Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
Navin Systems, the Israeli pedestrian guidance and navigation app developer, has mapped out locations of bomb shelters and protected spaces in Tel Aviv and throughout the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, the company reminded Israelis on Tuesday, amid escalating security concerns surrounding the barrage of rockets launched from Gaza into Israel earlier in the day.
While allowing users to navigate all space without the need for GPS, the Tel Aviv company’s patented peer-to-peer crowd mapping technology also automatically creates detailed maps of indoor spaces, which are often difficult to navigate with GPS due to weak signals.
The company says “security mapping” is necessary as visitors to buildings typically remember the locations of stores in the mall or university classrooms, but most do not know where the protected spaces of the building are located or remember the routes that lead to them.
This isn’t the first time Navin’s “security mapping” of southern Israel has been reported, due to mounting security concerns.
The mapping in Beersheba includes several major buildings in the city, including the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Negev Mall, and the Grand Canyon Mall, along with shelters across the city. The project is being expanded to additional locations throughout the country, the company said.
Using artificial intelligence and complex algorithms that are part of its cutting-edge technology, the Navin app can immediately identify the location of a user inside a building, including the exact floor. The app enables navigation for users in stores, hospital departments, university facilities, and bathrooms.
Users will be able to access detailed walking routes, including escalators or regular stairs. The app is constantly updated with crowd-sourced info.
“We invite users to add shelters to the app in the buildings that they visit,” says Shai Ronen, co-founder and CEO.
Navin was co-founded in 2012 by Ronen, a former Israeli Air Force F-16 pilot and an expert in navigation systems, along with Lior Ronen and Gidi Barak. The company has already mapped out Tel Aviv spaces like Dizengoff Center, TLV Fashion Mall, Sarona Market, Ichilov Hospital, the Tel Aviv Museum, and Azrieli Towers.
Building upon its current success in Israel, the company has expanded to the US, creating maps for museums and stores in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California. They have mapped out escalators, elevators, specific departments, and transitions between floors in stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, IKEA, and more.
Ronen has said that future goals include mapping out major cities in Europe and the Far East, which the CEO believes are particularly challenging in terms of the complexity of the buildings.
Dr. Maria Blekher has always had one leg in academia and the other in industry. As the director of the Master’s program in Digital Media and Marketing at Yeshiva University’s Katz School of Science and Health, the academic side is obvious.
The marketing professor, who grew up in Beersheba, is quick to note that much of her academic success also stems from a PhD at Beersheba’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the completion of a postdoc at New York University, prior to the move to Yeshiva University (YU).
Academic and industry intertwined when Blekher created a course for Yeshiva University called “Business in The Israeli Environment,” teaching students at YU about Israel’s vast high-tech ecosystem and tying in a US-Israeli market connection based on her own experience. Besides studying pro-social and consumer behavior in both Israel and America, she’s worked at Bank Hapoalim and Numonyx, a semiconductor company founded as a joint venture between Intel Corporation, STMicroelectronics NV, and Francisco Partners to develop flash memory products. The company, which had 1, 200 employees in its Kiryat Gat facility in February 2010 was also acquired that month by US chipmaker Micron. In New York, Blekher created an online platform selling Israeli products to the American market as part of a fellowship through an American-Jewish organization called Cojeco (Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations.)
The US-Israeli market connection is what prompted her to establish the Yeshiva University Innovation Lab, a “launchpad” for Israeli startups looking to enter the US market.
The Innovation Lab, which first launched in May 2019, just kicked off its second cohort this September. It features a group of 11 Israeli startups in a variety of sectors, including medical devices and AI-powered sensor technology. The three-month program, which connects those startups with YU students and ends in December with a final project, also partners with Gvahim, the Israeli NGO that helps new immigrants to Israel with business and career goals, Cactus Capital, the first student-run university venture capital firm in Israel, and Yazamut 360°, the Entrepreneurship Center of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).
NoCamels sat down with Dr. Blekher recently in Tel Aviv to talk about why Yeshiva University’s Katz School of Science and Health as well as its new Innovation Lab, aims to be an important initiative in the US-Israeli business connection. Her answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
NoCamels: How did you come to found the YU Innovation Lab?
Maria Blekher: I joined Yeshiva University before the Innovation Lab when I got the chance to develop a course called “Business In The Israeli Environment,” which is my expertise.
