Crystal clear hearing; Tech salaries are rising; Tel Aviv never stops; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Retinal scanner for early Alzheimer’s test
Israeli-founded Canadian-based RetiSpec has developed the RS1, which uses hyperspectral retinal imaging and AI to examine the back of the eye. It can identify harmful amyloid proteins and other evidence that indicate Alzheimer’s Disease, even before the patient shows symptoms.
Osteoporosis screening for Scotland
Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision (reported here previously) is to trial its technology at the National Health Service in Glasgow and Assuta Medical Centers in Israel. It will be used to detect people at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Pacemaker for the brain
For the first time in Israel, surgeons at Israel’s Sourasky (Ichilov) medical center implanted a Medtronic Percept DBS pacemaker in an epileptic patient. It records brain activity in addition to performing electrical stimulation. Medtronic owns several Israeli companies and has an Israeli R&D center.
Clinical psychology on your phone
Israel’s GGTUDE (mentioned here previously) has 7 free apps in its digital mental-health platform. It has now added GG Self Care, which provides a research-backed, personalized digital intervention for Covid-19-related psychological difficulties. Just 3 minutes a day.
Crystal clear hearing
Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that the hair cells in the inner ear, vital for hearing, develop before birth in the same way that crystals form. They proved this using new 3D time-lapse imaging technology and computational simulations of the development of atoms in the hair cells.
Use your phone to check your skin
Israel’s Derma Detect has developed an algorithm and AI applications for analyzing digital images to detect, treat, and manage non-pigmented skin lesions. The company’s platform analyzes images of the skin using deep learning and computer vision. Currently being trialed in Israel.
German insurance gets Israeli vital signs
Israel’s Binah.ai (reported here previously) is partnering Europe’s largest insurance group, Generali Deutschland. The German company will integrate Binah’s health status vital signs monitoring technology in its new mobile application named VitalSigns&Care.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Youth supporting the elderly
When Yakov Pizenberg was 17 he began delivering left-over pastries from an Ashkelon bakery to elderly people and Holocaust survivors in the city. Now 21, he has founded “Youth for an Equal Society” which, mostly via the telephone and zoom, aids some 400 lonely, elderly people in Ashkelon.
Number One for women entrepreneurs
Israel is the best country for women entrepreneurs worldwide, according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) for 2020. Israel tops the charts for the first time, advancing from fourth place in 2019. Israel plans to double the number of female entrepreneurs by 2022.
International Day of Persons with disabilities
On Dec 3, the city of Jerusalem and other Israeli cities will illuminate iconic buildings in purple in honor of the International Day of Disabled Persons. The Jerusalem buildings include the Chords Bridge, City Hall and Teddy Stadium.
Israeli-Arab party leader is deputy speaker
I had not realized previously that Mansour Abbas, head of the Arab-Israeli Ra’am party, is deputy speaker of Israel’s Parliament – the Knesset. And he seems much more moderate than the other parties in the Joint Arab List, as this latest news article shows.
Building co-existing bridges in Jerusalem
The first Jewish-Arab-Jerusalem Hackathon took place in Margalit Startup City (reported here previously), home to dozens of high-tech companies. 20 young entrepreneurs took part in a new initiative by Jewish and Arab entrepreneurs to build new projects for the benefit of Jerusalem.
Caring for wildlife during Covid-19
Israel is home to the largest collection of animals in the Middle East. At Ramat Gan Safari, 1,600 animals no longer have any visitors; some enjoy the peace and quiet, but others really appreciate the extra attention from their keepers and conservationists.
Agricultural academy in India
Israel’s Ben Gurion University, together with Indian firm Aban Offshore, is establishing an agricultural research institute in Chennai, India. It will allow Indian students to earn degrees in agriculture from BGU including hydrology and water quality, desert studies, and ecology and conservation.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
The Israeli government has assembled its team tasked with achieving Israel’s 2030 goal of 30% of its energy sources from solar. It is currently examining existing potential roadblocks and policy changes necessary to advance solar energy. Reaching the goal is expected to save Israel up to NIS 8 billion a year.
Microsoft’s green new Israeli campus
Microsoft’s new Herzliya 46,000 sqm building will support innovation and accessibility. It is the first Israeli office to carry a ‘LEED V4 Gold certification’ for its environmentally friendly design. It includes a 3,500 sqm garden, WaterGen’s water from air and a GreenWall vegetation wall.
The hifold fit-and-fold highback booster, the world’s most adjustable and portable car booster seat, from Israel’s mifold, was named in Time Magazine’s annual list of “The 100 Best Inventions of 2020”. Four other Israeli inventions are listed: Beehome, Trialjectory, Augmedics, City Transformer and DouxMatok.
Technion UK’s virtual gala
One of Israel’s Technion Institute’s four Nobel Prize Winners, Professor Aaron Ciechanover, is the keynote speaker at Technion UK’s virtual gala event on Dec 10th. His live talk entitled “Corona Days: New-Old Challenges” will include his visionary and very timely views on Science and Ethics.
A smartphone in space
Israel’s next satellite, the Dror 1 being built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will be Israel’s most advanced communication satellite. Fully digital with upgradable computers, communications and memory technology at the forefront of high-tech. IAI views it like a smartphone, with many applications.
Israeli insurtech company Novidea has developed a platform that translates insurance data into business insights in real-time. It has advanced analytic capabilities and information for brokers and agents to act upon. Research firm FinTech Global selected Novidea in its InsurTech100 for 2020.
