ISRAEL21c President Amy Friedkin with Eli Beer, founder of United Hatzalah, at the AIPAC conference in Washington.
Behind the scenes at ISRAEL21c

ISRAEL21c, AIPAC applaud Israeli innovation

ISRAEL21c President Amy Friedkin with Eli Beer, founder of United Hatzalah, at the AIPAC conference in Washington.

ISRAEL21c President Amy Friedkin with Eli Beer, founder of United Hatzalah, at the AIPAC conference in Washington.

The first three days of March brought 16,000 people to Washington, DC, for the AIPAC Policy Conference, the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community.

Participants in this annual event always say that one of the highlights is the showcase of groundbreaking Israeli innovations – the kinds of innovations ISRAEL21c brings to readers every day.

One of the most emotional moments was when past Innovation Showcase presenter Elie Isaacson, co-founder of Agilite portable rescue equipment used across the world, shared a touching story at the 2015 conference.

The former paratrooper explained how Agilite’s Injured Personnel Carrier (IPC), initially developed for soldiers to carry injured comrades on their backs while leaving their hands free, is used by the Jennings family of New York for their son Kieran, who has cerebral palsy.

The audience saw how the lightweight IPC enables them to indulge Kieran’s passion for hiking. The 12-year-old was even able to participate with his family in his hometown’s annual adventure race, carried on his dad’s back in an IPC.

The people behind the innovations

The 2015 Innovation Showcase focused on the people behind the chosen five innovations. These remarkable individuals were pleased to be reacquainted with ISRAEL21c, as President Amy Friedkin and Social Media Director Nathan Miller were on the scene to congratulate them.

First up was Ami Daniel of Windward, whose story ISRAEL21c featured on December 3, 2014. Daniel established a Jewish-Arab community center when he was only 16, and later became an Israeli naval officer.

Daniel and his navy buddy and cofounder, Matan Peled, decided to “do something transformational connecting technology and the high seas.” Windward is a unique business that gathers and analyzes intelligence from ocean vessels to counter widespread transmission of false data.

He told Miller that he was inspired to be among so many Americans “looking for the points of light in Israel’s story.” ISRAEL21c’s coverage of Windward, he added, can help get the message about Israeli innovation even to those who may not consider themselves traditional supporters of Israel.

The second presenter was Rami Parham of MUV Interactive, the subject of an upcoming ISRAEL21c feature. MUV is soon releasing its impressive Bird Bluetooth-connected device packed with sensors to enable interaction with your digital environment through hand motions. Following the Showcase, many AIPAC delegates inquired about buying the system, distributing it and/or investing in the company.

MUV Interactive’s Rami Parham, right, onstage with AIPAC Innovation Showcase host Brian Abraham.

MUV Interactive’s Rami Parham, right, onstage with AIPAC Innovation Showcase host Brian Abraham.

Parham explained that he and his brother came up with the idea while watching a TED Talk presenter use a conventional clicker to advance his slide show. They wanted to devise a more cutting-edge way to interact with content. A month later, he quit his job and founded MUV.

In a world where Israeli companies and Israelis in general do not get supportive media coverage, bodies like ISRAEL21c are helping to rebalance the system and give Israeli companies the coverage that they deserve,” he told Miller.

Eli Beer of United Hatzalah, a voluntary neighborhood-based first-responder network in Israel, rolled onto stage driving an Ambucycle.

ISRAEL21c has written about Beer and the work of his organization, which trains Jews, Muslims, Christians and Bedouins to provide emergency medical assistance within three minutes after notification via a proprietary smartphone app. The volunteer medics respond to some 700 calls daily.

Beer revealed at the conference that United Hatzalah is now training groups in the United States, starting in Jersey City, New Jersey.

When he was six years old, he saw a Jerusalem bus blow up in front of his eyes and heard a man yelling for help. “I was so scared I ran away, but it affected my life. When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to become a volunteer on an ambulance and save lives,” he related.

However, his work with Israel’s national emergency response organization, Magen David Adom, showed him that ambulances cannot always get to the scene quickly. When he was only 16, he realized the importance of neighborhood-based medics when he saved the life of a man injured in a car crash around the corner – by using his own skullcap as a tourniquet until the ambulance arrived.

