologically reversed for the first time by giving humans oxygen therapy in a pressurised chamber.
Scientists in Israel showed they could turn back the clock in two key areas of the body believed to be responsible for the frailty and ill-health that comes with growing older.
As people age, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes – called telomeres – shorten, causing DNA to become damaged and cells to stop replicating. At the same time, “zombie” senescent cells build up in the body, preventing regeneration.
Increasing telemere length and getting rid of senescent cells is the focus of many anti-ageing studies, and drugs are being developed to target those areas.
Now scientists at Tel Aviv University have shown that giving pure oxygen to older people while in a hyperbaric chamber increased the length of their telomeres by 20 per cent, a feat that has never been achieved before.
Scientists said the growth may mean that the telomeres of trial participants were now as long as they had been 25 years earlier.
The ageing process has been biologically reversed for the first time by giving humans oxygen therapy in a pressurised chamber.
Scientists in Israel showed they could turn back the clock in two key areas of the body believed to be responsible for the frailty and ill-health that comes with growing older.
As people age, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes – called telomeres – shorten, causing DNA to become damaged and cells to stop replicating. At the same time, “zombie” senescent cells build up in the body, preventing regeneration.
Increasing telemere length and getting rid of senescent cells is the focus of many anti-ageing studies, and drugs are being developed to target those areas.
Now scientists at Tel Aviv University have shown that giving pure oxygen to older people while in a hyperbaric chamber increased the length of their telomeres by 20 per cent, a feat that has never been achieved before.
Scientists said the growth may mean that the telomeres of trial participants were now as long as they had been 25 years earlier.
The therapy also reduced senescent cells by up to 37 per cent, making way for new healthy cells to regrow. Animal studies have shown that removing senescent cells extends the remaining life by more than one third.
“Since telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of ageing, many pharmacological and environmental interventions are being extensively explored in the hopes of enabling telomere elongation,” said Professor Shai Efrati of the Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University.
“The significant improvement of telomere length shown during and after these unique protocols provides the scientific community with a new foundation of understanding that ageing can indeed be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level.”
Many scientists now believe ageing itself is responsible for major conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
It is also known that obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, vitamin deficiency and inflammation can speed up the shortening of telomeres, demonstrating that they have a major impact on longevity.
The trial included 35 healthy independent adults aged 64 and older who did not undergo any lifestyle, diet or medication adjustments. Each patient was placed in a hyperbaric chamber for 90 minutes for five days a week over three months while breathing 100 per cent oxygen through a mask.
The pressurised chamber allows more oxygen to be dissolved into the tissues and mimics a state of “hypoxia”, or oxygen shortage, which is known to have regenerating effects.
Previous trials have shown that eating a healthy diet can preserve telomere length, while high-intensity training for six months has been proven to lengthen telomeres by up to five per cent.
The Israeli team has also previously demonstrated that pressurised oxygen therapy can improve cognitive decline.
“Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise were shown to have some inhibition effect on the expected telomere length shortening,” said Dr Amir Hadanny, chief medical research officer of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research.
“However, what is remarkable to note in our study is that, in just three months of therapy, we were able to achieve such significant telomere elongation – at rates far beyond any of the currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications.
“With this pioneering study, we have opened a door for further research on the prolonged cellular impact of the therapy to reverse the ageing process. After dedicating our research to exploring its impact on the areas of brain functionality and age-related cognitive decline, we have now uncovered, for the first time in humans, biological effects at the cellular level in healthy ageing adults.”
- Sports-Tech Industry in Israel
Israel is a country not particularly known for success in the competitive sporting arena, however, its high-tech prowess is helping to establish the nation as the Silicon Valley of sports tech.
Driven by more than 200 sports-related startups, Israel is considered one of the worldwide leading countries in developing groundbreaking technologies for the sports tech industry.
From innovative platforms that redefine fans’ viewing experiences to tools for honing athletes’ performance, Israel has witnessed a boom in sports tech startup activity in recent years.
The fast-growing multibillion-dollar market is expected to triple in the next few years as it transforms our approach to personal fitness and changes the way we view, play and enjoy sports, on and offline.
The sports tech industry in Israel may be divided into the following technology segments:
- Data Analytics
- Media and Broadcasting
- Wearables and Performance Enhancement
- The Stadium of the Future
- Fan Engagement
Below we mention randomly selected few Israeli startups from different technology segments in sports-tech.
In data analytics segment, PlaySight (https://playsight.com/) is a sports analytics system which provides automated video originally built for court-based sports and is able to record an athlete’s activity and motion during an entire match or training session.
In media and broadcasting segment, ABonAir Ltd (https://www.abonair.com/) provides video and wireless technologies for broadcast professionals and production teams. The company’s wireless broadcasting solutions are designed for news coverage, outdoor sports, reality shows, and other live events. The innovative technology allows for providing robust and reliable wireless video transmission while ensuring a continuous and stable broadcast session.
In performance enhancement, Acceler8 (https://acceler8.co.il/) focuses on high-speed decision making in sports, training athletes to see clearer, think quicker and respond faster using advanced technology. The training process begins with a lab assessment, continues through a comparison to a sport-specific database, and then generates an on-field training program to improve the necessary skills.
In smart stadium segment, Kwik (https://kwikme.wixsite.com/kwik-final) is an end-to-end push-button commerce solution for consumers to re-order their favourite products or services. Kwik’s open marketplace offers brands the ability to develop a direct customer relationship, increasing engagement, loyalty and sales. Unlike existing solutions, brands or services can choose their own delivery and fulfilment partners.
In the fan engagement segment, Pico Buzz (https://www.picogp.com/) provides sports marketing solutions for fan and brand engagement. It builds a tool for collecting user-generated content across social media platforms. These tools automatically collect the content which brand followers are sharing. It is then aggregated, tagged and uploaded across the brand’s social media platforms for brand promotion. It also builds up the user profile of the followers of the brand and recommends the necessary action for building further engagement.
In e-sports segment, Overwolf (https://www.overwolf.com/) specializes in reinventing user-generated content in the hardcore gaming space by creating apps to help players win and have more fun in their favourite PC games.
- Zero Egg Raises $5 Million in Series A Funding
Powerplant Ventures, Unovis Asset Management-New Crop Capital and Strauss Group invest in a global food tech startup as they crack U.S. plant-based egg market
Following its U.S. launch, Zero Egg, a plant-based egg alternative for foodservice and food manufacturers that tastes, looks, and functions like an ordinary egg, announces that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Powerplant Ventures, and joined by existing investors Unovis Asset Management-New Crop Capital and Strauss Group-The Kitchen Hub.
The company will use this funding to grow the brand in the U.S. and support its ambitious new product launches in the coming year. With 100 billion eggs consumed each year in the U.S. alone, Zero Egg is focusing on providing affordable, versatile and tasty plant-based egg products with the mission to make a positive impact on the environment, animal welfare, and people’s health.
“By filling the white space in the foodservice industry for plant-based egg alternatives, Zero Egg aims to make plant-based foods the norm and empower the era of sustainable foods,” said Liron Nimrodi, CEO, and co-founder, Zero Egg. “Our goal is to meet growing consumer demand for an egg replacement that is effective, nutritious, versatile, and kind to animals and to the planet. We are elated to join Powerplant Ventures’ portfolio of brands. We can’t imagine a better partner to help us grow the brand and transform the industry.”
Veteran plant-based restaurateur and Powerplant Ventures co-founder and partner, T.K. Pillan, joins the Zero Egg board of directors. “I’ve been on a mission to offer practical plant-based options for consumers at both the retail and restaurant level for many years. What has been missing until now is a complete, affordable plant-based alternative for eggs,” said Pillan. “Zero Egg is a game-changer for the industry. We’re proud to invest in their team and confident it will be the much-needed affordable and versatile solution for operators looking to continue to reduce their use of animal products.”
The success of plant-based milk, which now makes up 14 percent of the U.S. milk category and has more than 40 percent household penetration*, has laid the groundwork for major increases in other plant-based dairy categories, like plant-based eggs, which was the fastest-growing plant-based category in 2019, with 192 percent growth over the prior year according to The Good Food Institute.
“The egg category is massive and the potential to disrupt it with an accessible plant-based solution is fairly untapped in the food industry. As investors, we are looking forward to continuing to support the expansion of Zero Egg in the U.S. market,” said Dan Y. Altschuler Malek, managing director, Unovis Asset Management-New Crop Capital and Zero Egg board member. “It was an easy decision to continue investing in Zero Egg because it is uniquely positioned given its functionality, taste, and competitive pricing.”
This round of funding includes reinvestment from Zero Egg’s first supporter, Strauss Group-The Kitchen Hub.
“We are proud to see Liron and her team materialize the Zero Egg vision,” said Amir Zaidman, vice president business development, Strauss Group-The Kitchen Hub. “The company was started under the framework of “The Kitchen” incubator. The support of investors such as Powerplant Ventures and Unovis-New Crop Capital are strong votes of confidence, and what we see as a big step forward for the plant-based egg category.”
*Sources: SPINS and The Good Food Institute.
About Zero Egg:
Animal friendly, sustainable, and a healthier alternative,Zero Egg is the plant-based egg for everyone. Founded in 2018, the company believes the plant-based egg should be an everyday choice and is on a mission to make plant-based food accessible to everyone. With a feather-light footprint, Zero Egg offers the taste and texture of an ordinary egg, has better-for-you attributes, and is easy on the planet. It is made of plant proteins including soy, potatoes, peas, and chickpeas. With only 15 calories compared to 68 calories in an actual egg, it is not only low in calories but it has no cholesterol and is low fat. Manufacturing Zero Egg uses radically less land, water, and energy, and produces significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than eggs from hens. Zero Egg is determined to meet the growing demand for egg alternatives that taste, cook, and function like traditional eggs, specifically in foodservice and food manufacturing. In addition to the U.S. Zero Egg is also distributed in Israel and Europe. The company received early accolades at launch, including Calcalist’s 2019 Food Innovation competition in Israel. More atwww.zeroeggfood.com,Instagram and Linkedin.
For images, click here.
SOURCE Zero Egg
NEWS PROVIDED BY Zero Egg
Nov 11, 2020, 09:01 ET
- Israeli AgriFood Startups helping to Feed the World
According to the first global UN-led work on food security, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, there is a pressing need for greater resilience so as to ensure the sustainability of future food supplies.
Traditional industrial agriculture is far exceeding the planet’s ceiling on production capabilities. Its emphasis on short-term results and overdependence on synthetic chemicals has an extreme, negative impact on the climate and biological systems humans require to thrive.
In the past few years, unnoted and uninspected, a group of people have been leading the way in agricultural technological innovation. AgFunder the world’s leading information company in the field of agriculture and food innovation, ranked Israel among the top five countries in the world this year in innovation initiatives and breakthroughs in the industry.
Until very recent years, there were limited numbers of AgriFood companies. Only in the past three to four years, the ecosystem has seen major developments: new investment sources were established or developed, and the number of companies has grown to about 800.
In foodtech, two of Israel’s major food producers, Strauss Group and Tnuva, are partners in incubators (Strauss is a partner in The Kitchen FoodTech Hub and Tnuva is a partner, together with beverage manufacturer Tempo, in the Fresh Start Incubator and Finistere Ventures.
Some interesting Israeli companies in this sector include:
Founded in 2014, Israeli startup DouxMatok, developed a patented sugar reduction solution that retains the texture, sweetness, and appearance of sugar. The company says its proprietary tech is based on loading sugar molecules to form clusters that release them right next to gland receptors, resulting in an increased perception of sweetness.
DouxMatok has 18 registered patents and over 40 patent applications pending. Last year, it won the Prime Minister’s Innovation Award in Israel and announced a partnership with German company Südzucker, the largest sugar producer in Europe, to set up production, joint marketing and sales of DouxMatok sugar to Europeans by 2020. It is also currently collaborating with multinational food companies to integrate their technology into various food brands.
In June, DouxMatok raised $22 million in a Series B funding round led by Singapore’s BlueRed Partners to further commercialization and scaling efforts.
Grasshoppers are at least 70 per cent protein and full of health benefits, says Hargol FoodTech founder and CEO Dror Tamir, who started the company after learning that grasshoppers provided a sustainable protein alternative with numerous advantages.
The firm sells two products: one is the whole grasshopper, sold to restaurants and food produces and sometimes retail chains as a snack; and the other is a protein powder, sold as an ingredient.
Founded in 2016, EggXYt developed technology that can detect the gender of chicks before hatching, answering the demands of conscious egg consumers who abhor the practice of male (which don’t produce eggs) chick culling.
Using gene editing and slightly tweaking the DNA, Elram and Offen have created a binary solution where the male chicks are marked using a special scanner.
EatSane by A1C Foods
Founded in 2016, A1C Foods developed a patent-pending formula to lower the glycemic index of food products to make them low-carb. It claims not to use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes, relying instead on the expertise of a team of doctors, dieticians, chefs, and food technicians “passionate about flavour and extremely conscious about health.”
- US President Allegedly Approves Sale of Upgraded F-22 to Israel
In a surprise move, President Donald Trump has reportedly approved the sale of an upgraded F-22 Raptor variant to Israel, with a number of sources alleging Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed the sale to Israeli authorities during an official visit to Israel, which raises the question, can Australia and other allies like Japan get their hands on the platform?
Designed to establish and maintain air superiority or air dominance, fighter aircraft have evolved from relatively simple wood and canvas air frames during the First World War, to the highly manoeuvrable, long-range aircraft that dominated the skies of Europe and the Pacific during the Second World War.
Designed to establish and maintain air superiority or air dominance, fighter aircraft have evolved from relatively simple wood and canvas air frames during the First World War, to the highly maneuverable, long-range aircraft that dominated the skies of Europe and the Pacific during the Second World War.
It is as a result of this perfect synthesis of capabilities and technologies incorporated into the Raptor, combined with congressional concerns about espionage undermining the platform, which precluded it from wide-spread export to key US allies, including the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan and Israel.
Despite this, US Air Force Colonel Brian Baldwin, Group Commander 13th Air Expeditionary Force, who is in Australia to participate in the 2019 Exercise Talisman Sabre, has set tongues wagging with statements made to the Australian media regarding allied access to the formidable air dominance platform.
“I wish we had more of them. I wish all of our closest friends could have some. We obviously have to take care of where we take the jet so we keep it as a special capability and it’s a pleasure to be able to bring it down to Australia,” Col Baldwin is reported saying at RAAF Base Amberley in south-east Queensland.
This export ban, combined with shrinking post-Cold War budgets and a lack of credible peer competitor platforms and capability saw the original US Air Force order of 750 units cut to 195 and ultimately 187, which also saw the unit price rise beyond what was sustainable, even for the US, in turn paving the way for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter family to fill the role.
However, it is appears as if that is all about to change, as Toi Staff and Judah Ari Goss of the Times of Israel, Nazir Magali of Saudi-backed Asharq Al-Awsat and Robert Gottliebsen of The Australian are reporting that US President Donald Trump has officially signed off on the sale of upgraded F-22 variants to Israel, that is, a platform combining the best technology of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with the best technology of the F-22 to produce what would be the world’s undisputed air superiority aircraft.
A major turn of events
Many US allies have lobbied albeit unsuccessfully for export access to the F-22 Raptor, including Israel, which ironically was the original point of concern for Congress leading to the initial export ban, however it appears as though the request by the United Arab Emirates and a continued backing by the US to help maintain Israel’s technological edge over regional competitors is the driving force behind the major back flip in US defence export policy.
Staff and Goss state, “US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Israeli officials during a visit to Israel this week that the Trump administration has approved selling F-22 stealth fighters to the Jewish state, according to a Friday report in a Saudi-owned newspaper.
“US President Donald Trump okayed the sale of the F-22 Raptor and precision-guided bombs to Israel, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported, citing senior sources in Tel Aviv.”
Building on this, Staff and Goss add, “Israeli defence officials asked to buy the F-22 — one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets — to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region after the US agreed to sell F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday.
“Israel had previously expressed interest in buying the F-22, but the US declined. The US halted production of the fighter in 2011 and legally barred its sale to foreign countries. Trump would not be the first American president to recommend selling the F-22 to Israel. In 2001, at the end of his second term, then-president Bill Clinton similarly came out in favour of providing Israel with the aircraft, but left the decision ultimately in the hands of his successor, George W. Bush, and Congress.”
It is expected that the platform on offer to Israel will not be the same aircraft that rolled off Lockheed Martin’s production lines at Fort Worth between 1992 and 2011, rather the aircraft proposed is expected to be what Australian journalist Robert Gottliebsen refers to as a revamped “Australian proposal” first championed by AirPower Australia and later Japan as both lobbied the Australian and US governments, respectively.
This proposal would see the combination of both the F-22 and F-35 to deliver a “best of both worlds” option for Israel, which Gottliebsen explains: “Japan is believed to have put forward the ‘Australian proposal’ that the best of the JSF be incorporated in the revamped F-22 but it was not accepted by the US. But the US has been reviewing its total defence situation and discovered that too much effort and money has been spent in the wars in the Middle East and not enough in developing in matching the giant technology strides that are been made by both Russia and China.
“Australian defence officials have constantly stated that the US is not prepared to sell the F-22 to Australia or any other country and that it is too expensive. If the offer to Israel is confirmed by the US House of Representatives, it breaks down the first barrier. At the same time, the cost barrier has been substantially reduced.
“It is vital for the nation that we actually recognise the JSF’s problems and put our hand up for an F-22 that incorporates some of the brilliant technology in the JSF.”
Gottliebsen goes further detailing the challenges and opportunities in jumping on board with the proposal, stating, “It is vital for the nation that we actually recognise the JSF’s problems and put our hand up for an F-22 that incorporates some of the brilliant technology in the JSF.
“If we can achieve that goal it will transform the air defence of Australia are and make us a much safer nation. The first hurdle is the US election and then there are lots of hurdles in Congress. But the decision is so sensible that it may appeal to both parties. And the Democrats will be reminded that back in the Clinton presidency they approved the sale to Israel of the F-22. But under the Bush administration it lapsed.”
By our powers combined
In response to the rapidly changing global environment and air combat capabilities, allies in Japan, the UK and across Europe have initiated the development of their own fifth and ‘sixth’-generation fighter aircraft – Japan in particular has been one of the most vocal aspirants of a potential lax in America’s ban on the Raptor – beginning the collaborative development of a replacement for the Japanese Air Self Defense Force’s (JASDF) fleet of F-15J.
Recent changes within the US political establishment, notably the election of President Donald Trump, has triggered a major rethink in the policies that govern America’s arms exports, opening the door for Japan to engage with major US defence contractors like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to support Japan’s domestic development of a large, low-observable air superiority fighter to replace its fleet of locally built F-15J aircraft.
While Japan has publicly committed to acquiring a fleet of 147 F-35s, including a fleet of 42 short-take off, vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B variants, the Japanese government has remained focused on procuring a fifth-generation air dominance fighter, with or without US help, to counter the growing challenges it faces in its direct region.
This resulted in the development of the X-2 Shinshin, a technology demonstrator that proved Japan’s domestic aerospace industry could produce an indigenous stealth fighter design capable of competing with the world’s best.
Both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have actively supported Japan’s continued development of the Shinshin concept, raising renewed questions about a US commitment to reopening the F-22 Raptor line.
Recognising the increasing proliferation of fifth-generation technology and the emerging peer competitor capabilities and previous attempts at acquiring the F-22, both Japan and Australia are well positioned to support the reopening and modernisation of the US F-22 Raptor line, estimated to be worth approximately US$9.9 billion for non-recurring start-up costs according to a US Congress report, and an additional US$40.4 billion to acquire 194 Raptors for the US Air Force.
What this House armed services committee report fails to account for is an allied acquisition and integration within the advanced Raptor development supply chain – most notably by Japan and Australia.
Such collaboration with two widely respected US allies and industrial partners already established within the existing F-35 supply chain, provides an opportunity to spread the costs, however it should be noted that the acquisition is not without risk, as both Japan and Australia would need to at least match the US order of 194 air frames – even in a combined manner – bringing the second production run to 388 airframes.
This proposal would result in a unit cost for the US, Japan and Australia of approximately US$105 million per aircraft, without accounting for any proposed Israeli acquisition or broader alliance partners.
Expanding the export opportunities of the Raptor to include other key ‘Five Eyes’ allies like Canada and the UK, both of which are currently undergoing an air force recapitalisation, modernisation or research and development programs of their own, would further reduce the costs associated with reopening the line and acquiring new Raptor air frames.
Australian procurement could mean enjoying a highly capable, interoperable and future-proofed air frame operated by Japan, a key regional ally, and potentially the US and UK, which agreed with the Japanese government in 2017 to collaborate in the joint development of a fifth-generation aircraft to replace the Royal Air Force’s Typhoons within the next two decades.
Published 3 November on https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/strike-air-combat/7121-us-president-allegedly-approves-sale-of-upgraded-f-22-to-israel?utm_source=DefenceConnect&utm_campaign=04_11_20&utm_medium=email&utm_content=8&utm_emailID=8e7720da268792899bb89c95244462822443a5d72655520f427996a8aead2fbe
- Israeli Technology to Navigate 2020’s Turbulent Political Landscape
The political polarization of media coverage is pervasive globally; but, can be found recently and potently in the press treatment of the 2020 US elections. As the President of the United States remains largely (or at least in its own perception) the most powerful and influential position in the word, the upcoming election matters.
An international study conducted before the 2016 US election found that 83% of US respondents described themselves as interested in the US presidential election. Comparatively, 84% of Australian respondents described themselves as interested in the US presidential election, which makes Australians, a nation located on the other side of the world, apparently more interested than Americans are. There is no doubt that this election is of immense importance both to the US as well as to the rest of the world, as is, its media coverage, is the direct line of communication to the masses. The issue of media outlet bias is an ongoing one, its solution I do not claim to be able to provide. However, a closer examination of the problem and a discussion around innovative Israeli technology working actively to reduce that bias, aids in deciphering the meaning from the medium.