After landing at NYU — it was a postdoc, which means strictly research — I was looking for more things to do. I love being busy and I need several projects, and as much as I love academia, I love to see impact. Academia is very impactful, but sometimes it takes years to get something published. After a year, I got the chance to start teaching at Yeshiva University and although I started as an adjunct, it felt like home because it has an Israeli flag on campus and they play Hatikvah [Israel’s national anthem] at every single official event. The sense of community and belonging — it just felt like home. For me, it feels like Israel.
In 2014, I started to teach my first course as an adjunct, and then after one semester, they offered me the chance to teach more courses, because again, I was teaching back in Israel during my PhD, so I had teaching experience and also principles of marketing [skills]. One thing led to another and a couple of years later, we launched the Master’s in Marketing program and they offered me the opportunity to lead it. I stepped up into the leadership position. I am still doing this position now, though I’m hiring someone soon because my main focus now is the Innovation Lab.
NC: It sounds like you were thriving as a director of YU’s Marketing program. Why the shift towards the Innovation Lab?
MB: I love marketing. I think I bring my marketing expertise into the Innovation Lab. I didn’t ditch [the marketing program,] but I think that putting this expertise to work in the context of early-stage Israeli startups or startups in general, has more impact on an outcome. The combination of understanding the Israeli business environment and the Israeli tech scene and my marketing background is kind of a unique edge that brings value to startups who want to enter the US market.
There are plenty of marketing experts in New York. But there are fewer people who can use their marketing skills to bring startups to NY. I love being in places where I bring the highest value. I want to be there where I can help others. If my impact can be broader, working with students and startups because of my diverse background, that’s where I want to be.
NC: What are you looking to achieve as the director?
MB: It’s an interesting story. A couple of years ago, and it was before my time, the state of New York provided the university a grant to renovate a space on campus to attract Israeli startups. This was around 2017, before I was involved in the lab.
I think that [former NY] Governor Cuomo visited Israel, was impressed with the Startup Nation and at Yeshiva University, we have this institutional connection, so the background story was, “You’re Yeshiva University, bring some Israeli startups.” For the university, it was a great opportunity to bring some startups and let them work with students.
When I heard about [the grant] and I was told I should help to find Israeli startups because of my background, my first question was, “Hold on, does the school have an innovation lab?” I was told no, but somehow we got this grant and we needed to renovate this space. So I said, “Ok, this is the kind of project I want to be involved in because this is my expertise.”
I was on top of the project from day one. I literally chose the color of the paint on the walls. I [ told the school] we should build up a program that will connect our students with Israeli startups and provide added value. In order to do this, we need to see the challenges that Israeli startups are dealing with and figure out what kind of things we want our students to get from the program. I said, “If we’re building something, let’s build an institution that will connect our students with the startups and provide added value.” And that’s how we started.
Then I was appointed founding director but when we started working on the project, it was just an idea. When we had the official launch in May, it was very exciting because you see something on paper, you see an idea and then you see it come to life. Now we have 11 startups, over 90 students working with us, and that’s amazing.
NC: As someone who knows the Israeli business world, what are some of the challenges Israeli startups face?
MB: I think that’s the main question. The way I see it and based on my knowledge and based on multiple conversations — I spoke to Israeli startups and other colleagues and accelerators, really trying to nail the main challenges — the challenges that I identified and the ones that we really want to tackle are these three: knowledge, culture, and connections.
Culture – Culture is huge because as an Israeli, when you grow up in Israel, sometimes you feel like the 51st [US] state, you watch Netflix, and you even shop on Amazon and you grew up watching Sex and the City and you grew up in New York — if you speak to an Israeli startup, they’ll say, “Ok, I get American culture.” That’s not true! The first thing I thought of, “You think you know? You don’t!” There are so many differences and you need to know these cultural differences and you can talk to any Israeli and they’ll tell you 10,000 situations of misunderstandings. But when you are in the business of business and the business of startups, these are your investors and these are your customers, so you really need to be careful and you really need to be aware of these differences.
Connections – In Israel, everybody knows everybody. If you need to recruit a marketing person, you’ll find it in your network, if you need to recruit a developer, you’ll find it. In the US, with all due respect, you are just another person, especially in New York where the most talented people from around the world are gathering, and you don’t have the network.
Israeli IoT security firm Armis confirmed late Monday that it agreed to be acquired by NY-based Insight Partners at a company valuation of $1.1 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, Insight will acquire the company for cash with participation from CapitalG, formerly Google Capital, for $100 million and rollover from certain existing stockholders subject to customary conditions and approvals, Armis said.
