Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
Move over mindfulness meditation. Neuroscience is now beginning to map what’s going on inside your brain when you’re feeling good, and not-so-good, to help promote mental and emotional wellness. It’s a logical augmentation of mindfulness meditation which has become very popular recently although it’s been around for thousands of years.
The remainder of this post was originally reported by NoCamels.com
Brain researchers across the world are increasingly beginning to study the link between our body’s control center and emotional health. In recent years, neurological wellness (or neuro-wellness), an emerging field focused on emotional wellbeing, mood enhancements and innovation and technology, has also garnered attention.
“Because we’re living longer, our focus is starting to shift toward well-being,” Bill Gates wrote last month as part of a piece reflecting on technological breakthroughs for the MIT Technology Review. “I think the brilliant minds of the future will focus on more metaphysical questions: How do we make people happier? How do we create meaningful connections? How do we help everyone live a fulfilling life?”
Earlier this month, this question was one of the main focuses at the Fourth International BrainTech Conference in Tel Aviv, a two-day global meeting point for leading scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs who engage in brain research and technology.
While the power of a positive mindset has been praised as key, there is emerging scientific backing for the thesis that mood is directly linked to the mental processes in our brain. Moshe Bar, director of the Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, presented a study that found that optimistic people show better cognitive work on associations, creativity, memory and a broader scope of attention than those with a more depressed outlook. People with a positive mindset, he indicated, are better able to foresee what’s coming next and to minimize perceived uncertainty. Thus, improving the mood of individuals can prompt our brain to activate processes that will make us feel well.
The brain’s powerful capacities are well documented, but can the mind heal the body? Neuroscientists Dr. Talma Hendler, of Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Asya Rolls, of the Technion, are currently collaborating on a study on brain-body interaction. Their initial findings have shown that activating a neural mechanism in our brain’s reward system may boost the immune system.
Can technology support us emotionally? More and more entrepreneurs recognize the potential of such evidence for transforming our mind and body. Products for emotional wellness are currently flooding the market. But can technology really support us emotionally?
“Yes,” says Nichol Bradford, executive director and co-founder of The Transformative Technology Lab (USA), who believes that we are standing at the threshold of a new era of human flourishing. “I think there is a great deal of range and possibility in using technology to teach us how to relate to the way we feel. Emotions and self-regulation are trainable and teachable skills,” she tells NoCamels.
According to Bradford, transformative technologies for well-being will not only address mental health and happiness, they are also entering the future of workplaces, improving emotional intelligence and social skills. Ultimately, they will lead to enhanced mental and emotional capacity.
Bradford calls this the “future of human possibilities” in which technology helps people develop their full potential. “The point is … to establish a new level of mental and emotional health.“
An example of this is TRIPP, a Los Angeles-based software company that developed a mood-on-demand platform powered by virtual reality. Like a combination of video games and meditation, “taking a ten-minute TRIPP” can puts users in a state of mindfulness by creating a deep immersive, brain-stimulating experience. CEO and co-founder Nanea Reeves believes that mental health is the market for VR. After launching their product for corporate wellness programs, the company’s goal is to enter the therapeutic market, where TRIPP could be used for treatments like addiction recovery, he tells NoCamels.
An Israeli product that has already been deployed in hundreds of clinics worldwide is Myndlift, a device for personalized neuro-therapies. When looking for ways to improve ADHD symptoms without medication, Myndlift CEO Aziz Kadan discovered the potential of neurofeedback. Combining a sensory headset with a training program, Myndlift responds to changing brainwave patterns and is able to change and balance brain activation. The devices were featured at the conference.
Meanwhile, NYX Technologies, a young Israeli neurotech startup, is developing a platform for sleep management and stress reduction. A headset reads a user’s brain patterns and adapts its function individually for falling asleep faster, getting into deeper sleep and waking up refreshed. Currently, the Haifa-based company is conducting beta tests.
German owned SAP, the global leader in enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, just made a big move in Israel, a startup accelerator to do just that; help tech startups get to market, and generate profits, faster.
