This week, the Fung Global Retail & Technology team attended the Israel Dealmakers Summit (IDS) held in Silicon Valley on March 28–30. The Summit is one of the largest Israel-focused business events of the year, featuring more than 1,000 global corporations, investors, dealmakers and entrepreneurs from around the world. The event focuses on key industries including: IoT and connected devices; cyber security, marketing and e-commerce; industrial technology; autonomous vehicles; data science and analytics; artificial intelligence (AI); and virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR).
The conference began on Tuesday with a tour of Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, followed by official panel sessions,
presentations and one-on-one meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. The event was filled with networking and shared learnings.
The overarching theme of the summit was “future trends.” Presenting partners included Deloitte & Touche LLP, Landmark Ventures and General Electric (GE), as well as a number of featured and supporting partners. Landmark Ventures Managing Director, John Kunschner, kicked off Thursday’s events with a welcome address and highlights from the 2016 event.
1. Wisdom from Investors and Titans: Disrupt Before You Are Disrupted
Throughout the day, we heard from different company executives who shared their investment insights into the qualities they are looking for in a startup and the new tech they are investing in. Below are some of the highlights:
2. Health Is Becoming On-Demand, as Technology Drives Medicine into the Hands of the Consumer
The future of medicine is exponential medicine, which is moving to an on-demand model, from the hospital to the home. According to Daniel Kraft, MD Faculty Chair for Medicine & Neuroscience, Singularity University, consumers are the “Chief Operating Officers” of their health. Today they have the ability and the technology to track and measure nearly every aspect of their health. He compared this to a “check engine light” dashboard for health. Dr. Kraft provided numerous examples including contact lenses that measure glucose levels, digital tattoos that measure blood sugar levels, back sensors for posture, ring-ables that track sleep, a Breathometer that can detect disease such as lung cancer and even sensors for diapers.
According to Dr. Kraft, the old business model operated from a position of “sick care” and was reactive, where today’s model is one of prevention. Rapidly developing technologies, including 3D printing, low-cost genomics, machine learning and virtual reality (VR), are enabling new capabilities that can radically improve and disrupt the future of health, prevention and clinical practice, and address many of the grand challenges facing healthcare across the planet.
3. Chatbots Are Personalizing the Consumer Experience
We heard from two Israeli startups—Mmuze and Totango—that are using chatbots to improve the consumer experience: one as an internal tool, the other as an external customer-facing tool.
Mmuze: We met with Co-Founder & CEO, Ran Zfoni, who created an online shopping bot to personalize the online customer shopping experience. Mmuze allows customers to shop online and receive customized help via a conversation box—a chatbot—who walks customers through the shopping process. The online assistant is able to recommend products based on consumer requests, as well as suggest new products. Mmuze has spent three years developing a vertically-based, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning platform that generates commerce intelligence, turning product catalogs into virtual product assistants. Today, Mmuze is working in the fashion apparel and cosmetics retail space. The company’s goal is to power the next generation of voice and text virtual shopping assistants across different categories.
Totango: Co-Founder & CEO, Guy Nirpaz, created Zoe, a customer-centric chatbot. He described it as democratizing customer data for all employees to see and utilize so that a single team can be responsible for customer success. Zoe allows cross-functional teams to participate with “equal access” to the consumer. The tool provides access on when the consumer was last contacted, what the response was and what the decision was. Everyone at Totango is empowered to make decisions, and to do this, they need current information; Zoe allows for that, providing a seamless consumer experience.
4. Technology Advances in Video Are Allowing for Personalized Video Content and Consumption
Video is the preferred format for streaming content and is a growing opportunity. It is now reaching a maturity level that is close to that of broadcast television. We met with two companies that are impacting the video space: AnyClip and Giraffic.
AnyClip: AnyClip is a mature Israeli startup using AI to transform video clips into personalized ads. AnyClip has a content library of over 1 million clips from content owners including film studios, sports teams and other premium content. Through its technology, the company can personalize each clip by using AI-driven metadata to match and blend video content with relevant ads. Ari Applbaum, VP Marketing, said the company can take a video ad and change the content to personalize that ad to different target audiences according to preferences, all based on algorithms. By using AnyClip’s personalized video content, Applbaum said that brands are seeing viewability rate increases of up to 100% and click-through rate increases of 80%. AnyClip was named the second-fastest growing tech company in Israel last year by Deloitte and the 14th-fastest in EMEA.
Giraffic: According to Founder & CEO, Yoel Zanger, video has grown by 100% year over year, which is fueled by consumption on more devices, improved video quality and content providers such as Amazon and Disney creating more personalized content direct-to-consumer through their own studios. Giraffic takes a unique, consumer-centric approach to optimizing video quality on the device side to eliminate buffering and improve quality image. The company has partnered with Samsung and LG, and its technology has been integrated into one-third of smart televisions last year. Zanger described his company’s approach as a different, “Israeli” way to solve the video-streaming problem by putting the technology on the consumer side. His vision is for Giraffic to become the “Dolby” of video.
5. Social Media Technology Advancements Are Powered by How Consumers Want to View Content
Consumers want more personalized experiences, both in terms of personal social media content creation and targeted social media content. We heard from two startups that are filling that need: Tipit and Feelter.
Tipit: We met Erez Tal, the Co-Founder and CMO of Tipit, a cross-platform engine for augmented reality (AR)/image processing technologies and graphics with multiple innovative AR solutions for cameras, developers, platforms and brands. Tipit allows users to download apps and create photos with unique filters and AR graphics without using any code. Its most-popular app is Solo Selfie, with 1.8 million users, 90% of which are US teens sharing content on Snapchat and Musically. The company also provides customers with a proprietary, Adobe-like software so they can effortlessly design their own unique graphics to interface with its technologies without any coding.
Feelter: We heard from Saar Szekely, VP, Product. Feelter organizes the information that is on social network sharing sites into usable, consumer data. It takes all of the images and shared experiences on social media and provides a collective analysis and score. Szekely explained that consumers post more often on social networking sites versus traditional sites, and capturing and analyzing this authentic user information is valuable. As an example, a 2017 Honda Civic was posted onto social networks and consumers could share how the car fits into their daily lives via Facebook and Twitter feeds. Feelter analyzes the data and provides an overall score, as well as aggregated information on safety and reliability, for example. The company reports that it has seen a 17% increase in sales, a 48% increase in time spent on the site and a 51% reduction in the bounce rate.