NFL stars touchdown in Jerusalem's high-tech zone

Robert Kraft  photo: Reuters

19 members of the US Pro Football Hall of Fame accompanied by Robert Kraft visited an exhibit of the latest Israeli technologies.

OurCrowd, the world's leading equity crowdfunding platform and investor in Israeli startups, together with Jnext - the Jerusalem Development Authority program supporting and promoting tech-entrepreneurship in the city, hosted 19 members of the US Pro Football Hall of Fame this week for an exhibit of the latest technologies coming out of the “Startup Nation.”

The goodwill trip to Israel, coined "Touchdown in Israel: Mission of Excellence,” was organized by New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, in coordination with Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. The week-long visit kicked off with the technology expo in Jerusalem’s Old City. Members of the delegation received an up-close look at the best of Israeli high-tech innovation via ten hand-picked companies, seven of which are funded on the OurCrowd equity crowdfunding platform.

"Jerusalem was recently voted by Time Magazine as one of the world's five emerging tech hubs and that can truly be seen today,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. "I think it's a combination of really understanding our past and the beauty and the power of Jerusalem and its history. I believe in a very strong connection between our past and our future. More and more high tech entrepreneurs see their future here."

Patriots owner Kraft said the visit was transformative for the entire delegation. "I don't think there's a better place that you can bring people no matter what their faith might be. They come here and their lives are changed,” he said.

The NFL legends were greeted with a demo of ReWalk (Nasdaq: RWLK), a wearable bionic skeleton that allows individuals with spinal cord injuries to walk again.

OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved introduced the football greats to a demonstration of OurCrowd portfolio company ElMindaA, the world’s first FDA-approved neural functional assessment tool to visualize serious brain trauma and illness. ElMindaA was recently named one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company.

“Elminda is a perfect example of the kind of breakthrough technology coming out of Israel which is close to the hearts of these football greats. It offers a potentially huge breakthrough for mitigating sports injuries, detecting sports based concussions, advancing brain research and changing the lives of the two billion people worldwide living with brain disorders," said Medved.

“Through crowdfunding, the investment world is being democratized and individual investors can now get a stake in Israeli technology meaning they have a stake in Israel,” said Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the US.

Other companies on display included OrCam, an intuitive portable device with a smart camera designed to assist the visually impaired; Glide, the world’s first and only messaging application with streaming video technology; Inpris, technology that recognizes the individual movements of each fingertip anywhere on a touch-screen; MUV Interactive, a state-of-the-art solution for interacting with multiple screens and media sources through touch, remote and voice interaction; BriefCam, the video analysis software keeping our city streets safe; Consumer Physics, makers of SCiO, an advanced optical spectrometer that allows users to identify the chemical makeup of anything around them; Cimagine, the most visually advanced and user-friendly way for consumers to envision and interact with physical products in virtual reality and Highcon, which manufactures the Euclid, a machine that automates packaging production by bringing it into the digital age.

The response of the players to the technology on display was powerful and immediate.

“I think the exoskeleton’s ability to help a paraplegic walk is such an emotional thing to see," said NFL Hall of Famer David Baker. "[We were interested in] every one of these companies, from helping the consumers to helping blind people read, to helping process information better. For a lot of our players, [we appreciated] the ability to understand what’s happening in the brain with a concussion. It was all fantastic.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 24, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

Robert Kraft  photo: Reuters
Robert Kraft photo: Reuters
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