The United States undergoes a hotly contested 2020 presidential election year, with new studies from Pew Research Centre finding Republicans and Democrats place their trust in two, nearly inverse, media environments. The study asked about the use of, trust in, and distrust of 30 different sources. Greater portions of Republicans expressed distrust rather than trust of 20 of the 30 sources asked about. Only seven of the outlets generated more trust than distrust among Republicans, including; Fox News, The Rush Limbaugh Show (a popular conservative American talk radio show), and similarly The Sean Hannity Show.
Conversely, the Democratic numbers were almost exactly reversed. Larger portions of Democrat supporters expressed trust rather than distrust in 22 of the sources. Only eight generated more distrust than trust, including; Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity.
In September of 2020, a poll taken by Gallup revealed: “69% of Americans say they are more concerned about bias in the news other people consume than its presence in their own news (29%).” In other words, more Americans are prejudiced against information-sources that do not fit their ideology than are not. Further, America currently has a record high of voter engagement but nearly half say they will have difficulties voting. A recent study reveals 50% of Americans say it will be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat easy’ to decide who to vote for, while about the same share, 49%, say they will have difficulties in deciding. By comparison, in October 2018, 85% of voters indicated it would be easy to vote. The engagement has never been higher, confusion has never been worse. In these grave circumstances, how can technology assist in leveraging this engagement and dealing with the confusion brought on by media outlets?
The first Presidential debate of 2020 was widely criticized for the childlike behaviour exhibited by candidates and their wholly fruitless discourse. The content of the debate imitated opinions delivered in largely belligerent tones that more often than not lead to hollow arguments of polarized views, than anything resembling informative. Israeli tech company: OpenWeb, tackles the issue of toxic political conversations at a grassroots level.
OpenWeb’s technology leverages decentralized principles of the internet to create an online environment that enables all points of view to be a part of the conversation and empowers online media publishers to create healthy communities with engaged users. Founded in 2012, Openweb has offices in Tel Aviv and New York, and is used by top tier publishers, including but not limited to AOL, Huffington Post, MSN, and SkySports. OpenWeb is one platform that is striving to take a stance and provide a solution to the dichotomy of political views and toxicity that often ensues in dialogue.
Additional to the conversely opinionated and ill-tempered dialogues between leaders and often ourselves, we can find further sources of our problematic media, namely, fake news. Americans rated untrue information intending to damage the reputation of a person or entity or making money through advertising revenue, otherwise known as fake news, as being a larger problem than racism or climate change. Social media has exacerbated the issue of the authenticity of the information; millions of bots to help propagate fake news use these platforms. Unfortunately, fake news is a highly lucrative industry, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising a year. It additionally serves to galvanize already heavily prejudiced points of view and further segment those on either side of the political fence.
According to Tamir Pardo, Mossad (Israel’s Secret Intelligence Service) Chief, “what we’ve seen so far concerning bots and the distortion of information is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the greatest threat of recent years, and it threatens the basic values that we share: democracy and the world order created since World War Two”. Cheq, an Israeli artificial intelligence technology that made the 2019 CNBC Upstart 100 list, provides a solution to the dissemination of information by identifying fake advertisements and fraudulent content on the web.
CEO Guy Tytunovich, a former member of the Israeli Defense Force’s 8200 Unit that deals with the military’s cybersecurity, leads Cheq. Tytunovich drew upon his existing cybersecurity and language processing knowledge he gained during his military service, to prevent advertisers from appearing on harmful content. Now, in the lead up to the 2020 elections, Cheq is using artificial intelligence to identify fake news and ensure brand agencies are not placing ads on them.
The issue of fake news serves to reinforce the chasm of political opinions. Studies around the dissemination of disinformation have shown fake news actively targets a specific demographic of the population, who based on collected data, likely have the propensity to believe it. In addition to Cheq, there is further technology coming out of Israel that can assist with this issue, including, GeoQuant.
GeoQuant uses machine-learning software that searches the web for large volumes of reputable data, news, and social media content. This data is used to fuel intelligent algorithms that generate highly objective risk data and analytics. Their forecasts are highly accurate as they are built on models and systems that are data-based rather than a pundit, and therefore inherently coloured with human prejudice. CEO of GeoQuant, Mark Rosenburg, has said the company designed a SaaS platform that will deliver political and country risk assessments in real-time through a customizable dashboard.
Human understanding is immersed in polarity. If you look at any great story or tales of heroism there is a clear definition of good and evil – Star Wars, Braveheart, Harry Potter, James Bond, Lord Of The Rings, Avatar, etc.
We think in stories, we understand in stories, we are story-telling animals. We do not think in facts or statistics. We think in stories of good and evil. What happens when the story of good and evil is too muddied and complex to cite a clear hero and villain? We fill in the gaps with our own bias. In a turbulent political landscape, further convoluted by the volatility of a pandemic, it is vital to approach information from media outlets with the caution of its source and motive and to approach political views on an individual level with the patience and empathy necessary to have meaningful conversations.
To overcome the gulf of dissemination of disinformation, news must be approached with a critical eye and individuals with an open ear; in conjunction with the clarity, that technology can provide.
- Twelve Israeli-Founded Companies Recognized on Forbes Cloud 100 Ranking
Cloud computing is having a major role in powering every sector and industry which facilitates the process conducive for businesses to grow and thrive, particularly in a post-COVID-19 world. 12 Israeli-founded companies have been selected among 100 startups to the Cloud 100 an annual ranking of the world’s top private cloud companies by Forbes.
The companies on the list have been “selected for their growth, sales, valuation, and culture, as well as reputation score, derived in consultation with 43 CEO judges and executives from their public-cloud-company peers,” Forbes added.
Below are brief summaries of the twelve Israeli companies that are recognized for their innovative industry-leading tech and solutions:
JFrog is on a mission to enable continuous updates through Liquid Software, empowering developers to code high-quality applications that securely flow to end-users with zero downtime. The world’s top brands such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Uber, VMware, and Spotify are among the 5,000+ companies that already depend on JFrog to manage binaries for their mission-critical applications.
Sisense empowers everyday business users to independently manage, analyze, and visualize complex data quickly and cost-effectively. Their mission is to transform complex data into insights everywhere, enabling access to business intelligence across the entire organization.
monday.com is a cloud-based Work OS, where teams create workflow apps in minutes to run their processes, projects, and everyday work. Teams shape their workflows and projects, code-free, with a platform that adapts to shifting needs quickly, liberates teams from manual grunt work, and connects teams in a collaborative work space.
AppsFlyer, the global attribution leader, empowers marketers to grow their business and innovate with a suite of comprehensive measurement and analytics solutions. Built around privacy by design, AppsFlyer takes a customer-centric approach to help 12,000+ brands and 6,000+ technology partners make better business decisions every day.
Gong.io enables revenue teams to realize their fullest potential by unveiling customer reality. The patented Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform captures and understands every customer interaction then delivers insights at scale, empowering revenue teams to make decisions based on data instead of opinions.
TripActions is the leading global business travel platform that empowers companies and travelers to show up and create growth. Nothing can truly replicate the value of being there face-to-face –– and are on a mission to power the in-person connections that move people, ideas and businesses forward.
Armis is the first agentless, enterprise-class security platform to address the new threat landscape of unmanaged and IoT devices. Fortune 1000 companies trust Armis unique out-of-band sensing technology to discover and analyze all managed, unmanaged, and IoT devices—from traditional devices like laptops and smartphones to new unmanaged smart devices like smart TVs, webcams, printers, HVAC systems, industrial robots, medical devices and more.
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) to simplify user experiences by combining insights, engagement, guidance and automation capabilities. Founded in 2011, WalkMe’s mission is to make digital adoption for employees and customers simple, while increasing enterprise productivity. WalkMe’s platform works as an invisible layer of visual cues and personalized content placed on top of your website or enterprise software.
Yotpo is the leading eCommerce marketing platform, helping thousands of forward-thinking brands like Rebecca Minkoff, MVMT, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Steve Madden accelerate direct-to-consumer growth. Yotpo’s single-platform approach integrates data-driven solutions for reviews, loyalty, SMS marketing, and more, empowering brands to create smarter, higher-converting experiences that spark and sustain customer relationships.
Snyk’s mission is to help developers use open source code and stay secure. The use of open source is booming, but security is a key concern. Snyk’s unique developer focused product enables developers and enterprise security to continuously find & fix vulnerable dependencies without slowing down, with seamless integration into Dev & DevOps workflows.
Riskified is the AI platform powering the eCommerce revolution. Commerce has transformative powers, and at Riskified they believe everyone should have the opportunity to take part. Riskified use advanced artificial intelligence to eliminate barriers to eCommerce. AI platform collects and analyzes eCommerce data to spot patterns that no one else sees, recognizing opportunities for increased revenue and reduced risk.
BigID redefines data privacy and protection. BigID helps organizations manage and protect their customer data, meet data privacy and protection regulations like the CCPA and GDPR, and leverage unmatched coverage for all data across all data stores.
Information for this article was gathered from:
*Company summaries were sourced from each of their individual LinkedIn company profile pages
- How Israeli Companies are Helping to Renovate the Construction and Property Tech Sector
Construction and matters relating to physical property and infrastructure are often expensive and time-consuming endeavours, but they are activities that appear to be going through a period of rapid advancement, both in terms of techniques and materials. Now, Israeli companies are helping to take the sector to new levels of sophistication.
According to the database Start-Up Nation Central, there are more than 150 Israeli companies involved in construction and related technologies which cover many aspects of the industry. Innovative companies that provide products such as functional glass coatings (Gauzy), sophisticated composite material products (Neo Composites), and smart locking systems (Smart Door Systems) are now well established, but newer firms are entering the market with disruptive and valuable tools.
It was recently reported that the company Siteaware (https://siteaware.com) closed a $10 million Series A financing round for its Digital Construction Verification (DCV) solution. Using Artificial Intelligence, autonomous drones, and smart devices, the system continuously captures the project’s status. It then analyzes the data to identify any anomalies and inconsistencies in the project in real-time. In this way, developers are alerted to errors much earlier than would usually be the case, which allows them to employ corrective measures and avoid costs associated with fixes and time delays on projects.
Reflecting the apparent demand for such technologies in the sector, another Israeli startup is doing something similar, but by leveraging existing construction staff on-site and combining it with Artificial Intelligence.
Buildots (https://buildots.com), founded in 2018 by three graduates of the IDF’s Talpiot Unit, designed a system that puts cameras on managers’ hardhats to capture images of every detail of an ongoing project during regular site inspections. Using image process technology and AI, the system continually compares images and data with the building plans and timetables. Any errors or deviations which could have a cost, time, or other impacts on the project are then flagged and can be addressed. Buildots has to date raised $16million in funding, including several hundred thousand dollars in a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority. With such endorsement from the private and government sectors, it is clear that these technologies are in demand.
In this era of Coronavirus, many offices and communal spaces have become less usable due to social distancing requirements, so building managers and owners need to find solutions and implement modifications to make them functional again and safer for their inhabitants. Israeli companies, once again, can help. Aura Air (www.airair.io) has developed a smart air management platform that cleanses and disinfects indoor air while vigilantly monitoring its quality in real-time, while Dolphin Vision (www.dolphinvision.net) has patented a system designed to keep public transportation, elevators, and buildings free from viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19. These companies are certain to grow fast and can help mitigate challenges for property owners and managers while enhancing public health.
Even when it comes to all-important safety in the sector, Israeli firms like SafetyFirst (https://margad.wixsite.com/safetyfirst) helps workers and managers prevent accidents and injuries. SafetyFirst uses a proprietary IOT technology and AI to allow real-time monitoring of any worker, activity, vehicle, or moving equipment in a specified area. It identifies potential risks and actively alerts to the hazard, allowing preventive action to be taken.
Observing these companies establish and develop is not a surprise, given that just a few years ago, in 2017, the world’s first construction tech hub was established in Israel to provide construction firms and real-estate developers worldwide with access to disruptive high-tech innovation. This Construction Innovation Zone is a unique collaboration between the Israel Builders Association, the Tel Aviv-based SOSA platform for global startup ecosystems, the Israeli Construction and Housing Ministry, and the Israeli Economy Ministry.
Efforts to promote this hugely valuable sector continue apace, and next month, TLV Contech & Proptech 2020 will take place on November 24 and 25. This virtual international conference & exhibition for applied innovation in construction & real estate industries will bring together disruptive start-ups, industry leaders, experts, and multinational corporations to collaborate and discuss cutting edge products and technologies for this changing industry. For further information, please contact your local Israeli Commercial Representative.
- Is Israeli A.I., the Doctors of the future?
We all know what it likes to see a doctor. From a baby to a grown adult; the anticipation, the instruments, the exam, the diagnosis; it’s usually the same. But in the day in age of medical artificial intelligence, who knows how long we’ll actually be seeing a physical person? Patients believe that their medical needs are unique and cannot be adequately addressed by computers, but many have not yet realized that algorithms and AI can traditionally analyze and diagnosis quicker, and more accurately than any human can.
Algorithms have been solving the world’s toughest problems for years. From simple mathematics to solving complex theories; these groups of ones and zeros exist with only one purpose in mind. Think about if you didn’t have to live with all of the constant distractions we humans face? How much would you be able to accomplish? This goes hand in hand with the concept of AI-based medicine. A program that has one goal; diagnosing your condition with almost 100% accuracy. Medical companies are already starting to utilize this fascinating phenomenon, and Israel is at the forefront. It’s with these technological breakthroughs, Israeli medicine is becoming the pinnacle of the medical world.
Companies such as:
Binah.ai: Video-based, AI-powered Vital Signs Monitoring
Binah.ai’s ready-to-use, AI-powered Digital Healthcare applications address the challenges of remote, contactless Health, and Wellness monitoring. Its video-based-only monitoring solution removes the need for wearables and enhances telemedicine, remote patience monitoring, and preventive medicine services. Binah.ai’s AI-based, unique technological mix transforms any camera on any device (smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.) into a medical-grade monitoring solution. Binah.ai’s heart rate variability (HRV) measurements offer the basis for a wide range of body measurements such as blood pressure, mental stress level, oxygen saturation, respiration, alcohol blood level, and more.
Vocalis Health: VocalisTrack for Remote Detection of Shortness of Breath
VocalisTrack: A Voice-Based Tool for Remote Detection Shortness of Breath. AI-based software device that analyzes patients’ voice recordings: Passive using the patient’s own voice uses the patient’s smartphone without additional hardware or physical examination. Detects shortness of breath. Displays daily comparison results on provider dashboard: 1) worse or 2) improved or 3) no change. Bridges the gap between the patient and the healthcare system.
FDNA: Determining Phenotypic Information from Facial Photos
FDNA develops AI technologies and SaaS platforms used by thousands of clinical, research, and lab sites globally in the clinical genomics space. Using advanced deep learning, FDNA’s next-generation phenotyping technologies capture, structure, and analyze complex human physiological data to produce actionable genomic insights.
FDNA’s database includes a depth of phenotypic and genotypic information associated with more than 10,000 diseases, crowdsourced from real-world patient cases through a broad network of the company’s users. This de-identified data is collected and stored in a private and secure cloud-based clinical warehouse and integrated to LIMS, EMR, and variant interpretation systems through a set of open APIs.
Diagnostic Robotics: Predictive Healthcare Analytics
Diagnostic Robotics develops AI technologies for the healthcare industry. By integrating its products into existing systems, the company aims to make healthcare more effective, efficient, and affordable. Diagnostic Robotics develops predictive analytics models to address pressing clinical and financial challenges in healthcare. The company’s solutions enable healthcare systems to deliver more-effective care at lower costs. Diagnostic Robotics’ suite of products is currently in use at healthcare institutions, HMOs, and providers in Israel and the United States.
The Elegant Monkeys: AI Emotion-monitoring Solution
The Elegant Monkeys is developing a subscription-based API/SDK that utilizes AI algorithms to extract information about users’ emotional state from physiological sensor data. The company’s Kenko Technology is meant to improve quality of life, using widespread parameters like heartbeat and skin conductance to measure emotions. The technology can detect extreme stimuli and levels of excitement in real-time and offline. It can also tag the emotional event’s start and end time for backward investigation. Kenko also offers a long-term analysis of common emotional responses throughout the day, noting when they usually happen and more.
- Israeli Startups will help Feed a Climate-Changed World
As traditional agriculture in Israel dies out, local innovation is reinventing it.
There aren’t many things that unite the Israeli public more than seeing farmers being forced to destroy produce. Stories of tons of crops destroyed in recent months due to the coronavirus crisis have tugged at the heartstrings of most Israelis – who have a hard time finding things they can agree on these days. Every post posted by a farmer in distress is shared, and channels through which consumers can buy produce directly from growers have become commonplace.
This is happening not only because it hurts us to see such blatant waste – tens of thousands of tons of agricultural produce are destroyed every year, with 33% of domestic food production thrown in the trash – but also, probably, because of how hard it is to witness the downfall of an industry that was once a symbol of Israeli national pride. The ethos of pioneering agriculture was among the strongest upon which the state was established. But in recent years, the agricultural sector has become battered and shrunken, with Covid-19 only exacerbating the situation.
We have largely come to terms with the thought that Israel is less and less engaged in agriculture, and has ceded the stage to other countries, some of which once needed agronomic assistance from us.
Still, we may have bid adieu to our national ethos too soon. In recent years, under the radar, a different kind of vanguard has developed here: agricultural technological innovation. A report by AgFunder, the world’s leading information company in the field of innovative developments in agriculture and food, ranked Israel among the top five countries in the world this year in innovation initiatives and breakthroughs in the industry.
The Israeli ecosystem has about 800 companies in this area. About half of them are classified as innovators in agriculture, and the other half are engaged in innovation in food. The umbrella overall name for the two categories is agri-foodtech. Today, by the way, these two categories are closer than ever, and are commonly termed “farm-to-fork” – a continuum ranging from traditional agricultural products to alternatives for meat, milk and eggs. Israeli start-ups in this area are catching investors’ eyes, from angel investors, on through dedicated agricultural investment funds, to private equity funds.
This boom began in earnest only recently. Until a few years ago, there were very few agri-foodtech players. But over the past three to four years, the picture has changed: new funds were established, and investment entities developed specializations in the field. In foodtech, two of Israel’s major food producers, Strauss Group and Tuva, are partners in incubators (Strauss is a partner in The Kitchen FoodTech Hub and Tnuva is a partner, together with beverage manufacturer Tempo, in the Sparks FoodTech incubator).
Is Israel on its way to becoming a technology powerhouse in food and agriculture? According to Zachi Schnarch, deputy director and CTO of the Israel Innovation Authority, this is definitely the trend: “Israel can certainly be ranked among the world’s leading countries in many foodtech areas, especially in those connecting agritech with foodtech. For several years now, Israel has been an incubator for innovation in alternative proteins, in particular cultured meat, and is among the world leaders. In our opinion, through continued government and private support, Israel has the potential to be among the first to enter the market for such products and could even become a leader. “
“There is an interesting process of building up and development in this area,” agrees Dr. Nitza Kardish, CEO of the Trendlines Agrifood Fund and vice chair of the Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre. “For a long time, Israel has brought change to traditional, classical agriculture, in methods, seeds, and irrigation. Over the years, as circumstances in Israel and around the world have driven the need to produce food from fewer resources, the idea developed of bringing in technologies from other disciplines.”
This field is relatively new outside Israel as well. About ten years ago, when agricultural innovation started to become a topic of conversation, the total global investment in the field was about $100 million. “That’s a joke,” says Kardish, “Nowadays, we’re talking about almost $6 billion.” Around the world, there are 35 privately-owned foodtech companies valued at $1 billion and more (“unicorns”), with a total value of €169 billion.
2020 marks a year of growth for the industry; According to a new report by US-based venture capital fund Finistere Ventures, investment in agri-foodtech amounted to $7 billion in the first half of 2020 alone, (which included the global Covid-19 economic crisis).
Farmers born again
And what of the farmers themselves? Will this advanced agricultural industry now beginning to flourish in Israel leave them behind? “Today, there are entrepreneurs who come from farming families in which the great-grandfather would record the weather each day so that he could forecast what would happen at that time the following season,” says Kardish. “Today’s farmer doesn’t need to go to the vineyard to count yellow leaves. You fly a drone overhead that transmits data to an information center which sends the result to the farmer.”
There are also farmers who go one step further and become entrepreneurs themselves. Take, for example, Shlomi Kadosh, 66, co-founder of start-up Vanilla Vida. Kadosh is a fourth-generation farmer. His mother’s grandfather, Shlomo Mizrahi, left Safed in 1872 for what later became the Yesud HaMa’ala, one of the Jewish agricultural settlements founded during the First Aliyah period, where he cultivated the family’s land. In the early years, Kadosh relates, “The family grew vegetables – rain-dependent crops because there was no irrigation system.” The family later moved over to orchards. “That’s still pretty basic agriculture,” Kadosh recalls, “and as a kid I was mostly transferring irrigation pipes from one place to another, because there was no drip irrigation yet.”
After the army and agricultural studies, Kadosh moved to greenhouses – already more controlled growing conditions than the family’s fields and orchards – beginning with seedlings for local flower growers, and then expanding to the export market. Today, he is an entrepreneur. His company, Vanilla Vida, aims to cultivate natural vanilla beans improved through agricultural and technological methods. “These days, we control the temperature, water, light, humidity and everything else, and actually ‘fool’ the plant,” he says. “I’ve been involved in development for many years, but this is the first time I’ve done it so intensively. At my age, it provides a challenge and interest.
