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Tag: Israeli Inventions

The Current State and Future of Israeli/American Business Alliances

In light of its geopolitical under-dog status, Israel’s global reputation for her cutting-edge high-tech industry continues to ripen.

Israeli StartupsJewish Ideas Daily recently released a report exploring “The drivers behind Israel’s innovative impulse, drawing in part on a recent series of panel discussions sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” We will also take a glance at the partnerships Israeli companies have forged with U.S. companies; and the causes of the painful adjustment period being faced today by the Israeli venture capital business.

Today, Israel has the second largest number of start-up firms in the world, and the largest number of Nasdaq-listed companies outside North America. Panelists at a conference which happened recently in Washington, D.C., called, “The United States and Israel: Building Business Through Innovation,” explored the issues contributing to innovation in Israel, while debating what has helped and hindered the Jewish Country’s move to be a hotbed of global entrepreneurship.

The fact is hundreds of U.S. and Israeli companies have formed alliances in recent years, while many more partnerships are in the works. The relationships are fueled by a nature of quid prop quo. The Israelis get funding, marketing expertise, job growth and better access to the North American market; while the Americans benefit on the job front and through increased market access. They also reap savings in development and production and have an opportunity to tap into Israel’s talent for innovation.

Once acclaimed in Israel for its ability to launch a rich stream of high-tech start-ups, the VC industry has been injured lately on two fronts: Firms in the sector are not able to raise money for new funds, and they cannot exit easily from existing investments via IPOs. Is this painful squeeze merely part of a healthy cycle or is it representative of something with more severe implications?

“The doomsday scenario, according to some industry experts, is that future high-tech start-ups will not need the VC industry as much as before.”

Wrote a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania who attended the conference.

Who’s Kicking Ass

One company to lookout for is Gazit Globe. Considered among the world’s top real estate investment multinationals, the firm is listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. They operate in some 20 countries and own or operate 6.3 million square meters of space spread over more than 650 properties.

In United States, Gazit’s investment vehicles include Equity one, a real estate investment trust which focuses on high quality retail properties. Gazit’s total asset value exceeds $15 billion. Gazit’s chairman and founder, Chaim Katzman, spoke recently with Wharton real estate professor, Peter Linneman, and Knowledge@Wharton about the firm’s origins, and a bit about his personal management philosophy.

Internet Justice Rewarded To Israeli Tech Master Mind

RefuahYou know when you surf the Web using your trusty Web 2.0 browser, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, or whatever it is that you use; and you navigate your way around, by typing in the HTML address of the website, which you would like to visit? Not many know this, but the software which provides the address bar, was invented by an 18 year old Israeli, named Aviv Refuah. All of the Internet giants have been using this software to create their programs for the least ten years. Now, they just may have to start paying up, because the patenting license submitted by an 18 year old Refuah, has just been approved!

While neither Aviv, nor the 55 employees of his company, Netex, have received a penny in licensing proceeds, so far; the value of the company’s stock jumped 144% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The 18 year old Refuah submitted his brain child for patenting and really changed the face of web browsing, then went and joined the Israeli Army. Now 10 years later, the 28 year old Israeli is the CEO of a company that is worth $20,000,000. Currently the employees at Netex are working on an idea called, Springo.com. Springo is designed to make web browsing faster and easier, by providing instant links for the hottest social networking, online shopping, news, maps and email sites. The site’s ‘header’ reads: Springo beta/Shortcutting the Web.

We will look to Refuah as an example of Internet justice, now that his U.S. patent has been rightfully claimed. And we will look to Netex as a future spring board of big ideas; and a juicy baby tech company, undoubtedly causing the big corporations to lick their chops.

Israeli Researcher Close to Alzheimer’s Vaccine

MonsonegoThis man, Dr. Alon Monsonego of Ben Gurion University, could be the face put on a real, workable Alzheimer’s vaccine. Alzheimer’s being one of the scariest, most devastating mental diseases imaginable where you pretty much die before you die since your mind is practically erased, this is very encouraging news. That, and cases have increased by 33% since 2005, with over 36 million people expected to be diagnosed with the disease this coming year.

