Israel is swarming with start-ups, but only a handful of them manage to receive international attention. This in mind, I put together a list of five start-ups from a variety of fields that are doing exciting things in their specific tech domains.
Viggo.tv is a Herlzlya-based company that has developed a cloud-based smart TV for hotels. The company is targeting hotels in Europe and specifically in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. I wrote about Viggo some months ago after speaking with Shiri Sivan, Viggo’s VP Marketing. Sivan told me that she wants to see Viggo play a positive role connecting the hotel with the local community.
“We want to make hotels the drivers of local businesses. Hotels need to have an active, not a passive, role. Hotel owners and managers often wonder: I have all this data and knowledge of our surroundings, but why haven’t I conveyed this effectively to our guests? Hotels should play an active role in building local communities. After all, hotels — by definition — connect the city to visitors.”
I met Ben Baror, the founder and CEO of Tel Aviv based Voxdox over a year ago when his text-to-speech app was only in its infancy. Today the app has thousands of daily users who use it to turn any piece of text into speech by selecting the language of their choice. Baror runs the app together with his co-founder and head developer, Dror Yzhakov. Released in March 2013, Voxdox now boasts 200,000 downloads, with most users based in the US, Germany, and Brazil.
Israelis are known to be among the pioneers of new technologies and innovations. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is perhaps the most exciting and revolutionary manufacturing technology of the coming decades. I had a chance to attend a recent 3D printing conference in Tel Aviv where I met Shachar Gafni, the founder of Fusion 3D, a company that is set to release a consumer desktop 3D printer in January. The machine is cheaper than most printers that have similar features. Fusion 3D printer costs only $700 and comes with a vertically adjustable frame that moves up and down based on the height of the printed item.
Angry Jew is the only running-jumping and punching mobile game that is set in 19th century Russia and has a protagonist named Mendel, an orthodox Jew whose mission is to capture as many holy books as possible.
Unsurprisingly the game has garnered attention in the Jewish media, so you might have actually heard about it. I met the two founders Edo Frenkel and Gil Elnekave over a coffee and we had an animated discussion about how the game might be received by the Jewish and non-Jewish audiences alike. Gil and Edo told me that the game has been received well without much controversy.
Yet another Tel Aviv based 3D printing venture, Pzartech connects the user to the nearest public 3D printing facility. Jeremie Brader-Adonajlo, the co-founder of Tel Aviv based Pzartech told me that the company wants to bring 3D printing’s disruptive ability to the crowd. Pzartech wants to be a one stop service that combines a 3D design marketplace and a collaborative 3D printing platform.