Here are the top 15 tech stories for 2014. These can be about entirely new companies, new gadgets, apps or devices, or older companies that made big moves this year. (They are followed by the top 5 medical companies of the year.)
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The smart payment technology provider startup raised $12 million in new capital this year. According to the company, the Zooz engine utilizes proprietary algorithms to dynamically route each transaction to the selected acquirer, reducing decline rates and lowering transaction costs by cutting cross-border and currency conversion fees. It enhances and optimizes the existing payment infrastructure of enterprise-class retailers, enabling them to accept payments efficiently and flexibly for competitive rates across online and in-store channels.
The Smart Routing solution connects retailers to multiple acquirers and payment methods through one integration, resulting in a seamless payment experience across all channels for retailers and their customers.
The Israeli-based startup created a scheduling application technology that it boasts will connect the world’s calendars.
Based in Tel Aviv, Meekan was founded in 2013 by a father-son duo, Lior & Eyal Yavor, along with veteran product executive Matty Mariansky. Its scheduling & optimization engines are the core of the technology, alongside the Flexible Time Algorithm. Three months ago the company released a beta version of its iOS app for iPhone and iPad devices, which aims at simplifying scheduling of business meetings.
The Meekan app, the company boasts, simplifies scheduling by pinpointing the best times for the meeting, taking into account free/busy availability, time zones and working hours of all attendees, regardless of the calendar program they’re using (Gmail, Google Apps, Exchange/Office365.com and iCloud).
Israeli online presentation platform emaze hopes to compete head to head with Microsoft’s Power Point program. Emaze describes itself as, “the powerful and dynamic online presentation tool”, boasting that it allows anyone to effortlessly create stunning presentations. With emaze’s cloud-based technology, users can create, edit and playback presentations from any device, wherever they are. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, the company was founded by Motti Nisani, Shai Schwartz and Dr. Arie Livshin.
It offers users more than 80 professionally designed templates including features such as 3D, panning and zooming movement, animation, automatic translation and sound effects. There is also video integration and playback from within the presentation, live data such as a Twitter feed, Survey Monkey results, NASDAQ Ticker and Google Maps.
Emaze also provides shareability via a link. Users click on the “share” button to generate a link that can be used to access, edit or demo the presentation from anywhere, anytime. It also provides easy collaboration for multiple users (options to enable permissions to view, edit) and is built entirely on HTML5 providing full capabilities on any screen.
The new Israeli company OptiBus just might have the solution for bus lines running late while making it easier for public transportation companies to set their schedules.
If you use public buses then you are probably one of millions of people worldwide with the same complaints. How often does it seem like the bus that you need is taking forever to arrive when you are running late; even though, that line is supposed to come every five minutes? Have you ever waited more than a half hour at a bus stop, only to see three buses of the same line all show up at once?
Well if OptiBus can deliver on what it promises then such nuisances may become a thing of the past. The company offers an algorithm based SaaS platform for public transportation companies that optimizes scheduling of operations in real-time
The company maintains that by using its technology, operators are able to create full optimal vehicle and crew schedules within seconds.
This technology, they say, brings the ability to test various alternatives in no time, allowing the scheduler to select the best fitting one. The company also promises to save its customers between 7 to 10% on annual expenses.
Israeli startup Roomer, which lets people trade their hotel reservations, raised $5 million in a Series A financing round this year.
Have you ever made a non-refundable hotel reservation that you had to cancel? If so, did you wish that you could find someone else to use the reservation instead? If so then Roomer is the service that you have been waiting for.
Roomer has been described as both the StubHub and the Airbnb of hotel rooms. It is simple. Sellers posts the details of a hotel reservation which they need to give up and Roomer tries to find them a buyer. Buyers scan such information for any available rooms in cities where they are traveling to and pay for them through the service.
The company declares that its vision is to, “make travel exchangeable and tradable.” Founded in 2011 by Gon Ben-David and Ben Froumine and New York City it was launched in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas in 2013 and has been expanding its services into new cities ever since.
The Israeli social marketing app raised a total of $2.2 million in financing. The company is using the funds towards the launch of its DIY Marketing app and to provide it for Android since it is currently only available for iOS.
The app provides small business owners with social marketing that they can operate from their mobile devices.
Wannabiz is a free DIY 5-minute-a-day marketing mobile app for independent professionals in any industry to easily utilize expert marketing in order to create and deliver dynamic content integrated across Facebook, Twitter, website and blog, as well as intelligent online advertising on a micro budget. Over 91 percent of the businesses in Europe and the US are one person shops or consist of under 10 people with minimal marketing budgets and expertise.
