OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved is featured in popular Australian website StartupSmart, a news and information platform for Australian startups and entrepreneurs.
“The cyber security market is in a Renaissance”
Israel is known by most people as the Startup Nation, thanks to the its startup companies and numerous success stories. However, over the years Israel has also come to be known as a Cyber Nation. Given its own experiences and geography, Israel has become a leader in the cybersecurity field and is uniquely positioned for cyber challenges. The government, VC’s and angel investors are now more than ever investing in and promoting the cyber security market in Israel.
But, why are investors excited about cyber security startups?
Ron Moritz, one of OurCrowd’s mentors, gave a keynote address at OWASP Israel at the IDC (400+ attendees) about investing in startup cyber security companies, addressing the recent surge in the market’s popularity among investors and highlights which products and services for the cyber security market are hot right now.
View his presentation below:
“Healthcare and life sciences are also receiving a large amount of funding – OurCrowd is seeing 25 per cent being invested in this area and the remainder going to the internet, software and communications industries. ‘A lot of the money to fund Israeli start-ups is coming from Silicon Valley,’ says Medved. ‘And each year around 50-100 of these companies are bought by the big tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco.’ “
Leading technology website, TechCrunch, featured OurCrowd portfolio company Maverick from Appforma, a social media marketing agency-in-a-box for small businesses. Appforma recently won Facebook’s prestigious Preferred Marketing Developer Innovation Award for its newly-released automated marketing platform, Maverick.
The early Dot Com promise was that the web puts small and large businesses on a level playing field. But as the platform has matured, that promise has turned out to be somewhat hollow, not least in the area of online marketing… Enter Maverick from AppForma, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup that wants to become the “WordPress for digital marketing”.
Akin to an online marketing ‘wizard’, Maverick walks the users through the steps involved in creating and executing campaigns, including running the production, optimization, and follow up of each online campaign.
OurCrowd investors backed Appforma (Maverick) with a $315,000 round in March 2013.
Read more on TechCrunch here.
What does it take to create a successful startup ecosystem? Furthermore, what does it take to create a the dynamic and innovative culture, community and possibilities of a startup city?
Tel Aviv: Startup Utopia
Many have written (and will write) about the Startup Nation’s success in general and the success of its high-tech capital Tel Aviv specifically.
Why all the hype?
Well, besides the fact that Tel Aviv is the second-most entrepreneurial hotspot after Silicon Valley, it also has the highest density of startups in the world — and the number is constantly growing. Even President Obama once said that “if people want to see the future of the world economy, they should look at Tel Aviv.”
But how does Tel Aviv, as a city, maintain its status as a hotbed of startup culture and money? And can other cities around the globe replicate its thriving startup environment?
Tel Aviv’s Secret Sauce
In an article in Inc. Magazine, contributor Jeremy Shure lists several forward-thinking and innovative initiatives taken by the city that have contributed in the cultivation of its vibrant startup ecosystem.
The local government is exceptionally proactive in making the city a promising place for entrepreneurs.
- Free Internet hookup: The first example Shure points to is the free WiFi in all public areas. Last month the Tel Aviv municipality installed free online access in 80 different locations citywide. The city WiFi enables the city’s visitors and residents to enjoy free surfing throughout the city at anytime.
- Open to foreign techies: The second example is the local government’s attempts to begin opening up Israel’s borders to a global tech workforce by issuing Startup Visas. The primary goal of changing the legislation is to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to join the local ecosystem by easing up residency restrictions and allow them to establish temporary citizenship. What is more, an influx in foreign entrepreneurs will hopefully open doors for foreign investment to come in too.
- Strong multinational presence on the ground: Lastly, Shure discusses the evident interest of global giants, such as Microsoft and Google, in the city’s activity and their recognition in the importance of establishing a strong presence in it. Google opened its Tel Aviv offices back in 2006 and earlier this year launched Campus TLV, an innovation hub for Israeli startups. Microsoft opened its first startup accelerator in Tel Aviv 18 months ago with two graduate classes and a third batch of young businesses underway. And, now Facebook (with its purchase of Onavo this week) is getting its beachhead in Israel.