Alzheimer’s destroys the sufferer’s brain by building up plaque deposits in the brain tissue and replacing grey brain matter with chunks of amyloid-beta protein, which gathers like tartar on your teeth. Except it’s in your brain. It starts with memory loss and progresses all the way to total bodily breakdown as the brain literally melts away.

Monsonego determined that introducing A-beta protein into the brain, the very protein that causes the disease, triggers a natural immune response which can be detected in humans. “Stimulating an immune response to A-beta in these humanized mice not only resulted in a highly efficient clearance of A-beta (plaque) from the brain, but also in a markedly reduced inflammatory reaction,” he said.

More research will be needed to ensure that the vaccine is safe before it can be marketed. A few years ago, an Israeli company had received a patent on an Alzheimer’s vaccine, but the vaccine was determined to be too dangerous for human use. We’ll see if this one is safer.

Cancer Breathalizer Comes out of Technion at Haifa

Wow. These Israeli inventions just keep coming, don’t they? We’ve heard of cancer sniffing dogs, so why not program some artificial intelligence to do the same thing? Revealed this week in Nature Nanotechnology journal, the “cancer breathalyzer” can detect lung cancer with 86 percent accuracy. It can even detect cancers that are not even large enough to show up on X-rays or CT scans. Detecting cancer that early could really save lives. The wonders of affordable technology!

HossamHow does it work? It tests for chemicals that are produced in cancer cells. They are ethylbenzene, decane, heptanol, and trimethylbenzne.

From what I remember from my organic chemistry days, these are all very flammable, but no, the detection does not involve attempting to set a patient’s breath on fire. There isn’t enough of it for that. Decane is a very long chain of hydrocarbons (ten carbons long actually) found in jet fuel, and heptanol is a 7-carbon chain with a hydroxide group at the end, making it an alcohol. Ha, college. The alcohol we drink, ethanol, is a 2-carbon alcohol. Don’t drink heptanol. It won’t make you any more drunk, but it will likely cause you, in drinkable amounts that is, to become dead.

The chemicals are detected using gold nanoparticles and an electric circuit. If the breath contains heptanol etc, the circuit goes off.

The research team was led by Hossam Haick, an Israeli Arab, pictured here, also the inventor of the electric nose.

Haick and his team have patented their device, but will continue to work to perfect it. The device must pass further clinical trials before being put to use. Good job Hossam!

The Biodegradable Plastic Bottle

It’s time for another installment of “Israel Invents Something Cool That the World Will Definitely Need.” This week’s feature is the biodegradable plastic bottle made out of corn starch. Most plastics are made from an oil base, which makes the molecules artificial and non-disintegrating, so then you need the mafia to recycle them and it doesn’t get pretty. Plastic made out of corn starch, once buried, gets eaten by bacteria and the nutrients redispersed into the earth once again. No need to recycle, assuming you dispose of it properly.

Plastic BottlesComing out of a manufacturing company based in Kibbutz Ashdot Yakov the Israeli version is believed to be the world’s first to produce disintegrating bottles with disintegrating labels as well.

The bottles are scheduled to be distributed to guests of next week’s Plasto Ispak plastics exhibition at the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center in Tel Aviv, a batch of the first 5,000.

The bottles, if placed in compost, disintegrate totally within 90 days. The only problem is, most Israelis don’t take their organic trash to a composting facility or bury it in the backyard. As a result, marketing will begin on a small scale. “There’s no point in flooding the market when anyway it won’t decompose since most Israelis still don’t compost their waste in the house or yard,” said Eco Joe Chairman Avner Inbar:

“We hope that Israel will start pushing advanced waste treatment methods which are more environmentally safe. Then we will be able to widely market the bottle.”

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