Israel Innovation 2.0

Inside Israeli Technology

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During the week of May 31, 2009, Sunday Energy, SolarEdge and Ormat all had major announcements related to providing alternative energy in Israel, while GameGround and The Box successfully raised funds. In IT, Discretix explained the threat of bank accounts being hacked on mobile phones and Trusteer signed a contract with PSECU in England. For these stories and the rest of this week’s 15 Israel-related headlines, check below.

Cleantech
1. Sunday Energy forges new ground in Israel with Ormat

2. Israeli firm boosts performance of photovoltaic solar array

3. Exploiting Limited Resources

Investments
4. GameGround snags $4.1 million from Sequoia for gamer services

5. Investment in Green Energy Quadruples in 4 Years

6. Israel’s The Box Secures Funding from Greylock Partners to Target US and Other International Markets

Information Technology
7. PC Touch-Screen Technology Moving Beyond Curiosity

8. How much serious is the threat of hacking bank accounts via mobile phones? (Discretix)

9. PSECU Secures Web Channel with Trusteer

10. Virtualize Your Internet Connection with BufferZone

11. WatchDox Makes Document Security Simple

Miscellaneous
12. Central Park’s Tel Aviv ‘beach party’

13. Video: Microsoft’s Project Natal in action

14. Nestle producing new breakfast cereal in Sderot

15. Brain research center to be built at Hebrew University

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The week of February 22, 2009, was a fairly quiet one for Israel’s technology and business sectors… but there was still plenty that happened. News about Microsoft’s interests in purchasing 3DV Systems, a motion-sensing company, continued, as did layoff announcements. Tufin Technologies announced the general availability of its SecureChange Workflow software and IT Structures, an on-demand virtual enterprise software evaluation service, demonstrated its technology during VMworld Europe last week. For these stories and more, check out the rest of this week’s 13 Israel-related headlines below. 

Cleantech
1. DOE & Israel Update Energy Cooperation Agreement 

2. Ancient Jordanian wells radioactive, study finds

Investments, Economy and M&A
3. Stormy day for high-tech as layoffs, pay cuts announced 

4. Microsoft Set to Bring 3D Motion Control to Xbox & PC Games

5. Venture capital investments rise in China, India, and Israel 

6. A viable economy

Information Technology
7. Tufin Technologies Announces General Availability of SecureChange(TM) Workflow

8. Red Hat Targets VMware, Microsoft With Virtualization Line (Qumranet)

9. IT Structures Emerges to Take Center Stage at VMworld Europe

Miscellaneous
10. Financial crisis gives universities a chance to reverse brain drain

11. The Mobile Industry Meets Hollywood

12. Israeli ‘Spiderman’ attacks commuters

13. Nanotech activity in Israel jumps 150%

Last week the Internet was abuzz with Microsoft’s intentions to buy Israeli motion and depth sensor company, 3DV Systems. Microsoft’s offer of $35 million is below the $38.6 million invested in the company and seems to come out of desperation on the part of Kleiner Perkins. If the deal goes through, Microsoft will integrate the technology into its Xbox gaming system, making the need for any type of controller unnecessary and posing the biggest threat to Nintendo Wii yet. 

A little over a year ago in January 2008, 3DV stole the spotlight at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with its new release at the time, the ZCam. The camera, which detects motion and depth, was on display for conference attendees to try out and drew a lot of good feedback. After reading about 3DV’s performance and its competitor, another Israeli company, Prime Sense’s presence at CES 2008, I predicted in a post about them that they could take gaming to the next level, including one of them becoming the next big gaming console.

Though that certainly doesn’t look like it will be the case for 3DV as an independent entity, should the deal go through with Microsoft and it is succesfully integrated into the Xbox, it looks like it will take gaming to the next level.  This story will be interesting to watch as it develops and long after.

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During the week of February 15, 2009, Greylock Israel was revealed to be the most active Israeli venture capital fund in 2008. The Internet was abuzz with both Hulu’s plan to discontinue distributing its content via Boxee and Microsoft’s intention to further its Xbox technology by buying 3DV, a motion and depth sensor company that has technology that can turn a 2D gaming experience into a more interactive 3D one without having to use a controller. In the cleantech sector, news broke that Arison Holdings Ltd. subsidiary Housing and Construction Holding Co. Ltd. plans to build the largest private solar thermal power plant in the Negev. For these stories and more, check below for the 13 Israel-related headlines from the week of February 15, 2009. 