Beer reminisced with Miller about the October 2013 visit to United Hatzalah’s Jerusalem headquarters from ISRAEL21c’s Journey to Israel participants. “You reach a lot of amazing people involved in exposing the goodness of Israel,” he said. “We in Israel have so many innovations in lifesaving that people need to know about.”

Another presenter was Dror Sharon of Consumer Physics, whose unique new SCiO pocket molecular scanner was featured by ISRAEL21c earlier this week.

While the technology at our fingertips is extremely powerful, when it comes to the actual physical stuff around us, you’re totally on your own, and we wanted to solve that problem,” he said.

Onstage at the Innovation Showcase, Sharon used SCiO to analyze two apples, showing one had a higher sugar content. Then he analyzed the composition of two pills containing the same active analgesic ingredient.

We’re on a mission to build the world’s largest database of fingerprints of our physical world,” said the Technion and MIT graduate. “Israel is uniquely suited to solve these types of multidisciplinary problems because we’re a very small country.”

Yael Vizel of Zeekit talked about amazing advances in fashion technology. Her company — among those featured in ISRAEL21c’s article on this topic on February 9, 2014 – reengineers the online shopping experience with a deep-image processing platform that allows the shopper to “try on” clothing before buying.

Zeekit’s technology, which maps the topography of the human body from a single 2D picture, is based on Vizel’s experience as an electrical engineer at Elbit Systems and as a telecommunications officer in the Israel Air Force. She was the first woman to command the IAF Telecommunication Officers course and its field and aerial telecommunication crews, and is the first female captain in the IAF reserves to have earned commander honors. Recently VIzel was named one of the top three entrepreneurs in Israel.

I feel that when you know what you do may have a huge impact on your country and the people you love, you’re 100 percent motivated to do big things and take large risks,” she said.

ISRAEL21c's Amy Friedkin, second from right, with Israeli entrepreneurs Nava Swersky Sofer, Yael Vizel and Dr. Son Preminger..

ISRAEL21c’s Amy Friedkin, second from right, with Israeli entrepreneurs Nava Swersky Sofer, Yael Vizel and Dr. Son Preminger..

ISRAEL21c participated in the event in several areas. Nathan Miller was part of a panel discussion entitled “Israel Through the Media’s Lens,” and the organization also hosted a joint reception with the iCenter to inform AIPAC delegates about our organization’s work, especially our Digital Engagement Project.

Iconic Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza performed at the Policy Conference. Read our personal profile of Broza here

 

 

Business,Innovation

NY, Shanghai woo Israeli startups

Promising Israeli late-stage startups will strut their stuff before investors and global thought leaders at the seventh annual Israel Dealmakers Summit in New York, March 24-25, 2015 — an invitation-only conference on technology, trends and innovations shaping key sectors including digital media, mobile and wireless, cyber-security, smart cities, enterprise software, health and wellness, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.

The summit’s Innovation Showcase “speed networking” platform will set the stage for one-on-one relationship-building meetings with investors.

“We launched this summit in direct response to US and global dealmakers’ desire to tap into Israel’s leadership in innovation,” said Zeev Klein, general partner of Landmark Ventures, which organizes the yearly summit in partnership with the Israel Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Investment Promotion Center.

“Over a two day period, we will facilitate more than 2,500 meetings between entrepreneurs and high-level dealmakers.”

Among the startups already registered to attend are FeeX, ThetaRay, Interlude, Moovit, Flash Networks, Tracx, Bringg, Carambola, Nativeflow, Idomoo, CloudEndure and SPREO.

Last year, the Israeli augmented-reality innovation company Eyeway Systems won a $5 million funding package after presenting at the summit.

Meanwhile, a “Power Breakfast” was held at the newly opened Israeli Business Center in Shanghai on February 12 to showcase Israeli startups specializing in mobile and Internet technology.

The event was held in cooperation with GWC, the umbrella organization of Chinese Internet and mobile companies, which also sponsors the annual Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC), this year set to be held in Beijing in April.