Insight Partners had participated in a Series C funding round of $65 million for Armis last April, bringing the total capital raised by the company to over $110 million. That round was led by Sequoia Capital. Google is also a previous investor in Armis.
The deal represents the first billion-dollar exit for an Israeli company in 2020.
Following the acquisition, Armis will continue to operate independently and will be fully managed by its two co-founders, Yevgeny Dibrov, CEO, and Nadir Izrael, CTO, and the executive team, the company indicated.
Armis was founded in 2015 by Izrael, Dibrov and Tomer Schwartz (no longer with the company), and is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and Tel Aviv. Armis says its solution eliminates IoT security blind spots, letting enterprises embrace IoT as part of their digital transformation and develop full visibility and control over the IoT devices that operate within their networks. Armis’ security solution analyzes and classifies these devices in order to identify risks or potential cyber attacks. The company’s customers have included Mondelēz, Sysco Foods, Allergan and Samsung Research America.
“Insight is one of the most sophisticated software investors in the sector, and it is due to the depth of their domain expertise that they really understand the enterprise IoT device challenge we are looking to solve, and the size of the market opportunity,” said Dibrov in a company statement.
“We considered growth rounds and strategic offers, but by partnering with Insight we have the best of both worlds – operational support and independence, both of which were important in our decision to take on a scaleup partner this early in our company journey,” he added.
“Armis is one of the most ground-breaking enterprise data-centric security solutions that is actively protecting modern businesses today,” said Jeff Horing, Managing Director at Insight. “We see the huge problem they are solving. Armis has established themselves as the leader in the enterprise IoT security space, and we believe this team and their technology will continue to transform the way unmanaged devices are secured.”
Teddie Wardi, Managing Director at Insight, said: “The strength of Israeli security software is unquestionable, and we are thrilled to be the scaleup partner Armis has selected to continue their explosive growth journey. In a world of unmanaged devices, Armis’ technology is a game-changer,” he said.
Gili Raanan, chairman of Armis and general partner at Sequoia Israel and Cyberstarts said, “Armis is the largest Israeli cybersecurity acquisition of a private company ever and this is an important milestone in the Armis journey, building a substantial stand-alone cybersecurity power-house.
Raanan, Horing, and Wardi will serve on the Armis Board of Directors as part of the acquisition deal.
In 2017, Armis alerted tech giants Google and Amazon of potential cyber breaches in their smart speaker products with vulnerabilities set to affect over 20 million users at the time. Armis researchers had uncovered an exploit over Bluetooth that would allow hackers to take over devices and spread malware. Both companies released security updates for their respective Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa devices.
Cool tech is at the top of gift-giving guides this holiday season.
From TIME Magazine to Mashable, Town and Country to Apple, trendy gadgets and must-have apps are topping pretty much every December gift list. And some of the most popular recommendations are Made in Israel. NoCamels scanned the never-ending gift guides and found that global tech critics and reviewers are hyping blue-and-white robots, wellness gadgets, selfie improvement apps, and even something for Fido for Channukah and Christmas gift ideas.
Here are 9 must-have Israeli gadgets and apps getting love on international gift lists:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And TIME magazine recently published a list featuring the “100 Best Inventions” of 2019 that are making the world “better, smarter, and even a little more fun.”
The Temi robot, a 3-foot-tall personal rolling robot with a 10-inch touchscreen for a head, is one of four of the world’s best inventions in the “home” category on the magazine’s list.
Temi takes multi-tasking to a new level. The Alexa-enabled device can answer questions, order groceries, play music and videos, make calls, control your smart home, follow you around your house (except up or down stairs), and call for medical assistance. It can also serve you drinks.
ElliQ, a tabletop robot companion created by Israeli company Intuition Robotics, can be found on lists dedicated to seniors. Age is not a barrier to enjoying new trendy tech – but finding the right gadget is still important. ElliQ was designed to keep loneliness at bay. It reads out messages, displays photos, and answers video calls. The robot can also make appointments and remind users about their medication regime.
Intuition Robotics was founded in 2015 by Itai Mendelsohn, Dor Skuler, and Roy Amir. In 2017, it raised $20 million, including $14 million from Toyota AI Ventures, the investment arm of the Japanese auto giant. It was named the Best of Innovation Winner in the smart home category at CES 2018. Earlier this month, it was given a special mention in TIME magazine’s Best Innovations of 2019.
