8 Beer Sheva startups that you should know about
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The bridge connecting the cyber park with the train to Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion University Photo Credit: Gabriel Avner / Geektime

SilicoNegev holds their first ever Pitch Night for southern startups. Here are a few that you should keep your eye on

Dubbed the Cyber Capital of Israel, this desert city is fast becoming a hub for innovation. Home to one of the leading universities in the country, the city has a wealth of potential as it positions itself to become an alternative to the Tel Aviv bubble in the center of the country.

Ben Gurion University is considered to be one of the top research centers for issues relating to cyber security. In their cooperation with Deutsche Telekom, they have developed an effective infrastructure for transitioning their ideas from planning stages to marketable solutions, providing researchers with essential support throughout the process.

Transitioning from a student town in the less affluent south, the city has witnessed a spike in tech activity with the entrance of major players onto the scene who have set up shop in the new hi-tech park across the tracks from the university.

Recognizing the rising opportunity Jerusalem Venture Partners opened up their Cyber Labs incubator, giving a home to many of the city’s promising young companies. International corporates like EMC have also established major centers in the park, leading the way for others to follow. On a visit last June, the park had already grown to two buildings with the ground being broken for the construction of more in the near future.

Adding to the trifecta of academia and the private sector, the military is planning to move in next door to the park, transferring the bulk of their IT operations to the new base. Lt. Col. Ezer Falem who is heading up the Technology Campus project told Geektime that “The idea for building this base will be to bring all of the units that are working on IT or telecom and put them together in one camp so that they can achieve operational goals, as well as social goals.” He explained that the army sees the move from their bases in the center of the country as serving a social purpose by providing jobs to local contractors in the south.

While the move is currently scheduled to begin in 2020, Falem says that it will bring 5,000 soldiers to the new base, many of them career personnel who can help build up the community.

One of the players at the center of this growing tech community is Tech7. Led by Yotam Tzuker and Alon Naftali, they have focused on bringing together and creates synergy between start-ups, entrepreneurs and multi-national companies for the common good of the local community and in order to promote and support technological initiatives in Beer Sheva.

“Tech7 inspires to create an innovative vibrant and growing tech community in Beer-Sheva – the heart of the Negev,” Tzuker tells Geektime. “After 2 years of activity, we have over 14,000 community members and over than 100 startups in our network all from the south.”

Along with a range of partners including Taboola, Bank Hapoalim, PayPal, and The Negev Development Authority, Tech7 is organizing the SilicoNegev pitch competition this evening, bringing together 20 startups to vie for a 500,000 shekel investment.

Part of what I love about Beer Sheva’s ecosystem is the collaborative atmosphere. On the one hand you have all of the elements that you need to build an ecosystem all crammed into a 15-minute walk radius. Unlike Tel Aviv with its high concentration of startups, entrepreneurs have told Geektime that the scene in Beer Sheva is one where they can stand out, gaining better exposure for their companies. In recent years, CISOs have begun to include the city on their visits to Israel, giving the still small group of companies the attention that they could almost never receive in the clamour of the center.

So who are some of the companies that you should know? We reached out to a few of them with questions and here are their edited down responses. To be fair to the startups, not everyone chose to answer questions about funding. While we love to know, we understand that not all companies can make this information public.

We would have done seven companies (a Beer Sheva joke as the city’s name translates to “Seven Wells”), but we didn’t want to miss anyone from this list.

Mobbo

Photo Credit: Mobbo

What do you do: Mobbo measures the mobile world and offers powerful data-driven market research tools, providing insights to help publishers, investors, marketers and analysts across the world make more informed decisions, and succeed in the global app economy. Some of our clients include: Appsflyer, Taboola, Appnext, Youappi
Who are the founders: Ofir Krisspel
When were you founded: 2016
Who funded you and for how much: Bootstrapped

What inspired you to develop this product:
The mobile app market is huge with over 6 Million apps competing across iTunes and Google Play. The competition is fierce, those who participate in it without data-driven based actions are immediately disadvantaged in the competition. As a mobile app developer with over 100 apps in both app stores, with need of actionable insights, I found it difficult and expensive to get hold of such game-changing information. We’ve developed Mobbo to help make the app market measurable and accessible for all.

What makes you different from your competition:
We have the biggest SDK recognition database across the industry, We have analyzed over 3.2 million apps across Android & iOS, with a footprint second to none. We add additional layers of data – app revenue, download estimates, ASO, audience data and more.

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva:
We share an affection for the Negev, and it correlates with our love of making something out of nothing. In a digital world, Being far away from the crowded startup scene of Tel Aviv isn’t [as] a huge disadvantage as before

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning:

We’ve just released a comprehensive report about the “State Of Mobile Monetization”, the report reveals which ad networks perform best for mobile app marketers and ranks them by performance. Many of them are Israeli companies.

PerSimio

Image Credit: PerSimiO

What do you do: We have developed a software that accurately and automatically computes patient-specific bone strength with metastatic tumors, optimizes implants, and predicts risk of bone fracture.