The following excerpts were originally reported by NoCamels.com
European multinational SAP SE is opening an accelerator program in Tel Aviv designed to support early-stage startups building innovative software, the software corporation said in a statement.
The 12-week program, dubbed SAP.iO Foundry, will start in July 2019 and will work with 10 startups “focused on deep technology and the intelligent enterprise to deliver incremental value to SAP’s customers,” the company said.
“The SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv represents the next phase of SAP’s commitment to Israel’s dynamic startup ecosystem,” said Ram Jambunathan, Managing Director of SAP.iO at the OurCrowd Summit in Jerusalem on Thursday. “We are excited to work with and help Israeli startups scale with our value proposition of curated mentorship, exposure to SAP data and technologies, and opportunities to meet and collaborate with SAP unparalleled, global base of enterprise customers.”
“Israel’s one-of-a-kind vibrant ecosystem is home to thousands of unique startups, several of which will enjoy and benefit from SAP Israels R&D Center’s professional tech expertise and the Foundry’s business know-how. We look forward to creating new exciting solutions and opportunities for SAP customers,” said Orna Kleinmann, MD of SAP Israel R&D Center & SVP Technology & Innovation Cloud Experience.
SAP also has accelerators in 6 strategic startup hubs, including Paris,
Berlin, Munich, New York City, San Francisco, and Tokyo. SAP says that since the SAP.iO Foundries were formally launched in early 2017, they have accelerated the growth of over 100 startups.
SAP first established its R&D center in Israel in 1998. The center leads SAP Cloud Platform development for the company, while also specializing in machine learning and user identity management. The center also leads strategic partnerships, startup acquisitions, and internal innovation initiatives.
Indelibly inked into my memory from early childhood is Mel Brook’s History of the World, Part 1 feature film whereby spacecraft shaped like the Star of David pervade our Galaxy (and beyond) with Brook’s own narration introducing “Jews in Outer Space.”
And now it’s happening less the whole Star of David thing…obviously.
The remainder of this post was originally reported and published by NoCamels.com
The launch of Israel’s first voyage to the moon is upon us and giddiness over the possibilities of what a successful landing will mean for Israel – and the international space community – are growing by the minute.
Excitement abounds in Israel and on social media networks with people posting photos of themselves in a SpaceIL picture frame, sharing the hashtag #israeltothemoon, posing for selfies at a replica of the spacecraft in the Habima Square in Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv Municipality lit up its city hall with lights reading, Tomorrow Israel Is Going To The Moon.
If all goes according to plan, the lunar lander Beresheet, whose name in Hebrew means “In the Beginning/Genesis,” will blast off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:45 am Israel time on Friday.
Anticipation is high because if Beresheet completes its lunar mission on April 11, Israel will join superpowers China, Russia, and the United States in landing a spacecraft on the moon.
And that’s not the only amazing statistic. Beresheet is remarkable because almost everything about the unmanned spacecraft goes against convention.
Beresheet is set above a the communication satellite (the main passenger of the launch) It began as a dream by three young engineers and not a government program, making it the first privately funded space probe to shoot for the moon. It cost just $100 million to plan and develop, whereas other space missions in the past have run in the billions of dollars.
But as Israel has shown time and again, when it comes to technological prowess, size doesn’t matter.
Indeed, this small spacecraft has big hopes riding on it.
“It was very difficult to raise money for this mission because it was really a mission impossible,” said South African-Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn, the president of SpaceIL. “I didn’t realize it was impossible and the three engineers who started this project didn’t realize it was impossible, and the way we in Israel think, nothing is impossible. We dare to dream. And we really are making this dream come true.”
From a physical design point of view, Beresheet has been likened to a gold-colored robotic spider. It is roughly the size of a washing machine, reaching a height of 1.5 meters, about two meters in width, and weighing just 600 kilograms.
The design of the craft changed twice since its first inception in 2011 until the final touches were made last year.