Every December, Apple publishes its Best of the Year app lists. Gift-givers seeking to keep their family and friends in the loop, can look at the Top Paid Apps of 2019 for gift ideas.
Topping the Paid Apps of 2019 list is FaceTune, the trendy photo editing app for enhancing and retouching photos. FaceTune is created by Jerusalem-based Lightricks, among the first app developers to prove to App Store users that consumers would pay for and subscribe to apps that offered them incentives. Lightricks is known to help amateur photographers and videographers master professional-style photo editing via its apps.
An AI-based patient safety solution developed by Israeli medical tech startup MedAware identified over 10,000 potential medical errors and adverse drug events, with an accuracy rate of over 90 percent, according to a new study co-authored by Harvard researchers.
The study, published last month by the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, analyzed MedAware’s machine learning-enabled clinical decision support platform, designed to prevent medication-related errors, at the outpatient clinics of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. The system flagged 10,668 potential errors and adverse drug events in retrospect on 373,992 patients.
The study found that 92 percent of warnings generated by MedAware were accurate based on the data available, and 72.7 percent of those warnings were considered “clinically valid.” In addition, 68.2 percent of the warnings would not have been flagged by existing decision support systems, according to the findings.
MedAware said that the implementation of the technology at those hospitals translated to savings of some $1.3 million during the study’s duration. If one takes into account the average number of outpatient visits in the US annually, this translates to a potential cost savings of $800 million and prevention of over 13 million medication errors, MedAware argued.
“This study shows that MedAware’s system performed well in identifying important medication-related errors in the ambulatory setting, and that implementing it could result in substantial cost savings,” said Dr. David Bates, a study co-author, Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Center for Patient Safety Research & Practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“MedAware’s application enables systems to catch errors they didn’t know they had and which would not have been caught using existing systems—these can be very serious and have major consequences,” said Dr. Bates.
Indeed, medical errors are very dangerous. In a widely circulated study published in 2016 by the Maryland-based John Hopkins School of Medicine, researchers argued that medical error was the third-leading cause of death in the United States (after heart disease and cancer). According to the study, more than 250,000 deaths per year in the US are due to medical mistakes. The findings have been disputed and a different study published in 2019 found that the number of deaths per annum due to adverse effects of medical treatment (AEMT) including adverse drug events, medication-related errors, and medical misadventures (accidental treatment or dosage, for example) may be up to 80 times lower.
These errors are also very costly and can amount to over $20 billion per year in wasteful spending in the United States, says Dr. Gidi Stein, a practicing physician who is also CEO and co-founder of MedAware.
Dr. Stein founded MedAware in 2012 with Tuvik Beker, to detect and minimize catatrosphic medication errors and transform patient safety standards through sophisticated tech.
“When you consider that this study took place in two of the safest, most advanced outpatient clinics in the US, and there was still a positive ROI due to errors prevented, you can understand how implementing MedAware’s technology across the healthcare system has the potential to save the healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars in outpatient settings alone,” Dr. Stein tells NoCamels.
Dr. Ronen Rozenblum, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and director of business development for the Center for Patient Safety Research & Practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital was the lead author of the study. He said that MedAware “offers both measurable improvement in patient safety and significant potential cost savings to hospitals at a time when healthcare systems must find every opportunity to drive efficiencies from a financial perspective.”
“Because it is not rule-based, MedAware represents a paradigm shift in medication-related risk mitigation and an innovative approach to improving patient safety,” added Dr. Bates.
Prescriptions deviating greatly from the spectrum of standard treatment patterns are flagged as potential errors, with high specificity and low alert fatigue. Alerts are displayed at the point of prescribing but also asynchronously, following a change in the patient’s status that might render one of the active medications dangerous to the patient.
As a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through Israel, Europe, and many parts of the US, millions are once again sheltering-in-place (or on lockdown, like in Israel) and taking precautions to physically distance from others.
For months now, this has meant a spectacular increase in e-commerce to purchase goods and essentials, and no-contact deliveries where bags and boxes are left outside homes by delivery people.
This article was originally posted by NoCamels.com. See Featured article: Artificial Intelligence.
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In this reality, Israeli company Flytrex, which specializes in food and consumer goods deliveries via drone systems, has a clear advantage.