Cleantech
1. Lab-on-a-Chip the Latest Weapon Against Pollution

2. Arison plans private solar thermal power plant in Negev

Investments and M&A
3. 3DV buy could give Xbox a stronger punch

4. Greylock Israel the most active Israeli venture capital fund of 2008

Information Technology
5. LG Electronics Selects Intrinsyc to Provide Software for Navigation and Location-Based Services 

6. NSC Announces Multimedia Search Server for Enterprise Applications

7. Mellanox Builds Bridges for Data Center Connectivity

Telecom/Mobile
8. iSkoot Kalaida(TM) Platform Brings New Capability to Consumer Handsets

9. WeFi Joins Forces With free-hotspot.com To Expand Global Wi-Fi Network

Miscellaneous
10. Inshore in Nazareth 

11. Hulu Withdraws its Content from TV.com, Boxee

12. C-nario, TruMedia integrate audience measurement with digital signage software

13. Rapid Manufacturing Goes Hollywood

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During the week of January 11, 2009, the war in Gaza escalated and news about Israeli tech companies continued. The biggest news of the week was that multi-touch technology company, N-Trig raised $24 million in its latest round of funding, the majority coming from Microsoft. Better Place announced its partnership to bring electric cars to Canada while Aladdin agreed to be acquired after months of talks with Vector Capital. Other information security companies, Trusteer and Commtouch also made headlines with important security threat findings. For links to these stories and more, check out the complete 12 Israel-related headlines from the week of January 11, 2009 below. 

Cleantech

1. Better Place Partners with Ontario to Bring ‘Car 2.0’ Electric Car Infrastructure to Canada

2. Eilat to host major international energy conference

Investments and M&A

3. Information security provider Aladdin is to be acquired by Vector Capital for $160 million

4. Microsoft leads $24m round for touch screen co N-trig

Information Technology

5. Phishing attack uses pop-up message on bank sites

6. Shunra Software Joins Microsoft Visual Studio Industry Partners Program 

7. IDV Solutions and Eternix Announce Technology Integration for Innovative Geospatial Solutions for the Defense & Intelligence Industry

8. RiT Technologies launches Paladin environment and security management suite

9. User Generated Content Sites Breeding Ground for New Internet Security Threats Says Commtouch Trend Report 

N-Trig

10. N-trig Secures $24 Million of New Funding to Fuel Hands-on computing™ Growth in Global PC Market

11. Microsoft Betting Big on ‘Touch’

12. CyberLink and N-Trig Introduce Next-Generation Multi-Touch Enabled Applications at CES

ntrig_logoThe breaking news that Steve Jobs of Apple  is taking a medical leave of absence for several months makes the news from earlier this week of Microsoft investing in Israel- and Texas-based N-Trig gets even more interesting.

Earlier this week, N-Trig, the sole provider of DuoSense™ technology which combines pen, touch and multi-touch into one device, announced  it successfully raised $24 million in its latest round of funding for the purpose of funding ongoing strategic partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop multi-touch notebooks that will reach a wider market.

Investors in the round included Canaan Partners, Evergreen Venture Partners, Aurum Ventures and Challenger Ltd. In addition to these venture capital firms, none other than Microsoft Corp. also invested. The investment comes as part of its efforts to build more pen and touch applications into its next-generation Windows 7 operating system and as part of its racing Apple to multi-touch. 

To date, N-Trig’s DuoSense Technology is already used in Dell’s Latitude XT and Hewlett-Packard’s TouchSmart x2 and the company announced last week with CyberLink Corporation that they are developing multi-touch-enabled solutions for PCs worldwide together to increase that amount. Though it’s unlikely, it will be interesting if Apple’s plans will be in any way hindered while Jobs is away.

N-Trig was founded by Dr. Meir Morag in 1999 after he previously co-founded e-Sim. The company is lead by CEO Amihai Ben-David and has raised some raised some $73 million while growing to over 100 employees over the years. Last year, “Globes” rated N-trig as one of Israel’s most promising start-up companies.

How does multitouch technology work? Lenny Engelhardt, VP of Business Development at N-Trig explains in this video: 

**The following relates to the enterprise but is not directly related to technology companies or people in Israel.**

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Every so often I like to share my thoughts on Facebook’s future and where I think it is going in regards to the enterprise and in general. My biggest prediction in the past has been that in the race to gather the world’s information, Facebook and Google are at opposite ends of the information spectrum when it comes to social and computerized gathering and are bound to clash at some point. In light of Facebook’s recent failed attempt to buy Twitter, here are three things Facebook is likely to do or should do in the future based on this recent and other not so recent news.