Who are the founders: Prof. Zohar Yosibash, Prof. Charles Milgrom, Mr. Kent W. Myers, Dr. Nir Trabelsi and Mr. Eitan Segall
When were you founded: We were founded in January2015 but the technology and the academic research started in 2000 by Profs. Yosibash and Milgrom.
Who funded you and for how much: Chief Scientist of Ministry of Economics – 1.5M NIS. Matching from two private investors, one of them is an orthopedic surgeon, each of whom invested 0.6M NIS

What inspired you to develop this product:
Orthopedic surgeons’ use of visual information (X-rays or CT scans) and experience to decide on surgical treatment without any knowledge on bone strength was first brought up by discussions between Prof. Milgrom from Hadassah MC and Prof. Yosibash from BGU back in 2000. After proof of concept and double blinded validation, it was decided it is time to go to market and develop an automatic product to reside on every orthopedic workstation and cellular device.

What makes you different from your competition:
Today’s clinical practice does not provide any scientific information on bone’s strength but only “image analysis” which is a very poor surrogate to strength (does not account for the varying material properties and patient specific load). Thus, unnecessary and sub-optimal surgeries are performed, at the same time individuals at high risk of fracture are not properly identified, and medication is poorly subscribed. PerSimiO’s proprietary software is based on deep learning methodology, big-data and finite element biomechanical simulation that use standard clinical CT scans to automatically generate 3D patient specific bone and determine the accurate strength state.

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva:
The Israeli entrepreneurs and most employees are living in the Negev.

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning:
In June the company is expected to complete an ongoing joint research project with the Maccabi health system.

XTRMX

Photo Credit: XTRMX

What do you do: XTRMX has developed a very powerful real-time content collaboration solution. Our media engine allow video and audio collaboration in real time WITHOUT upload or download of the sources.
Who are the founders: Oran Gilad, Eran Tomer, Netanel Elhadad, Harel Ram
When were you founded: October 2015
Who funded you and for how much: A private investor

What inspired you to develop this product:
We are media industry veterans [who] noticed that working in turns and waiting for big material to be up\downloaded takes lot of time and money. We were determined to solve this.

What makes you different from your competition:
Our real time is really real time (40Ms latency), and we are totally agnostic to where the sources are (local storage, remote…)

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva:
We all graduated from BGU. Netanel and myself live in the area (Meitar and Omer respectively). We see the Negev as a blue ocean for entrepreneurs.

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning:
Big time yes. We are integrating our real time engine inside Non Linear Editors (NLE) like Adobe premiere (already done), Apple Final Cut Pro, and Avid media composer. We also have an application for remote editing that can take materials from different remote storages and consider them as one local storage, and we will release later on an application that allow civil engineers to look at building plans together in real time.

Croosing

Photo Credit: Croosing

What do you do: The hyperlink – the building block of the internet – hasn’t evolved in 25 years, and its weakness is a limiting factor for everyday users, influencers and marketers. We are re-inventing the antiquated hyperlink, giving it superpowers and making it a superlink.
Who are the founders: Uri Ravin and Yaron Peretz
When were you founded: Started rolling on Jan. 2014
Who funded you and for how much: They have been backed by Wadi Ventures, Besadno Investment Group, Israel Innovation Authority and private investors. It was announced today on March 23 that the company had raised an additional $1.25 million for their Seed round from Ramot Investments

What inspired you to develop this product:
Ravin: In my former position in advertising, I realized that the internet is getting old and not keeping up with new needs of content creators and consumers, in marketing and in curation.

What makes you different from your competition:
The company says that their main competition is current habits. We’re changing an everyday, common experience. It’s pure disruption. The company claims that “there is no other technology doing the same thing [according to] vast investors and patent searches.”

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva:
Again Ravin: It was a process, not a single decision. Starting out, my co-founder had a software development house at Beer Sheva and I had my agency at Kfar Saba. It was natural to run the POC and Alpha phases from his dev-oriented offices. Then came the grant from the Innovation Authority (formerly the Chief Scientist), with a bonus given to Beer Sheva-based R&D companies, [which served as a] good incentive.

After the investors’ money got in, we looked for a new office for Croosing and discovered the real estate benefits of this city. We have one of the most beautiful startup offices in a renovated Turkish house with a big yard and a lot of space. This is all at the price of a crappy two-room office in TLV.

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning:
News of their $1.25 million Seed funding from Ramot Investments is hot off the presses.

L7 Defense

Photo Credit: L7 DEFENSE

What do you do: L7 Defense developed a breakthrough technology called Ammune® for mitigating Advanced Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks, automatically and in real time.
Who are the founders: Yisrael Gross, Doron Chema, and Mark Ginzburg
When were you founded: July 2015
Who funded you and for how much: Incubit Ventures and angel investments for $850,000

What inspired you to develop this product:
The technology comes from Doron’s background as PhD in Bio informatics, specifically the Innate Immune system.

