The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies Of 2015 In Israel

From brain imaging technology to the WhatsApp for businesses, the companies born in Israel that are changing how we interact with the world.

The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies Of 2015 In Israel
[Photo: Flickr user JML78]

1. ElMindA

For changing the way we see our brains. Imagine your brain as a network of city streets, says ElMindA CEO Ronen Gadot. MRIs show us the roadways, but not the traffic. ElMindA’s device, however, can observe the effect of billions of neurons that fire when you think, talk, and breathe. It uses up to 256 electrodes and sits on the head like a hairnet, monitoring how brain networks respond to one another to help treat such conditions as PTSD and memory loss. “If there’s a traffic jam,” Gadot says, “we can detect it and find better interventions to open up those clogs.” The technology, approved last July by the FDA, could eventually help the 2 billion people living with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ADHD. For example, researchers may, for the first time, see how the brain responds to a drug versus a placebo. “The more we can see,” Gadot says, “the more we can affect functionality.”


2. MedAware

For discovering errors in the prescribing of drugs. An estimated eight million times a year, errors in U.S. drug prescriptions can have life-threatening consequences. This is occurring even as the method of prescribing is shifting from handwritten to electronic. MedAware’s Prescription Analysis and Alert System analyzes the prescription a health care provider enters, compares it to the patient’s records and to other patients with the same condition, analyzes the provider’s prescribing patterns, and approves the prescription within seconds or flags it. The goal: to prevent errors that derive from a drug’s name or a patient’s name being similar to the intended one, or that greatly deviate from the norm. The market: hospitals, health insurance companies, pharmacy chains, and primary care physicians. “It’s unacceptable that anyone dies because of the click of a button,” says MedAware’s cofounder and CEO, Gidi Stein. Ninety percent of the prescriptions that MedAware flags, he says, “are true alerts.”

3. Mobileye

For vehicular collision-avoidance technology. That cute Super Bowl XLVIII commercial of a dad rescuing his son from various close calls from toddler to teenager, only for the distracted boy, now driving, to screech to avoid an apparent accident? It was for an automobile company, but may as well have been for Mobileye. The Jerusalem company seems to launch annual innovations to its foundational product of mounted cameras that take in the surroundings, detect possible dangers, and automatically brake the vehicle when necessary. And its auto partners include Tesla, GM, Audi, and BMW. Its upcoming innovation centers on autonomous driving—meaning, the person behind the wheel becomes solely a passenger under cruise-control conditions, with the car guiding itself along a highway. “Drivers” could thus read a book or text to their hearts’ content. Also in the works: autonomous-driving capabilities for city streets and country roads.

4. ReWalk Robotics

For marching wearable robots into the home. This past June, the ReWalk Personal System became the first exoskeleton to be cleared by the FDA for use at home and in the community. No longer stuck in laboratories or rehab facilities, these robotic devices can now help users move about the world, restoring some of the lower-limb mobility lost to injury or disease. ReWalk Robotics’ model essentially walks for its wearer, balancing and adjusting its gait as it steps forward, and proving a first glimpse of a future where exoskeletons are as commonplace as wheelchairs.

5. Freightos

For bringing freight into the 21st century. Shipping is one of the world’s oldest global industries, but it remains as vital as ever. It’s also plenty complicated, necessitating untold numbers of ships, planes, and trucks to deliver items from seller to buyer across borders. (The United States itself annually exports approximately $2.27 trillion in goods, with $2.7 trillion imported.) Yet a freight forwarder—similar to a travel agent, making all the arrangements for transport and delivery—often requires a week to provide a client with a price quote. Freightos uploads forwarders’ contracts, specifications, and factors like gasoline prices to produce instantly generated price quotes for the forwarder to provide its customers, the sellers. Freightos’ clients include such giants as Ceva Logistics and Apex Logistics; for one client, Kestrel, Freightos estimates having saved it $150,000 annually in labor costs and, within 60 days, more than quadrupling its monthly average of quotes generated.

