Microsoft gives boost to Israeli start-ups

Petach Tikva firm RotaryView reveals plans for a 3D photography platform for e-commerce to 'The Jerusalem Post.'

By NADAV SHEMER
April 11, 2012 22:21
2 minute read.
Petach Tikva firm RotaryView

Petach Tikva firm RotaryView 370. (photo credit: RotaryView)

 
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Microsoft’s increasing involvement in Israeli hi-tech has given a boost to many local start-ups, including Petach Tikva firm RotaryView – which revealed its plans for a 3D photography platform for e-commerce to The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

RotaryView has been shortlisted to participate in Microsoft’s first-ever incubator program for early-stage start-ups, which will take place at the US multinational’s Israel Research & Development Center in Herzliya Pituach. This follows its acceptance last week into Microsoft’s BizSpark Plus program, which gives it two years’ access to open cloud computing platform Windows Azure in a package worth roughly $60,000.

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Founders and serial entrepreneurs Gev Rotem, Gal Rotem and Ofir Shefer are developing products which they believe will strengthen e-commerce – an industry JP Morgan estimates will be worth $963 billion a year by 2013 – for both online vendors and buyers.

They released their first product in March: a platform which allows even the smallest businesses to present a 360-degree view of their product, by simply photographing the subject from all angles and uploading. Large companies have been employing 360° vision of their products for quite some time, but until now the product has been expensive and time-consuming as it requires knowledge of code.

Next on RotaryView’s agenda is three-dimensional photography, which it has been working on since securing a US patent in 2011. The company believes the time is ripe for this innovation, with more 3D-capable computers, tablets and smartphones being launched onto the market all the time.

“We believe every company that shows its products in 2D will move to 360° or 3D very soon, in order to let the customer view their product from all angles,” CEO Gev Rotem told the Post.

Citing a 2010 Adobe survey which found that 91 percent of online shoppers prefer seeing a product in 360°, Rotem said it was no longer sufficient for companies to prevent their customers from being able to fully see and learn about a product. He added that providing 360° or 3D views would help reduce return rates significantly, particularly in the United States where customers take advantage of relaxed refund policies.

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RotaryView’s founders are in many ways typical of young Israeli entrepreneurs. Gev Rotem made a successful exit from his diamond-purchasing company in November, while Gal Rotem and Shefer are owners of animation studio Visual3D. Their latest project was entirely self-funded, until Microsoft stepped in.

Gev and Gal Rotem’s fathers – who are brothers – instilled the spirit of entrepreneurship in their children from a young age. In 1985, a decade before the introduction of the Palm Pilot, they invented a device combining a calendar and a phone book.

“They were a little bit ahead of their time,” Gev Rotem admits, but he said their experience taught him and his cousin to seize a good opportunity when it presents itself.

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