Since launching in 2013, Flytrex has conducted drone delivery services in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, in collaboration with AHA, one of the country’s largest e-commerce companies, and has delivered burgers and fries via drone to golfers at King’s Walk Golf Course outside Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 2018, it expanded its drone delivery services to North Carolina where it was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to participate in its UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Earlier this year in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic in the US, Flytrex launched a delivery service for shelter-in-place shoppers in Grand Forks, where people could select from some 100 Walmart items and have their orders delivered to homes’ backyards or designated areas in apartment complexes.
Now, Walmart is deepening the relationship with Flytrex, launching a service to deliver goods via drone to shoppers in North Carolina.
The Flytrex drone carries its delivery across the sky. Courtesy
“We’re starting a pilot together with Walmart in Fayetteville in North Carolina. A few select customers will be able to receive deliveries right to their backyards,” Flytrex CEO and co-founder Yariv Bash tells NoCamels in a phone interview.
Customers will use a mobile app to browse a catalog of some 200 items, everything from ketchup to toothpaste to diapers, Bash explains.
The automated drones will take off across the street from the Walmart location and will be able to travel a distance of up to three miles carrying a package weighing up to 6.6 pounds (2.9 kg). Flytrex drones can make drop-offs directly into backyards from 80 feet in the air.
flytrex golf course
Flytrex delivery by drone over the King’s Walk Golf Course. Courtesy
The drones are operated using a smart and easy control dashboard, which will help the company gain valuable insight into the customer and associate experience, from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery, Walmart Senior VP Customer Product Tom Ward wrote in a company statement.
Walmart also “hopes to boots its delivery business in post-pandemic days, when it will be more vital than ever. That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier,” Ward added.
SEE ALSO: Israel’s Flytrex Pilots Drone Deliveries Of Essential Goods For Shelter-In-Place US Shoppers
With so many consumers still cautious about heading to a physical store, Walmart has stepped up its efforts to compete with companies like Amazon in online sales and pickup and delivery options. Last year, the company rolled out a next-day delivery service to match a similar offering from Amazon. Last month, its began offering a Walmart+ subscription membership program that promises free same-day deliveries on groceries and general merchandise.
In late August, Amazon received federal approval to begin testing commercial deliveries of its Prime Air drone fleet. The certification came under Part 135 of FAA regulations, which gave Amazon the ability to carry property on small drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the operator. UPS also received the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration to do the same.
Now Walmart is stepping up its efforts to do the same.
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“In the next two months, we hope to reach a much bigger geography. This could help hundreds if not thousands of families,” Bash says.
Bash also indicates that before the company can really move forward, it must be approved by the FAA in a process that is essentially the same one that a Boeing 787 jetliner would need to clear before it flies.
“We should be getting that by the end of the year,” Bash says.
Delivery within minutes
Bash founded Flytrex in 2013 with business partner Amit Regev, who was Bash’s flatmate while he was working for SpaceIL, the Israeli company with aspirations to land an Israeli spacecraft on the moon.
The company’s operations debuted its delivery services in August 2017 in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, in collaboration with AHA, one of the country’s largest e-commerce companies.
Israeli-founded transportation system company Via is acquiring Fleetonomy, a fleet management software startup based in Tel Aviv, in a bid to expand into the delivery and logistics solution sphere. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed but Globes reported that a source estimated it at between $15 million and $25 million.
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Fleetonomy, founded in 2017 by CEO Israel Duanis and CTO Lior Gerenstein, developed an AI-optimized fleet management solution for carmakers, vehicle rental companies, and mobility service providers. Its software tools facilitate planning, operating, and optimizing smart mobility services such as car subscription, ride-hailing models, and app-based chauffeur services using the same fleet of vehicles. The startup has worked with a number of notable partners including Audi, Toyota, and Porsche.
Prior to the acquisition, Fleetonomy had raised seed funding from investors such as Vertex Ventures.
Via said the acquisition accelerates its expansion beyond public transit “and strengthens its ability to meet increasing global demand for efficient, flexible solutions for logistics and delivery.” The New York-based company said it plans to “apply Fleetonomy’s technology and expertise in demand prediction and fleet utilization to advance its digitally-powered logistics solutions.”
Via recently raised a Series E funding round that valued the company at over $2 billion. The investment came amid the global coronavirus pandemic to which Via had responded by helping cities and municipalities launch effective on-demand transportation for essential staff, emergency services, food deliveries, and medical goods and services.
