The Smartup3 competition is drawing to a close and the ten finalists have been selected. This is the third year that “Globes” and Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) unit Poalim Hi-Tech have held the competition for Israeli startups. Four companies will be chosen from the ten candidates and will be awarded three months of assistance from high-tech and business experts on a range of subjects relevant to startups. This year, in contrast to the past, two programs have been organized: the general program for companies engaged in a range of content fields, except for finances; and a fintech program for companies developing financial technology products and services, which have the potential for improving our lives. The four companies chosen to participate in the program will receive a start-up package from Bank Hapoalim, which includes a high-tech bank account at preferential terms, and a NIS 20,000 grant.
Below are the ten finalists
PayBox Ltd. - fintech program
Founders: CEO Tal Grinberg has fulfilled a number of financial positions in the investment and financial oversight world; VP marketing Udi Liberman has experience at User Experience Israel (UXI) and in digital marketing campaign management; VP development Omri Hapner previously worked at Intel Israel Ltd. and at Ben Gurion University of the Negev’s Natural Language Processing laboratory; COO David Rahamim fulfilled risk management and fraud prevention positions at cyber companies.
The solution: a social network payments solution that facilitates and simplifies group payments. The company is developing proprietary tools for collective collection, management, and payment. The technology is unique because it is a financial tool in the form of a dynamic checking account for groups, designed to support the user experience. The company has developed many-to-many payment options via credit cards without the need for integration with point-of-sale systems or the issue of an actual credit card.
The business model: commissions, targeted advertising, integration with third parties through revenue sharing, and data monetization.
Target markets: Europe, the US, and Israel.
Main competitors: Leetchi, Tilt
Amount raised to date: no financing
Why it should win (according to the founders): the sharing economic and collective consumption world is picking up, and a large part of this world requires payment and money sharing. In the coming decade, the banking industry’s main clientele will be the Y generation, which has become used to the social network user experience. We are trying to connect the two worlds, traditional banking and social networks in a single product.
GetBus Transportation Ltd. - general program
Founders: Tomer Katz and JackYulzari. Katz’s career is in online and e-commerce and was among those responsible for the success poker solution of 888 Holding plc (LSE:888). He moved on to Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc (LSE; BWAG: BPTY) in various managerial positions. Yulzari is a start-up entrepreneur who specializes in private travel, GetBus’s business.
The solution: an online reservations platform for private tourist buses and minibuses, events, and so on. The Israeli market alone has an annual turnover of NIS 4 billion, a third of which are from spot reservations unlinked by contract or tender. The technology is unique because of its dynamic pricing algorithm, which sets the price of a trip that is fully adjusted for the client’s travel plan, the bus company’s travel cost, season, peak and off-peak times, etc. In this way, the dynamic pricing responds to the incessant changes in market prices based on a range of variables. p>The business model: commissions. The client reserves from GetBus, which pays the bus company the proceeds for providing the service, after deducting the platform’s commission. One year after going live, the company has more than NIS 1 million revenue from more than 500 reservations, 30% of which were made by repeat clients.
Target markets: Initially in Israel, to be followed by the UK and the rest of Europe.
Main competitors: student travel companies.
Main investors: two leading Israeli bus companies: Hamovil Jack Yulzari Ltd. and Shasha Tours Ltd.
Amount raised to date: $100,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): an experienced team of world-class experts in the two most relevant fields for the company’s success e-commerce and transportation.
CodiPark Inc. - fintech program
Founders: Tavor Ilan, Tomer Binamowitch, Ohav Baumgarten, and Ben Peretz. They previously jointly founded a mobile wallet venture.
The solution: a payment app for parking lots in the US. The company’s objective to save people the need from waiting in line and to provide a simpler and more convenient user experience for parking at parking lots, although not on streets. The company currently offers its solution in California and valet parking garages in New York. The technology is unique because of its interface for all parking payment machines worldwide, including magnetic strip and barcode.