This company had a good year in 2014. First Microsoft chose the Israeli maker of digital pens and chips for touchscreens to provide the digital pen technology for its new Surface Pro 3. Then N-trig announced plans for a $20 million IPO on the TASE which would give it a valuation of $80 million.
The startup declares that its active pen solutions are designed to provide a natural pen-on-paper feel while enhancing the overall creativity and productivity of touch enabled devices. Advanced pressure sensitivity enables a natural pen writing appearance in digital input. The company says that, “N-trig’s controllers bring a superior palm rejection feature that ensures no unintended touch events occur when using the active pen for writing on a screen, providing the write experience.”
New York entrepreneur Nathan Hecht went looking for funding for his new app called DSTRUX, which destructs texts to protect privacy. DSTRUX boasts that it enables users to control what they share on the web by letting them set self-destruct timers on anything that they post. If a share is forwarded the user can track everyone who receives it, and designate which of these recipients may view it. Recipients are unable to save the shared item or screen capture it and users can destroy the file at any time.
This will be perfect for all of those celebrities and politicians who are constantly putting their feet in their mouths with stupid tweets and Facebook postings.
Israel’s eToro, a social investment network and forex broker, secured $15 million in funding this year from the leading Chinese venture capital firm Ping An Ventures, a VC under Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd., the largest non-state owned integrated financial services conglomerate in China and SBT Venture Capital, a fintech focused fund whose main partner is Russia’s largest bank.
eToro boasts that it is the world’s leading social investment network, with 4 million registered users in over 140 countries and thousands of new accounts opened each day. The company says that it leads the “social trading revolution” through its community powered network, which enables every investor to see, follow and automatically copy the actions of other investors in real time. eToro declares its mission is to revolutionize the way people access the financial markets and make their trading experience more social, simple, enjoyable and transparent.
Through the award winning eToro OpenBook and WebTrader platforms, over 1.75 million traders are empowered to learn from each other, share live trading information and even capitalize on their collective trading power thanks to the CopyTrader feature. These same traders can also use eToro’s social trading services on the go, with eToro’s Mobile Trader for Android, iPhone and Blackberry.
This new Israeli app lets people delete old and unwanted photos from their mobile devices. Simply called “Clean” it is produced by Yoovi Labs LTD.
How much space is wasted on your mobile device with old pictures that you have already posted to social networks? Are you one of the people who knows how to transfer files but not how to delete them? Then Clean was developed for you.
The company states, “Too many photos on your phone? Clean is simple and sweet. Swipe through your photos, decide which ones to keep, which ones to share, delete the rest.”
To delete photos you just need to swipe them to the bottom of the screen and to keep photos, swipe them up.
The free app is currently only available for IOS8 devices including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
Israeli startup Bizzabo, which offers a networking platform for event organizers and attendees, brought in $2.5 million in funding this year.
Founded in 2011, Bizzabo integrates social media to build highly-interactive event communities, helping organizers, sponsors and exhibitors to engage directly with guests and seek out meaningful new business opportunities. Organizers use Bizzabo to mobilize their event information, increase discoverability and word of mouth. The platform has been incorporated into thousands of events worldwide.
The company states that its product delivers real time event info and networking opportunities and helps to make the most out of every event.
Revenues will come from fees charged to event organizers for using the service, while event attendees will be able to download the app for free.
While not founded this year, this Israeli made public transport app made headlines by raising another $50 million in investments, giving it an estimated value of as much as $450 million. It also broke the 10 million user bar and added more than 300 new cities to its operations.
Moovit was launched in March 2012, and began its international expansion in 2013. Its main corporate headquarters are located in Ness Ziona, Israel, with an International office in San Francisco. The Moovit App boasts that it offers everything you need to travel on public transport in the, “smartest, speediest and easiest way possible”. It works by combining information from public transport operators and authorities with live information from the user community. It offers travelers a real-time picture and the fastest and the most comfortable routes.
Its users can also send active reports about their travel experience, such as bus congestion levels and cleanliness. The more people use Moovit, the more users receive real-time information concerning buses and trains. Live information received from travelers, the company says, offers all users improved route plans and more accurate estimates about arrival times.
What if your luggage could change its size and shape to fit your needs when traveling? This is what Fugu offers consumers. Fugu luggage has been measured to comply with airline size limitation for baggage and grows from the maximum regulation sized carry-on size to the maximum regulation sized check-in. So now people no longer need to keep several different types of luggage in different sizes. This also makes it easier to store when empty.
It is the brainchild of the company’s CEO Isaac Atlas. He got the idea when going on business trips himself. He named it for the poisonous Japanese puffer fish that expands to three times its size.