6. BillGuard

For identifying breaches of credit-card security. Remember the December 2013 breach of Target’s database that compromised the credit-card information of approximately 40 million consumers? Thousands of those people were first alerted to the breach because they’re BillGuard customers. Akin to a bank asking a customer to verify the authenticity of suspicious charges, BillGuard’s new data-breach feature detects patterns that could mean that the person’s credit-card number was stolen. Card holders registered with BillGuard are notified of such breaches faster, by a new app, much like the company’s precursor, an app that detects unauthorized “gray” charges such as the free magazine subscriptions that morphed into paid ones. Today, approximately 800,000 people use BillGuard’s data-breach app. Since the Target breach, BillGuard has alerted such clients as Neiman Marcus, AT&T, and California’s Department of Motor Vehicles of credit-card breaches that had resulted in $1.5 million in fraudulent charges.

7. WebyClip

For matching video to text. Keeping a potential customer’s eyes on a web page is the aim of every e-commerce seller. WebyClip’s algorithm does that by finding the most appropriate, publicly available video clip (such as on YouTube), and importing it onto the e-commerce page being viewed. Someone reading up on a digital camera, say, will also see an accompanying video tutorial on the camera’s features. Such “targeted video optimization” aims to increase sales and reduce returns by helping a customer select the right item in the first place. Most of the company’s 20,000 clients (totaling 2 million video views daily) are those selling on eBay, and, indeed, eBay itself is a WebyClip client. “Even just to get one video means heavy, heavy lifting—but we provide the video to turn you from a shopper into a buyer,” says company CEO Ariel Shemesh. Clients’ sales are up an average of 12 percent, shoppers’ time on a page is up 90 percent, and 30 million videos were viewed in the first half of 2014, he adds.


8. MobileOCT

For cheaper, more efficient screening for cervical cancer. The company’s mobile colposcope provides low-cost, easy-access screening for cervical cancer, and means to improve care in medically underserved areas, where the disease’s fatality rate is high. Typical optical coherence tomography (OCT) machines in large medical practices or clinics cost upward of $50,000; MobileOCT’s costs $400. The device connects to smartphones, projects white or green light onto the cervix, takes an image clearly at high magnification, and uploads it securely so a physician can quickly—and correctly!—detect whether cancer treatment is necessary. Ariel Beery, MobileOCT’s New York-raised and Tel Aviv-residing CEO, says that five of every six women screened for cervical cancer are unnecessarily sent for treatment. MobileOCT’s device eliminates this waste by getting the diagnosis right, thereby enabling budget-limited municipalities and countries to screen 3.6 times more women for every dollar spent on standard exams.

9. Zula

For cross-platform work-team communication. Skype, e-mail, and teleconferencing are so 2000s. Zula offers an upgraded way to collaborate: It combines communications features into an app that also allows file sharing, messaging, polling, and conference-call-arranging, and can even include participants from outside a company’s network, who can log in to the meeting via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google. Some refer to Zula as a WhatsApp for business. Or, as the company’s cofounder, Jacob Ner-David, told the Disrupt SF 2013 technology conference: “We think this is the beginning of reducing e-mail and moving into a much more structured way of communicating as a team.”

10. Salient Eye

For a cellular phone-based security system. Those unused smartphones sitting in your dresser drawer? Salient Eye will let you deploy them—in particular, the built-in cameras—as a do-it-yourself home-security system. Its motion-sensor app for Android allows users to monitor the area or room where the phone unobtrusively rests. The app emits an alarm and sends photographs, texts, or e-mail alerts of intruders. The company will soon be adapting the app for iPhones and develop video capability. As of August 2014, says Salient Eye’s CEO, Haggai Meltzer, the app has approximately 10,000 users in 100 countries. “Our goal is to be the standard of alarm systems for those who don’t have professional alarm systems,” he says.