Israel Innovation 2.0

Inside Israeli Technology

ZenithSolar technology makes solar-power affordable

Has affordable solar energy without government subsidies finally arrived?

ZenithSolar, a solar energy tech company, has launched a new solar system on Kibbutz Yavne in Israel that achieves 72% solar efficiency, provides both hot water and electricity and doesn’t require the need of subsidies.

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A recent study by Stax Inc, an independent global strategy consulting firm, has found that deals between Massachusetts and Israeli companies bring in $2.4 billion. The study looked at the contribution of close to 100 companies in Massachusetts that are founded by Israelis or offer products based on Israeli technology.

Some highlights of the study are:

  • In total, the direct and indirect revenue impact on the Massachusetts economy was $7.8 billion.
  • From an employment perspective, these businesses directly generated 5,920 jobs in Massachusetts.
  • 50% of these businesses focus on information technology, 29% are in life sciences, and the remainder in other industries.
  • Israeli entrepreneurs chose Massachusetts over other U.S. destinations to launch or grow their enterprises due to the deep talent pool of educated workers, the opportunity to be part of an industry cluster, world class universities and outstanding business infrastructure.

According to Ted Carr, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment, “The Commonwealth is a natural destination for Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs, due to our common focus on the life sciences, technology, and clean tech industries, as well as our shared commitment to outstanding universities and highly-skilled workforces. The many Israeli companies that have successfully established in Massachusetts are evidence of the strong relationship that exists between our two regions. We look forward to the continued growth of this relationship in the future.”

The study also found that other states are pursuing linkages with Israeli businesses. A delegation from Oregon led by Governor Ted Kulongoski is expected in Israel later this month to scope out partnership opportunities. Many state efforts have been facilitated by their local chambers of commerce. The chambers of commerce, including the southeast region and Texas, actively promote and facilitate business between Israel and American companies. Some of the most successful events for increasing business have been The Israel Conference and the IsraelWeb Tour in California.

The Massachusetts study was partly commissioned by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Israel’s Ministry of Finance should look at this and commission a full study of the contribution of Israel-related business to the American economy next.

Deloitte Israel Fast 50 Logo

Earlier today Deloitte Israel announced the 50 fastest growing technology companies in Israel based on percentage revenue growth over a five-year period. The 10 fastest growing companies overall were Pontis, Tufin Technologies, Kontera, Telmap, Safend, Algosec, Promisec, Imperva, cVidya, and SuperDimension.

Pontis, a telecom company that provides contextual marketing and selling, had a revenue growth rate of 5,500% while overall the Fast 50 companies had an average growth rate of 740%. 61% of the companies are in the software and Telecommunications/Networking sectors. Just as impressive as the 17 software companies listed, six Internet companies also made the list this year, making up 12% of the winners. The six is double last year’s amount (three) and triple the amount from the previous year (two).

The Internet companies on the list included Kontera,, PicScout, Babylon, IncrediMail, and MediaMind Technologies (formerly EyeBlaster). The average growth of the sector is 762%. Along with the recent purchases of Dapper (by Yahoo!), 5min (by AOL), and QuickSee (by Google), it definitely seems that Israel’s Internet sector has come of age.

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During the past week, 8 Israeli companies made the “Global Cleantech 100” Guardian List, including Emefcy, GreenRoad and TaKaDu. VC funding of Israeli companies was up in Q3, though not in early stage companies and not from Israeli VCs, and Qualcomm announced it bought iSkoot. For these stories and more, see this week’s headlines below.

1. 8 Israeli Companies Make “Global Cleantech 100″ Guardian List

2. Israeli solar water heater producer enters US market

3. More venture capital flows to Israeli cos

4. Israel’s Internet Scene Comes of Age

5. MySuperMarket Raises $7.4 Million, Won’t Be The New WebVan

6. Qualcomm Subsidiary Buys iSkoot, Which “Mobilizes Internet Services”

7. Italy now Israel’s 2nd largest trading partner in sci-tech

Information Technology
8. Implements Taboola’s Video Ranking System

9. Wibiya launches a platform and API for their popular toolbar

10. Qualcomm buys iSkoot. Three points to take away from it.

11. Seeking Alpha launches investment app store

12. Training girls to narrow the gender gap

Qualcomm and iSkoot Inside

Motorola's Droid X uses iSkoot's Kalaida™ Platform and Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile processor

Qualcomm announced earlier today that it has acquired Israel’s iSkoot, a leader in “mobilizing internet services on the handsets most people use today”, for an undisclosed sum (rumored to be between $50-100 million).

iSkoot’s Kalaida™ Platform utilizes cloud computing to enable device manufacturers and mobile operators to bring popular social networks and new internet services to mobile handsets in a way that minimally impacts network and handset performance.

