Think Next: Where Microsoft caught a little startup stardust
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Geektime's Laura Rosbrow interviewing StoreDot CEO and Founder Doron Myersdorf, which announced their new 5-minute electric car battery at Microsoft's Think Next Conference in Tel Aviv on May 5. Photo Credit: Microsoft Israel R&D Center

At Microsoft’s annual gala featuring Israeli startups, Geektime did a little talent scouting of our own

For the seventh year in a row, Microsoft Corporation’s R&D Center in Israel has pulled out all the stops to celebrate Israel’s startup scene. Their Think Next Conference, which wrapped up on Wednesday, featured 35 teams of entrepreneurs and students that could one day be Israel’s next unicorn.

Why startups?

Microsoft is the third largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization, right after Apple and Exxon Mobil. Why does it care about early stage startups, and even student projects?

It’s because in order to stay fresh, large tech companies have a tradition or nurturing, collaborating with, and also buying startups. Microsoft has bought 175 companies since its launch in 1975, nine of them Israeli. As Google’s Larry Page once put it, “One of the primary goals I have is to get Google to be a big company that has the nimbleness and soul and passion and speed of a startup.”

So it makes sense that Microsoft’s Israeli R&D Center, the first R&D center outside the U.S. and one of only three strategic R&D centers worldwide, would host an annual startup conference, in conjunction with startup accelerator Microsoft Ventures.

A total of 35 startups and academic programs showed off their creations for an audience of 1,500 that included such notables as Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Microsoft cloud and enterprise group, Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, and Michael Arena, Executive VC at General Motors.

My colleague Laura Rosbrow and I had the opportunity to interview startups in a live video feed from the event, including this exclusive interview with StoreDot’s CEO and founder, Doron Myersdorf:

Last year, StoreDot Ltd. amazed everyone on Think Next stage, yesterday they have done it again! First they showed how to fully charge a cell phone in under 2 minutes onstage, and then they dropped the bomb: charging a CAR in under 5 minutes!Watch Storedot’s CEO, Doron Myersdorf, talks to Geektime גיקטיים about the challenges ahead for the 2016 launch.Keep an eye for Think Next 2016…Read the full article on Geektime-

Posted by Microsoft Israel R&D Center on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Among our favorites were:

1. StoreDot, home of the 1-minute charging smartphone battery and 5-minute charging batteries for electric cars, both still prototypes.

2. Visualead, a company that specializes in making QR codes more aesthetically pleasing and recently received a $5-10 million investment from Alibaba.

3. Pebbles Interfaces, which facilitates 3D gesture technology on various devices, including consoles, laptops, and mobile. The company received investment from Xiaomi and SanDisk in 2013.

4. Von Bismark, an Irish startup that lets you do virtual shopping from your X-Box.

5. Dove-E, a technology that uses ultrasound to let devices communicate with your mobile phone. You can’t hear it, but dogs and Dove-E can.

6. AudioBurst, a company that automatically transcribes radio broadcasts and allows listeners to share “bursts” of radio onto social media.

7. ARTSYS360, an advanced radar system that can also detect 3D movements, including overhead drones.

8. SmarTap, a startup that makes showers smarter for both consumers and businesses.

All in all, we had a fabulous time.

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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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