Israel broke new ground at the 2012 GMIC when Israeli company Visualead was chosen the most promising startup. The company later opened offices in Shanghai and this January became the first Israeli company to raise funds from Chinese Internet giant Alibaba (http://www.israel21c.org/headlines/over-900-million-in-one-week/).

Representatives of Israeli companies with significant activity in China made presentations at the Power Breakfast — including executives from Supersonic, Visualead and ironSource – before 40 senior Chinese executives.

“This is the first event of its kind at the Israeli Business Center in Shanghai, which was inaugurated last November,” said Elad Gafni, Israeli trade attaché to Shanghai from the Foreign Trade Administration. “Beyond the great potential of this event for Israeli web and mobile companies, it is also an opening shot for similar events in other fields where there is potential for cooperation with China.”

According to the Foreign Trade Administration in the Israeli Ministry of Economy, in 2014, trade between Israel and China reached $11.14 billion.

Mobile advertising is fast becoming one of the hottest trends of 2015. Photo via www.shutterstock.com
Business,Mobile

Why is Israel leading the ad-tech revolution? (audio)

Mobile advertising is fast becoming one of the hottest trends of 2015. Photo via www.shutterstock.com

Mobile advertising is fast becoming one of the hottest trends of 2015. Photo via www.shutterstock.com

Mobile ad-tech is one of the hottest technology trends of 2015. It’s not just advertising on mobile devices but rather a whole new way of selling a product online.

Interactive video ads and campaigns that can transfer from smartphone to desktop to tablet are going to be the biggest trends in coming years.

While some countries are already lamenting the limited pool of tech talent, Israel is brimming with creativity in this field.

Why is Israel leading the mobile ad-tech revolution? ISRAEL21c’s Viva Press asks that question of Daniel Cohen, general partner at Carmel Ventures; Gilad Hellerman, VP Strategy at Crossrider; and Roi Fainstein, Director of Business Development at Inneractive, whose “Story” is the first programmatic platform for inserting native video ads into content feeds of apps.

To listen to the program, click on the link above.

 

To listen to other ISRAEL21c shows on TLV1, click here.

ISRAEL21c in collaboration with TLV1.

ISRAEL21c in collaboration with TLV1.

 

Jessica Apple and Michael Aviad. Photo by Koby Mercury
Profiles

Living the Sweet Life with diabetes

Jessica Apple and Michael Aviad. Photo by Koby Mercury

Jessica Apple and Michael Aviad. Photo by Koby Mercury

An American girl and an Israeli guy meet in a Jerusalem bar, fall in love, get married and later each develops type 1 diabetes. What are the odds?

Pretty slim, acknowledges Michael Aviad, cofounder of the popular diabetes e-zine ASweetLife with his wife, Jessica Apple.

“It’s statistically impossible that we both have it,” says Aviad, a 44-year-old marathon runner with degrees in law and finance. “No one in Jess’s family has type 1, and in mine I didn’t know anyone did until I met some long lost relatives and found out my aunt had type 1.”

Each month, about 200,000 unique visitors click on ASweetLife, frequently cited as one of the best online resources for people with diabetes. Many readers, like Michael and Jessica, have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease affecting the production of insulin, the hormone that guides sugar (glucose) into the cells to produce energy.

When they met, Apple was an 18-year-old Texas girl on the Young Judaea Year Course, and Aviad was a 22-year-old IDF soldier, born in California and raised in Jerusalem. Apple moved to Israel in 1997; the couple married in 1998. He worked as an economist while she built a successful writing career. Apple’s essays and fiction have appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine and The Financial Times Magazine.

Diabetes was not on their radar when Aviad was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002, just 18 months after the birth of their first son.

He learned how to monitor his blood sugar and use insulin, which is necessary for anyone with type 1 to survive. He improved his diabetes management with a low-carb diet and exercise. He started long-distance running to prove to himself and others that diabetes would not keep him down.

During her pregnancy, Apple had been misdiagnosed with gestational diabetes, a transient condition. During her third pregnancy in 2008, she was properly diagnosed with a slow-progressing form of type 1 called LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults).

