Tech talk: IBM stirs up startup activity in Israel

Following a rigorous screening process, eight young Israeli companies were given office space at IBM’s Petah Tikva headquarters.

Smartphones [illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Smartphones [illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In July, IBM opened its first 24-week Alpha Zone accelerator program, which offers free assistance and support to early-stage Israeli startups.
Following a rigorous screening process, eight young Israeli companies were given office space at IBM’s Petah Tikva headquarters and received complimentary computers, software packages and business services.
Dror Pearl, head of IBM Israel’s Global Technology Unit, which is leading the program, said 100 young startups applied for the Alpha Zone accelerator program.
“These companies rely on high-quality professional teams and have already received seed money,” she said. “All the startups participating in the first Alpha Zone session chose to work in Big Data and cloud computing.”
What’s unique about the IBM program is that it gave preference to companies targeting the corporate market with a focus on Big Data, cloud, cognitive and mobile computing, social networking, e-commerce and the Internet of Things.
This form of cooperation is invaluable for startups that are just reaching first-round financing, usually a $1 million investment designed to jump-start the company.
Shachar Hefetz, the project manager of IBM’s Alpha Zone accelerator program, said the program is searching for additional startups to participate in the next round. Companies have until November 20 to sign up.
Startups in first round of financing
1. Optibus (www.optibus.
co) has developed advanced mathematical algorithms that help transportation companies organize large amounts of data and optimize time schedules, drivers, rest periods and traffic jams – all within a number of seconds.
Optibus uses cloud computing, which reduces costs considerably, thereby allowing the company to charge between $50 and $100. This is significantly lower than their competitors’ fees.
2. Salead ( offers a networking platform that automates business opportunities between businesses by using a unique semantic text-analysis engine and algorithm, which saves clients from having to carry out time-consuming market research. Salead mainly targets large companies.
3. EGM ( develops grid performance measurement and reporting systems and aims to be part of the Internet of Things, where computing devices will all be connected to one another. EGM develops sensors and real-time “smart grid” intelligence software that are easy to install and provide troubleshooting options for the world’s 21st-century electricity needs.
For example, if a tree branch touches an electric cable, a maintenance team can be dispatched to deal with situation before a power outage occurs.
EGM has already deployed its sensors in a pilot project in China, which has shown that its technology optimizes electrical lines.
4. LeanCiti (
develops Big Data analytics tools that allow utilities companies to analyze information available on social networks pertaining to residents’ electricity, water and gas usage at home. This algorithm can identify patterns and show consumers how to engage with each other and minimize their utility bills. LeanCiti uses this information to optimize the quality of service to residents.
5. Vikisense ( is a startup that develops biometric and progressive technologies for face, vocal and speech recognition. Vikisense products provide solutions in the fields of security, biometrics, public data, marketing and advertising.
6. Emerald Medical Applications ( is developing DermaCompare, a tool that detects skin cancer. The SaaS cloud-based platform provides doctors an inexpensive way to photograph patients’ skin and provide accurate diagnosis and melanoma screening that saves millions of people from contracting skin cancer.
7. Zoomd (
develops technology that understands users’ browsing patterns, intentions and profiles, thereby being able to offer additional sites to users.
Visitor to a company’s website come from different places, and plenty can be learned about their needs by examining previous sites they visited.
As a result, Zoomd can recommend other sites that might interest them according to their profiles.
How the Internet has taken over our personal and professional lives
• More than 3 billion people in the world use the Internet.
• More than 1 billion active websites exist on the Internet.
• 148 billion email messages are sent every day.
• 3 billion searches are made on Google every day.
• 5.5 billion video clips are watched every day.
• Facebook has 1.3 billion active users.
• Half a million computers are sold every day.
• 30,000 websites are hacked every day.
• 8,000 tweets are sent on Twitter every second.
• 1.5 billion GB of information are sent every day over the Internet.
Sony Xperia Z3 – Is it worth it?
The Sony Xperia Z2 has only been on the market for six months, and already Sony has come out with a new phone.
If you’re already the proud owner of a Z2, then it’s not really worth it to upgrade to a Z3. But if you don’t have a phone and you’re looking for a high-quality Android device that’s fast and big, the Xperia Z3 is a fantastic solution.
The 152-gram phone has a 5.2-inch screen and necessitates the use of both hands.
Charging the Z3 is a bit cumbersome because you need to open the port cover. But this does make the phone waterproof, so for some people it might be worth it. The Z3’s camera has the same 20.7-megapixel sensor available on the Z2, which takes high-quality pictures. The battery’s Stamina mode keeps the phone charged all day long since some functions are disabled when the phone is not in use.
If you’re into games, you’ll be happy to know that the Z3 can be used as a remote screen to control PS4 games if the TV screen is being used to watch something else.
The best attribute of the Z3 is that it’s waterproof up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.
You just need to make sure you close the covers well.
The bottom line is that Sony wanted to improve its elite model and always offer the best innovation in the highend smartphone market.
It costs NIS 3,250 and receives a score of 9.5.
If you run a young startup, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact [email protected]