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Archive | Innovation and Technology

Israeli Startup Scene Thriving Despite Conflict

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October 8, 2014
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Investments in Israeli startups climbed to near record highs in the third quarter, even as the country was in the throes of the worst violence it has seen in years.

Venture investments in Israel-based companies have not only increased in number of deals – with a near 40% rise this quarter over last- but more than tripled the total amount invested in Q1 of 2014. And this doesn’t account for the hundreds of venture-backed Israeli startups headquartered in New York or the Silicon Valley.

Read more at TechCrunch.

Thousands race to Jerusalem to catch Formula 1

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October 6, 2014
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The event took place near the Old City’s walls. Porsches, Ferraris and Audis could be seen zooming by and impressing the crowd.

According to Jerusalem Post, Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said that “motorsport unites people all over the world.”

“The event is all about fast cars with cutting-edge Formula 1 technology, racing around one of the world’s oldest cities and bringing local communities together,” he said. “Now we’re bringing Scuderia Ferrari to the city once again, delivering another roaring installment of Formula 1 speed and adrenaline for all.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post.

Apple Set to Open First Store in Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport

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October 6, 2014
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Apple

Israeli Mac fans will be getting a sweet bite of the Apple for the Jewish New Year: The technology giant will soon open their first official store in Israel as a duty-free shop at Ben-Gurion airport, Israel’s NRG News reports.

Apple plans to open the “store-within-a-store” concept as part of the local A.L.M. chain in about two weeks; the goal is to open the doors before the local launch of the iPhone 6, and company officials said they plan to feature the full range of products.

There will be one Apple employee, along with the A.L.M. staffer to market the merch.

A few weeks ago it was announced that Apple planned to open a local sales and marketing office, led by Nir Ayalon, who, in recent years, was in charge of Israel operations from their London headquarters. Ayalon has also worked at the company’s offices in Herzliya.

Apple’s opening of a representative office in Israel bodes well for the firm, particularly for laptop sales, which haven’t been a runaway success due to relatively high prices, few outlets, and a lack of qualified service centers.

In recent years, competitors Samsung, LG, Asus and Toshiba have replaced some local importers, and have invested more heavily in marketing and managed to speed up launching devices in real-time with the rest of the world. In addition, opening a formal branch operation locally creates a continuous contact stream with the corporate headquarters.

Apple attaches importance to the Israeli market, especially in research and development, where it employs 600 people in its offices in Ra’anana, Herzliya, and Haifa.

The company has long been concerned about the Hebrew versions of its products, so that, apart from its Os computer operating system, iPhones and iPad, it also launched the Hebrew-language word processor, Pages, and is the only one (as opposed to Google and Microsoft) that offers music and movie downloads for Israelis.

No word yet if the fanboyz’ are hauling out the folding chairs and thermoses, to prepare for waiting on line at the Apple duty-free shop.

:: Algemeiner

Leaders in Space Industry Over the Moon for Israeli Tech

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October 3, 2014
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(L to R) Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, head of the Israel Space Agency; Minister of Science Yaakov Peri; NASA Chairman Charles F. Bolden (Photo credit: Ben Kattan)

(L to R) Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, head of the Israel Space Agency; Minister of Science Yaakov Peri; NASA Chairman Charles F. Bolden (Photo credit: Ben Kattan)

Leaders in the space industry are over the moon for Israeli space tech. At the International Astronautical Congress
held in Toronto, Canada, “experts from industry, government and academia” met to discuss the latest and greatest in “satellite industry, exploration technology, communications, and other space-related matters” according to Times of Israel. Over 200 of the leaders in this industry visited the Israeli exhibition while at the conference

Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri noted “the confidence that the heads of these agencies and corporations have in Israeli technology is evidenced by the large turnout at this event…It shows Israel’s special standing in the world of space exploration and technology. The thousands of people who visited our exhibition will, I believe, become strong advocates for Israeli tech in their home countries.”

Read more at Times of Israel.

Israel & India: High-tech marriage made in heaven

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October 3, 2014
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Israel-India

By: Arsen Ostrovsky

Even though the India-Israel relationship has remained low-key, both countries now have leaders at the helm who truly appreciate the benefit of better bilateral ties and are sincerely keen on developing them

The India-Israel relationship which is already warm and robust, is a rapidly growing work-in-progress, grounded in strong foundations of two proud people, united in shared values of democracy, tradition and innovation. In this context, the meeting between  Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday on the sidelines of the UNGA was historic and ground changing, putting the two nations on a turbo trajectory.

This was the first meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Israel in 11 years, signifying the importance both these leaders attach to cultivating this relationship. It is noteworthy that this was also Mr Netanyahu’s first meeting with any world leader upon arriving in the United States for the UN. As for Mr Modi, there is no doubt that he gets the India-Israel dynamic — He gets how special this relationship is and the prospect that even stronger ties, especially in trade, would be a clear win-win outcome for both nations.