The SpaceIL spacecraft was originally designed to meet regulations set out by the now-defunct Google Lunar X Prize competition, an international contest that challenged the world’s engineers to create and send the first private lander to the Moon. The SpaceIL crew chose to continue with the mission – with or without the prize money – and kept dimensions of their lunar lander to a minimum and with as low redundancy as possible.
A multi-disciplinary team of some 250 engineers, scientists, and computer scientists from the non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) designed, engineered and developed Beresheet. The actual building of the spacecraft from full-scale development took just four years.
“The navigation control system and the simulator were developed from scratch and they are very sophisticated,” Opher Doron, IAI’s Space Division General Manager, told a prelaunch press conference in Ramat Gan.
Doron tells NoCamels that the “main computer and computer chips, as well as other pieces of technology and the cameras, are Israeli-made.”
One of the main issues facing the SpaceIL and IAI team was how to land the spacecraft on the Moon without it breaking apart. So, they created four foldable landing legs with energy absorption mechanisms to ensure a soft landing.
“The structure is Israeli, the landing legs are Israeli, the main computer is Israeli, the design of the spacecraft is Israeli… most of the technologies onboard and the engineering is Israeli. It is an Israeli mission,” says Ido Anteby, CEO of the SpaceIL. “Of course, there are some parts of the sub-systems that come from vendors around the world. But almost all the technology onboard is Israeli.”
Indeed, Beresheet truly shows off Israel’s prominent technological and engineering innovation and expertise. It highlights the country’s aptitude in creative thinking, resourcefulness, and advance research.
“It was very exciting to work with SpaceIL on this project and also interesting from an engineering point of view. This was an inspiration,” Inbal Kreiss, Deputy General Manager, Space Division, IAI, tells NoCamels.
“It used to be that only superpowers had the ability to go and do things like land on the Moon, but lately there’s been so much flourishing of technology, which has been enhanced greatly by the computer revolution,” Phil Metzger, a planetary physicist at the University of Central Florida, told The Verge. “Now it’s within the range where small groups of people can build a lunar lander, which is super amazing.”
Israel’s tech expertise in space sciences is already world-renowned. The country is known for developing and manufacturing advanced technology solutions for satellites, unmanned and robotic systems, radars and more.
There is an Israeli-developed space-qualified CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) sensor aboard the Parker Solar Probe.
The country is a mecca for satellite development.
“Israel is blessed with human capital and brain power. We can create effective solutions that afterward become global standards. We want to change the game of satellites as flash drives did to floppy discs,” Raz Itzhaki Tamir, co-founder & CEO of NSL Comm and an expert on nano space technology, tells NoCamels.
Even NASA has taken interest in this little spacecraft. The space agency is allowing the Israeli team to use its Deep Space Network to communicate with Beresheet in deep space.
The spacecraft is built to withstand extreme environmental conditions during launch, in space, during landing and for its lunar stay. Yet, IAI and SpaceIL engineers noted at the prelaunch press conference that once on the moon, the spacecraft will only function for about two Earth days. In that time, Beresheet will take a selfie, gather imagery of the Moon, and transmit information back to the mission control room in IAI’s space facility in Yehud.
SpaceIL engineers hope the spacecraft will land in an area on the Moon known as Mare Serenitatis because this region is supposed to have some “magnetic anomalies” that the Israeli team hopes to analyze using an onboard magnetometer. SpaceIL is conducting a scientific experiment together with the Weizmann Institute of Science to take measurements of the Moon’s mysterious magnetic field.
On board, there’s also a time capsule and a nano-Bible microscopically etched on a small metal disc the size of a coin.
Landing a spacecraft on the moon will bring an extraordinary achievement in engineering and the country’s technological capabilities. SpaceIL hopes it will advance and promote science and research.
“It’s exciting,” says Doron. “It’s a great technological achievement.”
SpaceX will broadcast the historic launch live on its YouTube channel, and SpaceIL will simultaneously air on Facebook live video from inside the control room in Yehud.
Every year FAST COMPANY puts together its list of the top 400 innovative companies. Seven Israeli and Israeli-founded companies were among over 400 firms featured by US business magazine Fast Company on its annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for 2019.