In Harl Vincent’s 1934 book “Rex”, a robot surgeon sought to remake mankind in the image of the robot. While he was (thankfully) unsuccessful in his pursuit, robots have certainly made their impact felt at a societal level. Robotic technologies are being introduced to a wide array of industries and have demonstrated their potential to save lives.
The resident robots
The first robotic system was introduced into the medical world in 1985. Dr. Yik San Kwoh of the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center used a robotic arm to direct a needle into his patients brain. Dr. Kwoh said about the surgery, ”The robotic arm is safer, faster and far less invasive than current surgical procedures.”
Since then, robotics have played key active roles in the fields of surgery, rehabilitation and diagnostics.
Surgery, in specific, is an area where robots are changing the way healthcare is delivered. Early technologies have mostly been aimed at assisting the surgeon, leading to a more efficient surgery.
Robots in the Operating Room
Perhaps the most well-known Israeli medical innovation using robotics is Mazor’s Renaissance.
The Renaissance gives the surgeon the opportunity to map out the surgery prior to the procedure. The system then guides the surgeon’s tools during the procedure, enabling accurate incisions and placements of implants.
Providing Surgeons a Better View During Surgery
Israel’s Medical Surgery Technologies (MST), OurCrowd’s newest portfolio company, acknowledges the need to provide automated surgical assistance , leaving a seasoned surgeon in complete control.
MST’s FDA-approved robotic vision system replaces the medical assistant who historically handled the video camera during laparoscopic surgeries. Surgeons don’t have the three hands needed to perform accurate laparoscopic surgery and using assistants means more time in the OR and a doctor who occasionally suffers from dizziness and vertigo as a result of a shaky video feed.
MST’s system gives the surgeon complete control of all of his tools by using a robotic vision system that automatically follows the surgeon’s moves, ensuring the camera is always in place. Just like a plane needs a pilot, so too, the operating room needs a surgeon.
Bringing Israeli flight simulation to the OR
Another Israeli company integrating technology into the operating room is Surgical Theater, part of the OurCrowd startup portfolio. Dubbed “the flight simulator of the brain,” Surgical Theater’s SRP (surgical rehearsal platform) uses advanced MRI/CT imaging to power a pre-surgery rehearsal on a 3D image of the patient’s brain. Another feature of Surgical Theater is the collaborative theater, which allows surgeons all over the world to conduct joint simulations of neurological procedures.
Robots may not have taken over the world, but they have begun to save lives. Some robotic systems are doing just that by assisting, not replacing, surgeons via improved imaging and rehearsal. Innovative companies like MST are enhancing the quality of medical care for patients worldwide.
The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed today written by OurCrowd CEO, Jon Medved.
In the editorial, Jon talks about how recent U.S. regulatory changes to equity crowdfunding will open up new opportunities for investors and how these changes have positioned OurCrowd as a leader in its space.
Startups and businesses have taken notice. They have begun to use similar online crowdfunding platforms—but to gather investments. And thanks in part to the SEC’s new rule, the equity crowdfunding market is poised for rapid growth over the next decade.
A new class of angel investors, affluent individuals who invest personal funds in companies, is another byproduct of the burgeoning crowdfunding movement. These angel investors are no longer just former startup founders. They’re a younger, broader class of Internet-savvy investors ready to evaluate and pick deals online.
Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.
A version of this article appeared October 10, 2013, on page A17 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: An SEC Rule Change Opens a New Era for Crowdfunding.
Making Sense Of The JOBS Act: New Rules On General Solicitation
Apropos to our WSJ op-ed, on September 16th, OurCrowd held a webinar to dissect the SEC’s new rules on general solicitation. In the webinar, OurCrowd’s team discussed these new changes and examined the nuances of the JOBS Act, to make sure that investors are fully prepared to take advantage of these upcoming changes. View the webinar here.
OurCrowd published an op-ed in the WSJ today about how recent U.S. regulatory changes to equity crowdfunding will open up new opportunities for investors. These changes have positioned OurCrowd as a leader in its space.