Sunday’s meeting was predominantly focused on increased trade, diplomatic and defense ties between the two nations, and Foreign Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Avigdor Lieberman, who met on Wednesday, expectedly followed-up on the broad proposals discussed between the two Prime Ministers with more specific deals and timeframes.

Two areas received special attention. First, water and agriculture technology: Here, Israel is a world leader and there is a real demand for its know-how in India. Second, defence cooperation: Within this sector, there was special focus on cyber-security, which both leaders identified as a key strategic threat and where both nations have much experience and technology to offer. Mr Netanyahu even extended an offer for India to participate in a joint cyber-defence project, which would unite both the military and civilian high-tech defence sectors. India is already one of Israel’s most important trade partners in defense. In fact, at the same time as the two Prime Ministers were meeting, the ink was just set on an Indian Navy purchase of advanced Israeli missiles from leading Israeli defence company Rafael, in a $143 million deal.

When Israel and India established full diplomatic relations in 1992, bilateral trade was $200 million. Today it is $6 billion. If the current trajectory is continued, by 2020, two-way trade can surpass $10 billion. This has been the culmination of a lot of behind the scenes work and effort from the respective foreign and trade ministries. And even though the India-Israel relationship has remained low-key, both countries now have, at the helm, leaders who truly appreciate the benefit of better bilateral ties and are sincerely keen on developing this.

Importantly, there is a growing positive reflection of Israel, and Israeli people, on the Indian street, with Indians strongly admiring Israel’s breathtakingly successful entrepreneurial and innovative culture, especially for a nation that is only a miniscule fraction of its size and population. Indians are also increasingly seeing Israel as an ally in their battle against Islamic extremism.

As for Israel, it has traditionally been very Euro and US centric in terms of its trade and foreign policy. But the current Government especially has recognised that Israel is in an increasingly global world, there is great opportunity for developing ties in Asia, which for many years were either neglected or under-appreciated. Today, Jerusalem understands and fully appreciates that there is increasing demand and admiration for the Jewish state’s technology and innovation, including in India, and it is keen to capitalise on that.

The India-Israel relationship is based very much on mutual interest and benefit, especially in the field of technology, where Israeli high-tech and innovation meets India’s vast work force of highly-educated, tech-savvy, English-speaking labour. It is, quite literally, a high-tech marriage made in heaven.

In terms of foreign and security policy, it is important to underscore that both nations are rich and proud democracies — Israel the only democracy in the Middle East and India the largest democracies in the world. Mr Modi is fully cognisant of this. From Mr Netanyahu’s perspective, it should come as no surprise if he raised the issue that India is currently one of the largest importers of Iranian oil, and the importance of isolating the regime in Tehran, which continues to use its petro dollars to fund terror operations around the world.

Because Mr Modi understands only too well the dangers posed by militant Islam, he truly appreciates Israel’s security situation, including the threats posed to the Jewish state from terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. India has not been immune to terror attacks by Islamic extremists and as a key regional player, faces its own unique security threats. Israel was also only one of the few countries that Mr Modi visited as Chief Minister of Gurajat (in 2006), which provided him with a special first-hand insight into Israel’s security situation.

Importantly, the appointment of Ms Sushma Swaraj as External Affairs Minister has also been much welcomed by Jerusalem, as she served as Chairwoman of the Indo-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group and had visited Israel previously (in 2008). All this has been reflected in a more supportive position by the Indian Government of Israel’s own battle against Islamic terrorists, especially in the wake of the most recent campaign against Hamas.

Yes, it was unfortunate that India voted in favour of the utterly biased and wholly discredited UN investigation against Israel at the UN Human Rights Council, but that should not take away from the fact that overall, the Modi Government was supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from the threat of Hamas rockets and tunnels. This was reflected by his Government’s successful push back against a proposed condemnation of Israel in the Indian Parliament, with Ms Swaraj being instrumental in this.

Looking ahead, there are four key areas of importance in the India-Israel bilateral: First, increased trade, and greater military cooperation against the joint security threat posed by growing militant Islam; second, India reducing its oil dependence on Iran, thereby removing a key source of revenue for the Iranian regime to fund in worldwide terror operations; third, greater support for Israel in international arenas, most notably at the United Nations; and finally, more high-level meetings between the nations, including an ambitious Government-to-Government meeting in Jerusalem and New Delhi. Hopefully, Mr Modi will take up Mr Netanyahu’s offer to visit Israel in the near future to enhance and cement bilateral ties even further.

:: The Pioneer

StoreDot Closes $42 Million Deal

Posted on:
October 2, 2014
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Remember StoreDot, the Israeli startup company for batteries which charge your phone almost faster than the speed of light? The company recently “has closed a $42 million Series B funding round” according to TechCrunch.

According to StoreDot’s CEO, Dr Doron Myersdorf, “The fully functioning prototype that fits inside the phone for commercialization will be ready the second half of 2016. In early 2017 it will be on the market.” This means that soon, avid smartphone users will no longer have to worry about Instagram or Candy Crush draining their battery.

Read more at TechCrunch.