The following excerpts were originally published by NoCamels.com
The monthly publication’s editors and writers said they sought out groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries in every world region, listing the top 10 in 41 categories such as AI, Biotech, Branding, Health, Robotics, Food, Security, and
Fast Company also released its annual “50 Most Innovative Companies” but no Israeli firms made that list. In 2018, Israeli-founded navigational app Waze was featured in the top 50 alongside giants such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify, and Israel had its own category with 10 top startups. An additional 5 Israeli companies and startups were featured in other categories.
This year, Fast Company featured a Middle East category and named four Israeli startups to its list of 10 businesses in the region.
OLO leverages AI with a revolutionary method to ‘digitize’ blood, allowing patients to receive blood test results within minutes at the point-of-care, and with just a finger-prick. The system takes detailed images of blood and then analyzes them with AI-driven computer vision algorithms. It was first deployed in African countries and India in 2014 to detect malaria.
Sight Diagnostics now says its technology offers Complete Blood Counts (CBCs) – the most prevalent blood test in the world, and plans to develop further applications.
Fast Company said Sight Diagnostics, No.1 in the Mideast category, was chosen “for accurately diagnosing illnesses from a few drops of blood.”
The tech is being used across industry sectors including automotive, construction, agriculture, smart homes, robotics and medical care.
Vayyar has also been named an innovative Israeli company to watch by a host of publications including WIRED, Business Insider, and the World Economic Forum.
Fast Company says Vayyar was selected “for making low-cost, 3-D-imaging technology to improve health and safety.”
NoCamels has reported that Vayyar’s sensor-based technology “can see through skin and tissue to detect cancer masses, look through walls and create a 3D image of hidden structural foundations; or, it can be used to create a smart home that tracks the location of persons needing care, as well as their vital signs as they move around the house.”
Last year, Vayyar launched what it called the “world’s most advanced millimeter-wave 3D imaging chip,” which provides a high-resolution, mobile, and cost-effective 3D imaging solution
A leading Israel-based provider of solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software for the future of autonomous cars.
Featured in fourth place in the Mideast category, Fast Company says Innoviz was selected “for helping autonomous cars see their surroundings.”
The company recently launched new offices across the world including in the US, China, Japan, and Germany, and opened new headquarters in the central Israeli city of Rosh Ha’ayin.
The new HQ , a 4,000-square meter facility, includes labs, garages for test vehicles, and other manufacturing capabilities.
Last month, Innoviz entered its newest strategic partnership with Harman International, a Samsung subsidiary that focuses on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets
Last year, Innoviz entered an agreement to supply German auto giant BMW Group with its automotive-grade LiDAR InnovizOne and computer vision software for its autonomous vehicle production
Innoviz was founded in January 2016 by
An environmental tech company founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella, that develops sustainable concrete for constructing ecologically active infrastructures in coastal and marine environments as well as in urban landscapes.
In 10th place in the Mideast category, Fast Company chose ECONcrete “for pouring concrete that stimulates biodiversity, reducing the ecological footprint of coastal projects.”
The company was recently featured in an episode of the popular web series Nas Daily.
Three more Israeli companies were featured in other categories,
An Israeli-developed baby monitor that uses computer vision, machine learning
Nanit appeared in seventh place in the Data Science category “for helping babies – and parents – get more rest.”
Nanit says its product is the first smart monitor to merge computer vision with data-backed sleep science, to produce the most advanced and secure camera technology ever introduced to the home.
The company says its technology can be applied more widely “since tracking and understanding sleep patterns and anomalies can lead to early detection of other disease states like sleep apnea, seizures, autism and more.”
Nanit has ongoing partnerships with major universities and institutions including the Technion, Ben-Gurion University and the City University of New York to study the effects of infant sleep on the overall health of a baby and their family.