Creating community

The double diagnoses sent the couple to the Internet searching for resources and peers. They concluded that they could offer something more fun and comprehensive than the medical and personal blogs they found, and more attuned to healthful living and nutrition than diabetes organizations’ websites.

While ASweetLife publishes the latest information about diabetes research and technology, it’s also a place for emotional support. It is a community rather than a forum.

“It was a big deal to us to create something where people could communicate, sharing tips and information,” Aviad tells ISRAEL21c.

“It’s not enough to know about the latest insulin pump or new drug. Having a good emotional support system is key to dealing with any chronic illness, especially for us because of the need to monitor every bite of food you eat. It’s important to understand that a person who restricts their diet doesn’t have a lower quality of life. It’s just a little harder.”

ASweetLife is a nonprofit program of the Diabetes Media Foundation, with a board in New York and a pool of freelance writers including professional journalists such as Katie Bacon, a former editor for The Atlantic whose daughter has type 1; and Catherine Price, whose newest book is Vitamania.

“Our writers don’t necessarily agree with one another, but they’re all in control of their diabetes and they convey the emotional and inspirational aspects of living with diabetes,” Aviad says.

“Readers want inspirational stories about people succeeding with diabetes, whether raising a child or running a marathon,” adds Apple. “Type 1 is a challenge every day, and those who don’t have it can’t understand living from one glucose measurement to the next, and how your mood and how much you get done depend on that. People want to know it’s not always terrible — and when it is terrible, how you get up and go on.”

Readers are also in need of laughs. “For a good percentage of our readers, dark humor is really a way to commiserate,” says Apple. “We have an article up now called ‘I speak diabetes’ about the terminology and acronyms we use that nobody else knows.”

As writer Jacquie Wojcik points out in the piece, the question “Are you high?” has a different meaning to a diabetic than to a recreational drug user.

Inspiration found

ASweetLife appeals mainly to readers who take a proactive approach to their (or their kids’) type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Says Apple, “You can read the scary stuff elsewhere and think diabetes is just a countdown till bad things happen. But if you take good care of yourself and keep your weight in the normal range and move somewhat, you’ll probably be fine.”

ASweetLife has featured stories on some of the improved medications and monitoring systems coming out of Israeli research labs.

“We are very interested in Beta-O2,” an implantable bio-artificial pancreas now going into clinical trials. “And I interviewed a company that has a noninvasive glucose monitor for the nighttime. We want good products to succeed if we believe in what they’re doing,” Apple says.

Living in Tel Aviv with their sons, now 14, 11 and almost six, Aviad and Apple do not own a car and walk everywhere.

“ASweetLife is our message that life with diabetes can be sweet,” says Apple. “This disease doesn’t mean you’re going to be sick and die early, but that you will have to work harder to be healthy. People say, ‘Thank you for showing me that people with diabetes can live normal, healthy lives.’ They’ve found inspiration, and that is what keeps us going.”

For more information, click here.

 

Chinese giant Alibaba made its first investment in an Israeli company in January when it bought Tel Aviv based Visualead for an undisclosed amount.
Business

The Asians are coming (audio)

Chinese giant Alibaba made its first investment in an Israeli company in January when it bought Tel Aviv based Visualead for an undisclosed amount.

Chinese giant Alibaba made its first investment in an Israeli company in January when it infused a reported $5 million in Tel Aviv based Visualead.

 

Alibaba, Rakuten, Ping An, Baidu, Samsung — these are just some of the Asian companies investing in Israeli innovation, already kicking in more than $1 billion in funding and acquisitions this year.

Venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business development experts all agree that 2015 will prove a bumper year for Israel in terms of investment, acquisitions and seed money from Asia.

Ori Bendori, a veteran senior executive in the Israeli high-tech industry and general partner at Carmel Ventures; Ryan Dritz, director of business development at The Asian Institute; and Michal Chetrit, managing director of the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce, tell ISRAEL21c’s Viva Press why Israel-Asia collaboration is only going to grow.

To listen to the program, click on the link above.

To listen to other ISRAEL21c shows on TLV1, click here.

 

ISRAEL21c in collaboration with TLV1.

ISRAEL21c in collaboration with TLV1.