“My own background is in farming, I’m a graduate of the Mikve Israel agricultural school, and I remember the days when I would go out to the field at four in the morning, counting how many leafworms per square meter there were, and according to that, deciding how much pesticide to spray. That goes on to this day, but we’ve got to find other ways,” says Kardish. “Nowadays, there are sensors that can detect a single leafworm in Field C, and then you can spray right there and not flood the entire field with unreasonable amounts of pesticide.
“That’s part of precision agriculture, which is also aided by sensors that can detect exactly how much water to use, both for saving water and for achieving higher yields, and when is it exactly right to pick the fruit so that it has the longest possible shelf life, and more.”
And what effect has Covid-19 had on the sector? According to Kardish, it hurt both farmers and growers by creating a manpower shortage. “Workers could not get to slaughterhouses, either because they were sick, or because they were afraid. There was no one to slaughter the calves, so they just shot and killed hundreds of thousands of heads of cattle. There was also a serious problem with milk because there was no one to do the milking. This has further illustrated the need for automation. In general, today we’re dealing with things that we’ve never dealt with before, and without mobilizing technologies for the benefit of agriculture, it’s doubtful whether we’ll be able to produce enough food that will be sufficiently healthy, while also preserving the planet.”
The climate crisis is the catalyst
In truth, what has really accelerated technological developments in agriculture is the idea that climate change will harm it, and thus harm the food supply for the planet’s ever-growing population. In 30 years, 10 billion people will live on our planet. There will be many more mouths to feed, and there will be fewer and fewer cultivatable land resources in an unstable climate causing damage to arable land around the world.
According to UN data, 40% of the earth’s land is currently used for growing food, while the food industry is responsible for about 30% of the greenhouse gases emitted and consumes about 70% of the potable water. Meaning, the way we grow food causes unprecedented ecological damage. Meanwhile, the climate crisis will further impair our ability to produce food in the future.
Over the years, heat waves have become longer and more numerous, as have droughts. The UN predicts that, by 2050, feeding the world will require a 20% increase in global agricultural water use. But water use is already limited in many places: aquifers are disappearing, rivers are failing to reach the sea. Glaciers that supply water to half the population of Asia are rapidly receding.
Global warming may reduce the amount of rainfall in areas where much food is grown, and turn fertile plains into dust bowls. Other agricultural areas are losing their fertility due to erosion and pollution, while the supply of phosphates – essential for agriculture – is declining.
In light of these circumstances, the agri-food technology challenge has become a race against time. The way we grow and consume food must change rapidly and become more efficient and sustainable, in order to continue feeding us all. This industry is promoting, among other things, technological developments to reduce food waste (1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year, exacting a huge price from the planet), streamline supply chains, reduce resource use, meet health challenges, create environmentally-friendly packaging, and more.
“Agri-food technology is the key to future foods,” says Dr. Kardish. “All of the resources that served the farmer of yesteryear – water, soil, predictable weather conditions (meaning that summer is summer and winter is winter) – have changed. Even the population growth rate, which was slow until the 1950s, has accelerated phenomenally since then.
“In addition, people have started flocking to the city. A great many second and third-generation farmers no longer want to do this hard work; they despise traditional agriculture, thus reducing the number of people who grow food. Another trend is that the middle class, around the world, wants better quality food. This means we face a triple challenge: we need more food, we have fewer resources with which to produce it, and we also want to save the planet.
“Previously, there was no answer to these challenges. Now, a combination of artificial intelligence, image processing, data collection and analysis, can do much faster and more accurately what the farmer’s great-grandfather would do.”
NIS 10-20 million from the government
One of the first start-ups in the field was US-based Google offshoot The Climate Corporation, founded in 2006, which brought big data tools to agriculture. It was acquired by seed company Monsanto in 2013, for $ 1.1 billion. Since then the field has evolved. “We’ve begun seeing IDF Unit 8-200 graduate entrepreneurs, people who’ve already made it in high-tech, and now want to do something interesting that’s also beneficial to the world,” says Kardish.
Most investment in the field is private, but there is also government support. The two entities that support this industry on behalf of the state, through grants and promotion, are the Innovation Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture. Three and a half years ago, the ministry also created a new position, deputy director for agriculture innovation, a position filled by Dr. Michal Levy.
“My activities,” says Levy, “focus on the initial phases of entrepreneurship: technology transfer from academic institutions to industry, cooperation between early-stage companies and large companies, and also working with governments from other countries.” Naturally, the ministry concentrates more on agricultural innovation rather than foodtech. “We’ve made an informed choice, and are not yet participating in the area of animal protein alternatives,” says Levy, “but there’s a very fine line between agriculture and food, and we may expand our activities later.”
Levy says that since entering the field, she has already witnessed accelerated activity. “Most of the 400 start-ups in agricultural innovation were established during the last three years. When I arrived, one of the first things I did was contact the Innovation Authority, and together we began looking at what was happening in agriculture. For years, they were focused on high-tech, while agriculture had been neglected to the point where most agricultural start-ups didn’t even try to get funding from them.”
Why is that? After all, that too is innovation.
“Technological innovation is a very important yardstick for the Innovation Authority, and many agricultural innovations seem to fall short of their criteria. For example, the development of different strains, even using innovative techniques, or new – and harmless – compounds don’t necessarily fall under the definition of technological innovation.”
In light of this, she says, “We have jointly established a new qualitative standard called ‘impact’. Meaning, what significance can this invention or product have for the development of the field. And this has opened the door for many companies to apply and receive funding from the Innovation Authority. The budget is shared equally between us, in all NIS 10-20 million per year. True, it’s not a large amount, but it should be remembered that it finances up to 50% of the requested budget (after a young company presents an additional funder such as an incubator or fund) and that it is a fairly early-stage investment.”
Steak without cows, omelets without eggs
At the forefront of the agri-food tech world, today are mainly the dairy and meat industries, meaning the animal protein industries. There is a fascinating race to invent an alternative to those proteins currently derived from animals. A JP Morgan analysis estimates that, within a decade, the alternative protein sector will take at least 10% of the global meat market, currently worth $2 trillion annually. The meat alternative market has grown significantly in recent years, with revenue nearing $6.6 billion in 2018.
The reasons for this boom in alternative proteins are mainly environmental benefits and climate change. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock farming – including the growing of grain and other necessary feed crops – is directly responsible for about 18%-39% of the overall greenhouse effect. This is higher than the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted from all global transport.
Undoubtedly, the star standout is Beyond Meat, maker of the meat-like patty that has doubled in value since the beginning of 2020, and is currently traded at a $9.5 billion market cap (although the share price is still far from its peak of July 2019, shortly after the IPO). Beyond Meat’s main competitor, Impossible Foods, has already raised close to $800 million. The two companies are now competing to win over carnivorous consumers, and persuade them to abandon the meat industry in favour of their products.
The milk alternatives market is also looking towards a bright future and is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. But these days, the most intriguing race is probably the steak race. This is not a protein alternative – not a plant-based analogue that mimics meat – but the real thing: real meat, but without polluting farms, animal suffering, or health drawbacks. This is laboratory-grown “cultured meat”.
Unlike alternative protein patties such as Beyond Meat, “cultured meat” is not yet available in supermarkets. There are already several companies in the world with prototypes, but as yet there is still no industrial process or the economic justification for large-scale production. The global industry leaders expect to market products as early as next year. The Innovation Authority expects that commercialization of laboratory meat will begin over the next five years – first at prestigious restaurants – and that, within a decade, cultured meat will begin competing with regular meat.
There are currently four Israeli start-up companies in the field: Aleph Farms, Super Meat, MeaTech 3D and Future Meat Technologies (which also appears in the list of start-ups to watch published in this issue). The companies benefit from investments by food corporations such as Tyson Foods, Cargill, supermarkets giant Migros of Switzerland, Israel’s Rami Levy and Neto, and the Strauss Group.
“The alternative protein market is expected to grow at a very rapid pace in the coming years and overtake other significant markets in size,” says Schnarch of the Innovation Authority. “It’s expected that this market, which is currently estimated at $27 billion worldwide, will reach sales of about $280 billion by 2030.” The Innovation Authority believes that Israel has the potential to be one of the first countries in the world to commercialize such products. “While there are still technological challenges to mass-produced cultured meat, we believe these will gradually be resolved and that price levels will reach those of meat – perhaps even less – by as early as 2030,” says Schnarch.
11 Israeli agri-food tech start-ups
Following is a list of 11 Israeli agri-food technology start-ups. Naturally, it is very difficult to choose from the 800 companies operating in this field, and of course, such a limited list does not purport to represent the entire activity of the industry. However, our selection seeks to focus on intriguing companies operating in different disciplines that seem to have a significant year ahead of them.
We’ve tried to choose, among other things, lesser-known start-ups that have not yet had exposure, especially those with real potential and benefit not only for investors but also for health, the environment, and the preservation of the planet. The selections were based on information from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Israel Innovation Authority, and leading incubators in both areas.
(Full-length articles on these startups appear in the original Hebrew version of this project)
- Entrepreneurs: Eyal Afergan, Prof. Tamir Tuller
- Product: Cultured milk production using fermentation and genetic engineering methods.
- Founded: 2020
- Funding to date: About $1.5 million from The Kitchen and other entities
- No. of employees: 6
Entrepreneurs: Dr. Yossi Kofman, CEO; Dan Grotsky, VP Sales and Marketing; Danny Levy, VP R&D and Production
- Product: Mycorrhizae – fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plants, and improve agricultural products.
- Founded: 2014
- Funding to date: Millions of dollars (the company declines to specify the amount) from dedicated agricultural investment funds: MoreVC, Middleland Capital, AgriNation, and other funds
- No. of employees: 45
- Entrepreneur: Prof. Yaakov Nahmias
- Product: Cultured meat from connective tissue that can be converted into muscle tissue without the use of stem cells.
- Founded: 2018
- Funding to date: About $17 million. Investors include: Swiss fund S2G Ventures, Emerald Technology Ventures, Chinese fund Bits x Bites
- No. of employees: 25
- Entrepreneur: Dr. Ilan Samish
- Product: A natural protein that will serve as a healthier and cheaper substitute for sugar
- Founded: 2016
- Funding to date: $4 million, in part from The Kitchen, PepsiCo, Danone, Amazon, Google and the Israel Innovation Authority. Another funding round is currently being closed.
- No. of employees: 10
- Entrepreneurs: Dr. Meir Shlisel, Yohanan Gerber, Yaki Harel
- Product: Schnitzel and food products derived from wine production process residue.
- Founded: 2019
- Funding to date: NIS 1 million from IFF (Frutarom) and the Israel Innovation Authority. Currently holding another funding round to raise $1.25 million
- No. of employees: 4
- Entrepreneurs: Yuval Gilad, Yoav Politi and Idan Alyagor
- Product: Growing and freezing black soldier fly larvae as an animal feed alternative protein.
- Founded: 2018
- Funding to date: $500,000 plus another $250,000 in grants from the European Union and the Israel Innovation Authority. Currently closing a $2 million private placement.
- No. of employees: 8
- Entrepreneurs: Dr. Rca Godbole, Omar Massarwa, Dr. Sharon Devir. CEO: Dotan Borenstein.
- Product: Saline-tolerant seeds (soil and water)
- Founded: 2013
- Funding to date: Estimated at $1.5 million
- No. of employees: 6 full-time; dozens of freelancers
- Entrepreneur: Simcha Shor
- Product: Drone software replaces agronomists by using artificial intelligence and cloud services to detect pests and inform farmers as to how much pesticide and water are needed.
- Founded: 2017
- Funding to date: Nearly $4 million from Trendlines Group, Israel Innovation Authority, Kibbutz Yir’on, BIRD Foundation and ExitValley
- Entrepreneurs: Yael Alter and Nashat Haj Mohamad
- Product: Process to affect sex development of poultry embryos, turning genetic males into functional female chicks, preventing the destruction of male chicks in the egg industry.
- Founded: 2017
- Funding to date: $2.2 million from Israeli investment funds Southern Israel Bridging Fund (SIBF), Takwin Labs, and Michael Group. Another funding round is currently underway.
- No. of employees: 10
- Entrepreneurs: Dr. Tal Zeltzer, Dr. Halim Jubran, Dr. Guy Polturak
- Product: Natural yeast cell-based food colorants
- Founded: 2018
- Funding to date: $5.3 million, from the Trendlines Group, Millennium FoodTech, Agriline (controlled by real estate tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz), EIT-Food (an EU body that invests in the development of innovative and sustainable initiatives); Yossi Ackerman (former CEO of Elbit Systems), Israel Innovation Authority, and private investors
- No. of employees: 9
- Entrepreneurs: Shlomi Kadosh, Oren Zilberman and Raz Krizevski
- Product: Improved vanilla bean using agricultural and biotechnological methods.
- Founded: 2020
- Funding to date: $1.2 million from The Kitchen (owned by Strauss) and a private investor
- No. of employees: 5
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 7, 2020
- Australia Securities Exchange Eases Terms for Dual Listing of Israel Tech Firms
ASX recognizes Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rules, reducing compliance burden; in September, payments firm Splitit became 1st Israeli company to enter a Down Under index.
Companies that are listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and are seeking to list their shares on the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) as well will now find it easier to do so, as the ASX now sees Tel Aviv as “acceptable home exchange.”
This latest development reduces the compliance burden for TASE-listed companies that seek to list their shares both on the TASE and the ASX, said Max Cunningham, executive general manager of Listings at the ASX.
The ASX will recognize the rules that the TASE-listed company is already complying with for the purpose of listing on ASX, and the company won’t have to comply with two separate rulebooks, he said in a phone interview from Sydney. “Dual listings could already take place. But this makes it easier.”
TASE now joins exchanges such as Deutsche Börse, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Toronto, NASDAQ, New York and New Zealand as acceptable exchanges under ASX rules, he said.
Cunningham spoke to The Times of Israel with the coronavirus ravaging economies globally, and with Israel in its second lockdown. The spread of the coronavirus has contributed to a slowdown of Israeli firms seeking listings in Australia, mainly because ASX officials have not been able to visit Israel to drum up business as they have been doing since 2016.
“With Israel it is a little bit of a challenge, not being able to be there,” Cunningham said. Getting new listings from the US has been easier, because the ASX has people on the ground there all the time.
Even so, Cunningham expects to see “between two and three potential Israeli initial public offering of shares between now and the end of the year.” Exchange officials are also “engaging in conversations” with a couple of additional firms as well.
Twenty Israeli companies have to date listed shares on the ASX since 2011 — some of which have seen their stock surge, while others have seen a plunge in value since their listing. Those companies that have executed larger IPOs and have been able to attract a larger pool of investors have “invariably performed better,” as their businesses is more developed and their risk was lower pre-IPO, Cunningham explained.
Audio Pixel Holdings Ltd., a digital speakers maker, for example, which issued shares on February 1, 2011, at a price of $3.85, saw its shares surge 483% by August 31, 2020, according to data provided by the ASX. Similarly, Splitit, a tech firm providing payment solutions, has seen its shares surge 830% from its IPO in January 2019 to the end of August 2020.
First Israeli on Aussie index
Because of its share price surge and the jump in its market value, which on August 31 reached almost AUD 727 million ($518 million), Splitit has become the first Israeli company to be added to an Australian stock index, when it was included in the exchange’s new tech index.
Entering the index allows Splitit to be the first Israeli firm to benefit from funds of Australian institutional investors, Cunningham said.
“Splitit has been transformational, as it is the only Israeli company that has widespread institutional support,” he said. Previously the Israeli companies that came to the exchange largely relied on the funds of retail or individual investors, he said, because they were smaller companies and raised a small amount of money on the exchange.
Splitit, which entered the new index on September 21, is showing the way for other Israeli companies to benefit from institutional funds, once they are eligible for entry into an index, Cunningham said.
“I think the institutions that are investing in Splitit are getting to see Israel through the same eyes that we have seen Israel,” he said.
The ASX launched the S&P/ASX All Technology Index on February 24, just weeks before the coronavirus started to spread in Australia. “It had a terrible birth,” Cunnigham said. “It went up a bit and then fell away with the rest of the market – dramatically so.”
But once global markets turned around, and especially the tech shares, the S&P/ASX All Tech Index rallied, and local funds are investing in the index, Cunningham said. The index has a market capitalization of some AUD140 billion. The index today comprises 58 companies: 48 from Australia, five from the US, three from New Zealand, one from Ireland and one, Splitit, from Israel.
The launch of the index is perhaps the apex of the strategy the ASX has been pursuing for a number of years — to get more tech firms onto its exchange, which had been focused mainly on natural resources and commodities firms. Drumming up listings from tech firms in Israel, seen as a global technology hot spot, was a key part of that effort.
“The tech strategy we have been focused on for many years now, and that Israel is part of,” has come to fruition this year, Cunningham said, “when so many important ingredients have come together.”
“We finally had this year what we thought was a real critical mass of tech companies listed on ASX to launch a dedicated tech index,” he said.
The index was launched with a market cap of AUD$100 billion. The index had a quarterly rebalance in June, and four firms were added in September to the index, including Israel’s Splitit.
Not all Israeli firms that have listed on the ASX have done well, however. G Medical Innovations, a developer of health monitoring solutions, which listed its shares in May 2017, has seen its stock plunge 80% from its IPO to August 31, 2020. Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, which listed its shares on the exchange in December 2017, saw its shares drop 76%. AppsVillage, a mobile apps development company, saw its shares plunge 45% from its IPO in August 2019 to August 31, 2020.
The smaller companies with higher risk associated with their businesses have performed less well, said Cunningham. They have also been more impacted by COVID-19.
“A lot of smaller companies are reliant only on retail shareholders which makes it hard to gain access to emergency capital during COVID,” he said. “Typically, these are companies with smaller and less developed business models.”
Though there is just a trickle of companies coming to list from Israel at the moment, the ASX is seeing a “heavy load of IPOs coming to market between now and the end of the year” from Australian, New Zealand and US firms, Cunningham said. These will be mainly tech sector and gold mining firms, as both tech and gold are doing very well amid the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“In times of uncertainty tech stocks have done very well because they don’t require a lot of capital, and gold is always is a store of wealth,” he said.
- Going Into 2021: Biggest Trends in Retail Tech, Sports Tech, and New Media
How Israeli technology is shaping our everyday experiences with the way we consume both goods and entertainment.
In 2020, COVID-19 disrupted our everyday lives alongside the industries we rely on for our essential and non-essential needs. As we approach the final quarter of 2020 and begin to look ahead to what 2021 has in store, emerging trends have appeared that look to be staying permanently.
Retail consumerism has further accelerated away from brick and mortar stores. 2020 has shown us that online sales growth is unstoppable and online sales will reach $4.5 trillion in 2021, with 73% of those completed via mobile devices. The implementation of artificial intelligence changes how consumers interact and purchase from their favourite brands. From the rise of voice commerce and visual commerce to a more personalized online shopping experience, consumers have more options than ever before.
Consumers are also adjusting to the inaccessibility of attending their favourite locations, be it a sporting venue, a new film at the theatre, or even the gym! More than ever before, the pandemic has people searching for new ways to replicate a pre-COVID world as closely as possible.
With large in-person happenings likely not back for the foreseeable future, innovation is what will lead us to the “new normal.” Implementing new engaging technologies across the way we consume fitness, films, sports, and beyond will make for experiences as close to reality as possible.
Our eyes have never committed so much time to devices and screens. With the pandemic still brewing, and most of us at home alternating between iPhone to laptop to TV and back to the iPhone, advertisers are in paradise. Israeli companies like Innovid positioned themselves as a one-stop solution to omnichannel personalized advertising, from serving ads to sharing analytics. The company offers a holistic, cross-device, data-driven solution to meet audience fragmentation demands and personalize the customer journey. Innovid’s patented technology and advanced measurement capabilities allow marketers to thrive in an ever-changing digital television landscape and engage viewers at scale via immersive, interactive storytelling. Innovid powers cross-channel video marketing efforts for some of the largest brands in more than 28 countries, including Bank of America, Best Buy, Citi, Comcast, Kraft, L’Oréal, Microsoft, P&G, Walmart, Samsung, Sprint, and Toyota.
But what good is that advertising if your actual content isn’t compelling to the viewing audience? Luckily for us, Arti.tv is creating a new brand of storytelling with the power of their augmented-reality stories into our regularly broadcast shows. Arti provides content producers, no matter the level of technical knowledge, to implement broadcast-quality AR. Sports show producer? No problem, add infographics and athletes in AR to your broadcast. Movie producer? Implement the grandest of assets all with Arti. Fitness YouTuber? Connect like never before to your followers with interactive assets that are sure to brighten anyone’s workout. Arti.tv provides the ability to create augmented-reality stories full of insights, data, and information.
After some well-deserved relaxation, we can turn on the Vi Trainer from Vi Labs to get back to our active fitness lifestyle, all with the help of a virtual trainer powered by artificial intelligence. Vi develops products to help people get fit through personalized, goal-oriented coaching, and social play. Vi created an outdoor fitness game called Torch, a social running experience featuring one-on-one virtual races with friends and fairly matched competitors worldwide. With the Vi Trainer, an AI-powered coach’s voice guides people through immersive and entertaining workouts matched to their unique goals and abilities.