Last year, the company raised $14 million in a financing round led by one of Israel’s leading VC firms, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
JVP chairman Dr. Erel Margalit said at the time that “Nanit takes the science of sleep one step forward and revolutionizes this field through computer vision and machine learning technology. Nanit’s unique home-based camera monitors and analyzes sleep patterns in real-time and updates parents on their children’s quality of sleep, something which directly affects their physical, mental and emotional development.”
Nanit was founded in 2016 in New York by Dr. Assaf Glazer, Tor Ivry, and Andrew Berman
Founded in 2009 by Amir Shinar, Uri Levine, and Ehud Shabtai, the company, a social traffic and navigation platform that collects input from users to provide warnings of auto accidents and other disturbances on the road.
After experimenting with a carpool service since 2016, Waze officially rolled out Waze Carpool late last year in Israel and in the US.
A US-based corporate travel tech company founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Ariel Cohen and Ilan Twig, that recently raised $154 million in a Series C funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
TripActions placed eighth in the Travel category for “incorporating a user-experience mind-set into managing corporate travel.”
This startup, said Fast Company, “is shaking up the sleepy corporate travel world by making it easier than ever for companies to book and manage employee travel.”
Twig has said the company is “re-thinking the way that corporate travel is run and supported globally. With AI and machine learning, we’re able to deliver a truly customized traveler experience at scale, allowing us to reduce the time to book a trip from more than hour to a mere 6 minutes.”
“We’re also using this technology to deliver incredible support. Imagine a world where every travel headache –– whether that be a flight delay or a lost hotel room –– is taken care of before you even knew something was wrong. This is exactly what TripActions is able to offer to our customers today,” he added.
Israeli Biotech company Bonus Biogroup has created
The following excerpts were first reported by NoCamels.com.
When Danny Yaakobson, an extreme sports enthusiast, suffered a serious leg injury following a car accident two years ago, he did not imagine he would become the world’s first patient to receive a lab-grown bone implant made from his own fat cells to replace a missing section of his shinbone, let alone take part in an Israman triathlon just a year following the surgery.
But that is exactly what happened. While traveling abroad in 2017, Yaakobson suffered a road accident and nearly lost his whole leg. The injury was serious and painful, he says, but his doctor told him about a clinical trial that would change the course of his life.
“The doctor said that there wasn’t much to lose anyway [in participating in the clinical trial], that the situation was not so good as it was,” Yaakobson explains in a video interview provided by Bonus BioGroup.
During the process, human fat tissue is extracted from the patient. Bonus BioGroup then separates the various types of cells and isolates the stem cells. The stem cells are removed and stimulated in a bioreactor, a special device that simulates the body’s environment and provides suitable conditions for bone generation. The fat cells are then grown in a lab until the tissue becomes solid, after which the hardened bone tissue is injected back into the patient’s body.
Bonus BioGroup CEO Dr. Shai Meretzki says in a video interview that “currently an autologous [cells or tissues obtained from the same individual] transplant is the gold standard for treating patients who lose bones for a wide variety of reasons. In order to perform the process you need to harvest the bone for one location within the body. Usually you cut from the femur and move it to the cut location, which is a very hard, expensive, painful and difficult process.”
“What we are offering instead is a completely new approach to patients who have lost their bones for the most disparate reasons, growing the old bone outside of the human body within a relatively short time,” Meretzki says.
The surgery to replace a missing 2 inches (5 centimeters) of
Israeli company WaterGen that makes products that generates water from air — you heard that right — is releasing a residential or home use version that promises to change how water is consumed forever.
See original article on Watergen.
The device, dubbed the “Genny,” is a water generator capable of producing between 25-30 liters (6.6-7.9 gallons) of water per day using the company’s GENius technology.
It is the company’s first appliance for the home and office.
Founded in 2009 by Israeli entrepreneur and former combat reconnaissance commander Arye Kohavi and a team of engineers, Watergen was originally conceived to provide easily accessible water to militaries around the world. Following the company’s acquisition by Michael Mirilashvili, a Russian-Israeli billionaire and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, the company shifted its focus tackling water scarcity and answering the needs of civilians following natural disasters.
