Israel has gained a deserved reputation as the “silicon valley of the Middle East”. Just how much Israeli innovation now enters the homes of peoples around the globe is not possible to assess precisely.
That said, the list of commercial breakthroughs reported just this week ensures that with this knowhow, the world is better off. Here are five examples.
Let’s start with a very simple idea; bringing a pop-up educational book for pre-school kids to the TV screen. Nickelodeon has purchased over 50 episodes of “Quick, Quack, Duck”, conceived by a small team of graphic artists just outside Tel Aviv. It should be no surprise that one of Jerusalem’s largest hightech incubators is new media centric.
Facebook’s pounce for Face.com, valued at close to US$100m, has been twittered to bits. What many have missed is that Shutterfly, a leading internet personal publishing service, has acquired Photoccino from Haifa for around US$20m. As the press release notes, the synergy between the companies will allow customers “to more efficiently organize and select the best photos from their ever-increasing archives so they can quickly and easily create photo books, calendars, cards, and photo gifts.”
Richard Branson is never one to miss an opportunity. He is partnering Strauss, arguably Israel’s largest food conglomerate. Together, they intend to sell water purifiers to the domestic market, initially in the UK. This is an environmentally friendly solution for making cups of tea or handing out cold drinks.
And we cannot ignore the cosmetics market. ICG ventures has barely 15 fulltime members of staff, with an HQ in Tel Aviv and offices in Shanghai and in New York. For all that, since starting out in 2005, the company has sold over 5 million units globally of its compact cosmetic units. With annual sales of around US$25m and boasting Sephora as a leading client, many more women are going to benefit from their products over the next few years.