1. Enhanced human-powered search, via Twitter-style comments and features
As mentioned, the inspiration for this post is that in recent days there has been talk of Facebook’s failed attempt to purchase the social networking/micro-blogging site Twitter in exchange for stock options. The exact plans Facebook had for integrating Twitter, which is primarily used by business and technology professionals to communicate with one another and who commonly share links to relevant information on the Web, may be unknown, but it is safe to assume that Facebook would have somehow integrated the rest of the technology into its status feature (which currently only enables users to comment on them). Twitter’s appeal is that being a site that relies on user interactions and content, it is the ultimate way to share information and help people find useful information on the Internet.

Regardless of the failed deal, it seems that Facebook will continue to develop Twitter-like technology on its own and roll it out as soon as it can. As it already has the status feature, and comment feature, its first focus will probably be to add a way to search your own past statuses as well as those of your friends.

2. Enterprise-friendly collaboration. Goodbye GMail.
Ever since companies started creating networks on Facebook, I’ve been waiting for Facebook to announce its creation or plans for creating a special platform for enterprises. The platform could serve as a low cost intranet system for companies and allow for better collaboration and communication among employees within such companies. If Facebook changed its messaging system into a full email application it would already have the other communication means, such as chat and video chat apps available to make collaboration easier and possibly a little more fun.

Also, if Facebook wanted to take GMail straight on, it could partner with Microsoft (who it partners with for search results and advertising) and develop an online version of MS Office that it could offer on its enterprise platform for collaboration. Of course, back in October 2008, co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz and colleague Justin Rosenstein left the company with the desire to build an online “enterprise productivity suite” that will from the outside (using Facebook Connect) complement the non-work-related social aspect of Facebook.

3. Calendar
Who doesn’t like Facebook’s events feature? It’s easy to create, access and share. Most important though is the access. Unlike Google Calendar or other calendar applications, the events are integrated throughout Facebook making it easy to access from the search bar or when you’re on the homepage after signing in to see what upcoming events there are for that day and the next few. While it is great the way it is, Facebook Events can still be improved to act as a full personal planner by making it possible to synchronize non-Facebook events with Facebook as well. Perhaps one way this could be done is with an “Share to Facebook Events” widget that could be placed on other websites.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

About the author: Lisa Damast is the Membership Manager of ebizQ.net and currently resides in Israel. Any questions or inquiries regarding this blog or ebizQ membership services can be directed to her via email at ldamast (at) ebizq (dot) net. She can also be followed on Twitter, where she covers additional Israeli technology companies and Israel-related headlines and topics.

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During the week of November 9, 2008, the Israel cleantech tour in the US began and CA announced its plans to buy Eurekify. On the funding side, Convergin secured $10 million from Pitango Venture Capital and Odysii introduced its marketing intelligence software to U.S. banks. Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel who is running in the upcoming elections in February, received attention from the New York Times for the intentional strong similarity of his website and strategy to that of the U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama. Of course the biggest news in Israel was that former hi-tech businessman, Nir Barkat was elected to be the next mayor of Jerusalem. For more on these stories and the rest of the 17 Israel-related technology headlines from the weeks of November 9, 2008, check the list below.

Cleantech and Environment

1. Israel clean tech tour begins Monday

Investments, M&A and the Economy

3. CA to buy Eurekify

Information Technology

7. Odysii Introduces Its Leading Marketing Intelligence Software to U.S. Banks

Miscellaneous

12. Move Over, Napa: Boutique Wines from Israel are Making a U.S. Debut

17. Barkat promises to be mayor of all J’lem residents

About the author: Lisa Damast is the Membership Manager of ebizQ.net and currently resides in Israel. Any questions or inquiries regarding this blog or ebizQ membership services can be directed to her via email at ldamast (at) ebizq (dot) net. She can also be followed on Twitter, where she covers additional Israeli technology companies and Israel-related headlines and topics.

*About the Weekly Headlines image: The Star of David in the image was found on Flickr and is used under the Creative Commons license. It was originally uploaded by Flickr member,zeevveez. The overall Weekly Headlines image was designed by Lisa Damast.