In November 2018, Watergen provided its atmospheric mobile water generator known as a GEN-350, to rescue responders in California during the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County. The GEN-350 can produce up to 600 liters (156 gallons) of water per day and is designed to assist people in locations that are not readily accessible, the company says.
In 2017, Watergen sent four water generators to Texas and Florida in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively, working with the American Red Cross and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to provide clean and safe drinking water. Watergen has also signed a cooperative R&D agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said to be facilitated by casino magnate and top Republican backer Sheldon Adelson, to test the company’s technology as a way to improve “access to potable water during shortages or contamination events.”
In addition to the GEN-350, Watergen’s products include the large-scale Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG), and the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), which transports Watergen units in emergency situations and natural disasters
Now, Watergen wants to tackle the personal water consumption industry while working to reduce plastic waste, and tackling one of humanity’s greatest challenges – access to clean, accessible water, which some 2.1 billion people across the world lack.
At some 69 kilograms (154 pounds) and measuring 1.3 meters (52 inches) in height, the Genny looks similar to standing water coolers, and requires access to electrical infrastructure, which may work great for homes and offices but is likely not an easy feat for those in the developing world or in remote rural areas.
The Genny works similarly to Watergen’s other systems and operates in three ways: first, air is drawn into the machine, where dust and dirt are removed; clean air is then directed through the Genius heat exchange, which is then cooled and condensed; the resulting water is ultimately channeled through a multi-stage filtering system to remove impurities, add minerals, resulting in fresh drinking water that is then stored in a built-in reservoir, according to the company.
When the water reaches premium quality, it is stored in a built-in reservoir where it is kept fresh through continuous circulation until it’s ready to be poured, Watergen explains.
AI robot startup teams up with Amazon’s Alexa to get your rolling. The result. Your own personalized AI robot. And who wouldn’t want that?
Editors note: Much of is article was originally reported by NoCamels.com
In Las Vegas this month, the company announced its newest collaboration with tech and retail giant Amazon, which CEO Yossi Wolf called “a major step up for Temi.” As part of the partnership, Temi Global will integrate Amazon’s Alexa and Echo Show functions into the machine, which it hails as the world’s first intelligent, mobile, personal AI-powered robot.
The product taps into the big trend of smart-display assistants, but differs from others by being mobile, featuring human-robot interaction characteristics and moving autonomously, the company says. Users can control Temi from any remote location in the world via the app and command different actions, from greeting guests at a hotel or restaurant to providing elderly medical assistance.
The soon-to-be rolled out
The smart home, which some predict will be a reality by as soon as 2024, is exactly what you think it is. A control center for all the electronic anatomy that comprises a home. Furnace/AC, security, household appliances such as washer and dryer, stove, frig, dishwasher, and so on…plus a lot more than you
The following content was first reported by NoCamels.com
Eran Barkat, Partner at BRM Group, says that just like we imagine an autonomous, smart supermarket, the same autonomy can be applied to the home. The future indeed lies in the transformation of our private residences into smart, autonomous spaces, he says.
“Imagine coming back home from work and having your house connected to your personal calendar, a robot setting up the table for dinner and washing your clothes and hot water at your immediate disposal,” he says.
The trend of smart homes is already happening and incorporates everything from a robot that anticipates people’s needs to a fridge that indicates if the right ingredients are on-hand while regulating its own temperature.
This trend sheds light on the opportunities that come with autonomous utilities, namely privacy, comfort, and security.
As part of this ongoing phenomenon, attention is also drawn to autonomous home logistics, whereby emotional needs are anticipated and met. Barkat imagines a future where visits to the supermarket will become obsolete, while home logistics will be seamlessly automatized.
Real issues remain with mass acceptance blockchain technology beyond early adaptors and those with enough political capital include it in the development portfolio, usually one
The remainder of this post was excerpted from original reporting in NoCamels.com
Startups in the sector are expected to continue to multiply and developers and academics are being relied on for new, transforming uses for blockchain technologies.