After an exhilarating run and a purifying sweat, what better way to show your newfound fitness lifestyle than through what you wear. But what if you could forego the age-old text search to find that perfect summer top? Donde is one such example, an Israeli based company that focuses on ways to improve online retail UX (User Experience). Donde is a platform that enhances the customers’ online shopping experience by utilizing artificial intelligence to think like the shopper and display results that they have in mind. Rather than traditional text-based searches. Donde uses visual cues coupled with proprietary algorithms that aim to mimic the way customers engage with products, providing the most relevant recommendations. Forever 21, one of the largest female apparel brands, has adopted Donde Search. With shopping moving further and further online, the pressure of creating a best-in-class shopping experience is permeating the e-commerce space. Donde Search continues to lead the way with their vision of visual shopping.
Too tired to move your fingers to order your next outfit, meal, or household good? With VoiceFront, a SaaS platform for eCommerce merchants provides a solution to enable voice sales on virtual storefronts quickly. Using virtual assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant, your voice is all you need for ordering online. VoiceFront is looking to disrupt Amazon’s over 95% market share of voice-enabled shopping. By 2022, the voice commerce space expects to grow 55%. Positioned to be the leader in enabling shopping with your voice from the comfort of your couch, VoiceFront is shaping a new frontier of e-commerce shopping.
With three months remaining in 2020, our newly adopted habits, lifestyles, and technologies will follow us closely into 2021 and beyond. As we have heard over this year, the “new normal” is upon us. With innovative Israeli technology, the transition into settling into this new reality will be made more seamless. From the industries we discussed and far extending to every industry and facet of life, we must embrace change to continue to move forward in an ever-changing world.
- How the Start-up Nation Keeps the Lights On
If you want to see the future of warfare, look to Ukraine. Two days before Christmas in 2015, a massive cyberattack on an electricity generation station in Western Ukraine knocked out power for 250,000 people in the region—the first confirmed hack to take down a power grid. Exactly one year later, attackers struck again, this time taking out Ukraine’s national grid operator Ukrenergo, causing blackouts across a large chunk of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. While Kyiv’s power remained out barely one hour, subsequent research demonstrated the 2016 attackers’ real objective was to cause widespread physical damage to Ukraine’s grid, something which could have knocked power out for months on end. In the dead of winter, this could have been catastrophic.
It’s not just Ukraine, though. Last March, the first Western electricity infrastructure—a part of the transmission grid in Utah, Wyoming and California—was also knocked out. And widespread reports of hackers penetrating and mapping Western power grids—perhaps laying the groundwork for future attacks—have also been documented.
While cyber defenders traditionally have concentrated on threats to organizations’ IT networks, the real threat to critical infrastructure operators are their operational technologies (OT)—the complex industrial control systems used to manage the generators, pumps, valves and other equipment used to run factories, power and water utilities, trains, oil refineries, ports, chemical plants and other industrial assets.
Historically, the OT remained separated, or “air-gapped,” from the internal IT networks connected to the internet; however, this is now changing dramatically. However as organizations seek to leverage AI and big data analytics to drive efficiencies in their operations through “smart networks,” IT and OT networks are converging. In a word, these complex industrial control systems are now connected to the internet, making them vulnerable to hacking. Because many of these industrial control systems were not designed with cybersecurity in mind, it’s not surprising they draw hackers’ attention when these older systems are connected to the internet. Throw in the exponential growth of the internet of things (IoT), and it’s clear the threat vector faced by critical infrastructure operators has grown substantially.
Luckily though, there are several Israeli companies that are world leaders in cybersecurity, and the Start-up Nation offers a nice mix of established firms, and very early stage new entrants:
Waterfall Security develops industrial cybersecurity solutions. Based on Waterfall’s Unidirectional Security Gateway technology, the company’s products offer an alternative to firewalls. Its solutions enable safe and reliable IT/OT integration, data sharing, cloud services, and all required connectivity for industrial control systems and critical infrastructures.
Claroty was conceived to secure the safety and reliability of industrial control networks. The Claroty platform is an integrated set of cyber-security products that provide extreme visibility, unmatched cyber-threat detection, secure remote access, and risk assessments for industrial control networks (ICS/OT).
SCADAfence develops solutions for operational technology (OT) cyber security. The SCADAfence platform enables organizations with complex OT networks to use Industrial IoT technologies by reducing cyber risks and mitigating operational threats.The non-intrusive platform provides full coverage of large-scale networks, offering high-quality detection accuracy, asset discovery, and user experience with minimal false positives.
Radiflow is a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions designed for critical infrastructure networks (i.e. SCADA) such as power utilities, oil and gas, water, and others. The company’s security toolset validates the behaviour of both M2M applications and human-to-machine (H2M) sessions in distributed operational networks.Radiflow’s security solutions are available both as inline gateways for remote sites and as a nonintrusive intrusion-detection system (IDS) that can be deployed per site or centrally. Its solutions are sold either integrated into a wider end-to-end solution of global automation vendors or as a stand-alone security solution by local channel partners.
IXDen provides security software solutions for IoT devices, industrial control systems, and sensors. IXDen introduces patent-pending technology to protect critical infrastructure from attacks via IoT devices by implementing a biometric-like multi-factor authentication approach. IXDen provides a solution for operational technology and enables users to manage their IoT assets safely and remotely. IXDen employs a new technology to secure IoT devices and brings the equivalent of human identity verification (something users have, something they know, something they are) into M2M communication security while establishing elaborate and strong device identity.
Cynamics is a network monitoring solution built specifically for smart city, public safety, and critical infrastructure networks. The solution uses just 1% of network traffic to achieve 100% visibility, offering city operators unlimited visibility at exceptional scalability. Cynamics provides a complete, continuous, holistic view of what is taking place on smart city networks without needing all traffic to be routed through the solution.
OTORIO delivers industrial-native cyber solutions that enable reliable, safe, and resilient digital manufacturing. The company empowers secured-by-design rollouts of industry 4.0 initiatives by making cybersecurity an integral part of the operational lifecycle. Simplifying complex operational-technology cyber-security processes, OTORIO enables continuous management, qualification, and remediation of production cyber risks based on their business impact, safety, reliability, and productivity.
Check Point‘s ICS security solution minimizes risk exposure across IT and OT environments and blocks attacks before they reach critical assets, all in a way that is easily scalable and non-disruptive to critical processes.
- Bis Continues to Innovate with Launch of Disruptive New Mining Automation Joint Venture
Bis and Israel Aerospace Industries have today announced a world-first joint venture to deliver the next generation of mine site automation to the global resources sector.
“The Auto-mate joint venture represents a significant advancement in mining automation,” Bis CEO Brad Rogers said. “The flexible and scalable solution is the ultimate partner in mining automation, delivering superior technology, to a wider range of miners, at a lower cost.”
The 50-50 JV uses IAI’s proven technology which has been operating in heavy off-road vehicles in remote and harsh environments since the early 1980s, making it a highly complementary fit for application to mining operations.
Offering fully-scalable and adaptable levels of automation, Auto-mate’s technology is tailored to each mine site’s requirements. With an open architecture model, the system connects any asset to the operation’s fleet management system, regardless of brand, age or type of asset or desired level of automation.
“Auto-mate is a game-changer because of its exceptional utility,” Mr Rogers said. “It is a gateway to automation for small and big miners. It is uniquely flexible so that a customer can choose how far down the pathway to automation they want to go. It is asset agnostic. It can be deployed at any mine, on any asset and to any degree of automation the customer chooses.
“From today, automation will be accessible by a larger section of the mining industry because the Auto-mate technology platform, created by IAI, allows miners to automate any asset, and retain long term optionality on fleet decisions.”
Mr Rogers said the global value uplift and efficiency gains from automation in the resource sector had been estimated at more than $50 billion which represented a significant international opportunity for the Auto-mate partners.
“Auto-mate makes automation a reality at mines where it would previously never have been thought possible,” he said. “It can be delivered efficiently and at a lower whole of life cost than other technologies in the market.”
Bis is renowned for delivering innovative haulage and equipment solutions to mining customers for over 100 years. IAI is a large, advanced engineering company with a 20000-strong workforce, 5000 of whom are engineers with world-class expertise in robotics and automation. IAI have been designing and deploying robotic and autonomous vehicle and asset solutions for air, sea and land for over four decades, and have automated over 35 different asset classes.
Mr Rogers said the JV was an important strategic initiative for the company.
“As a trusted resource logistics partner, we identified a gap in the market for flexible automation technology that offered greater interoperability to our customers,” he said. “We’re extremely pleased to have forged a partnership with IAI to become their global partner for this industry first in mining automation.”
IAI subsidiary ELTA’ CEO, Yoav Tourgeman, said the interoperable scalable system was the perfect union of cutting-edge technology and practical application.
“Auto-mate delivers a flexible approach to automation, delivering usability for multiple levels of automation across all haulage assets and ancillary equipment, with one central command centre,” Mr Tourgeman said.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the global energy and mining sectors, Auto-Mate CEO Daniel Poller is well-placed to lead the launch of the joint venture.
“Auto-mate is set to make a significant impact on the mining and automation sector and will ultimately enhance safety and efficiency outcomes for our customers,” Mr Poller said. “I am thrilled that we are able to bring it to the global market.”
Mr Rogers said the Auto-mate JV was a significant step in Bis’ commitment to customer-led innovation.
“Auto-mate is a compelling commitment to innovation and disruption in the mining and automation sector to deliver new solutions to our customers which drive value at their operations,” he said. “This is just the latest in a series of innovations to emerge from the Bis development pipeline, following the development of the ground-breaking mine haulage vehicle, Rexx, and cutting-edge underground grader, Razor.”
The combination of IAI’s leading capability in autonomous technology solutions and Bis’ demonstrated experience in mine site logistics and supply chain management delivers the perfect combination of experience to Auto-mate.
To read more about Auto-mate advanced technology, visit the website www.auto-mate.me
Published 22.9.20 by:
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- Israeli Companies on the NASDAQ
Not every country receives an aspirational nickname. The State of Israel has rightly earned two.
The monikers “Innovation Nation” and “Start-up Nation” are often used as shorthand to illustrate Israel’s unparallel technological ecosystem. The nicknames depict, in part, the numerous start-ups Israel produces, the backing that technological companies receive by the government, capital from global investors, and the “can-do-anything” attitude of the Israeli entrepreneur.
Whether you measure a country’s technological prowess by its research and development budget, per cent of foreign venture capital dollars, start-ups per capita or global market share in tech-heavy areas such as cybersecurity, Israel generally shows up at the top of the lists.
Exciting arrays of innovative start-ups attract a lot of attention. This leads to Israeli companies often merging or becoming acquired by larger multinational companies. Intel, for example, purchased Mobileye, for $15.3 billion and Google purchased Waze for $1 billion. Of course, for every headline about an Israeli company acquired, there are many other deals executed each month.
But not every Israeli start-up chooses to exit through M&A. Some choose an international initial public offering, often on a large exchange. The NASDAQ is one option and its orientation toward tech-companies makes it naturally compelling for Israeli companies to list there.
With 79 companies and a combined market capitalization of $88 billion, Israel represents the only Middle Eastern country listed on NASDAQ. In short, Israel is a powerhouse country for the exchange.
Israeli listings on NASDAQ include 38 healthcare companies, 24 technology companies, and 7 capital goods companies. So far in 2020, three new companies, Ayala Pharmaceuticals (AYLA), Nano-X Imaging (NNOX), and PolyPid (PYPD), joined the NASDAQ.
While each company listed has an incredible story and innovative solutions, we highlight three below. If you have interest in working with these, or any other Israeli company listed (or not listed), please contact your local Israeli Trade Representative.
You can find them here: http://www.itrade.gov.il/
Cyberark – (NASDAQ: CYBR) – Cyberark was established in 1999 and now has over 1,480 employees, 480 of which are located in Israel. In 2019 they had sales of $411M. CyberArk is focused on eliminating the most advanced cyber threats; those that use insider privileges to attack the heart of the enterprise. Dedicated to stopping attacks before they stop business, CyberArk proactively secures against cyber threats before attacks can escalate and do irreparable damage. The company is trusted by leading companies to protect their highest-value information assets, infrastructure and applications.
SolarEdge – (NASDAQ: SEDG) – SolarEdge was established in 2006 and now has over 2,078 employees, 650 which are located in Israel. In 2018 they had sales of $914M. SolarEdge provides an intelligent inverter solution that has changed the way power is harvested and managed in solar photovoltaic systems. The SolarEdge DC optimized inverter system maximizes power generation at the individual PV module-level while lowering the cost of energy produced by the solar PV system. The SolarEdge system consists of power optimizers, inverters, storage solutions, and a cloud-based monitoring platform and addresses a broad range of solar market segments, from residential solar installations to commercial and small utility-scale solar installations.
WIX.com (NASDAQ: WIX) – Wix was established in 2006 and now has over 2,600 employees, 1,800 which are located in Israel. In 2019 they had sales of $761M. Wix is a leading cloud-based web development platform with over 90 million registered users worldwide. Wix was founded on the belief that the Internet should be accessible to everyone to develop, create and contribute. Through free and premium subscriptions, Wix empowers millions of businesses, organizations, professionals and individuals to take their businesses, brands and workflow online. Wix ADI, the Wix Editor and a highly curated App Market enable users to build and manage a fully integrated and dynamic digital presence.
Together with the activity in Israel, the Foreign Trade Administration operates a network of economic representatives who constitute the operational arm of the Ministry in markets around the world. The main activities of the economic and trade offices include activities for the promotion of trade and export, initiating and maintaining trade agreements for the improvement of Israel’s trade conditions, attracting and encouraging foreign investments and creating strategic cooperation with foreign companies.
- The Israeli Tech Investments Locomotive Not Halted Due to the COVID-19 Crisis
According to a report by IVC and ZAG S&W Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co, in Q2 2020 Israeli high-tech investment making climbs to new quarterly record with 170 deals, with an increase of early-stage deals in April-May in comparison to deals in February-March.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic continues sending shudders across the world economy, there is some relief in the knowledge that Israeli high-tech funding, is behaving almost as usual. The positive trend in early and late rounds has continued in H1/2020, with $5.25 billion in 312 deals.
In February –March, the number of financing deals, especially for early financing rounds (Seed and A rounds), was down significantly. However, in April –May the number of deals for earlier rounds resumed normal ranges and even compensated for the decline in Q1/2020.
Investor behaviour was a major topic during H1. VC investors did not shy away from either first or follow-on investments, bringing the number of VC deals to a record in Q2/2020. This is an important point given the high level of economic uncertainty.
Israeli high-tech companies had a successful second quarter in 2020*, raising $2.5 billion in 170 deals. This was the second strongest quarter in terms of total amounts raised. More deals were made, though the median amount decreased slightly due mostly to an increase at the lower end of the financing rounds –more seed financing at smaller amounts.
Here is a recap of the top deals of Q2 2020:
Vast Data, which develops cost-effective flash infrastructure solutions and consolidates applications into a highly scalable all-flash storage system to meet the performance needs of demanding workloads, completed a $100 million Series C financing round.
The data for H1 is solid, but in the current global environment, they carry no promises for the rest of the year. The full magnitude of the economic impact could still be felt in Q3/Q4 and onwards.
Altogether, H1 2020 struck also an increase in the number of deals over $50 million with 22 deals in H1 2020, in comparison to 15 deals on H1 2019.
- Israeli Companies Disrupting the Digital Health Space
Last week, 5 Israeli firms were listed in the 2nd annual Digital Health 150 ranking, by New York-based research firm CB Insights. The list features the 150 most promising private digital health firms in the world.
Israel is amongst the 2020 Digital Health 150 cohort that highlights startups that are “reimagining” the lines of the traditional healthcare experience across twelve categories ranging from Online Care Delivery and Clinical Trials, to Drug Discovery & Specialty Care.
Israeli companies on the list are:
- Zebra Medical Vision, an Artificial Intelligence powered medical imaging company that recently received its sixth FDA clearance for a mammography solution
- IO, a medical technology startup that developed a smartphone-based urine albumin test that helps diagnose chronic kidney disease
- TytoCare, a telehealth company that develops remote medical testing devices and recently raised $50 million
- ai, a stroke detection platform that uses Artificial Intelligence to identify the source of a stroke in seconds
- Nuvo Group, a firm commercializing a prescription started a remote pregnancy-monitoring platform cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
The digital era creates numerous opportunities to revolutionize delivery of healthcare services to patients. For instance, patients can receive healthcare services anywhere, through any web or mobile device, without requiring a presence of healthcare provider. Moreover, Israeli Digital Health sector has long been using innovative communication technologies to enhance healthcare efficacy and delivery.
Other Innovative and interesting Israeli digital health companies include:
- Koalys is a holistic Tele-Audiology Software as a Service platform for hearing care that provides means to perform hearing tests for screening, diagnostics, and hearing-aid fitting.
- MobileODT develops software programs and optical diagnostic devices for early detection of cancer and numerous other medical purposes. The company has developed advanced optical technology components to turn smartphones into easy to use mobile point-of-care tools to help detect cancer. Additionally, this technology can also capture a range of biomedical images for diagnostic and different analytical purposes.
- Elad Health is the developer of Chameleon, an electronic medical record (EMR) solution that enables tablets, PCs, and laptops connected to a wireless network to be used to deliver patient information. Chameleon provides a comprehensive medical view of the patient’s hospitalization processes as well as continuous interoperability across medical departments, units and clinics.
- EyeControl is a medical device used in intensive care units. It uses pupil movements to allow bi-directional remote communication among ventilated patients and medical staff. Thus, enhancing accuracy of care, freeing up beds and equipment, and limiting contagion through decreasing the need for proximity.
- Four Israeli Women Will Receive the ‘European Women in Tech’ Award
The Israeli tech ecosystem enjoys a great reputation. It is considered creative, innovative and attractive for the international audience. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Israeli companies are acknowledged by the international tech community.
This week, four Israeli female entrepreneurs will receive the ‘European Women in Tech’ Award at the London Tech Week, Europe’s largest tech festival. During this week, tech communities from all around the world will address the pressing topics facing the tech sector and society today, such as health and climate.
The ‘European Women in Tech’ Award’s, will be given during a special event taking place on September 11th aims to showcase the achievements of women in the tech industry and encourage diversity and inclusion in business and tech. Out of 24 International entrepreneurs and founders who will be recognized, 4 are Israeli! This is definitely an impressive number.
The four Israeli recipients of the award are:
Orit Hashay, founder and CEO of Brayola, a smart personal bra shopper. Founded in 2012, Brayola teamed up with leading brands and designers utilizing technology, data, and community to enable personalized shopping for lingerie online.
Inna Braverman, co-founder of Eco Wave Power. Founded in 2011, Eco Wave Power developed an innovative technology for production clean & affordable electricity from the ocean and sea waves, using a simple but smart design. Inna was also awarded the United Nations “Global Climate Action Award
Maya Guru, co-founder and CEO of Missbeez. Missbeez is a mobile platform for beauty services, connecting busy people with beauty & lifestyle professionals.
These four women are a great source of pride to Israel. We’ve decided to take this opportunity and shine the light on some of the game changing, impact making technologies, which were founded and led by Israeli business and tech leaders in variety of fields, including health, digital, AI, HR and more. Yes, they are all women.
- Cassiopeia – A great example to start off with, which is also relevant to our time period, where more and more people shift to remote work mode. Cassiopeia analyzes network communication and provides actionable insights to improve team collaboration and mental health in the virtual workspace. Founded by Shiran Yaroslavsky.
- Day Two – Day Two provides personalized nutrition and actionable insights that allow users to live healthier and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Its microbiome human discovery platform offers a glycemic control solution for people with type 2 diabetes. Founded in 2015 by Lihi Segal, CEO.
- Diagnostic Robotics – Diagnostic system which uses AI and predictive analytics models to help hospitals and emergency departments make informed decisions on patient care faster while improving patient experience and reducing costs of care and health systems loads. Founded by artificial intelligence (AI) expert Dr Kira Radinsky,
- Papayaglobal – Papaya Global is a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that transforms global payroll, payments, and workforce management. Papaya Global’s automated cloud-based solution platform helps companies hire, onboard, manage, and pay people in more than 100 countries. Eynat Guez, co-founder and CEO, is a serial entrepreneur who’s changing the digital HR world.
- Bonobo AI – A platform for Marketing Automation and Behavioral Insights for Conversational Human-Machine Interactions. The company helps companies get insights from customer support calls, texts and other interactions. The company, co-founded in 2017 by Efrat Rapoport (CEO), was bought by Salesforce in May 2019.
- Cortica – A well-established company with a leading AI technology for autonomous platforms. The company’s Autonomous AI is based upon proprietary brain research and utilizes unsupervised-learning methodologies backed by more than 200 patents. This Autonomous AI is embedded in next-generation, ultra-scale platforms where understanding images is a critical task. Cortica provides intelligence that enables autonomous vehicles, smart cities, autonomous drones, and more. Co-founded by Karina Odinaev in 2007.
- How Israel became a global power in television
For many years, Nordic noir was the dominant force in foreign-language television. Hits such as The Bridge and Borgen wooed British audiences with their melancholic landscapes, taut dialogue and impressive knitwear.
But this small-screen pre-eminence has been replaced by offerings from a country that could not be further removed from the introversion and cautious pacing of Nordic TV. Israel is in some ways the anti-Scandinavia. The weather is hot, the people outspoken, the history bloody and disputed.
Yet as a source of must-see television, the country has emerged as an international force to be reckoned with. And it has done so while avoiding becoming locked into a particular genre. Nordic TV can often seem to consist of different flavours of the same fatalistic murder mystery format. In Israel, by contrast, diversity is the watchword. From action to comedy via human-interest drama, anything goes.
