The first ever winner of GMIC Tel Aviv’s G-Startup pitch competition, Feelter says it seriously impacts e-commerce by aggregating a range of opinions from across the web
Once again, Tel Aviv’s Convention Center in the north of the city played host to a global meeting of tech and innovation as the Global Mobile Internet Conference came to town in search of Israeli ingenuity.
Packing the halls of the exhibition center were over 1,400 attendees representing the tech, entrepreneurial, and finance sectors, each looking for new ideas and opportunities for collaboration between Israeli and Chinese companies and investors.
Standing behind the organizers of the event are the Great Wall Club (GWC), an exclusive members network with deep ties to Asia’s tech scene and leaders in Silicon Valley.
Along with the booths that filled the exhibition area and talks by industry leaders, one of the highlights of the event was the G-Startup Worldwide pitch competition on behalf of the GWC Innovator Fund. The fund is backed by major Chinese investors Tencent, Lei Jun, Yuri Milner, Baidu, Xiaomi, Sina, DST Global, and Qualcomm.
Starting off the day with ten promising Israeli startups, the judges quickly narrowed the group down to their top three picks. Making the top three were women’s clothing exchange platform Trench, AgriTech IoT pesticide solution FieldIn Tech, and Feelter with their powerful tool for compiling comments and reviews from across the web to produce social scores for e-commerce.
At stake beyond the simple bragging rights of being the first ever GMIC Tel Aviv winners was an investment of $50,000 for the first place team, along with a complimentary trip and VIP passes to the GMIC event in Silicon Valley, and a one-year membership in the G-Network.
The prize for the second place winners, while not as extensive as the gold medal, was a respectable $20,000 investment and G-Network membership for the coming year.
Sitting on the panel of judges were key figures in Israel’s startup community like Gigi Levy-Weiss of NFX Guild, Magma Venture Partners’ Co-Founder and Managing Partner Yahal Zilka, Microsoft Ventures Accelerators’ Head of Operations and Portfolio Amir Pinchas, and Barrett Parkman, Co-Founder and VP of GWC.
As the day came to a close, the finalists and observers packed in for the last leg of the contest, with the entries running once again through their pitches for the judges who asked pointed questions.
When the votes were tallied, FieldIn Tech was first announced as the runner up before Feelter was declared the winner.
Levy-Weiss told Geektime that he based his decision in part off of what he knew about the potential of their perspective markets, and of course his impressions of their teams.
Following their victory the Feelter team, which has been on a hot streak of competition wins over the past year, is now in the running for the grand $250,000 prize on the table at the Silicon Valley competition in September.
Leading Feelter’s presentation at the pitch were Founder & CEO Smadar Landau and VP of R&D Saar Szekely. The team believe that they can have a serious impact on the e-commerce space by bringing together a wide range of thoughts and opinions from across the web.
Moreover, Landau said to Geektime that their service will speak to consumers in China as well as in the West.
“I believe that in e-commerce, it’s the same story from around the world,” she explains. “The consumer is becoming more sophisticated, less naive and are searching for reliable information from reliable sources. They are searching for the truth. We believe that the truth can serve brands and people, whether it’s in English, Chinese or any other language. That’s why we decided to bring the truth and listen to the consumer.”
In speaking with the contestants and others in attendance, they were all impressed with the convention that brought together many of the big players in tech from both sides of the Israel-China equation.
“It’s a great opportunity to come and meet VCs from China and Europe,” Landau told Geektime, adding that it was a, “Great chance for exposure. We believe that taking part in these kinds of events aren’t just about raising money but making relationships with other commerce websites. For us it’s very important.“
Trench’s CEO and Founder Adi Shemesh agreed with Landau, adding that, “The audience that arrived here was very relevant, for leads, VCs, and potential partners.”
GMIC’s Tel Aviv showing appeared to be well organized even from the perspective of a veteran of the series. Shlomo Freund is the founder of App in China, a company that helps startups and companies navigate the obstacles of the challenging yet lucrative Chinese market.
“I thought that there was a very good Chinese delegation coming in today,” he said to Geektime, noting that there were definitely more opportunities to connect with more Israeli companies, “So that gave us good exposure.”
Freund, who has been working to build connections between Israeli and Chinese firms for years, explained that, “As a veteran of the GMIC events in Beijing, flying there for the past few years, it was really exciting to have them here.”
He said that he has seen a lot of movement in the major tech conferences towards Asia, adding that, “There’s a major boost to bring them over the past year or two into China and Hong Kong.”
This event marks the first time that the GMIC has made it to Israel. The group holds similar conventions throughout the globe in locations like Beijing, Taipei, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Bangalore, Seoul, Tokyo, and Silicon Valley as they mix between leading cities in the tech industry and markets that are still in the process of emerging. There is already talk of expanding their operations to Europe with Berlin a likely new addition to their expanding list.