“Israel is on the forefront of solving the real issues plaguing the blockchain world,” Josh Liggett, a
“Blockchain will be the next big thing in Israel because it mixes all the technologies that we have here including AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, etc., we have them all. Most of the products blockchain needs are here. We’re well positioned and on the front line,” says Yael Rozencwajg, founder and CEO of Blockchain Israel.
If foreign investments are anything to go by, it would seem the global community agrees that Israel is a good place to look for blockchain innovation. This past year, European investment bank Benson Oak, Swiss VC fund Lakestar, and South Korea’s Kakao Investment, among others, have all put money in Israeli startups focused on blockchain.
“Under the radar, some of the top people in the world are investing in Israeli companies in blockchain. Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin, Polychain Capital, Naval Ravikant. These are high profile,” says Liggett, who blogs at OurCrowd about blockchain developments.
Israel secured numerous blockchain-related headlines in 2018 for its startups, ICOs, investments, and educational initiatives. Most of the headlines were positive but some Israelis were allegedly linked to the initial coin offering (ICO) scams.
While 2016 and 2017 were all about ICO offerings and new startups using crypto to raise funds, 2018 will be remembered as the year of the great crypto crash. Many of the startups that used crypto and blockchain technology to raise funds either turned out to be frauds or couldn’t deliver what they promised.
“The ICOs we saw in 2017 and 2018 are gone. They’re not coming back. This was a situation where you could say, ‘hey I might decide to open something, I’ll give you a token. If I don’t open, then too bad. There’s no recourse.’ You can’t do that anymore,” says Liggett. “ICOs are not coming back.”
The ICO crash, however, is seen by some industry experts as a way to clean the blockchain image and now propel it forward to the significant technology it can be for mainstream companies, charities and financial institutions.
“The Israeli blockchain industry is currently experiencing both a boost and a transformation. On the one hand, we see unprecedented growth among blockchain startups, but on the other hand, many of them are skipping ICOs in favor of equity financing. Today there are fewer startup founders coming out of morally questionable markets, such as Forex, binary trading, and gambling. Instead, more institutional players are starting to enter the market. Thus, the market is going through a self-purification,” Roman Gold, founding partner of the Israeli Blockchain Association, told Forbes.
Rozencwajg says blockchain technology will become a crucial part of everyday life.
She says fintech, medical and biotech, agriculture, and the gaming industry will show the greatest benefits from blockchain technologies in the coming year. “We need blockchain to secure all the networks,” she explains.
Blockchains record, collect and transfer all sorts of data. Industry experts believe that it is only a matter of time before blockchain platforms will be used for asset management, insurance claims, cross-border payments, property rights and real estate contracts, healthcare management, music ownership rights, voting, and a host of other possibilities.
Israel has some 300,000 developers, according to Blockchain Israel, and many are working on enterprise web application, advanced solutions and blockchain and crypto technologies.
“It will take some time for people to understand how truly powerful this technology is. There are so many technologies that still need to be developed,” says Liggett.
The OurCrowd analyst sees 2019 as a year to tweak blockchain protocols as opposed to implement the technology into new sectors.
“I don’t think the solution will come in 2019. I think Israel is going to work more on the technology because blockchain is a protocol, people will work on the technologies. Once the tech is established, people will build on top of it and apply it to different industries. I don’t think the focus will be on sectors, I think the focus is on underlying tech,” he tells NoCamels.
Liggett says some names to keep tabs on in the coming year include: Technion professor Eli Ben-Sasson, who co-invented Zerocash – a privacy-preserving cryptocurrency, and co-founded the startup behind its implementation – Zcash; Maya Zehavi, blockchain entrepreneur and a founding board member at Israeli Blockchain Industry Forum; Gal Landau-Yaari, former acting CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, who is researching blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, governance of emerging technologies and financial stability at the University of Haifa; and Yonatan Sompolinsky, a PhD candidate, and Dr. Aviv Zohar, both of the Hebrew University, who proposed the GHOST protocol.
“These are the people who are busy working on building the next big thing [in blockchain],” says Liggett.
Courtesy of NoCamels.com, here’s the list of top Israeli movers, shakers, and influencers for 2018 spanning the arts, sciences and just about everything in-between.