There are gripping thrillers such as mistaken-identity slow-burner False Flag and West Bank-set Netflix hit Fauda, which has just returned to the streaming service for a hugely anticipated third season. But Israel is also serving up escapist romcoms such as the brilliantly whimsical Beauty and the Baker, which has proved a surprise sensation on Amazon Prime. (The US adaptation, The Baker and the Beauty, airs on Stan. Nine is the owner of Stan and this masthead.)Advertisement
Israel can do tender family drama, too. The Netflix hit Shtisel is about a Jewish orthodox father and son looking for love in Jerusalem’s traditionalist Geula neighbourhood. For any nation to produce so many high-profile series in so many genres would be impressive. However, that is doubly so in the case of Israel, with its population of just 8.8 million.
Being an underdog in world broadcasting has worked in Israel’s favour, says Allison Kaplan Sommer, of Tel Aviv daily newspaper Haaretz. Unlike the big US and British networks, Israel’s producers work within comparatively minuscule budgets and so think on their feet. That, she suggests, is why Israeli TV feels so plugged in to life as we live it today. There simply isn’t the money to stage a Middle Eastern Downton Abbey. TV must be utterly of the now.
“To get made, the concept, script and acting has to be excellent and creators have to think outside the box,” she says. “There’s no money to make fantasy/sci-fi like Westworld or Game of Thrones or a piece set in another century. Everything has to be here and now and current.”
Talking to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Keren Margalit, creator of TV drama Yellow Peppers, said: “The understanding is, if you can’t go wider, if you can’t explode anything or go big with special effects, you need to go inside. To go very, very deep and find real characters. I think a lot of Israeli television developed from this understanding.”
For foreign viewers, Israeli TV serves as a window into a country that is largely mysterious. The highest-profile example is Fauda. This story of an undercover Israel army unit engaged in a brutal game of cat and mouse with terrorists on the West Bank may sound cliched, but rather than taking sides or caricaturing the Israelis and Palestinians, Fauda paints a nuanced portrait of men and women locked in a cycle of perpetual conflict.
“It was actually something very new here, in that it wasn’t a white hat versus black hat story,” says Sommer. “The Israeli side was portrayed with all its flaws, and the Palestinians were fully formed characters and human beings, even the terrorists. And I think that twist is what gave it its appeal internationally, and showed the nuances of the conflict here.”
That same soulfulness defines lighter fare such as Beauty and the Baker. Like a gender-swapped Middle East Pygmalion, it tells of a scrappy baker who embarks on a romance with a worldly supermodel. It’s funny while providing an insight into the complex striations in Israeli society.
Within the global TV industry, Israeli television has been creating waves for some time. The US dramas Homeland and In Treatment were remakes of Israeli originals. With one or two exceptions, US adaptations of beloved British shows are unfaithful and unwatchable. Israeli TV, by contrast, seems to flourish when reworked by Hollywood. That has arguably given producers and writers the one thing all the budgets in the world cannot buy: self-confidence.
TV from Israel also has a cinematic quality. “Israel is so small, it can’t support separate film and television industries, and while there are a handful of directors who work only in films, most directors and all actors and crew members go back and forth between film and television,” says Hannah Brown, of The Jerusalem Post.
There’s also something appealingly unselfconscious about Israeli TV. Fauda is happy to borrow from the high-octane intensity of Hollywood: the very first episode begins in a flurry of hand-held camera action that could have come from a Jason Bourne film.
Similarly, there’s a charming dollop of magic realism at the core of Shtisel. The story opens with a bravura dream sequence in which lovelorn Akiva (Michael Aloni) visits his local greasy spoon, only to encounter his deceased mother, covered in ice and dressed as an Eskimo.
“There’s a lot that goes on in Israeli life,” says Jessica Steinberg, of The Times of Israel. “It’s a small country that’s fought hard to retain its place and is made up of people from many different nations.
“It’s also a very tight-knit country because of its small size and the melting pot created by everyone serving in the army. All ingredients that make for intense situations, stories and outcomes. They have filmed entire seasons of Fauda for the same budget as one episode of an American TV series. That’s true of many Israeli series. They make do with what they have.”
The Best Israeli Shows to Watch
“Chaos” in Arabic, Fauda (now in its third series) chronicles a bloody game of cat and mouse between Israeli counter-intelligence soldier Doron (Lior Raz) and a Hamas terrorist “The Panther” (Hisham Suliman).
Beauty and the Baker (Amazon Prime)
Recently dumped by his girlfriend, a commitment-phobic baker (Aviv Alush) enters into a whirlwind romance with an international model (Rotem Sela). But can their fledgling relationship survive a nefarious campaign to drive them apart?
A father (Dov Glickman) and son (Michael Aloni) negotiate their multi-layered relationship as each goes in search of romance. As if that weren’t complicated enough, they must also obey the strictures of their Orthodox Jewish faith.
Srugim (Amazon Prime)
The country’s answer to Friends, this comedy follows young people dealing with the complexities of modern life in contemporary Israel.
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- בריאות דיגיטלית בעידן הקורונה
- AI technology / 4IR in Israel and the Cleantech Sector
AI is at the centre of the current industrial revolution, and its relevance is likely to increase in the coming decade. The growth of AI technologies can be seen by the investments made in this field. In 2011-2019, investments in Israel high-tech AI projects increased from 305 million dollars to 4 billion dollars. In 2019, 42% of the sum invested in Israeli high-tech was directed to AI technologies.
In recent years, Israel’s high-tech has held a leading global position in the field of AI. Israel is now among the world’s top three countries operating in the field of AI after China and the US. Israel ranks second to the US, in its number of leading AI start-ups. The significant presence of roughly 90 R&D centres of multinational corporations working on AI in Israel indicates its global leadership in this field.
4% of these AI companies are directly involved in the Cleantech Sector. Solutions such as smart grids and energy-efficient building technologies will reduce and optimize demand.
- Grid4C Ltd smart grid predictive analytics startup develops artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered technology for analyzing information generated by devices such as smart meters and other IoT-enabled appliances, enabling energy providers and consumers to maximize operation and control.
- SmartGreen Ltd. develops a system for monitoring, managing, and reducing energy consumption. The company’s system is meant for use in factories, commercial and industrial facilities, malls, shopping centres, hospitals, and schools.
- BreezoMeter Ltd. develops a location-based air quality collection and analysis technology. The company utilizes proprietary algorithms to aggregate data from multiple sources, offering it to businesses to increase user engagement and sales.
- Zugreifen Ltd. offers energy usage monitoring, management, and electricity-theft protection services designed to optimize both energy providers’ and their customer’s energy consumption.
- Raycatch offers AI diagnostics for solar energy and was recognized by the World Economic Forum for the design and development of potentially world-changing technology as a tech pioneer.
- Sprouting a New Beginning with Innovative Health Technologies
Ever since the coronavirus came to light, there seems to be no other topic to talk about. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the economy to deteriorate at a faster rate globally, but amidst all this chaos, there is hope.
The Health-related companies chosen from nocamels website actively contribute to the growth of a healthy society, worldwide.
Israel, known for its innovation, focusses on new techniques and findings to overcome the shortcomings of the global health ecosystem.
- IceCure Medical’s core technology revolves around freezing cancer cells. This is done by streaming liquid nitrogen in a closed circuit and then freezing the cancerous cells with the help of a special needle developed by the company. Healthy tissues remain untouched.
- Sight Diagnostics developed a device, OLO analyser, that produces blood test results within minutes and all that is needed is a finger prick. The company’s first product viz Parasight was used in Africa and India to detect Malaria.
- Ibex Medical Analysis is an AI-powered cancer diagnostics company that assists pathologists in detecting cancerous cells in biopsies. Ibex’s Galen platform has so far helped in detecting breast and prostate cancer.
- Zebra Medical Vision is an AI-powered medical imaging company recently received an FDA clearance for its HealthMammo. The HealthMammo solution is an automatic tool that detects suspicious mammograms and enables faster care.
- RealView Imaging is a medical company that developed the world’s first medical holographic system called HOLOSCOPE-i that provides realistic, spatially accurate 3D-in-air hologram. The company is working on its next project, HOLOSCOPE-x which will “project 3D holographic images inside the patient’s body, making the patient literally transparent.”
- MeMed is a startup that deals with measuring host-immune response proteins from a small sample of blood and applies machine learning to accurately distinguish between bacterial and viral infections.
- CorNeat Vision is an ophthalmic medical device company that recently announced its newest solution, CorNeat KPro, a synthetic cornea that bio-integrates with the eye wall.
- Tytocare’s handheld medical testing devices help examine the patient’s throat, heart, ears, lungs and abdomen while also measuring the body temperature. This comes in handy for the whole pandemic situation.
- NovaSight’s integrated AI-based eye-tracking solution helps to treat lazy eye among children.
- Theranica developed a migraine-zapping wearable device called Nerivio. This device is worn on the upper arm, it provides migraine treatment by altering nerve activity through targeted delivery of a stimulus.
Israeli startup companies are famous for their innovative technologies that adapt to new purposes and are renowned for their Innovation. In the face of difficulties, sustainability and innovation strive. The main activities of the economic representatives are to facilitate foreign investments and creating strategic cooperation with foreign companies.
- Meet the Promising Logistics and E-Commerce companies
Israel is home to over 200 growth stage companies. In a world thrown into chaos by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the start-ups featured in this list are doing their best to keep the world economy on the rails, offering innovation to match the magnitude of the crisis. The logistics and e-commerce companies we selected by CTECH.
Most start-ups have witnessed a decline in supply and or demand, except for those start-ups that are engaged in the supply and, or delivery of ‘essential services’. Notwithstanding the above, glitches in the supply chain network have either way presented challenges for all start-ups. However, the Israeli start-up ecosystem has been continuously striving to adapt to the present situation as flexibly as possible, by focussing on the need to innovate and diversify their business techniques and its operations. The Covid-19 pandemic can destroy a company or give it a once in a lifetime window of opportunity
Fabric develops robotic and artificial intelligence solutions that enable retailers to offer sustainable reliable and rapid delivery services to online customers.
Capitolis develops an online marketplace where banks and financial institutions can manage their capital and establish collaborations to maximize their economic performance. Capitolis signed on three of the world’s largest banks as clients.
Forter was on the verge of its big breakthrough when coronavirus hit in early 2020. Forter, which develops automated fraud detection tools for e-commerce websites, experienced a massive leap in business volume in 2019.
Glassbox develops a service that collects data and provides companies with analytics and insights. Its system is designed to optimize web and mobile customer experiences, identify information technology (IT) performance issues, and direct real-time customer support.
Gong.io created a system to enable sales teams to get the unfiltered truth about their customer interaction. Its technology provides sales representatives with real-time insights by analysing recorded phone calls to track keywords and topics within a conversation.
Moovit with 775 million people using its public transit navigation app, available in 45 languages, 3,100 cities, and 102 countries. Moovit’s business model includes providing municipal authorities with user-gathered data to help improve their city’s public transportation system.
Namogoo– One of the most miserable current blac- hat trends are customer journey hijacking, where malicious players replace ads on legitimate websites with their own. Israel-based Namogoo Technologies Ltd. seeks to protect its clients from losing business in this way.
Riskified develops products for online retailers that utilize machine learning algorithms and user behaviour analytics to prevent account takeover, monitor payments, and detect fraudulent transactions.
Syte develops image recognition software capable of providing shopping suggestions based on images uploaded by users. This allows shoppers to input an image of certain styles, fashion items, or furniture design they like and receive suggestions for similar-looking products.
Papaya Global’s technological solution replaces companies’ traditional payroll assignments with a single, easy to use platform. It allows multinational companies to oversee their wage management while taking into account various regulations depending on the worker’s geographic location.
Rapyd develops infrastructure for payment services and offers a payment service that enables the transfer of electronic funds across borders through bank transfers, digital wallets, cash, and other means of payment.
Tipalti offers its cloud-based payment automation service to medium sized companies that need to focus on growth and require an easy to operate solution for managing suppliers.
Disruption caused to global supply chains by the Covid-19 pandemic could enable ambitious Israeli start-ups to seize new opportunities to grow, according to a leading industry expert. In the current era of E-Commerce and rapid delivery, supply chain logistics have become a critical element in business operations, capable of determining whether major corporations thrive or fail.
- Don’t stand so close: Singapore trials automated drones to check
TEL AVIV/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Beware, Singaporeans standing too close, automated drones might be keeping an eye on you from above.
Singapore’s police have been trialling two pilotless drones developed by Israel’s Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.
The small machines weigh 10 kg (22 pounds) and are programmed to track anomalies such as gatherings and stream footage to the police.
The three-and-a-half-month trial, over an industrial estate in the west of the city, is the first time automated commercial drones have been approved to fly over a major metropolis, according to Airobotics.
“Specifically for COVID, what we are doing is helping them maintain normal operations,” CEO Ran Krauss told Reuters. “The pandemic created a situation where it might be difficult for police to maintain operations.”
Singapore government’s Home Team Science & Technology Agency (HTX) said it had trialled the drones with police.
They can pinpoint locations and zoom into areas that might not be visible to police officers on foot or in vehicles, Senior Engineer Low Hsien Meng from HTX’s Robotics, Automation & Unmanned Systems Centre, said.
Airobotics, which has raised $120 million in funding, said it had invested some $100 million to develop the drones. It was leasing them to HTX and also for business and industrial use in Israel and the United States, it said.
Airobotics and HTX have begun the next, year-long stage of the project to explore further capabilities, including using the drones to deliver defibrillators where needed, the company said.
Airobotics said the social distancing aspect of the trial was still ongoing. HTX did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Don’t stand so close: Singapore trials automated drones to check – Reuters
The tiny island nation, known for its strict laws and widespread surveillance, initially won global praise for containing virus spread before mass outbreaks in cramped migrant worker dormitories saw its caseload climb sharply.
Krauss said Airobotics is in talks with other cities to deploy the drones.
As seen on Reuters, click here
- The Start-up Behind Diagnostic Accelerator Machine comes to Australia
An Israeli medical technology company trying to do what controversial defunct Silicon Valley start-up Theranos tried and failed to achieve is expanding to Australia with a $99 million capital raise ($US71 million).
Sight Diagnostics is applying artificial intelligence and machine vision technology to blood tests and has already received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and US Food and Drug Administration for its Complete Blood Count (CBC, or full blood count) analyser OLO.
OLO provides lab-grade results with two drops of blood from a person’s finger in less than 10 minutes.
Founder and chief executive Yossi Pollak started the business in 2010, after previously working as an AI algorithm developer for self-driving car systems maker Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel for $US15.3 billion in 2017, and also working for Toyota and General Motors.
Mr Pollak told The Australian Financial Review that while working at Mobileye he realised there would be applications for computer vision technology in healthcare.
Unlike Theranos – whose Edison machine was supposed to be able to run numerous blood tests off a single drop of blood – he started small and concentrated his efforts on creating a detection product for malaria and then the CBC test.
“We bought a very accurate device to the market that was very scientific, very focused, had the right team [behind it] and we worked from an early stage with the FDA and ran clinical studies at the Harvard Medical School’s Boston Children’s Hospital,” he said.
“Now we also provide CBC … we take images of the blood sample and six gigabytes of information from each patient. We will be able to use these images to do a lot more than just CBC and we’ve started looking into additional applications like some types of cancer detection.
“We’re also collecting samples from COVID-19 patients to see if we can help understand blood factors that impact the severity of the disease and looking into the early detection of sepsis and other exciting features we believe with our extensive base of analytics we’ll be able to bring to market.”
The business has secured a distribution agreement for its CBC analyser with local company Diagnostx.
CBC tests are the most common type of blood test and provide information about a patient’s immune system. They can help distinguish between bacterial and viral infections, measure if someone is able to undergo chemotherapy and help detect iron-deficiency anaemia. More than 4 billion tests are conducted globally each year, according to Sight.
“Everyone gets blood tests and doing it from veins is a lot more annoying than a finger prick,” Mr Pollak said.
Sight’s latest capital raise was supported by Koch Disruptive Technologies, Longliv Ventures and global crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. OurCrowd has participated in all four rounds, with 25 per cent of its investments in Sight coming from Australian investors on its platform.
Sight’s technology was trialled by a Sydney-based hospital earlier this year, which the company would not name. It is also in use by the Sheba Medical Centre at Tel Hashomer in Israel, the Oxford University Hospital Trust in Britain and the Boston Children’s Hospital.
- Industry 4.0 – Required more than ever post Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is only the latest in a series of challenges that manufacturing has faced. The current crisis will only hasten our journey towards Industry 4.0 – focused on productivity, cost reduction, faster time to market, competitive advantage, sustainability and innovation.
Israel is fast becoming an international hub of Industry 4.0 innovation, with its entrepreneurial culture and innovative ecosystem. Israeli startups are renowned for their ability to adapt to new sectors and tweak their technology for new purposes. The key technologies needed in the Industry 4.0 revolution are sensors, signal processing, data analytics, a combination of hardware and software and these are areas in which Israeli startups excel.
Razor Labs is a leader in the AI industry and is utilizing deep reinforcement learning for business processes optimization while maximizing revenue. The company’s DataMind is an optimization platform that virtualizes manufacturing processes. VisualMind is a video analytics platform, in which several AI applications are combined into one solution. Future Learning, a hands-on educational program is intended to allow outstanding academics and talented developers to enter the field of deep-learning solutions.
CASTOR has developed a decision Support Software for unlocking the benefits of industrial 3D printing. It enables design engineers, NPI managers, and production engineers to decide whether to prefer 3D printing over traditional manufacturing methods, by providing technical analysis and cost-saving advice for a full machine design.
Inspekto Autonomous Machine Vision systems are designed to put the Machine Vision market on a one-way course to replace existing integrator-centric solutions with out-of-the-box QA systems, put in the hands of the industrial plant QA manager. The systems are driven by integrator-less technology for visual quality inspection, gating and sorting. The technology eliminates the costly integration and customized developments that have characterized traditional machine vision technology.
Mobideo Platform is an integrated suite of applications for the safe, compliant and efficient management of the industrial workforce. Connecting workers to increase productivity, accountability and traceability and connecting managers to improve visibility and enhance real-time decision-making, the Mobideo Platform promotes better individual performance and empowers collaborative teamwork. This results in improved financial outcomes, optimized resource allocation, continuous process improvement and increased effectiveness, safety and productivity.
PrintSyst.ai automates workflows and turns 3D service bureaus and manufacturing engineers into instant 3D printing experts. Perfector does the work and allows any operator to learn without making costly mistakes. The AI-based Perfecter™ identifies the intended use of 3D parts and recommends printing parameters to ensure that additive manufacturing works — always.
To help source relevant technologies from Israel, the Israeli Foreign Trade Administration operates a network of economic representatives who constitute the operational arm of the Ministry in markets around the world. The main activities of the economic and trade offices include activities for the promotion of trade and export, initiating and maintaining trade agreements for the improvement of Israel’s trade conditions, attracting and encouraging foreign investments and creating strategic cooperation with foreign companies.
- Israeli children’s supplement business headed for the ASX
An Israeli children’s supplement company is planning to list on the ASX in the next quarter, seeing the exchange as a gateway to the lucrative Chinese market.
Nutritional Growth Solutions, which was founded by Israeli paediatric endocrinologist Moshe Phillip and paediatric gastroenterologist Raanan Shamir, is commercialising a range of children’s milk formulas designed to ensure children receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals for their growth.
Nutritional Growth Solutions CEO Liron Fendell is exploring an ASX listing for the children’s supplement company.
Its first product, Healthy Height, is a protein powder designed for children who are growing slower than their peers. It is already generating more than $1.2 million in revenue each year, predominantly from sales in the US.
The product has been clinically tested with results published in The Journal of Pediatrics. The study of 200 children aged three to nine showed that after six months, those who were given the Healthy Height formula grew between seven centimetres and 7.5cm a year, whereas those in the placebo group only grew 6cm.
The company has appointed Adelaide-based firm Baker Young to lead the likely listing, and the business is expected to have a market capitalisation of about $18 million once listed.
NGS chief executive Liron Fendell, a former corporate lawyer for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, was first introduced to the business when she took her then three-year-old son to the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Israel, where Professor Phillip and Professor Shamir were based.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Ms Fendell said her son had been a picky eater and was struggling to gain weight or grow, but this changed when he started taking the Healthy Height formula.
“I met the team at Schneider’s and they’d studied this interaction between nutrition and growth and discovered that so many families around the world were struggling with it,” she said.
“At Schneider’s alone, 20,000 patient visits every year are from families with growth issues. There’s a growth hormone treatment available for those with a deficiency in it, or who are extremely short, but for the vast majority they’re just told to eat better and ensure their children are getting the right nutrients.
“When I started [as business development director] one of the co-founders was the CEO, but when we moved from R&D into sales and commercialisation, I became CEO.”
The company’s early development has been funded by a multimillion-dollar deal with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which sold the company’s formula under its Horlicks brand in India, prior to selling its consumer healthcare nutrition products to Unilever in April.
In addition to an ASX listing, Ms Fendell said the company was considering other capital raising avenues, but a local listing was the leading option.
The company began selling its products into the US in 2018 as a direct-to-consumer offering and via Amazon. Now its sights are set on China, where it has established distribution partnerships, as well as selling online.
“When we started in the US we were already getting nice traction from China and we had many companies coming to us wanting to partner, but we weren’t ready at the time,” Ms Fendell said.
“When we realised that a lot of our growth would be from Asia and were looking at how to fund it, we initially wanted to list on an Asian stock exchange, but we decided we should do it in a place that’s easier for us to do business, and Australia has a stable financial sector and the language barrier is much less.”
The business is also planning to start selling its products in Australia in the next few months.
As well as NGS’ Healthy Height formula, the company has developed a formula for kids aged 10 and up and is working on one to support young athletes, but its clinical trial was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“My son is a soccer player and I’d see many of his friends who are eight or nine, and their parents would buy them protein shakes meant for adults that are not fit for young children,” Ms Fendell said.
“We’re developing a suite of products to help families during the child’s growing years.”