Via was founded in 2012 by Israeli entrepreneurs Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, and has sought to redefine urban transportation with an advanced digital ride-share platform. Via’s algorithms match – in real-time – multiple passengers traveling in the same direction with a single large SUV or van. The vehicle picks up the passengers at a pre-arranged collection point – a so-called virtual bus stop – set according to traffic conditions and demand.
Ramot and Shoval have indicated that they used their familiarity with Israel’s public rideshare services, sheruts, as the initial inspiration behind Via.
Via’s service, Ride with Via, first launched in New York in 2013, and is now available in some 70 cities in 20 countries worldwide through public and private partnerships. In Europe, Via operates through its joint venture with Mercedes-Benz Vans, ViaVan.
The company said it had powered more than 70 million shared rides globally, as of March.
Via also licenses its technology to public transportation agencies, private transit operators, taxi fleets, private companies, and universities, to integrate with public transit infrastructure and provide on-demand mobility innovation. The company works with over 150 partners across the globe such as the New York City Department of Education, Transport for London, and the LA Metro
Via is actively supporting municipalities, transit agencies, schools, and non-profit organizations to move beyond a system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, data-driven network
“As we continue to build the next generation of public transportation and delivery infrastructure, we are proud to partner with Fleetonomy to step into this new phase of growth,” Via co-founders Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval said in a statement.
“We have been consistently impressed by Israel, Lior, and the entire Fleetonomy team, and by the beautifully-designed and exceptionally-engineered products they have created. We share a vision for the future of mobility and look forward to realizing this vision together,” they added.
Fleetonomy’s Duanis said that when he and Gerenstein founded the company, they “had a very big mission in mind — to provide a new way of managing fleet-based services.”
“We believe that providing a data-driven, efficient, and reliable suite of solutions will help our customers become leaders of the on-demand economy. By joining Via, we will be able to expand and extend this mission and work together on Via’s great vision of changing the landscape of transportation,” said Duanis.
The ubiquity of
The remainder of this text was excerpted from full-length published article in NoCamels.com
For decades, Israel has been an established world leader in medical cannabis R&D, due to the pioneering work of Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Raphael Mechoulam. In 1964, the renown organic chemist was the first researcher to identify cannabis’ THC compound, the chemical known for causing a “high,” laying the foundation for scientific research on cannabis and its use in modern medicine.
In the years since, Israel became among the few countries with a government-sponsored medical cannabis program, and was the first in the world earlier this year to approve a vaporizer as a medical device for the use of cannabis extracts and formulations.
Though the country’s efforts to lead in other areas – like its big plans to become a top medical cannabis exporter with an estimated $1 billion in revenue per year – have stalled due to political wrangling, Israeli cannabis startups have stepped ahead with cutting-edge, smart devices and products for cannabis cultivation, consumption, measurement, and storage.
And their sights are set on the global cannabis market, expected to be worth some $32 billion by 2022.
Oren Todoros, CEO of the branding firm CannaImpact, tells NoCamels that mixing cannabis culture with IoT (the internet of things) “has the potential to lift the industry to new heights.”
“Due to this rapid shift towards smart connected devices, growers and consumers are increasingly turning to IoT technologies, essentially comprising of sensor devices, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, to bring new efficiencies to the way we grow and consume cannabis,” says Todoros, whose firm works with Israeli startup Kassi Labs, which developed a smart storage hub solution for marijuana.
Yona Cymerman, a co-founder of Can Innovation Finder (CIF), a new initiative that hopes to connect North American cannabis growers with blue-and-white tech solutions, says “the licensed producers we work with are always interested in hearing about innovative designs and technologies being developed to improve the consumer experience, and have expressed a lot of interest in devices and gadgets.”
“Israeli entrepreneurs have demonstrated great creativity in developing and designing their products, adopting concepts from other industries such as the sports market, and are aware of, and investing in the aesthetics of their products, which makes them all the more attractive for investment purposes,” she tells NoCamels.
From vaporizers and inhalers to growing environments and all-in-one storage solutions, we’re taking a closer look at seven companies that developed forward-looking “smart” gadgets for a next-generation cannabis experience and data analysis.
When you think of Israel, many images come to mind, usually of the biblical
UNICORN is the designation of tech startups who are valued at $1Billion or more. And currently, Israel has a bunch of them. Well, more like a dozen and a half!