The suitcase which they have developed can change in size from check in to carry on with a series of simple steps. In addition, the design is more comfortable and user friendly, built from the strongest materials to insure a durable as well as convenient suitcase.
2) Shabbos app
Yes there is now an app that allows Shabbat observers to still use their smart phones without violating the Sabbath. At least that is what its makers assert. Most rabbis are not so sure.
Many people dismissed it as nothing more than a practical joke, but it is for real. Yossi Goldstein, who came up with the idea for the app, said it is no joke and that he really believes there is a use for it.
Activities such as using electricity and writing are strictly prohibited on Shabbat. The app deals with these issues and more.
It has a word pad where a user can pick from pre-made word blocks and create sentences. There are 120 included words and 30 words that a user can add (before Shabbos). With the word pad the company claims that there is no problem at all of Kosev (writing), as the user is never creating a word.
Also, messages can only be sent to other phones that have the app. This was done to allay concerns that it would be used to conduct business on the Sabbath which is prohibited.
It’s the Seinfeld startup of the year in that it’s the app about nothing. Yo! Does just one thing: it sends your friends a poke that says Yo which is supposed to be a simple and easy way to tell them that you are OK.
Launched in April, it skyrocketed to one million downloads in no time. The company raised $1.2 million and its founder, Or Arbel, moved from Israel to Silicon Valley to establish offices there.
In October the company expanded its services, adding location services as part of the app’s greeting.
It still remains to be seen if this will be just the fad of 2014 or if Yo is here to stay.
Top 5 Bio-tech, medical or Health Stories for 2014
Israeli company Nutrinia, which develops oral insulin therapies to treat rare gastrointestinal disorders, raised $12 million. The company said that funds from the round will be used to advance two multinational clinical studies to support registration of NTRA-2112 for treating pre-term infants and NTRA-9620 for treating Short Bowel Syndrome in the EU and the United States.
Nutrinia’s drugs are based on insulin, which has been shown to support the maturation and rehabilitation of the gastrointestinal tract. In four separate clinical studies, Nutrinia’s insulin formulation in oral presentation was shown to expedite GI maturity and growth, and improve several other clinical and economic parameters.
Israel’s InSightec, developer of high intense ultrasound devices called MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), closed a $59 Million Series D round of financing this year.
The Company, founded in 1999, has developed a completely non-invasive therapy platform that transforms medicine in an expanding number of neurosurgery, oncology and gynecology indications. InSightec boasts that MRgFUS has already been adopted and used by world recognized physicians in more than 120 leading medical facilities around the world, who see the tremendous clinical and economical value of the InSightec therapy platform.
Is there no end to Israeli ingenuity? The latest from Israeli inventors is not a new software or computer chip but a deodorant applicator called the ClickStick.
Everyone is concerned with conservation and recycling these days. But how many people have thought about having a reusable deodorant stick?
ClickStick is a product innovated by Gilad Arwatz and Carla Bahri, two grad students at Princeton University. While attending graduate school, Gilad became increasingly frustrated with the limited innovations of personal care products and noticed that applicators had not sufficiently advanced. With that in mind, ClickStick was born, starting the first technology innovation in deodorant application.
A new technology that was first developed for the training of Israeli Air Force pilots is now being used by athletes around the world. Israel’s IntelliGym develops software based “Brain-Gyms, ” training tools that significantly improve the performance of trainees in targeted tasks.
Israeli investor Danny Dankner, the owner of Applied Cognitive Engineering, IntelliGym’s designer, has patented the technology called Cognitive Simulation, which is applicable to a variety of potential users, such as competitive sport players, security personnel, fighter pilots, medical staff, traders and test prep students. The company declares that, “Wherever there is a need to cope with vast amounts of information and make rapid decisions under pressure – those who use the IntelliGym technology will have a significant competitive advantage.”
The company also boasts that its technology will help reduce the number of injuries suffered by athletes in all sorts of fields.
The IntelliGym technology is based on a concept originally developed for by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) by Professor Daniel Gopher of the Technion in Haifa.
The Israeli startup which helps doctors monitor patients’ medications launched version 3.0 of its medical app for iOS and Android systems alike. The app is linked to a cloud database and lets doctors know a patient’s prescription drug history and what medications to provide. The company says that this allows doctors to send patients automatic prescriptions which will increase the quality of their medical care.
The app is available for free download from sources such as Google and iTunes. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, French, Hebrew, and Arabic.
According to MediSafe, its mission is to help people integrate healthier behavior into their daily lives with a unique cloud-synced mobile medication management system. They also want to enhance the ability of a person’s family and friends to act as a support group and ensure that a person receives the proper doses of his medications at the right times.
Top that 2015!