As seen on: https://www.afr.com/companies/healthcare-and-fitness/israeli-children-s-supplement-business-headed-for-the-asx-20200731-p55heg
- Cloud Adoption Accelerates in Post Covid-19
“Who led the digital transformation of your company: The CEO, CTO or Covid-19?”
There is a grain of truth in that joke, as we seek for some humor given perhaps, during the worst global crisis we are facing in the recent history.
Cloud adoption is firmly branded as the “new norm” for companies during Covid-19, as we find new ways to conduct businesses. Being one of the biggest technology trends of recent times, Covid-19 has emphasized the significance of cloud computing even further. Across industries, cloud remains to be one of the booming segments of IT spend.
Post-Covid19, we see a trend of more companies migrating 100% of their applications to cloud, when previously, it has been that companies were migrating parts of their IT systems to the cloud one at a time.
Being termed as “Start-up Nation”, Israel is a country with the birth of many innovative software technologies. Needless to say, Israeli companies are some of the first few to venture into this cloud revolution. And with the ever-changing demand landscape, we see the adaptability of these companies as they improve and evolve.
Gigaspaces is the first solution – GigaSpaces provides the fastest in-memory computing platforms for real-time insight to action and extreme transactional processing. Companies can operationalize machine learning and transactional processing to gain real-time insights on their fast and historical data, and act upon them in the moment. The always-on platforms for mission-critical applications across cloud, on-premise or hybrid, are leveraged by hundreds of organizations worldwide across financial services, insurance, retail, transportation, telecom and healthcare.
Guardicore is the second solution – GuardiCore is a data center and cloud security company that protects organizations’ core assets using flexible and easy-to-deploy microsegmentation controls. It develops technologies for internal data center security and breach detection, offering enterprises real-time visibility, understanding, and response for illicit activity within their data centers.
Spot is the third solution – Spot is a SaaS optimization platform that aims to help businesses reduce costs while maintaining high availability and performance. Spot facilitates the balance between different infrastructure purchase options and offers a line of smart infrastructure products that bring the public cloud experience to any hardware or facility. Spot had been recently acquired by NetApp Inc (Nasdaq-listed hybrid cloud data services company) in June 2020.
COVID-19 has been a game changer. If nothing else, this pandemic has proven that cloud-based technologies work. And they work well. It is then up to us to let go of the past and embrace the new norm. (DALEY, 2020)
Together with the activity in Israel, the Foreign Trade Administration operates a network of economic representatives who constitute the operational arm of the Ministry in markets around the world. The main activities of the economic and trade offices include activities for the promotion of trade and export, initiating and maintaining trade agreements for the improvement of Israel’s trade conditions, attracting and encouraging foreign investments and creating strategic cooperation with foreign companies.
Sue Daley (2020). The impact of Covid-19 on cloud adoption https://www.techuk.org/insights/opinions/item/17994-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-cloud-adoption
- COVID-19 Pandemic Sparks 72% Increase in Ransomware Attacks
Skybox Security report finds attacks also targeted critical infrastructure, including research labs and healthcare companies
Ransomware attacks increased by some 72% over the first half of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by Skybox Security on Tuesday.The company, an Israeli founded cybersecurity firm headquartered in San Jose, California released a mid-year update to its “2020 Vulnerability and Threat Trends Report,” which analyzes the vulnerabilities, exploits and threats surrounding the coronavirus crisis.
The report found 20,000 new vulnerabilities expected in 2020, with over 9,000 already being reported in the first half of the year, marking a 22% increase over the same period in 2019. The studies also revealed that attacks on critical infrastructure, including healthcare companies and research labs, have increased. The report found a 14% increase in new OT flaws in the first half of 2020 alone, saying it is a “reminder of how exposed OT environments have become.”We observed 77 ransomware campaigns during the first few months of the pandemic – including several on mission-critical research labs and healthcare companies,” said Sivan Nir, Threat Intelligence Team Leader for Skybox Security. “The focus and the capability of attackers are clear: they have the means to impart serious financial and reputational harm on organizations. The need for focused remediation strategies that are informed by full network visibility and contextual, data-rich intelligence has never been more pressing.”The findings also indicated that there was a 50% increase in mobile vulnerabilities, which the report attributed wholly to Android deficiencies which increased by 110 per cent over the past year. The report stated this comes at a time when “a mass remote workforce blurs the line between personal and corporate devices.” The global COVID-19 pandemic has completely reshaped the way that organizations and their employees work,” said Ron Davidson, VP of R&D and CTO for Skybox Security. “With the majority of the workforce now working remotely, the network perimeter has significantly widened – securing this perimeter now needs to be a top strategic priority.”
“Organizations need to be able to identify the flaws that sit within both personal and professional devices. They also need to be able to model their expanded network so that they can understand all potential attack vectors. If they do not have these capabilities, then they will not be able to manage the mass of 20,000 new vulnerabilities, leaving them vulnerable to attack; something that they cannot afford at a time of global financial uncertainty,” he added.
JULY 22, 2020 Jerusalem Report
- The World of Medicine is Changing
Tell me what you’d say if you woke up one morning, weren’t feeling well, looked into your smartphone camera for under a minute and an app confirmed you were sick and instantly messaged your workplace notifying them of your health. Now tell me what you’d say if you called your doctor from this smartphone and they performed a remote-health check using your exam camera, tongue depressor and stethoscope.
As the world of medicine is changing, evolving, keeping up-to-date and beyond the tremendous achievements made in recent years in drug, as well as medical and technological equipment development, and with a variety of patient-centred and targeted therapies; a growing knowledge-base and technology industry is making use of advanced digital capabilities and developments. This digital health field combines new and existing innovative technological space that integrates high-tech with healthcare. Digital health provides an effective and innovative response to many diverse activities in the world of health and medicine, which are becoming central to hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that perform clinical trials, diagnostic developments, emergency medicine and specifically home care.
Digital medicine employs medical diagnostics and treatments using innovative means, measuring equipment, communication tools, data analyses, together with patient-monitoring metrics enabled by sensors and advanced (wearable) technological devices. It also now uses mobile applications for diagnostics, monitoring situations and collecting individual data for big-data systems. In addition, it is analyzing databases and providing medical insights for the discovery of therapies and support; tested through clinical trials.
Over the past few years, Israeli innovation has come a long way from cybersecurity and has been increasingly impacting the global medical technology market.
Binah.ai is the first solution – revolutionizing personal wellness and medical services delivery. They’ve created a vital sign monitoring solution for everyone, everywhere and their award-winning health and wellness monitoring solutions allow you to extract medical-grade vital signs measurements using only a device you already have, our smartphone camera. Heart rate, heart rate variability, mental stress, oxygen saturation, respiration; all quickly measured through upper-check facial monitoring. Amazing.
TytoCare is the second solution – when a patient is in need to get health answers quickly from a professional, 24/7 medical exams with a doctor, from the comfort of home, is now a reality. No more waiting hours for 13SICK to maybe arrive. Examining the ears, lungs, heart, throat, skin, abdomen, and temperature; remote physicians can make diagnoses and provide prescriptions within a minute.
Binah.ai and TytoCare’s solutions were expedited and adapted due to SARS-CoV-2; they stand out from the crowd as future game-changers. Telemedicine and Digital Healthcare was hardly even used a few years ago, now imagine the ramification it has, and will have, not only on the remote population but also the effect on doctors’ waiting rooms. Apps that confirm sickness, which was a thing of science fiction, is now a reality, and we will be using them very soon as more data opportunities grow, producing larger amount of traffic, that is possible through advanced network systems, allowing larger bandwidth with secured data traffic.
Our offices have always been about connecting Israeli technology solutions with local businesses, organisations, entities and governments. Now, we are helping with life-saving technology and are all the prouder. The World should not be left behind, where telemedicine is concerned, for if they don’t adopt the latest technologies (though they surely will) they would not be able to catch up. Israel is a technology-driven economy due to many factors and has reconfirmed this title during the current pandemic. It’s time for the World to wake up, look at their smartphones and ask more from them, act swiftly and smartly, further embrace the startup nation culture of innovation to make this World a globalized smartening-up nation.
- Aiming for a 10-Second Result, Breathalyzer Detector for COVID Begins Early Tests
Israeli startup Scentech Medical starts to check its breath analysis tech at Meir Medical Center, seeking to identify the genetic fingerprint of the virus to develop a near-instant diagnosis
An Israeli startup this week began tests with the goal of identifying the genetic fingerprint of the coronavirus and then determining if it can be detected by a simple and quick breath test, similar to breathalyzers used on suspected drunk drivers.
The firm, Scentech Medical, started the early stages of a trial for its so-called breath technology — a mix of software and hardware — together with the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.
“It’s a breath test that’s really going to change the world of diagnostics in general, and the world of COVID-19 in particular,” Scentech’s Dr Rom Eliaz told Channel 13 news.
Dr Abalil Fadi of Meir Medical Center emphasized the ease with which the test will be able to be carried out: “It is non-invasive. And not painful.”
The current test for coronavirus requires a nasal swab to collect mucus and saliva, which is then tested to confirm infection if present. If swabs are not collected properly, for example by insufficiently trained staff, this can significantly affect the number of false negatives.
Scentech Medical says that if successful, its test could yield results within 10 seconds and hopes that it could be available within weeks.
“As soon as we can check a patient in 10 seconds and verify if they are sick, all the borders can be opened,” Eliaz said. “It means the world can return to normal. And with that, the opening of everything else — stadiums, concert halls, restaurants. The whole world can open.”
The breath technology will help identify patients even before symptoms are present, thus helping to halt the spread of the virus, the company hopes.
In a second stage, the study will be enlarged to a wider sample — 100-200 ill and healthy soldiers in the Israeli army — to validate the results attained in Meir, and to test whether the technology is indeed able to identify patients who are ill with an accuracy rate of at least 85 per cent, Dr Udi Cantor, a general and urological surgeon who is the medical director of the startup team, said in April.
The Tel Aviv-based company was already developing the technology to try to identify cancer and infectious diseases via breath analysis — searching for their biomarkers in the thousands of different gases present in each exhalation, explained Cantor.
The firm was undertaking proof of concept studies in Israel and the US when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, he said. That was when the company decided to see if the same method could be used to sniff out the virus, whose “breath signature” or “biomarker” is still unknown, he said.
Although Cantor preferred to keep vague details of how the technology works, he explained that it is based on a mix of hardware and software that enables the real-time identification of volatile chemical compounds in breath.
The process uses gas chromatography, a lab technique to separate and analyze compounds in gases; mass spectrometry, a technique used to determine the elemental signatures of particles and molecules; and a ReCIVA breath collecting device.
These techniques can analyze the some-8,000 volatile organic compounds present within each breath, which play an active part in eliminating body waste, in a similar way to urine, sweat or stool, Cantor said.
“Anything that is broken down by our bodies — part of it is expressed in the breath,” he said.
Many of these gases have a known signature, he said, but there are still many of them that are unknown. The idea is to use an analytical elimination process to separate the known from the unknown compounds and then narrow the process down to find the elusive coronavirus biomarker.
As the coronavirus outbreak has spiked in Israel, testing has increased, reaching a record 28,136 tests carried out on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry is reportedly planning to tighten the criteria for carrying out coronavirus testing in a bid to ease pressure on an overwhelmed system.
Most carriers of COVID-19 have only mild symptoms or none at all, and some experts say that as asymptomatic people can infect others, massive testing is a critical element in getting a grip on the true spread of the virus — especially when lockdown measures are rolled back.
- Israeli startups among CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list
Always exciting to see billion-dollar #Israeli companies make it worldwide. This time it’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list.
These are #startups that not only dominate the market but are also likely to emerge from #COVID19 with tech platforms that are stronger than ever.
Year after year, these startup companies and unicorns present us with previously unimaginable solutions in #cybersecurity, #education, #healthIT, #logistics & #delivery, #fintech and #agriculture.
- It Is Easier To Do Business In Israel Today Thanks To The Interior Ministry Reform
The Doing Business report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level. Israel rose 19 places on the World Bank’s 2020 ranking, placing 35th after reaching 54th in 2018.
In this Blog, we have crunched all insights and will spotlight the latest reforms the government has taken in order to make the business process less bureaucratic and more simple.
Israel improved significantly in four key areas according to the report: starting a business, access to credit, paying taxes, and easing export requirements.
- Starting a business made easier by “allowing joint registration of corporate tax and value-added tax”
- Israel improved access to credit information by “reporting both positive and negative data on individual borrowers”
- Paying taxes made easier, due to increased digitalization and the improvement of services provided by the Israel Tax Authority: “implementing an electronic system for filing and paying value-added tax and social security contributions” and cost-effective by “reducing the corporate income tax rate”
- Israel made exporting easier by “eliminating the certificate of origin requirement, thereby decreasing the time and cost of export documentary compliance.
Part of the reason Israel successfully tackled burdensome regulation, is due to a number of governmental inter-office committees, dealing with regulatory relief, and dedicated to reform the ease of business environment in Israel. The purpose of these committees is to understand the pain points and difficulties and give solutions, remove barriers, and simplify processes.
Israel has captured several important dimensions of the regulatory environment, and made some major improvements to ease the overall processes. New business licencing was one of the main reforms that took place, and a committee was assigned, and dedicated to solve major pain points, and ease the overall process. Here are some of its highlights:
- Differential Licensing – All licensing items will be divided into 3 groups according to their level of complexity. Every group will have a dedicated procedure to a separate bureaucratic licensing process when the simplest businesses can receive a license and obtain a business license within 21 days from the submission date.
- Timetable – Authorities and approving bodies will be given a deadline to answer the granting of the license to the business owner. Not meet these deadlines, the default will be auto-license of the license.
- Transfer responsibility to the business owner – The businesses with the least complexity can get a license based on a personal affidavit that met the requirements for running the business. The rationale behind this transfer of responsibility is that a business owner will run his business to the best of his ability and without further intervention of the authorities.
- Supervision certainty – Along with the authorities deadline to respond to a business license application, business deficiencies investigations will also be limited.
- Transverse Relief – The validity of business licenses on many items will be significantly extended so that the business owner will not need to renew the entire relicensing process.
- The standard specification – The purpose of the Standard Specification is to specify the terms and documents required by government offices to approve for each type of licensed business.
Thanks to the new business regulations, doing business in Israel today is easier, and encourages other economies and foreign business sectors to partner towards a more efficient business climate. “This is an important achievement. It must be continued” said Israel’s Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, following the publication of the World Bank report: “The ministries’ work and efforts were welcome and were changing the face of the Israeli economy”.
- How Israeli Innovation Is Making Supply Chains Smarter and More Efficient
Supply chains make the world go ‘round, and they can also make or break a company’s fortunes. According to Deloitte research, 79 percent of companies with superior supply chain capabilities enjoy revenue growth significantly above their industry averages.
The imperative for intelligent supply chain management has fueled a surge in demand for technology designed to make supply chains more seamless and efficient. Allied Market Research projects that the global supply chain management market will soar from $15.85 billion in 2019 to $37.41 billion in 2027.
With its robust capabilities in relevant fields like SaaS, artificial intelligence, and data analytics, Israel’s high-tech ecosystem has produced no fewer than 157 active companies and startups in supply chain and logistics management, according to figures from Start-Up Nation Central.
Here’s a look at how a few of those companies are driving supply chain innovation:
- Freightos provides an online marketplace where businesses can compare air, ocean, and trucking quotes from a wide global network of freight providers, with on-demand tracking and live updates. Founded in 2012, the company has secured $94.4 million in funding from investors including Aleph VC, GE Ventures, OurCrowd, Singapore Exchange, and others.
- Bringoz’s end-to-end SaaS logistics platform provides real-time, automated delivery capabilities, including planning, scheduling, and route optimization.
- A leader in cold chain management (CCM), BT9 helps preserve food security with its Xsense® monitoring system, which provides real-time monitoring, data analytics, and alerts throughout the cold chain lifecycle.
As companies examine their supply chains and look for new efficiencies, many will turn to sophisticated technology solutions – and many of them can be found in the heart of the Startup Nation.
- SMEs Are Struggling Amid COVID-19, But Israeli Tech Can Help
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the globe are grappling not only with a once-in-a-century public health challenge but also with a sharp economic downturn – and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are uniquely vulnerable.
In Europe, McKinsey estimates that nearly 60 million jobs are at risk, two-thirds of those jobs are held by workers at SMEs. Meanwhile, in the United States, 30 million SMB jobs are vulnerable, accounting for some 54 per cent of American jobs at risk. Faced with supply chain disruptions, plunging revenue, and an uncertain future, 52 per cent of American small businesses could permanently close if the crisis is prolonged, according to a recent Society of Human Resources Management survey.
Compounding SMEs’ challenges, cybercriminals have exploited the crisis to step up attacks, with small businesses especially threatened. As SMEs confront a diverse range of issues stemming from the pandemic, Israeli tech companies offer a wide array of solutions to help businesses shore up their bottom lines and navigate this period of economic turbulence.
- Next Insurance provides tailored, affordable small business insurance coverage to U.S. small businesses through an online portal. Founded in 2016, the company delivers business, general liability, professional liability, commercial auto, and workers’ compensation coverage for more than 1,300 classes of business. The company has launched an SME assistance program called Built By Business and has joined the #OpenWeStand initiative and American Express’ Stand for Small campaign to aid entrepreneurs in these unprecedented times.
- Cybersecurity company odix provides comprehensive network protection against ransomware attacks. Prominent customers include Dun & Bradstreet Corp., General Electric, and the European Investment Bank (EIC), but the company’s enterprise-grade cybersecurity protection isn’t just for major multinational organizations. With €2 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, odix is expanding its cyber technology to cover European SMEs.
- Long before the pandemic, securing funding ranked as one of the biggest obstacles for SMEs. But loan marketplace Become, formerly Lending Express, connects businesses to a wide ecosystem of lenders and partners, enabling SMEs to access customized loan terms that suit their businesses’ unique needs. The company is also assisting SMEs in accessing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds under the U.S. CARES Act.
With its own dynamic entrepreneurial culture, Israel’s tech ecosystem is highly attuned to the issues confronting SMEs in the era of coronavirus and stands ready to help.
- Australia’s Rapid Recovery from Covid-19 Spells Business Opportunities for Israeli Tech
Head of the Israel Trade Commission to the land Down Under says lack of local innovation opens doors for Israeli entrepreneurs and investors
Such has been Australia’s success with containing the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that it has committed to removing most social distancing restrictions by July.
With fewer than 20 new coronavirus cases each day, a little over 600 active infections as of Friday, and a total of 101 deaths from the virus, Australia is even seeking an exemption from a requirement that travelers arriving in the U.K. quarantine for 14 days.
“Australia has led the world in the successful containment of Covid-19, which clearly means that travelers coming from Australia would pose a low risk to the rest of the world,” was how Trade Minister Simon Birmingham put it in a statement on Friday.
Australia’s entrance into the new normal makes it an especially intriguing trade destination for Israeli companies, either those searching for new markets during this time of crisis or those aiming to build on the business they are already doing Down Under.
“Australia is in the midst of its exit strategy, and unlike in other places, when there is a crisis or downturn they believe the way to move forward is through adaptability and innovation,” Shai Zarivatch, head of the Israel Trade Commission in Australia, the commercial and investment arm of the Israeli Embassy in Australia, told CTech last week. “The Australians are telling me that the faster they move and the faster they adopt new tech, the quicker they will get out of this situation.”
Zarivatch and his team, one of 44 economic missions operated globally by the Ministry of Economy and Industry, spent much of the start of 2020 preparing for the visit of Israel president Reuven Rivlin, who was also accompanied on his visit by a trade and business delegation.
“My year had two main pivots, the first was the President’s visit which kept us busy from the beginning of the year. Two weeks after that we were already in a state of lockdown,” said Zarivatch. “At the end of February everything was just fine and functioning regularly and our office had one of its peak events of recent years, with the historical state visit of President Reuven Rivlin. That was the last week of February and after that everything changed.”
Nevertheless, the government acted quickly, including from a financial standpoint. Australia announced a record $80 billion jobs-rescue plan in late March, pledging to subsidize workers’ wages. The package sees the government pay wage subsidies of around $980 (A$1,500) every two weeks per employee to help struggling businesses. It took the total fiscal and monetary stimulus during the pandemic to A$320 billion (around $209 billion), or 16.4% of gross domestic product.
“All in all this seems like a remarkable success,” Zarivatch said. “A lot of people lost their jobs and there is a lot of uncertainty, but generally it is working very well. With everything that is non-essential closing, a lot of people were immediately in trouble. The country introduced a massive emergency stimulus package that is supposed to help companies avoid shutting down, by offering massive financial support to companies not laying off employees and extended benefits to those who lost their jobs. The aim is that instead of companies laying off millions of people and the state giving them unemployment benefits, the government stepped in and started to provide funds so that the companies can continue to pay the employees.”
Zarivatch said there are more than 200 Israeli companies that have operations in the Australian market, mainly in the fields of cyber, agriculture, retail, mining, drones and fintech. “They are facing the same hardships and difficulties like any other company in the country, but if they are locally registered and based they are entitled to all the benefits and stimulus support granted by the federal government of Australia,” he explained.
Zarivatch said the number of requests for assistance received by the economic commission over recent months has increased considerably. “There is a wave of Israeli companies that created and developed solutions that could be relevant to the time of the pandemic which they would like to introduce to the Australian market,” he noted. “We are seeing a surge of interest in the Australian market. From the Australian side, there is a strong appreciation of Israel and Israeli companies and a very strong appreciation of technology and innovation. That culture isn’t as developed as it is in Israel and other countries so there are always opportunities in the Australian market.”