The remainder of the article was originally reported by NoCamels.com
Unicorns have been the stuff of legends for centuries. Many tales have been inspired by these mythical creatures, usually depicted as a white horse with a long horn extending from the forehead. But in the tech world, “unicorns” are real and there are over 200 companies around the world who have made the list as of 2017, according to research form CB insights.
In tech parlance, unicorns are privately-held startups valued at $1 billion and above. The term was first coined in 2013 by US venture capitalist Aileen Lee in an article titled “Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups” and has since taken off.
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Israel, a small nation with nearly 6,000 active startups and companies and a world leader in tech, can claim 18 unicorns, according to an overview of the high-tech industry compiled by Israeli entrepreneur Yaron Samid, the founder of TechAviv, an invitation-only global Israeli startup founders club which currently boasts some 3,000 members.
The list was criticized for including companies with only loose connections to Israel and those without a presence in the country. But Samid, a serial entrepreneur with three exits under his belt – BillGuard, Pando Networks (acquired by Microsoft) and DeskSite – and the founder of angel investment firm Novadea, stands by the round-up, telling NoCamels that the purpose was to “show Israel’s transformation from a ‘start-up nation’ to a ‘growth nation,’ or ‘scale-up nation.’”
“If the list contained only companies headquartered in Israel, it would be a very short list. That would undermine the growth of industry in Israel I am trying to portray. And as a founders’ club, TechAviv also focuses more on founders rather than headquarter locations,” he says.
Samid’s list contains a caveat that reads: “This is not a list of ‘Israeli startups,’ it’s a list of private technology companies founded by Israelis…The goal of this list is to provide some perspective on the massive impact Israeli founders are having on the global innovation economy.”
Despite the flack, Samid tells NoCamels that his criteria for next year’s Israeli unicorns list will not change.
In addition to the unicorns, Samid also counted 26 Israeli “charging ponies,” startups and companies with a valuation of over $500 million as of June 2018. He says that he expects “the top half of the list to make unicorn list in 2019, if not by the end of this year.”
Below are the 17 firms among the unicorns list. Valuations are based on public and private
- WeWork: $20 billion
- Magic Leap: $5 billion
Tanium: $5 billion
- Houzz: $4 billion
- Compass: $2.2 billion
- Elastic: $2 billion
- Infinidat: $1.6 billion
- ironSource: $1.5 billion
- Gett: $1.4 billion
- eToro: $1 billion
- OrCam: $1 billion
- Gusto: $1 billion
- Outbrain: $1 billion
- Taboola: $1 billion
- Fiverr: $1 billion
- Lemonade: $1 billion
- VIA: $1 billion
To say I was “blown away” by a recent editorial in NoCamels.com by Yaniv Garty, General Manager of Intel Israel, is a frustatingly cliche due to the poverty of English usage as it exists today. And it wasn’t Garty’s predictions of what the world could look like by 2025 that captured and downright agitated my imagination (in a way I enjoyed). Sure, his IT prophecies are all plausible among numerous pundits, evangelists, and visionaries. Nope. It wasn’t that.
It was the data, specifically the vast quantities of data being generated, even right now. Consider these three incredible facts:
- Of all the data created since the beginning of civilization, 90 percent of it has been generated in the last 2 years.
- By 2025, total data will reach 163 zettabytes. You probably never heard of a zettabyte, and you may want to pause before you attempt to digest it. 163 zettabytes is 1,000 Billion terabytes. Even with the comparison, I still find it incomprehensible.
- Only 1 percent of all data has been accessed in any meaningful way.
Garty, who is charged with growing Intel’s hardware for IT ecosystem of the future, has a lot to think about, namely…
Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how it can begin to mine the 99 percent for, among other things, greater insights and predictive measures. Intel already has its eyes on the medical field with aspirations to provide tailor-made solutions for each patient, perhaps and beyond, like unique biological and genetic characteristics.
Another good example is the interface between data and transportation: The potential of saving lives by lowering the number of accidents made possible with autonomous driving is incredible. But to reduce accidents we need a combination of technologies working together – from computer vision to end-computing, mapping, cloud, and of course AI. All these, in turn, require a systematic change in the way the industry views data-focused computing and technology.
My personal take is that the IT ecosystem of the future will more and more resemble the different executive and subordinate functions of the human brain with neuroscientists and computer scientists conspiring to construct the greatest monster even seen: one giant decentralized and interdependent mega-brain.
In the next segment of this series, we will consider the moral and religious implications of this almost godlike monstrosity.