Physiotherapy in front of the television at home, editing pictures like an expert graphic designer, learning to play the guitar, and providing women with a new online shopping experience are just some of the start ups which reached the finish line for the second class of the Microsoft Israel R&D Accelerator. 13 start-ups completed the second class, four months after it began, and one year after the Accelerator was launched.
"People didn’t believe that Microsoft would succeed with its start up accelerators," said Microsoft Israel VP strategy and business development Tzahi (Zack) Weisfeld. "They were very suspicious of us at first that we wanted to convert them from their religion to the world of Microsoft. They looked at us cynically. That wasn’t the intention of this program.
"Microsoft was criticized over how connected or unconnected it was to open code and other trends. One of the reasons we decided to open the Accelerator was to prove that Microsoft is super relevant. We had to prove that we were part of the conversation."
Microsoft Israel Accelerator director Hanan Lavi said, "We were also like a start-up in the first class. We learned and improved while in motion. We implemented the lessons in the second class, which ended today. We're closing this class, and most of the companies have already raised money." He added that Microsoft Israel was already preparing for the third class. Registration will close on June 6, and the class will begin on July 7.
Companies which completed the second class include Shopetti, founded by CEO Shefa Weinstein to "help women enjoy shopping again" online. "Our clientele are American moms, who are responsible for 85% of household spending in the US. The idea is to provide them with an easy and convenient shopping experience," she says.
LiveTune's Kobi Stok says that the company's app teaches how to play the guitar via an iPhone. "The app tells you what you ought to play, where you should improve, etc." he says, adding that the app has 800,000 active users.
Pixtr Ltd. has developed an app which automatically improves portraits for people who have no design or editing skills, by functioning as a kind of mobile Photoshop for beginners. Phsihome has developed technology for physiotherapy at home using Microsoft's Kinect. KitchenBug Ltd. offers immediate analysis of online recipes, translating them into nutritional values, such as iron-rich children's food, or sugar-free food for diabetics. The company's clientele is mostly Americans as they cope with a national obesity problem.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 23, 2013
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