Nuseir Yassin, aka NAS Daily
With over 11 million Facebook followers, it’s hard to miss one of the 1-minute, often-charming videos posted daily by Nuseir Yassin, better known as NAS Daily (“Nas” means “people” in Arabic). Yassin grew up in the northern Israeli-Arab city of Arraba and went on to study at Harvard before becoming one of the most successful content creators on social media over the past two years.
Alyne Tamir, aka Dear Alyne
Any fan of NAS Daily has seen and heard Alyne Tamir, Yassin’s American-Israeli girlfriend and travel companion, who appears in a majority of his videos. But she is also an authentic, master creator in her own right.
Netta Barzilai, Winner of the Eurovision 2018
Israeli singer Netta Barzilai shot to international fame after clucking her way to first place in the 63rd annual Eurovision international song contest (much to the bewilderment of Americans). Her female empowerment hit “Toy” for the #MeToo era resonated with audiences and she earned Israel its 4th win in the contest since its debut in 1973.
Erel Margalit, Social and Tech Entrepreneur
Dr. Erel Margalit is one of Israel’s most prominent social and tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The founder and chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), which invests in and builds startups, he also served in the government as a Knesset member for the Labor party in 2015-2017
Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff are known to international audiences as the co-creators of the wildly popular, award-winning series “Fauda,” which first premiered in Israel in 2015 and on Netflix in late 2016. The show portrays the complicated conflict between Israelis and Palestinians through the story of an Israeli counter-terrorism unit operating in the West Bank and trying to capture (or kill) Hamas terrorists.
Dr. Tal Rabin heads the Cryptography Research Group at the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. She grew up in Jerusalem and earned a PhD in Computer Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, after which she pursued an NSF postdoctoral fellowship at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.
Hossam Haick, Award-Winning Scientist
Professor Hossam Haick of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology is the developer of a unique technology enabling medical diagnoses based on breath.
Dr. Orna Berry is an award-winning scientist, high-tech entrepreneur, and senior executive with over 30 years experience in the tech and science fields. A leading businesswoman dubbed the “first lady of Israeli high-tech,” she was Israel’s first (and only, so far) female chief scientist at the Economy Ministry’s Israel Innovation Authority, serving in that role in the late 90s
Professor Yuval Noah Harari is the best-selling author of the 2014 book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” which shot him to fame and is set to be adapted into a movie. The book focuses on human history within the framework of evolutionary biology, tracing the evolution of our species to the modern age and has sold some 10 million copies in over 50 languages.
Linoy Ashram and Sagi Muki, Star Athletes
Rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram thrilled Israelis in August this summer when she broke the world record in the clubs-handling round at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Minsk, and then went on to win gold in the
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki, meanwhile, generated headlines for two reasons this year. First, he won two gold medals, one at the 2018 European Championships for the under-81 kg class, held in Tel Aviv in April, and a second at the Judo Grand Competition held in Abu Dhabi in October. Second, he participated in the latter competition wearing an emblem of the Israeli flag in an Arab country (amid threats from the International Judo Federation), and for the first time ever, the Israeli national anthem was played – a historical moment for all Israelis.
Eyal Shani and Yotam Ottolenghi, Celebrity Chefs
Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani is world-famous for his signature dish – roasted cauliflower – and stands behind the Miznon, a popular Tel Aviv restaurant, which he then took to Paris, Vienna, and Melbourne. This year, the Miznon made its debut in New York, bringing Israeli high-end “street food” to the Big Apple.
Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi, who co-wrote the best-selling book “Jerusalem” with Sami Tamimi, has a similar take on the evolution of Israeli cuisine.
Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, famous worldwide for playing Wonder Woman, was selected by TIME magazine this year for its annual list of 100 most influential people of 2018
Adam Neumann, ‘We’ Entrepreneur
Another return entry is Israeli-born WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, who was also listed this year in TIME magazine’s “100 most influential people of 2018” for “revolutionizing the way we work and reimagining how we live.”