Zarivatch explained that the Australian economy is largely characterized by big corporates, predominantly in the field of mining, the largest industry in the country. “The reason Australia is so wealthy and successful is because of the mining industry,” he said. “There is no mining industry in Israel but all the Australian corporations are very open to innovation. They don’t have their own innovation, so they don’t have solutions for issues like water, energy, cybersecurity and AI. It is all new to them but they are very open.”
The Australian market provides some unique challenges for Israeli businesses. “One needs to realize, and I say this many times when I speak to Israeli businesses, that in Australia you have to be present in the market. You cannot just send emails or hold Zoom calls. There are many challenges, but then again it is a promising and competitive market that is open and has appreciation to Israel and Israeli technologies.
“In a way, things move slowly and you have to create a level of trust with those you are doing business with. A lot of Israelis are sure that we have the best technology in the world and all they need to do is show their demo and the client will buy or invest. It doesn’t work that way. You have to invest time and energy and build trust.”
The mission had planned to bring a delegation from Citibank Australia to the FinTech Junction conference that was meant to take place in Israel in June. But with the conference canceled, they instead decided to put together their own online event. “The conference will be not just with Citibank officials, but also with their clients and members, including private equity funds and pension funds,” said Zarivatch. “It will include three Israel-focused panels and we are expecting between 50-100 Australian companies to tune in. This will be an invite-only event and won’t be open to the general public.”
Zarivatch said there are essentially two main pillars to the work of the commission, which aims to provide support from start to finish to Israeli businesses. “We provide individual support to every company that approaches us and we are working with them, guiding, navigating, opening doors and then following up,” he said. “We also create value for industries that are relevant to the Australian market, sectors in which Israel has a competitive advantage like agriculture technologies, cybersecurity, AI, water technologies, drones and fintech. These are all very relevant and very interesting to the Australian market.
“We essentially serve as a bridge. When I start to explain who we are and what we do I say we are a business development office and that we provide business development services in different shapes and forms to Israeli companies, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors who want to operate and be successful in the Australian market,” Zarivatch added. “We are here for you guys. We are happy to find information and identify potential partners, connect with them, introduce and open the door and work with you, hopefully until a deal is done.”
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- DIY With the Help of These Israeli Companies
For millions of people around the globe, sheltering in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic has entailed more than remote work, parenting challenges, and binge-watching Netflix. Confined to their homes, a growing number of people are finally getting around to tackling long-delayed projects around the house – or finding new ones as a way of passing time and sprucing up their all-in-one homes/offices/distance learning centres.
To save costs and adhere to social distancing, many are taking the DIY approach. In the United Kingdom alone, year-on-year growth of online DIY sales had spiked by an average of more than 35 per cent by late March. Globally, Technavio forecasts that DIY home improvement sales will soar by $143.3 billion from 2019 to 2023.
With its pioneering technology, ingenuity, and market insights, Israel has developed an array of products for DIY consumers – enabling customers across the globe to organize, improve, and beautify their homes.
- Innovations in IoT technology have transformed the smart home from a dream to a reality – and SwitchBee offers consumers a simple, efficient, and affordable solution for bringing this technology to their homes. The company’s patented technology can turn any home into a smart home within minutes, without requiring new wiring, hub setup, or programming. Instead, users can control any of SwitchBee’s smart home products directly from a smartphone app.
- An irrigation pioneer since its founding in 1906, Elgo allows consumers to cultivate their green thumbs with a wide range of irrigation products sold at DIY stores around the globe.
- With 15 million community members, Hometalk is the leading global hub for DIY home and garden projects, providing a place for people to share ideas and inspiration, watch video tutorials, and answer each other’s questions.
- Israeli Army’s Idea Lab Aims at a New Target: Saving Lives
The country has engaged defense contractors, doctors, engineers, scientists — and most of the senses — in its battle against the coronavirus.
The Israeli Defense Ministry’s research-and-development arm is best known for pioneering cutting-edge ways to kill people and blow things up, with stealth tanks and sniper drones among its more lethal recent projects.
But its latest mission is lifesaving. Since March, it has been spearheading a sprawling, high-speed effort to unleash some of the country’s most advanced technologies against an enemy of another kind: Covid-19.
The national undertaking is for the first time linking up major hospitals and research institutes with Israel’s vaunted high-tech sector and its military-industrial behemoths: Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the companies behind Israel’s arsenals of unmanned vehicles, missiles and souped-up fighter jets.
Red tape, institutional rivalries and cronyism can stand in the way of a unified, rapid response to a crisis. But Israel quickly set up a national task force and dozens of teams with hundreds of scientists, engineers, doctors, executives, government officials and military officers all working toward the same goals.
“In Israel, if there is a mission that has to be done, it’s like a war,” said Brig. Gen. Dani Gold, who is leading the charge. “Everybody drops what they’re doing, tunes into the mission and works on the mission with a lot of energy and creativity.”
General Gold, known as the father of the Iron Dome antimissile system, leads the Directorate of Defense Research and Development, Israel’s version of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa.
While Darpa gave the world the internet and GPS, its Israeli counterpart has not had a similar impact on civilian life. Its work on the coronavirus, officials say, could be a start.
Here are a few of its potentially game-changing projects.
As some countries begin to ease antivirus restrictions, officials are clamoring for ways to quickly test masses of people and identify those who are contagious.
Several Israeli start-ups are vying to develop fast diagnostic tests to smell, hear or see the telltale characteristics of coronavirus infections.
SOUND One company, Vocalis Health, which uses sensitive audio technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze voice and breathing, is trying to identify a vocal indicator for the coronavirus. Far-fetched as that may sound, the company has already linked vocal markers to the risk of mortality in patients with congestive heart failure and to pulmonary hypertension.
Working with Sheba Medical Center, Vocalis has been recording voice samples from Covid-19 patients in hopes of refining an app that could categorize patients’ infections as mild, moderate or severe based on how they sound. “It’s a whole new area that I think a few years from now will be very central in health care,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, the hospital’s chief medical officer and chief innovation officer.
SMELL NanoScent, a company whose technology uses arrays of sensors to detect and digitize odours, says that the proliferation of virus cells among the microorganisms that inhabit the noses of Covid-19 patients produces what is believed to be a distinct smell. And it is training its artificial intelligence to detect that smell.
“It’s not a definitive test,” said Oren Gavriely, NanoScent’s chief executive and co-founder. “But you’d come, you’d blow into a special bag that we’ve designed, you’d have a 30-second test, you’d expose it to the sensing device, and you’d get a result: Either you’re clear or you’re suspected to have something.”
Two other teams are developing breathalyzers using spectrum analyzers operating at super-high frequencies. TeraGroup’s has patients blow into a cigar-sized tube, said Oren Sadiv, the start-up’s chief executive. Mr. Sadiv said the device could handle 2,000 tests a day, each for the price of a cup of coffee. He said it would be intended not to make a positive diagnosis but to allow quick and cheap screenings at airports or marketplaces, flagging people who should get tested while letting others pass.
Prof. Gabby Sarusi of Ben-Gurion University, which is developing a similar device with Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, said the coronavirus’s size and electrical properties stick out when analyzed at high frequency and should be detectable as soon as several hours after someone is infected.
SIGHT Several of the most intriguing tools against the virus have been developed by AnyVision, a surveillance and facial recognition company that scans faces at military checkpoints. The company says its computer-vision and deep-learning technology can pick out someone on a watch list in a crowded stadium.
At Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center, scientists are using AnyVision on a microscopic level, training it to detect Covid-19 cells by looking for the ways the virus diverts healthy cells from their usual functions. Prof. Dov Hershkowitz said their method offered results in a few minutes, and potentially with a false-positive rate of five percent or less. People testing positive would still need to take the slower, existing test to confirm the diagnosis, he said, but “we aim to be able to clear most of the people.”
AnyVision’s Big Brother-style surveillance is also being used to contain the spread of the virus within hospitals. At Sheba, it has patched into a network of about 600 surveillance cameras in public areas, setting off alarms when someone enters a department without wearing a mask, Dr. Zimlichman said.
AnyVision is also letting infectious-disease nurses instantly determine who else needs to be quarantined when a hospital worker tests positive. Dr. Zimlichman said: “We can ask the system to show us anyone who was in contact with that person, specifying the distance and duration of contact — for example, closer than two meters for more than five minutes — and it gives us either a list of people or photos.”
A number of projects are aimed at minimizing direct contact between health workers and patients.
Temi had already identified a market for personal robotic assistants, costing about $2,000, that resemble an iPad on a parking-meter-high wheeled pedestal. Rafael and Elbit have now adapted them to operate in fleets, and to allow doctors to monitor patients or deliver them medicine without ever entering their rooms, said Yossi Wolf, who previously developed robots to help Israeli soldiers deal with Hamas tunnels or chemical weapons.
Separately, Israel Aerospace Industries has converted a radar and electrooptical sensor system, used to peer across Israel’s borders and detect enemies, into a device that can take patients’ vital signs without touching them, said Amira Sharon, a vice president at I.A.I.
Command and Control
At Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, in the south, I.A.I. has also adapted the cockpit controls it builds for fighter jets and helicopters to store and analyze information about Covid-19 patients on ventilators, Ms. Sharon said. “It gives the medical staff a comprehensive picture, while minimizing contact, and can generate early-warning signs to see where patients are going,” she said.
While Israel has fared relatively well against the virus so far, if a second wave overwhelms the health system, a command-and-control system being developed by the military is expected to link all the country’s hospitals, allowing officials to shift people and equipment where they are needed most, said Col. Talya Gazit, a reservist who was reactivated to lead the effort.
Beginning with Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, in the north, the project is linking systems containing patients’ clinical information, data on hospital staff and logistical and inventory systems with forecasting tools. “This will be the first time Israel can see the situation at once in all the hospitals in the country,” Colonel Gazit said.
David M. Halbfinger is the Jerusalem bureau chief, covering Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and the Middle East.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/world/middleeast/coronavirus-israel.html
- As the World Plans COVID-19 Exit Strategies, Israeli Tech Can HelpAfter two months of lockdowns to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, countries across the globe are beginning to implement phased exit strategies for safely reopening their economies. As governments and businesses look to ease restrictions while maintaining social distancing and protective measures like mask-wearing and diligent hygiene, Israeli technology companies offer a diverse array of solutions for safeguarding public health and equipping officials with the real-time intelligence they need to successfully manage exit strategies and rapidly respond to new cases:
- Used by more than 130 local governments across the United States, smart city management platform Zencity harnesses artificial intelligence and machine learning to derive actionable insights from citizen feedback data collected both online and offline. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company is helping local governments improve crisis communications, pinpoint gaps in response, and enhance preparedness. As localities reopen their economies, the platform can help governments monitor resident sentiment in specific areas, tailor communications according to residents’ needs and questions, and optimize resource allocation.
- Corsight’s sophisticated facial recognition technology – based on advanced neuroscience and biological research – works even for individuals wearing face masks, making it easier to identify and notify people who have been in proximity to confirmed COVID-19 patients. A subsidiary of leading AI company Cortica, Corsight can help bolster contact-tracing, which public health experts have identified as a critical element of any successful exit strategy.
- Key Antibody Discovered that Neutralises COVID-19
Israel claims to have completed the development phase of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the country’s Defence Ministry. A research lab in the Israeli city of Ness Ziona says they’ve identified a key antibody that attacks the virus and neutralises it. The Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) is now looking to secure a contract with an international manufacturer for the commercial development of the vaccine.
“I am proud of the Biological Institute staff, who have made a major breakthrough,” Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.” Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing achievement.”Mr Bennett said the “antibody attacks the virus in a monoclonal way,” which is seen as a more potent treatment, as it is derived from a single cell. The IIBR has been testing blood from patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19. Samples from those who have beaten the disease are seen as the best possible hope of discovering a cure.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the breakthrough is a big step forward.
“Like all countries, Israel is now trying to find the right balance between protecting the health of our citizens by preventing another spike in infections, and enabling the reopening of our economy, but, ultimately, to ensure both the public health and national prosperity, we must all work together on improving diagnostics, accelerating therapies and ultimately developing a vaccine,” he said.”I am confident that Israel’s leading research institutions, its world-renowned scientists and our unique culture of innovation can enable us to play an important role in advancing solutions on all three fronts.”We hope to work with other countries to leverage our unique capabilities to find solutions for the benefit of all.”
Israel has had more than 16,000 cases of COVID-19, and more than 200 deaths. The country’s health minister was diagnosed with coronavirus last month but has since recovered.
9News May 5, 2020
- How Israel Is Harnessing Technology to Control the COVID-19 Pandemic
Faced with the century’s most serious public health challenge yet, Israel moved swiftly to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, harnessing data-driven technologies and public health measures.
Israeli public health officials, researchers, and technology leaders elaborated on the country’s strategy in “Technological Control of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Israeli Test Case”, a recent webinar hosted by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Health, and the Israel Innovation Authority.
Attracting 500 participants from across the globe, the webinar offered an in-depth look at two tools that have been central to the country’s efforts against the virus: First, a business intelligence system that enables the Ministry of Health to monitor contagion links in the population and can be used to inform mitigation strategies in specific areas. The tool allows public health officials to monitor confirmed cases across a number of different parameters, including total generations of transmission, case origin, and more. Rapidly identifying chains of transmission has been critical to stemming the spread of the virus and to reaching the milestone of more recoveries than active cases, which the country achieved recently.
The other tool, HaMagen (“The Shield”), is an easy-to-use Ministry of Health app downloaded by more 1.5 million Israeli citizens and residents since it went live on March 22.
Utilizing location algorithms, a brief questionnaire, and user-provided data, the app informs users whether they may have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient – encouraging rapid isolation of potentially exposed individuals. Users can decide whether to share their past two weeks of GPS location history with the app, which does not transfer any data to the Ministry of Health. Reflecting officials’ commitment to reaching all sectors of Israeli society, the app is available in five languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, and Amharic. Operating on open source code, the app makes it possible for programmers across the globe to suggest and design new features, while the app’s control system gives the user sole discretion over their information.
Complementing Israel’s other efforts against the pandemic – including early border restrictions that began on January 31, upgrading laboratory testing capacity, early and decisive social distancing measures, early case identification, and isolation of close contacts – the tools employed by Israel’s public health officials tap into the country’s technological prowess and its deep commitment to social responsibility.
Through Healthcare Israel, a government-to-government innovation agency within the Ministry of Health, Israel is bringing its know-how in health and technology to countries around the world. The agency provides other governments with needs assessments, expert consulting, and integrative projects designed to boost system performance and capacity. As Israel makes progress against the first wave of COVID-19, the country stands ready to help the wider world meet this threat head-on.
- Meet the Israeli Companies Optimizing the Online Customer Experience
Understanding who your customers are, what they want, and how you can best serve them has always been essential to companies of all stripes. With billions worldwide now reliant on an Internet connection to work, socialize, and shop in the era of coronavirus, customer journeys are increasingly taking place online – accelerating a years-long trend in which eCommerce has come to account for a growing share of total global retail sales.
As businesses see spikes in online traffic, they’re becoming more and more reliant on online customer analytics to glean vital insights and deliver optimal digital journeys. That requires solutions that harness Big Data, artificial intelligence, and sophisticated software – all of which happen to be areas where Israeli innovation stands out.
Naturally, the Startup Nation’s tech ecosystem has given rise to some of the leading companies in the customer analytics market:
- Founded in Israel in 2011, AppsFlyer is now a global mobile attribution powerhouse, with more than 900 employees across 18 offices around the world. The company – which attained unicorn status with the close of a $210 million Series D funding round earlier this year – sells software that enables brands to track user journeys across platforms, channels, and devices. Among the company’s 12,000 customers are top global brands Walmart, Nike, HBO, Tencent, and NBC Universal. The company has also forged more than 6,000 technology partnerships, including Facebook, Google, Apple, Salesforce, and Adobe.
- Glassbox is yet another company founded in Israel which now boasts a global footprint. Founded as Clarisite in 2010, Glassbox enables companies to playback and analyze every online customer journey, equipping brands with the insights they need to optimize customers’ digital experience. In April 2020, Glassbox closed a $40 million Series C funding round, bringing its total funding to $70 million. The company has offices in Israel, London, and New York.
- Ensuring a friction-free customer journey is the founding mission of Namogoo, which works with leading brands like JCPenney, Asics, Office Depot, and the Dollar Shave Club to provide full control over the online experience and boost conversion rates. The company’s technology blocks malware-driven ad injections meant to divert customers to competitor sites, a phenomenon that impacts an estimated 15-25 per cent of user web sessions.
As more aspects of daily life shift online, Israeli technology is helping deliver customers the seamless digital experiences they crave, while opening new revenue opportunities for businesses – a true win-win.
- Start-up Nation High-Tech Versus the Coronavirus
Israel, as a global centre of research and development, is leading efforts to use technology to mitigate the coronavirus crisis on three fronts: developing a vaccine, improving testing for the virus, and innovating technological developments to improve patient care.
There have been seemingly daily updates about Israeli breakthroughs in this area. This article will try to provide a helpful overview of many of those breakthroughs and how quickly they are expected to be available for use.
Vaccines and other Treatments
Early reports that Israel was ready to export a coronavirus vaccine to the world were premature, but there are at least two important Israeli institutions working towards the development of a vaccine.
The first is Israel’s state-run Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), which has been tasked with the job of creating a vaccine by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fifty top scientists at the Institute are working on the vaccine, in three separate teams, alongside a global biotech company with complementary expertise. On March 31, sources told Reuters that the IIBR had begun testing a COVID-19 vaccine prototype on rodents.
Other researchers at IIBR are also involved in plasma collection from people who have recovered from infection with the novel coronavirus, hoping that this might assist in the research.
In addition, Migal Galilee Research Institute, located in Kiryat Shmona in Israel’s far-north, has spent four years working on a vaccine for a coronavirus disease in poultry that has many similarities to the current novel coronavirus which is causing the current pandemic among humans. The Institute announced in late February, that this vaccine would be adapted to deal with COVID-19.
David Zigdon, the CEO of Migal Galilee Research Institute, said his lab was working hard to accelerate the vaccine’s development.
“Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next 8-10 weeks and to achieve safety approval in 90 days. This will be an oral vaccine, making it particularly accessible to the general public,” Zigdon said in a press release.
Meanwhile, scientists at Israel’s Weitzmann Institute of Science, together with Diamond Light Source laboratory in Oxfordshire, are “pioneering a revolutionary method of scientific research that could see a candidate for an anti-coronavirus drug emerge ‘within weeks’” according to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle.
According to Dr Nir London, who heads the team at Weizmann, the technique involves using the “crowd-sourcing of global intelligence” to quickly generate an “unprecedented amount of preliminary data” and then using tests conducted on all proposed molecules in parallel, rather than linearly, enabling scientists to follow up on “500 to a 1,000 compounds” in the same period it would normally take to test a “few tens of compounds.”
Testing for coronavirus has been a highly fraught aspect of the current outbreak given the slow pace and labour intensiveness of traditional testing methods.
Israeli researchers have committed themselves to improving testing using technology.
There are reports that in the next six weeks, an Israeli company – working under the guidance of Israel’s Defence Ministry – will be ready to test a COVID-19 screening method that uses only a patient’s voice. Through artificial intelligence technology, the test would observe the patient’s breathing and speech patterns in order to detect the illness. It would be particularly useful because possible cases could be tested from home and could also help monitor the health of patients who have already been diagnosed.
Israel’s Ministry of Defence is also trying to teach dogs from the IDF canine unit to help identify coronavirus patients by smelling saliva samples – a technique that is also being explored in other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology collaborating with experts at Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa, have come up with a new method of processing test results that could vastly speed up the rate at which tests for the virus can be completed. The technique, known as“pooling”, involves protocols which make it possible for a lab to test samples from up to 64 people at the same time, rather than one at a time, as is the usual practice.
Israel has also recruited more than 600 doctoral students from across the country’s top universities and medical centres to help with testing.
“The level of collaboration between faculty, physicians, health professionals and medical and graduate students at the universities, hospitals, health maintenance organisations, Magen David Adom, and Ministry of Health, is unprecedented in Israel,” said Professor Karen Avraham, Vice Dean of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. “This will set the stage for years to come for how much we can accomplish when working together so selflessly.”
Defence industries pivot to the war against the coronavirus
Israel’s defence industries have shifted into addressing medical needs in the country. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Defense Ministry, in collaboration with medical company Inovytec and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), have completed a production line for Ventway Sparrow ventilators, established on the grounds of a classified IAI missile production site. Ventilators, ready for deployment to hospitals, have already begun rolling off the line.
Meanwhile, the IDF has tasked its famous Unit 81, the military intelligence technology unit, with working to find a way to easily convert simple and inexpensive breath regulating devices known as CPAP machines into ventilators suitable for use in intensive care units. The unit will also produce 1,000 face masks for healthcare providers a day, as well as outfit 50 vans with internal separators to protect drivers from infected patients, and produce information management software for laboratories testing for coronavirus.
Additionally, Unit 108 of the Israeli Air Force has teamed up with Microsoft Israel Research and Development, Ichilov Medical Center, Magen David Adom (MDA) and others to develop a simple respirator that could be mass-produced in labs at low cost. It is being developed as “open source” so that countries around the world could ramp up manufacturing locally, affordably and in a short period of time.
The IDF has also retooled assembly lines previously used to build seats for tanks in order to produce protective goggles for health care workers.
Harnessing the top minds at Israeli universities
All of Israel’s universities have initiated multiple research projects designed to quickly help address the coronavirus crisis:
- The Technion: Besides the previously mentioned testing breakthrough, Haifa’s renowned Technion has 20 different laboratories at the university working on COVID-19 related projects in the spheres of diagnostics, vaccine development, therapeutics and aids for medical teams. TheTechnion academics on the job include Avi Schroeder, who is developing a targeted drug for treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), based on existing drug delivery methods, while at the same time, developing a vaccine for coronavirus based on a vaccine he has previously developed for shrimps.
- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: The Beersheva-based BGU has launched a “Coronavirus Task Force”, according to the Jewish News Service (JNS), “In a meeting attended by 50 scientists from diverse departments within the university, ideas were presented and the task force broke into several groups working on the most promising projects and collaborations, including self-sterilizing facemasks, medical emergency drones, a coronavirus test that could take just five minutes using chip technology, and a telemedicine and remote triage system.”
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem: A March 31 report in theTimes of Israel interviews HU Professor Shy Arkin, who is using his lab to test chemicals to be used to attack the virus. “What we’re trying to do — and again, I would hope and anticipate that others are doing — is trying to repurpose drugs” and find drugs already on the market that may be effective in reducing the most dangerous effects of the virus, Arkin told David Horovitz.
- Tel Aviv University has opened a dedicated coronavirus research lab, which will also be able to perform 1,000 tests for coronavirus a day, adding to the country’s ability to slow the spread of the virus.
- Bar Ilan University is experimenting with autonomous, driverless buses which could be used to transport coronavirus patients without creating unnecessary risks, and remote-sensing technology which could assist in early detection of coronavirus.
The Israeli company Elbit Systems has developed an automated radar-based system to measure a patient’s heartbeat, respiration rate and body temperature from a distance, without any need for physical contact by a medical worker. It is currently undergoing medical trials at Rabin Medical Center.
Israeli company Kryon Systems has developed an automation system to help Israel’s health insurance companies quickly process the mountains of data coming in from the country’s growing number of coronavirus patients – as well as those who have tested negative. Kryon is now offering this automation technology to any other health insurance providers globally free of charge, in order to help in the current pandemic.
The Israeli Defence Ministry has also developed a new software called “coronameter” which analyses data gathered from the mobile phones of Israelis to help locate likely carriers of the coronavirus in order to test them. Its use is now awaiting cabinet approval.
Other Israeli researchers are working on projects as diverse as CT scanning technology that can test for coronavirus using artificial intelligence, portable blood-testing devices for coronavirus patients who do not require hospitalisation and a sensor that allows contactless monitoring of a patient’s condition.
Once again, Israel has proven itself to be at the cutting edge in helping solve this dangerous pandemic. Time is of the essence, but Israel appears to not be wasting any of it.
- Israeli Innovators Harness Artificial Intelligence Technologies To Curb The Global COVID-19 Pandemic
As the number of people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus is mounting and could reach 2 million in the coming days, Israeli innovators are harnessing artificial intelligence technologies to curb the global pandemic, perhaps the most challenging public health crisis in modern history.
What we know already is that scientists and researchers are working diligently to find treatments and to develop a vaccine for coronavirus. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence technologies are emerging as key solutions to combatting coronavirus, and Israel is well-positioned in this field.
Israel is well known for its strength in deep-tech and is also home to a vibrant AI ecosystem that has been growing rapidly over the past few years. Israel’s unique tech ecosystem includes companies and startups that utilize AI technologies in healthcare, cybersecurity, autonomous driving, and many other fields.
Some of these life-saving technologies are already helping the Israeli healthcare system slow the spread of the virus. Many are also being shared for use by countries around the globe, including those hardest hit by COVID-19.
One example is an AI-based triage platform that gives public health officials continuous monitoring of the patterns in which the virus spreads. Originally developed by Israeli company Diagnostic Roboticsand adapted to tackle the current pandemic, the platform also offers an analytics tool that produces risk assessment and predictive models, thereby allowing a faster and better targeted medical response.
Officials from the US, Italy and other countries turn to Israeli innovators for help
Founded in 2017 by Dr Kira Radinsky, Prof. Moshe Shoham and Yonatan Amir, Diagnostic Robotics has so far raised $24 million from investors. The startup recently joined the global fight against COVID-19 by giving countries access to their technology at cost. Governments in the US, Italy, Brazil, Austria, and the Netherlands have recently expressed interest in the system.
“We wish to contribute to any country’s efforts and help in any way we can during these challenging times,” said Dr Radinsky, a world-renowned expert in AI, whose work predicted the cholera outbreak in Cuba a few years ago. “We want to share our technology platform and the knowledge we’ve gained from the nationwide coronavirus monitoring system deployed in Israel.”
Artificial intelligence technologies minimize direct contact with medical teams
The Israeli Ministry of Health recently launched a nationwide scheme that does daily monitoring of coronavirus-related symptoms of the population by using Diagnostic Robotics’ digital risk assessment and monitoring platform for COVID-19. The platform, which analyzes the patient’s clinical symptoms and underlying health status, generates a personalized, AI-based risk profile for COVID-19, in addition to providing next-step guidance.
The information is delivered as “red flags” to health authorities, creating a “heat map” of corona hot spots, which in turn helps medical services identify which regions need intensive care.
The Diagnostic Robotics solution leverages data provided by the public remotely, helping individuals determine the right course of action while minimizing direct contact with medical teams – which also eases the burden on healthcare staff.
How does this work? Healthcare providers engage their clients with a simple symptoms questionnaire via a text message. This remote screening process, illustrated by a high-resolution epidemiologic heat map, enables health officials to gain a continuous, real-time, and large-scale assessment of the virus’ spreading rate. By referring to such a heat map, decision-makers can know immediately which geographic areas warrant immediate attention.
Helping hospitals and labs detect, diagnose and monitor
Diagnostic Robotics is not the only Israeli startup harnessing artificial intelligence to take on COVID-19. Diagnostics.ai is currently providing laboratories in the US and UK with its advanced diagnostic tool, which employs artificial intelligence for faster and more accurate test results. Diagnostics.ai’s technology streamlines the process of detecting, diagnosing, and tracking infectious diseases by automating the DNA analysis step.
This accelerates the diagnostic process, removes the need for specially trained technicians, and eliminates the error factor in interpreting results. The company’s built-in tracking capabilities allow hospitals, governments and patients to track coronavirus incidences by area with standardized, accurate test results.
Analyzing test results nowadays requires skilled technicians and a lot of precious time, as much as a few days. But in our current reality, healthcare systems need to analyze thousands of results instantly and to expose as few lab workers as possible to the virus. Enter diagnostics.ai’s artificial intelligence technology, which automatically analyzes the results within one hour, and immediately sends them to the hospital. This is achieved through the use of algorithms that ‘study’ how an expert clinical technician interprets test results and then apply this knowledge to automate future routine analyses, eliminating manual steps for patient testing.
Another Israeli company with an AI solution for COVID-19 is CLEW Medical. Its AI-powered, machine-learning models enable intensive care unit (ICU) workers to proactively manage disease severity and workload. The company has developed a ‘predictive analytics engine’ that detects respiratory deterioration in real-time and delivers preemptive warnings throughout the patient’s ICU stay. The CLEW Medical solution is already implemented in coronavirus units in Israeli hospitals and is currently being tested by several hospitals in the US. Founded in late 2014 by Gal Salomon and Avigdor Faians, CLEW has so far raised $20.5 million from investors.
Another one to watch is Israeli startupVocalis Health, which collects voice samples of coronavirus patients and healthy individuals so that its AI technology can help triage, screen and monitor patients remotely. Through vocal biomarkers, Vocalis can correlate the voice with the symptoms of COVID-19 and alert patients and healthcare systems by a simple smartphone message.
These are just a few examples out of approximately 150 Israeli startups working to combat the coronavirus outbreak (for more information, visit CoronaTech Israel). Once decision-makers understand the core advantage that AI technologies bring to the coronavirus challenge, it’s clear that their deployment can bring critical breakthroughs to medical systems worldwide.
From forbes.com 13.4.20Wendy Singer:
- Israel converting military radar into COVID-19 detectors
Military radar systems designed to defend Israel against terrorist attacks are being modified to detect coronavirus in human bodies.
Two major defence contractors – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems – are working with the defence department to refit sensitive sensors to screen patients for COVID 19, Jewish News Syndicate reports.
Israeli defence ministry officials announced the prototype technology can measure vital signs of patients, including pulse, respiratory rate and temperature, and detect patterns that indicate a likely COVID-19 infection.
The equipment could be deployed to public spaces such as the entrances to shopping malls to give medics an indication of people who may be exhibiting signs of the virus.
The technology when fully developed would enable doctors and nurses to carry out the screening from two metres away – or even from another room by tracking it on a screen.
Currently, medical teams have to examine patients directly through close contact and at longer intervals, putting them at risk of infection.
Yossi Cohen, vice-president at Elbit Systems’ C4i and Cyber Division, says until the coronavirus pandemic the advanced radar was purely for military use.
“Until now, the civilian world didn’t have this need,” he said.
“This development came as a result of a capability that we want to give doctors at the entrance to emergency rooms to distinguish [between] patients that have a respiratory and have a chance of [contracting] coronavirus from patients suffering from other patients.”
© Supplied Israeli defence companies are converting military radar to detect signs of COVID 10. (Elbit Systems). The virus-detecting technology from IAI is also based on the radar – originally designed to protect perimeters and detect people walking or crawling, or vehicles moving.
Israel Lupa, executive vice president at IAI, said the radar emits a low frequency, making it safe to use around people.
“The system can already detect minor movements. We adapted this to tracking body movements caused by the breath and pulse.
The technology includes a thermal camera for detecting fever and can alert doctors of possible COVID-19 infection in a patient.
- Israeli Police Use Drones to Check-In on Virus Patients
JERUSALEM — The drone glides up toward a high-rise until it reaches an apartment window where a woman waves from inside, proving to police that she is self-isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Israeli police are deploying drones as part of efforts to stem the outbreak, allowing officers to keep a safe distance from infected people. Israel has also approved the use of phone-spying technology that was previously used against Palestinian militants.
Israel and other countries have rapidly come to see such methods as crucial tools to prevent the spread of the virus, which has infected nearly 2 million people worldwide, killed more than 120,000 and prompted economically devastating lockdowns.
But the increasing use of such technology against civilians has raised privacy concerns and difficult questions about how far authorities can or should go to curb the pandemic.
The drone used outside the apartment complex in the Tel Aviv area was deployed by police checking in on patients who have been ordered to self-isolate.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says police are using drones across the country to “find and confirm that people with the coronavirus are in isolation” in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.
“Units on the ground are using drones in high-story buildings and making visual confirmation,” he said.
The virus causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in older people or those with underlying health problems.
Israel has reported more than 11,800 cases and at least 117 deaths. Like many other countries, it has closed down schools and businesses and imposed strict stay-at-home orders. Those who test positive for the new coronavirus are required to isolate themselves, and anyone flouting regulations face fines or even arrest.
Police have used drones to enforce lockdowns in other countries, including Italy, France, Spain and China. They have been used to enforce social distancing in New York City and New Jersey. India has also used drones to monitor its lockdown.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, police have used drones to order people to stay inside. In Dubai, which is part of the UAE, they have been used to spray disinfectant on streets.
In Saudi Arabia, drones have reportedly been used in some public places to check people’s temperatures.
Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, an expert on technology and privacy laws at the Israel Democracy Institute, says it would be a violation of constitutional rights if the police used drones to look into private homes. Israeli security forces are also barred from using facial recognition technology, except to surveil Palestinians in the occupied territories.
She’s alarmed by the speed at which authorities and technology companies have embraced new surveillance tactics in response to the pandemic. She says her “biggest fear” is that such technologies are here to stay.
“First of all, they are here to stay because the corona is here to stay,” at least for another year, though it may come and go, she said. “After the corona is gone, we’re going to get used to the fact we’re using those technologies.”
First seen on nytimes.com – 14.4.20By The Associated Press
- Deep Analysis Of Global Pandemic Data Reveals Important Insights
A massive amount of data about the pandemic is generated every day. Although organizations such as WHO, CDC, Johns Hopkins University, and Worldometers are disseminating important statistics daily, the data is not analyzed in an efficient way to provide insights. The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex system involving biology, human behaviour, companies, and governments, and it’s influenced by healthcare, economics, governance, and geopolitics. Sophisticated analytical methods could help improve economic, societal, and geopolitical stability. Deep Knowledge Group has developed advanced analytical frameworks to analyze this data. The results are presented in the form of open-source country rankings to help people and governments make informed decisions that maximize beneficial outcomes for humanity.
When the seriousness of the pandemic became clear, Deep Knowledge Group adapted its existing analytical frameworks, previously applied to complex domains such as AI for Drug Discovery and NeuroTech, to the global COVID-19 pandemic landscape. A team of experts collected and analyzed data generated for 200 countries around the world. The results, based on deep analysis of 60 countries, was released today. To communicate the insights in a practical way, the analysts developed a ranking system. The rankings can be used as a tool for businesses and governments to aid in effective decision making and could assist response efforts in order to maximize health, stabilize economies, and help communities reopen for business. The analytical methodology will be adjusted over the next few months for advanced and qualitative assessment and AI may be used to analyze this data in the most efficient way.
COVID-19 Complexity Demands Sophisticated Analytics
The COVID-19 analytical frameworks have been designed to rapidly assess the changing situation in countries as they strive to mitigate the health and economic consequences of the virus. Big Data Analysis is applied to quantified and relevant parameters. By comparing them in tangible ways, they are able to serve as practical tools for decision-makers. The analytics are fact-based and unbiased and can be accessed free of charge. Proprietary metrics and analytical techniques may be disclosed to relevant organizations and responsible governmental bodies.
The analysis revealed that some countries proved very effective at combating COVID-19 early on. These countries focused on early prevention by deploying quarantine measures before the number of confirmed cases surpassed 50,000, and using efficient methods for treating hospitalized patients. For example, China and Germany rapidly mobilizing emergency efforts early on to contain the virus and increase hospital capacity. They utilized technologies including AI, robotics, and big data analysis, in combination with medical treatment and healthcare management techniques structured in a sophisticated way.
Deep Knowledge Group’s recent COVID-19 Countries Health Safety Ranking has attracted significant public interest. The ranking was acknowledged by Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and personally by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Each country was ranked with a numerical score constructed using a well-defined methodology. Each ranking is given a specific weighting, or importance factor, that is used as inputs in proprietary analytical equations. These mathematical ranking frameworks were developed over the past five years for use in highly complex and multidimensional industries and domains including the AI for the drug discovery sector. The frameworks have been designed to rapidly and adaptively evaluate the situation in countries as they work to mitigate the health and economic consequences of the virus. In addition to updating the country rankings weekly, Deep Knowledge Group plans to periodically release new frameworks that rank countries in additional areas such as economic vulnerability, geopolitical risk, and possible asymmetric benefits that may result from the crisis.
The COVID-19 Safety Ranking Framework conducts benchmarking to determine levels of health and safety for each country during the pandemic. Data for over 200 countries was analyzed and sixty countries were ultimately included in the rankings. The countries were evaluated using 24 specific parameters in 4 distinct categories: Quarantine Efficiency, Government Management Efficiency, Monitoring and Detection, and Emergency Treatment Readiness. The Safety and Risk Rankings take into account protection from COVID infection, mortality and negative patient outcomes, metrics on quarantining and infection monitoring, detection, and management, and safety and stability in the broadest sense, including protection from extreme negative outcomes as a result of the pandemic beyond health. Countries that are unable to neutralize this pandemic could trigger a chain of events leading to negative outcomes for entire nations, as well as their geographic and economic neighbours. We saw such a scenario unfold with ISIS in Syria which led to a flood of refugees into Europe. Therefore, in formulating the Safety and Risk Rankings, parameters relating to countries’ stability and protection from negative economic and geopolitical consequences were considered.
The framework features 24 parameters grouped into 4 major categories:
- Quarantine Efficiency
- Government Management Efficiency
- Monitoring and Detection
- Emergency Treatment Readiness
The COVID-19 Risk Ranking Framework conducts benchmarking of countries according to their levels of risk according to a variety of medical and non-medical factors, including risk of infection, hospitalization, death and lasting health conditions, as well as the country’s risk of negative economic, quality-of-life and geopolitical issues resulting from the pandemic. The framework is used to provide information on which countries where citizens will have the greatest likelihood of positive outcomes during the global COVID-19 pandemic, across the full scope of factors impacting general safety, wellness and quality of life. It utilizes 24 specific parameters grouped into 4 distinct categories: Infection Spread Risk, Government Management, Healthcare Efficiency and Regional Specific Risks.
The framework features 24 parameters grouped into 4 major categories:
- Infection Spread Risk
- Government Management
- Healthcare Efficiency
- Regional Specific Risks
Treatment Efficiency Ranking
The COVID-19 Treatment Efficiency Ranking Framework conducts benchmarking of countries according to how well they are monitoring infection spread, enabling citizens with the tools and information needed to manage non-critical cases at home without overburdening the healthcare infrastructure, how well they are treating critical cases and how well they are rapidly developing improved tests, vaccines and more effective COVID-19 treatments. Disease Monitoring, Disease Management, Emergency Treatment and Novel Approaches to Treatment R&D.
The framework features 24 parameters grouped into 4 major categories:
- Disease Monitoring
- Disease Management
- Emergency Treatment
- Novel Approaches to Treatment R&D
Eurozone Safety / Risk Ranking
The COVID-19 Eurozone Safety / Risk Ranking Framework was designed specifically for the unique circumstances present in Europe. Special attention was applied to the unique characteristics of Europe including highly interconnected economies, high levels of supply-chain, tourist flow, and the incidence of critical hotspots.
Asia Safety / Risk Ranking
The COVID-19 APAC Safety / Risk Ranking Framework applies a modified version of its global COVID-19 Countries Safety and Risk Ranking Frameworks tuned to the specifics of the APAC. Given that the pandemic originated in APAC, and that it is several weeks ahead of other countries in the overall timeline of the COVID-19, special attention should be given to the unique characteristics of the region.
Government Support and Citizen Relief Ranking
The COVID-19 Government Support and Citizen Relief Ranking Framework conducts benchmarking of countries according to the scale, diversity, efficiency and effectiveness of its government’s efforts and measures to provide economic support (e.g. supplemental income, tax breaks, subsidies, emergency loans, etc.) to its citizens, businesses (especially SMEs), the self-employed and other relevant stakeholders amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Given the unprecedented complexity of the pandemic, Deep Knowledge Group made the decision to adapt and retune its existing analytical frameworks to the pandemic. These frameworks were previously applied to the Longevity Industry, AI for Drug Discovery, GovTech, NeuroTech and other industries and domains on the forefront of DeepTech and Frontier Technologies. The new rankings are provided free of charge in order to provide governments, decision-makers, and the general public with data-driven insights. The hope is that this information will help people make informed decisions that maximize beneficial outcomes for humanity. To review the complete rankings please visit the Deep Knowledge Group website.
- Israel’s Media and Broadcast Technologies Power Global Content Creation and Consumption
As billions of people shelter in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they’re turning to digital media and streaming services for work, entertainment, socializing, and simple distraction. In short, people are increasingly navigating this moment online.
Indeed, by late March, Internet usage soared by up to 70 per cent worldwide, while streaming spiked 12 per cent. That fits with patterns observed in past crises: For instance, the World Economic Forum notes that American television viewership surged 56 per cent during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
This increased content consumption opens new revenue opportunities for publishers and producers. Indeed, the WEF cites research showing that 60 per cent of consumers in the 16-34 age bracket pay for entertainment, and younger consumers are also more likely to pay for news content.
With a robust media and broadcast sector, Israel is home to a rich variety of companies and startups focused on widening brands’ reach with target audiences and enabling the creation, distribution, and consumption of engaging content.
Here’s a look at some of the sector’s dynamic players:
- Globally renowned distributor Keshet TV is responsible for bringing such popular programs as Dig, Homeland, and Tyrant to viewers worldwide.
- Audioburst utilizes AI technology that recognizes patterns in podcast and radio listeners’ interests, preferences, and listening patterns to generate personalized audio feeds and searchable audio libraries. The company has secured funding from prominent backers including Hyundai, Dentsu, and Samsung Ventures.
- Top brands including NBC, Taboola, Bloomberg, Reuters, Condé Nast, TMZ, and TripAdvisor use Wibbitz to create short-form videos utilizing its patented automated video creation technology.
- The Future of Work Is Now – Here Are the Israeli Technologies Behind It
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic requiring millions worldwide to work remotely, business leaders and economic experts predict that the crisis will accelerate significant transformations in the nature of work.
Of course, distributed workforces and greater flexibility around working from home are but a small part of the trends that were already set to define the future of work, along with augmented workforces working alongside increasingly sophisticated robots and machines; automation; greater use of data analytics; and virtual collaboration.
Deloitte calculates that Israel’s future of work tech industry had raised more than $1.2 billion as of 2019 – and when looking at the wide range of companies and startups with value propositions for managing the 21st-century workplace, it’s clear that Israel is a hub of innovation in this space.
From improving workflows to managing talent to robotics, here are a few noteworthy Israeli companies shaping the future of work:
- Founded in 2012, Monday.com is a work operating system uniquely suited to helping workplaces manage remote work. The company’s platform makes it easy to track projects and status updates across departments, delivering real-time insights into teams’ bandwidth and workloads.
- OnePep is an AI-based human resources management platform with tools designed to boost employee satisfaction, retain top talent, and enhance team collaboration. The platform serves as a hub for company news and announcements, cross-functional collaboration, and BI analytics.
- Last-mile distribution is the toughest challenge facing the logistics industry – particularly during times like these, with delivery demand surging – but warehouse robotics startup Fabric, formerly known as CommonSense Robotics, is building robots and automated micro-fulfilment centres where retailers can store goods, enabling workers to make deliveries faster.
As businesses navigate unusual circumstances and prepare for workforce transformation, Israeli innovation is helping smooth the transition.