As part of Qualcomm Innovation Center, a Qualcomm subsidiary, iSkoot will focus on three areas: continued support of its current customers; integrating its offerings with Qualcomm’s products; ,and developing open source data management contributions for mobile devices.

With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, such as the iPad (the fastest-selling gadget of all time), the demand for such a service is huge and will continue to be with the release of new mobile devices and the launch of 4G networks in the U.S. and elsewhere. Qualcomm’s purchase of iSkoot indicates several things about the telecommunications industry and Israel:

  • Considering the fast pace at which development in the mobile industry is moving right now and that the 4G space is still open to newcomers, several key players in mobile hardware and software, such as AT&T and Intel, have looked to Israel over the past few months to help them try to gain an edge.
  • The acquisition is the latest in a string of Israeli startups getting acquired by major companies, including Google, AOL and Dell, this year. What impact these acquisitions will have on the growth of Israeli startups in the future is to be seen, though it currently doesn’t look good. Whatever the impact it has on Israel’s startup culture, it seems that considering this sale and the opening of new innovation centers here, the heart of the future of 4G and mobile communications is slowly becoming centered in Israel.
  • According to Globes, iSkoot is the first Israeli company that Qualcomm, “the world’s largest supplier of mobile telephone processors and owner of the intellectual property for the CDMA protocol” has bought, though it has had a development center in Haifa since the mid-1990s. Given that AT&T, Qualcomm and Intel all have R&D centers in Israel, will Verizon look to Israel next?

Here’s a video of iSkoot’s Social Net app in action:

Image via yonghokim.

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SolarEdge PowerBox PV optimizer solar

SolarEdge recently secured $25 million in VC funding that it will use to maintain its lead in the PV optimizer market despite steep competition from companies within Israel and abroad.

Unaffected by a global decrease in venture capital investments in cleantech, Israeli solar energy company SolarEdge has successfully raised $25 million in a Series C round from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Opus Capital, Genesis Partners and several other investors.

SolarEdge, which has created “intelligent panels” that work together with a central Power Box to enable the production of up to 25% more energy, plans to use the funding to increase its production capacity and market growth.

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Earlier today Seeking Alpha, a stock analysis and opinion website, announced the launch of the  Investment Applications App Store, an investment app store that offers professional-level tools, for free and otherwise, for any type of investor.

Seeking Alpha App Store

Seeking Alpha's Investment Apps Store

According to the press release:

“Investing Apps are professional-grade tools to help the Seeking Alpha community discover, manage, track & analyze their investments.

The newly launched Investing Applications App Store is the first platform to focus solely on the needs of investors. As of today, there are 27 third-party Apps on the platform. Apps are all web-based (not mobile) and when added to a user’s account, become part of a Seeking Alpha user’s personalized experience across the Seeking Alpha site.”

Seeking Alpha isn’t just enhancing its site with the store though. According to Zack Miller, an investment advisor, the company has created a platform that is a potential game-changer for the investment content sites.

Seeking Alpha Trefis App

Seeking Alpha Trefis App

Some of the apps that are currently in the store include Interactive Models (an interactive, web-based financial modeling tool), Validea’s Free Guru Analysis App (a guru, think Warren Buffet, analysis app) and Trefis (a unique, easy-to-understand view of the products that drive a company’s stock).

Here’s a video from the company explaining how to use the new app store.


During the past week, AT&T announced that it is opening an innovation center in Israel. The center, along with two in the United States, will be focused on helping mobile app developers present and develop their ideas and get them out to market fast. Israeli solar energy companies continue to thrive, including Tigo Energy announcing a partnership with SunTech and SolarEdge raising $25 million. For these stories and more, see this week’s headlines below.

