Watch the ‘Waze for cancer patients’ and 10 other startups at Microsoft’s Israeli Accelerator
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Photo Credit: Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Tel Aviv

From catchier CAPTCHAs to Waze for cancer patients, this year’s hopefuls strutted their stuff for Israel’s tech elite.

On Wednesday evening, at a swanky art gallery in Tel Aviv, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, arguably Israel’s most prestigious startup accelerator, graduated its 5th cohort of 11 promising startups. Hailing from India, Japan, Slovenia, Spain and Israel, the medtech and cyber security entrepreneurs delivered polished pitches to Israel’s leading venture capitalists and investors.

Geektime brings you our recap of the star-studded event, along with our picks for the five startups we liked the best.

1) NIBS

According to NIBS NeuroScience Technologies CEO Iftach Dolev, we all suffer pain from time to time, but 10 percent of pain persists and becomes chronic. In fact, Dolev told the audience, 30 percent of adults suffer from chronic pain. It may be lower back pain, joint pain, headaches or other types of discomfort, but once it persists long enough, it becomes a disease in and of itself.

Most people take pain killers to cope, but Dolev, along with his partner Hila Fogel, both of whom have PhDs in neurobiology, invented a helmet that provides non-invasive brain stimulation, teaching the brain not to feel pain. At present, the helmet is in clinical trials at Israel’s Tel Hashomer hospital, but it will eventually be available for home use in consultation with healthcare providers.

2) MinerEye

Edward Snowden stole over a million classified documents from NSA servers, according to reports. Had the NSA been using MinerEye, his bosses would have been alerted to the fact that those documents were behaving in an unusual way.

MinerEye uses machine learning to learn the characteristics of a certain kind of document, say a financial report. If that report is suddenly being accessed by a computer from customer service, the system raises an alarm.

At present, says CEO and Co-Founder Yaniv Avidan, companies try to prevent data leakage through defining a set of rules to identify and enforce policy on sensitive data. MinerEye teaches itself what confidential data looks like by scanning examples that the user gives and then continually discovering similar patterns across network devices, computers, email and file systems. The system learns the normal behavior of those files and then recommends a set of policies the user can enforce to prevent those files from leaking.

MinerEye has acquired a number of clients so far, including the prestigious financial institution Citi Group.

3) Observe Design 

Do you know what kills more people than AIDS, prostrate cancer, and breast cancer combined? Hospital acquired infections.

Observe Design Co-Founder Brinda Rajendran points out that if doctors washed their hands after examining each patient, these deaths would be reduced considerably. The problem is that doctors are so overloaded with work that they’d have to disinfect their hands every 6-7 minutes. The only way to ensure compliance is, first, to make it as easy as possible, and second, to have a computer system track their performance.

Observe Design consists of a hand sanitizer dispenser that a doctor wears on their belt, making access instantaneous. High-end hospitals can also buy the accompanying software observation platform that gets a signal from the device every time a doctor sanitizes their hands. Each week, hospital administrators can get reports about the doctors and apprise them of their progress. Observe Design will earn money by selling the software platform and disposable cartridges to hospitals.

4) Capy

An estimated 30-40 percent of web traffic consists of ‘bots. Many websites looking to differentiate bots from humans use CAPTCHAs, but the truth is that artificial intelligence has progressed and many bots are now adept at deciphering them.

But there is still something algorithms can’t do. If you show a person a picture in which something is missing, like a cow missing an eye, a human can easily tell you what’s wrong with the image and drag an eye onto the cow’s face, while this is beyond the ability of a bot.

Capy’s CAPTCHAs can also be branded and feel like an engaging, fun game for users to play. The Japan-based company claims its drop-off rate is less than 2%, as opposed to over 13 percent for traditional CAPTCHAs. The company has already raised $1.25 million from JAFCO in Japan and is currently raising a Series B round of $6 million.

5) MediCope, or the “Waze for cancer patients”

When a person learns they have cancer or another serious disease, life suddenly becomes very lonely. Their doctor may tell them the next steps from a medical point of view, but the patient is equally preoccupied with other questions: How will I pay for this, how do I tell my co-workers? Who will take care of my children?

MediCope was co-founded by Boaz Gaon, the son of a prominent Israeli businessman and nephew of a legendary singer, as well as Arik Gilon, who co-founded Waze. In fact, one team member at the pitch night described the startup as a “Waze for cancer patients,” a crowdsourced navigation system that helps patients figure out where they are on the path to treatment and hopefully, recovery. This kind of crowdsourcing and advice from fellow sufferers and survivors greatly enhances a patient’s chance of surviving themselves. It will reduce the number of late-stage diagnoses, unnecessary hospital visits and ‘no-shows’ to medical procedures.

MediCope relies on proven patient navigation practices, persuasive technology, crowd-sourcing and big data.

In addition to Geektime’s top five picks, the remaining startups are:

Exovite is a personalized recovery system from broken bones. It consists of a personalized 3D splint and an electro-stimulator that is activated before splint removal. This system is supposed to decrease pain and speed up recovery time.

Kinestica uses virtual reality and gamification in the rehabilitation process for neurological diseases like stroke.

Siemplify optimizes Security Operation Centers’ efforts, enabling organizations to identify and respond to complex cyber threats in a fraction of the time by providing context to security alerts combined with smart visualization and advanced analytical insights.

Dataflow is a cyber security platform designed to protect web applications and servers generally from web-based attacks that network-located firewalls of different kinds cannot prevent.

SCADAfence develops cyber security solutions for the critical infrastructure and manufacturing industries. Recent attacks, such as Dragonfly and BlackEnergy, and new regulations including NERC CIP v5 are forcing companies in the power, water, oil and gas, chemical and pharmaceutical industries to seek new security solutions.

Hermetic.io  Usernames and passwords are weak, slow, and unsuitable for mobile devices. New methods, like Apple’s TouchID, are susceptible to hacking and only available on a small subset of consumer devices. Hermetic’s mobile vault solves these problems. It offers secure yet simple customer identification and transaction authentication.

To watch all the presentations, click here.

Featured Image Credit: Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Tel Aviv

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass


I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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