What makes you different from your competition:
L7 Defense is the only self learning auto discovery and fully autonomously mitigation system for applicative attacks

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva:
We are in Beer Sheva for the Cyber security ecosystem

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning: Our partnership with CheckPoint was announced this week. Stay tuned for more to come 🙂

DiaCardio

Photo Credit: DiaCardio

What do you do: Aimed at making ultrasound evaluations faster and more accurate, DiaCardio has developed an automated software product based on image processing technology that uses algorithms to detect heart functions called LVivo.
Who are the founders: Michal Yaacobi, Dr. Noa Liel-Cohen, Dr. Hugo Guterman, Hila Goldman-Aslan, Arnon Toussia-Cohen,
When were you founded: Not answered
Who funded you and for how much: Shengjing Group, CE Ventures, AltaIRAgate-Mac Funds and Capital Point Ltd.
What inspired you to develop this product:
The inspiration came onces we understood that most of the evaluation of “ultrasound of the heart” was being done subjectively and there is a real need for automation, and that we have the option to be part of an innovation that will help the physicians diagnose with confidence and improve patient care.
What makes you different from your competition:
Our tools are fully automated, fast and part of the physicians workflow
Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva: From the beginning and until now we are working closely with Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva and therefore it make sense staying here.
Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning: We are working all the time on new automated tools and 2017 looks promising

VisualEstate

Photo Credit: VisualEstate

What do you do: We provide visual tools in both plain 3D and VR for real estate. We build and provide our clients with fully immersive and customized tours of their projects, both interior and exterior.
Who are the founders: Michael Kalantarov, Alon Naftali, and Andrei Salamon.
When was the company founded: September 2016.
Who funded you and for how much: The company is backed by the founders for about $10,000. They now have paying customers and claim to have reached profitability.

What inspired you to develop this product?
We find the client experience in the real estate world to not be on par with the other markets. Nowadays if you want to buy a pair of $10 headphones on Amazon, you get a 360° view of the product along with a dozen images. But, if you were to buy a new apartment in a developing building, all you get are some sketches and a few renders of an apartment that may not even be the one you want, We find that to be very irrational that you get a full visualization of a [pair of cheap headphones but not of the probably most expensive thing you will buy.

What makes you different from your competition?
Pricing, service, and features. Following our belief that this should be an industry standard in real estate, our prices are the lowest on the market while keeping our quality on a photorealistic level. These key aspects of our product along with our 4 day delivery time and a UI that allows you to change anything in the apartment in real time (whilst making the sale) from floor tiles to the whole kitchen.

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva?
Kalantarov speaking: We believe the south has plenty to offer for a young startup, the ecosystem in the south is very supportive and nurturing. Andrei and I are from the south. Also, it is worth mentioning that Alon and I are leading members of the Tech7 Community, the entrepreneurship, and tech community of the south.

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning?
Yes, we are going to automate the whole process in the near future, which will bring prices way down and make the product available for everyone, and you need to do is just snap a picture of a floor plan.

Source Defense

What do you do: Source Defense provides a real-time solution that protects websites from 3rd party attacks. Each online presence, whether transactional (e.g., banks, e-commerce, insurance, HMOs) or content (e.g., news, video, social networks), relies on dozens of 3rd parties to provide the full experience to end-users (e.g., UI elements, analytics, advertising). Source Defense compartmentalizes each such script and allows the website owner to define exactly what privileges are granted for each script, achieving increased security and compliance.
Who are the founders: Hadar Blutrich, Avital Grushcovski, and Gilad Ben-Dor
When were you founded: 2014
Who funded you and for how much: We raised some small funds from family and friends and started working (mostly nights) on a POC to prove our idea can be applied. Once we realized that the technology is feasible, we applied for funding at JVP cyber labs in Beer Sheva, we received 1.5M$ from JVP and the OCS.

What inspired you to develop this product:
During the course of our careers, we all faced the troubles and complexity third party JS codes introduced to a website, both to the third party companies who faces difficulties being integrated on sites and from websites that were harmed by third party codes. We finally decided that it is time to solve this issue once and for all.

What makes you different from your competition:
Our main competitors are “The Media Trust” which provides an offsite scanning of a website and reports on suspicious or malicious behavior by third party scripts. Since we are a real-time tool that runs on the client, we can prevent harmful actions rather than just report on them after the fact; we also allow our clients the define the security policies themselves.

Why did you choose to put your startup in Beer Sheva:

We chose JVP and Beer Sheva for the nurturing environment created here for startups and the great opportunities coming from major multinational vendors coming to visit the compound every week.

Are you coming out with anything new soon that’s worth mentioning:
We launched our first pilots this month with a Canadian company and will be launching with the 5th largest site for finance information in the world in the next few weeks.

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Gabriel Avner

About Gabriel Avner


Gabriel has an unhealthy obsession with new messaging apps, social media and pretty much anything coming out of Apple. An experienced security and conflict consultant, he has written for The Diplomatic Club, the Marine War College, and covers military affairs with TLV1 radio. He mostly enjoys reading articles wherever his ADD leads him to and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. EEED 44D4 B8F4 24BE F77E 2DEA 0243 CBD1 3F7C F4B6

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