Shaping agriculture around the world
Israel’s Azrom has specialized in designing, building and installing customized greenhouse systems since 1979. It has completed some 1,500 projects in more than 70 countries. Hydroponics, flowers, watermelon, pineapple and mango. Recycling the water and using hardly any pesticides.
A vertical farm at the supermarket
Israeli supermarket chain Rami Levy will soon be growing eco-friendly fruit and vegetables in its stores for direct sale to customers. It has partnered Israel’s Vertical Fields for the geoponic vertical farm technology and Israel’s BIOLED for eco-lighting and growing containers.
Using AI to increase manufacturing efficiency
Israel’s Vanti Analytics uses Machine-Learning AI technologies to significantly reduce ramp-up time, errors and test time for electronics manufacturers. Its SaaS software platform requires no prior data-science education to quickly and autonomously optimize production.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Peace for economic reasons
The first Israel-Dubai conference focused on the prospects of a prosperous partnership between Israel and the UAE. The Emirates is a gateway for Israeli tech companies to expand to the Middle East. The 3-day conference had many inspiring presentations, of which these are just a sample.
Tech salaries are rising
The effect of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on salaries in Israel’s tech sector was minimal compared to other sectors. A survey of 60 Israeli tech companies by HR analytics startup Piplwize has shown that 84% of them intend to increase salaries in 2021 and half of them by at least 6%.
Israel and Turkey do business
The first-ever online conference: “Uniting hi-tech from two nations – Turkey and Israel” attracted dozens of participants, including Turkish entrepreneurs and investors. The organizers included Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Technology Development Foundation of Turkey.
Ships for Senegal
Israel Shipyards delivered the last of four patrol ships for the Senegalese Navy, fulfilling an agreement signed in November 2019. The Shaldag MK V patrol ship follows the earlier supply of three Shaldag MK II patrol ships. The agreement includes training, maintenance and technical support.
New fund to invest in Israeli tech
US Venture Capital firm Ibex Investors has raised its second fund in Israel amounting to $100 million. Ibex Investors has previously invested in many Israeli startups, helping them enter the global market.
A travel agent for investing in Israel
Israel’s Tech It Forward, founded by two immigrant women, is a bridge between investors and Israeli entrepreneurs. It organizes trips, conferences, networking events, pitching events, meetings and mentorship programs to connect global investors with the Israeli startup ecosystem.
Israel’s Qwilt (reported here previously) has signed a substantial deal with entertainment giant Disney, just a month after a similar deal with British Telecom. Qwilt’s technology will be integrated into the Disney+ streaming service, which was launched in 2019 and now has more than 75 million subscribers.
Israel’s Appsflyer (see here) became a Unicorn (value over $1 billion) in January. It is now worth $2 billion after an investment from Salesforce. Appsflyer integrates with Salesforce and Salesforce Ventures. Its marketing measurement platform was included in the Forbes 2020 Cloud 100 list for the 2nd year in a row.
How to make your customers stick with you
Israeli startup Glue offers a loyalty management platform for small businesses. With Glue, each company can retain its customers using incentives such as coupons, loyalty cards, a points earning system, subscriptions, prepaid passes and even play-to-win games.
The first TASE food-tech IPO
Israeli food-tech startup SavorEat (reported here previously) brought in NIS 42.6 million (about $13 million) in an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). It was the first time that a food-tech firm went public on the Israeli exchange.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Hippo raised $350 million; Inuitive raised $106 million; Novidea raised $15 million; SavorEat raised $13 million; Aquarius Engines raised $10 million; Glue Loyalty raised $8 million; Zesty raised $6.6 million; Zero Egg raised £5 million; Vanti Analytics raised $4.5 million; Lightspin raised $4 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
The hidden gardens of Jerusalem
This article describes 5 little-known landscaped gems in Israel’s capital. In contrast to the Botanical Gardens and the Wohl Rose Garden, look for Mount Scopus Botanical Garden, the Andalusian Garden, the YMCA Garden, the Orson Hyde Memorial Park and the Hadassah Healing Garden.
Tel Aviv never stops
Tel Aviv’s annual Samsung run on 19th Feb will have some coronavirus adaptations. Each runner will start from a different point and run a unique, localized course, the motto being “All Running Together Separately.” An app will include instructions, a starting ceremony, progress monitoring and more.
Israeli judokas win Euro medals
Israeli judoka won gold in the under-100 kg division at the European Championships in Prague. His countryman Tal Flicker won silver in the under-66kg category.
THE JEWISH STATE
History, education and spirituality in a water tower
An abandoned water tower in Jerusalem is being converted into a synagogue, Torah learning center and a museum commemorating Sir Moses Montefiore. It will also house a visitor educational center for medicine, science and halacha (Jewish religious law).
Ben Gurion day
In celebration of Ben-Gurion Day, Prof. Paula Kabalo, the director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, provides a rare glimpse into the Ben-Gurion Archives. Hear excerpts from Ben-Gurion’s personal diary about the days preceding Israel’s declaration of independence.
Handwriting connects soulmates
For the last two decades, Israeli graphologist (handwriting expert) Shaul Halali has been helping religious Jews find potential marriage partners. Handwriting can reveal a person’s character traits and state of mind – vital in coronavirus times when face-to-face meetings are difficult.
Boy finds 3,000-year-old jewelry in Jerusalem
A nine-year-old boy discovered a First Temple-era piece of gold jewelry during wet sifting of earth from the Temple Mount. The minute cylinder bead was originally found in August in such good condition that it was initially dismissed as modern and only verified 3 months later.