1. $25M for SolarEdge’s Solar Panel Power Optimizers

2. Signs of Maturity in the ‘Smart Solar Panel’ Sector

3. Global Investment Plummet Hits Israeli Cleantech Companies… Except BrightSource and Ormat

4. Yahoo Acquires Ad Start-Up Dapper

5. Israeli chutzpah a hot commodity in China

6. Gov. Kulongoski readies trade mission to Israel

Information Technology
7. AT&T introduces “speed dating” for app developers in US and Israel

8. Camero’s Tactical Tech Xaver See-Thru Wall Technology

9. Comverse lost $1 billion in 3 years

10. Invest in Israel Newsletter September 2010 Edition

iPhone vs Android, AT&T vs Verizon

In 2011 Verizon Wireless will start carrying the iPhone adding another level of competition in the iPhone-Android wars.

AT&T announced on Thursday that it is opening three innovation centers, including one that will  be in Israel.

The move will give mobile application developers the chance to present their app ideas and develop them at these labs and then to get them out to market fast. Through a fast (“speed-dating”) approach, AT&T hopes to review up to 400 proposals a year.

The company plans to work with Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs and Ericsson, to locate innovation centers in Palo Alto, CA, Plano, TX, and Ra’anana, near Tel Aviv, Israel, and with Cisco and Juniper Networks as infrastructure providers and collaborators in the centers.

According to the press release,

AT&T and its industry collaborators selected participants are working in three key areas:

  • Connected-health applications that could help identify health concerns earlier and dramatically improve the quality of care
  • HTML5 applications that will revolutionize the online experience, and
  • Machine-to-machine mobile applications that will help people interact with their environment in meaningful new ways.”

“The innovation centers will help us enhance collaboration and dramatically accelerate the velocity of innovation, taking ideas from concept to reality in mere months as opposed to years,” said John Donovan, AT&T’s chief technology officer. “We’re tapping into cutting-edge design expertise in Silicon Valley, prototyping industry applications – from automotive to education services – in Plano and the deep skills in communications protocols and innovation that reside in Israel. Working across centers, innovation can follow the sun with a near 24-hour cycle time for agile development.”

Israel has a strong presence in the health technology and telecommunications fields. Aside from innovation in biomedical devices such as Given Imaging’s Pillcam and InSightec’s ExAblate 2000, one of the most popular health community websites on the web was founded in Israel, iMedix. Israel’s defense industry and the nature of Israelis to be early adopters, especially when it comes to mobile technology, has driven Israel’s telecommunications field. Some leaders in the field include Alvarion, InfoGin, and Radware. Israel has also attracted several multinational companies in the field, including Intel, Cisco and Motorola, to set up facilities in Israel.

The centers will be run from Palo Alto which is considered to be the center of the mobile development world since the success of the iPhone and Android platforms.

AT&T competitor Verizon Wireless recently announced that it will launch its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in several major US cities by the end of the year. The company is also planning to unveil several new LTE-friendly phones in January 2011. Although Google CEO Eric Schmidt is expected t0 announce the first set of devices, Android ones, on stage, rumors of a Verizon iPhone in 2011 heated up this week with speculation that it might also be debuted then. Considering this new competition and reports that demand for iPhones from AT&T are leveling out, AT&T’s innovation centers announcement comes at a good time and offers significant promise for the network in the future.

Image via closari.


During the week of September 26, 2010, BrightSource Energy drew attention for its likely IPO in 2011. AOL bought video site 5min Media and a new report released by Symantec suggests that the Stuxnet worm that’s attacking industry computers throughout the world, particularly in Iran, may have come from Israel. For these stories and more, see this week’s headlines below.

1. BrightSource Energy quietly moves toward IPO in 2011

2. New Eilat-Eilot Clean Tech Center May Boost Solar And Wind Energy Projects

3. AOL and Google Gobbling Israeli Startups

4. Breaking: AOL Buying Israeli Video Site 5min Media

Information Technology
5. Cell phone radiation detection app comes to Android

6. IRAN: Speculation on Israeli involvement in malware computer attack (Stuxnet)

7. New Clues Point to Israel as Author of Blockbuster Worm, Or Not (Stuxnet)

8. Fixing our broken classrooms

9. IBM’s Blade purchase raises speculation over more acquisitions

10. BriefCam wins Wall Street Journal award