Tech Talk: Casual Connect comes to Tel Aviv

More than 1,600 people were expected to attend the gaming conference, with half of them hailing from some 35 countries and visiting Israel specifically for the conference.

The participants in the Elevation W incubator, powered by Nielsen Innovate (photo credit: Courtesy)
The participants in the Elevation W incubator, powered by Nielsen Innovate
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For the first time ever, Tel Aviv hosted Casual Connect, an international conference in which gamers from all over the world come together in search of the next big thing for the games industry. The goal of the program, which took place from Monday through Wednesday, is to match the creativity of the games industry with new media innovation and investment. Conference organizers believe that Tel Aviv is the ultimate location for holding the gaming event since this is where creativity and business merge to create new and unique games.
Over the past ten years, the conference has been held in cities around the world, such as Amsterdam, Singapore, and San Francisco. This year, the conference is sponsored by Playtika, one of Israel’s largest Internet companies that is considered a world leader in social gaming and developer of some of the world’s best casual games.
“As a company at the forefront of the gaming industry,” said Playtika CEO and founder Robert Antokol “it’s important for us to strengthen the connection between Israel and the rest of the world and to show senior gaming executives that Israel is a gaming superpower that cannot be ignored. That’s why hosting the Casual Connect conference in Israel for the first time is so significant. We hope this trend will continue in the coming years.”
More than 1,600 people were expected to attend the gaming conference, with half of them hailing from some 35 countries and visiting Israel specifically for the conference. A number of leaders of the mobile industry from outside of Israel spoke at the conference, including Sean Ryan – head of online gaming at Facebook; Brandon Kraham - team manager of Google’s global mobile sales; Mihai Pohontu - VP Emerging Platforms of Samsung; Mike Hines - developer evangelist of Amazon; and David Helgason - founder of Unity Technologies. In addition, a battery of high-level Israeli gaming experts delivered speeches, including Antokol, Omer Kaplan, IronSource deputy CEO, and Modi Rosen, co-founder of Magma Venture Partners.
Sleep better
SleepASAP – a new crowd sourcedbased app for connecting the sleep-deprived with each other, and providing sleep recommendation strategies, is now open to new community participants.
SleepASAP helps sleep strugglers by utilizing a crowd-powered platform to match them with their personalized optimal treatment and connecting them with a community of fellow strugglers and experts.
“Everyone knows the pain of losing a productive day because of a sleepless night,” stated Nadav Lankin, the company’s co-founder and COO.
“Sleep deprivation affects 45% of the world, and this number is growing, with 50-70 million sufferers in the US alone.”
Direct annual costs in the US are estimated at $13.9 billion, with an additional indirect annual cost of $72- $90 billion (data from that US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
To date, available treatments are generic, costly, often pharmaceutical, and exclude the variable of personality insights, which has a significant impact on sleep disorders.
SleepASAP is a user-friendly app for iOS and Android, where users can gain insight from the community about combating the struggle of sleepless nights. It provides you with an analysis of your sleep DNA , which is created by identifying your personality insights and sleep symptoms. Once you list your personal story, the app will provide you with recommended treatments that have helped people with the same sleep DNA .
This sleep DNA can be leveraged to help countless sleep strugglers make insight based decisions to manage and improve the quality of their sleep. It also gives SleepASAP users the experience of a curated empathic community of sleep strugglers and sleep experts filtered by their unique sleep DNA .
According to the company, SleepASAP is for anyone who has tried and failed to find a therapeutic method that will help you fall asleep. It will save you the frustration and time of searching for something that will actually work.
With this vision close in sight, the company launched an Indiegogo campaign on October 12th which is intended to support the development of the app. Early supporters will not only get access to the app, but will also have early community access to fellow SleepASAP members.
Find SleepASAP on Indiegogo and http//
Women entrepreneurs
On a sunny morning in Caesarea, thirteen women sat around a table at Nielsen Innovate’s lounge and a colorful printed variation of Buddhism’s wheel of life. Their call to action was simple – illustrate the importance of various aspects in your life, such as social life, career, health or achievements, by coloring large or small portions of the segments on the paper.
The meeting, which took place last month, is not a general women’s empowerment workshop – it is Elevation W incubator, powered by Nielsen Innovate. Ten women were selected for the program, to present and develop their startups.
According to Narkis Alon, Elevation’s co-founder, the idea is very simple. “As the tech industry is controlled by men, we wanted to create an entrepreneurship experience which is suited for women. Our program has a very practical side – our participants meet experts and talk about all the aspects of developing a startup.,” he said.
“However, at the same time, we do this differently. For instance, at the start and finish of every day we convene for a discussion and closure. We share the difficulties – we do it our way.”
The entrepreneurs’ program was rich, but focused. Elevation Academy’s co-founder, Sara Reifschneider, encouraged the participants to focus on growth and ask themselves, which segment of life is the most satisfying? Which one needs more work?
The participants heard lectures by leaders in Israel’s tech industry – including Nielsen Innovate’s CEO Esther Barak-Landes, Dov Yarkoni, Nielsen Innovate’s VP Business Development and Gal Ringel, director of technology at Nielsen Innovate. The core of the program was dedicated to meetings with the heads of Nielsen’s portfolio companies where they discussed and learned about marketing, developing their ideas and raising investments.
“We are here to help you try and take the first steps in the entrepreneurship world,” Barak-Landes told the participants at the opening of the workshop. “We want to help you make your dream come true.”
The participants came from different backgrounds and presented an exciting variety of projects such as a social recipe book app; a marketplace for interior design; a personal experience app to help children create their own book; and a dynamic translation tool for sign language.
If you run a young startup, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact [email protected]
Translated by Hannah Hochner.