SNI-2.JPGThe week of September 14, 2008 was pretty bleak for the United States and foreign markets worldwide, including Israel. Despite the fluctuations in the world markets and the economy the past few months, there were several positive stories on technology companies and investments coming out of Israel the past week. Word came that Lehman Brothers investments in Israel’s VC market was probably relatively minor, estimated at around $100 million. Animation-site, aniBoom announced its third annual video contest, while a public beta version of KonoLive debuted and Sightix launched at Web 2.0 Expo NYC. For these stories and the rest of the 15 Israel-related technology headlines from last week, check below.

Cleantech
1. Catching up With Shai Agassi

2. Israeli water purification gets boost

Investments and M&A
3. Limited role for Lehman Brothers in Israeli VC market

4. PicApp Selected as Premiere Photo Source for Sports-Targeted Yardbarker Network and Raises $3.2M Led by Carmel Ventures

Information Technology
5. Keller Williams Protects Critical Email Systems with PineApp’s Mail-Secure

6. Chip PC Unveils New Linux-based Thin Client With Policy-Based Management

Virtualization
7. Best of VMworld 2008 awards announced (InstallFree)

8. Voltaire Introduces Certified High-Performance I/O Virtualization Solution for VMware

9. Microsoft U.K. DCOE Picks Shunra Virtual Enterprise WAN Emulation Solution

Web 2.0
10. aniBoom Awards Entries Sought

11. KonoLive Debuts Public Beta at Web 2.0 Expo

12. Flixwagon Launches New Platform

13. Sightix launches at Web 2.0 Expo NYC

Miscellaneous
14. Advasense Successfully Develops 1.4-Micron Pixel for CMOS Image Sensors

15. Discretix Partners With castLabs to Offer Combined OMA BCAST Mobile TV Client/Server Solution

16. HP unit reaches out to Israeli start-ups

About the author: Lisa Damast is the Membership Manager of ebizQ.net and currently resides in Israel. Any questions or inquiries regarding this blog or ebizQ membership services can be directed to her via email at ldamast (at) ebizq (dot) net. She can also be followed on Twitter, where she covers additional Israeli technology companies and Israel-related headlines and topics.

*About the Weekly Headlines image: The Star of David in the image was found on Flickr and is used under the Creative Commons license. It was originally uploaded by Flickr member, zeevveez. The overall Weekly Headlines image was designed by Lisa Damast.

SNI-2.JPGThe week of September 7, 2008 was on the quiet side regarding major breakthroughs or mergers and acquisitions related to Israeli companies. That had little effect on the buzz about Israeli companies though. Techcrunch50 took place last week in which 6 (SIX!) Israeli companies were finalists (out of 52) and a 7th was selected by the audience after seeing its demo in the DemoPit. While most of the selected Israeli finalists focus on the consumer market, one finalist that did not was Devunity, which is one of the first collaboration tools for coders. Aside from TechCrunch50, Shari Arison announced that she invested $100 million in a new water company and Microsoft Israel unveiled a new keyboard-free touch technology. As always, there was much more that happened last week. Check out the rest of the 17 Israel-related technology headlines from the week of September 7, 2008 below.

Cleantech
Israeli Cleantech Companies Sought for Delegation to California

Ormat buys geothermal rights in Alaska

Arison invests $100 million in new water company

Investments
Cleantech cash piles up in Israel

Local officials to embark on trade mission to Israel

Israeli hi-tech stocks feel pinch of slow US market

TechCrunch50
Israel Makes Strong TC50 Showing

Israeli Web Scene – Ready for Phase III

Products to Watch at TechCrunch50

TC50: Translate your blog, tackle your email and two other companies from the language and platform session

TC50: Devunity Offers Browser-Based Collaborative Coding

Miscellaneous
Israel plays key role in CERN super collider exercise

Who are the 100 most influential people in Israel?

IDT seeks to develop energy in Israel

Spain’s Optenet Licenses Commtouch Reputation Service for Carrier and Enterprise Email Security Offerings

Siano’s Mobile TV Receiver and Antenna Chips Power AvMap’s Geosat 6 Phone TV

Microsoft Israel unveils keyboard-free touch technology

About the author: Lisa Damast is the Membership Manager of ebizQ.net and currently resides in Israel.  Any questions or inquiries regarding this blog or ebizQ membership services can be directed to her via email at ldamast (at) ebizq (dot) net. She can also be followed on Twitter, where she covers additional Israeli technology companies and Israel-related headlines and topics.

*About the Weekly Headlines image: The Star of David in the image was found on Flickr and is used under the Creative Commons license. It was originally uploaded by Flickr member, zeevveez. The overall Weekly Headlines image was designed by Lisa Damast.