The business model: $0.35-1.00 per transaction from the end customer, monthly payments, and set-up fees from the parking lot owner, and collaboration with surrounding businesses. The company also offers roadside products, such as premium parking and car washes.
Target markets: currently North America.
Main competitors: the company has no current direct competitors. Parkmobile USA Inc. and SpotHero Inc. are indirect competitors.
Main investors: ExitValley.
Amount raised to date: $275,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): the company can offer drivers a convenient tool for saving time and aggravation in finding and paying for parking, while creating a much better user experience than in the past.
Salient Eye Ltd. - general program
Founders: CTO Haggai Meltzer has more than ten years of experience in software development and software team management; CEO Tzvika Agassi, a veteran of the IDF Military Intelligence Unit 8200 has managerial experience in finance and the Internet, as well as an entrepreneur.
The solution: an app that can turn any smartphone or tablet into a motion sensor-based security system, which is the most efficient way to improve home or office security. The app has been available at Google Store for over a year. It supports 20 languages and has more than 500,000 downloads and 80,000 active users. The technology is unique because of its generic motion sensors, which can operate with multiple versions of different operating systems.
The business model: premium payments. The app is fee, but features are for pay. Several months ago, the company launched the first for-pay feature a remote control for the smartphone, whose camera functions as the motion sensor, and sends images to the user’s smartphone and can sound an alarm.
Target markets: primarily the US, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries with serious personal security problems; clientele homeowners, tenants, students.
Main competitors: companies selling IP cameras with supplementary apps (such as Nest Labs Inc.), and app developers, such as Alfred.
Main investors: angel investors.
Amount raised to date: $800,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): we are offering a real and high-quality solution to one of the most vexing problems for the coming years, “What to do with my old smartphone?”
SecBI Ltd. - general program
Founders: CTO Alex Vaystikh was part of the technology team at RSA Security until a year ago; VP business development and customer relations Doron Davidson was part of RSA Security Israel’s management until a year ago.
The solution: information security investigations. The technology is unique because it is the first to combine bioinformatics and cyber technologies for rapid and effective investigations, boosting an organization’s information security. The technology integrates knowledge, data, and analytics with the advantages of machine learning.
The business model: the product is sold through managed security service providers (MSSPs), which use it to lower their service costs on one hand while offering a wider range of services on the other hand. Pricing is based on an annual data quantity.
Target markets: primarily the US and Europe.
Main competitors: Israel’s Siemplify Ltd., and Swimlane LLC and DFLabs of the US.
Main investors: Jerusalem Venture Partners and BGN Technologies Ltd..
Amount raised to date: $1.5 million
Why it should win (according to the founders): the company has developed unique technology.
Finupp Ltd. - fintec program
Founders: CEO Asaf Regev, a lawyer and CPA; CTO Dani Silberstein, a software engineer; VP marketing Lior Albeck
The solution: the cloud-based solution manages financial and accounting data. It has already helped 11,000 users obtain tax refunds exceeding NIS 1 million. The technology is unique because of its accounting algorithms.
The business model: NS 195 per application for a tax refund.
Target markets: currently Israel, to be followed by the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and the US.
Main competitors: CPA and tax refund firms, and Britain’s Intuit Ltd.
Main investors: family and friends
Amount raised to date: $20,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): the company’s user growth rate is 30% per month, because it offers online services, which were previously the domain of accountants and tax consultants.
The Grid Ltd. - general program
Founders: Gur Harel, Yuval Niv, and Nir Weiner.
The solution: a platform for moment-to-moment delivery services within 90 minutes in an urban area, through an app with a unique transparent experience accessible to all users. The service makes it possible to send or receive any item that can be loaded into a private car immediately and without the need for prior registration. Deliveries are made by a community of couriers who use the company’s operating grid to provide a fee-based service for each task. The platform is a flexible source of revenue for people with a vehicle who wish to make money during their free time at a time of their choice. The technology is unique because it optimizes routes in real time, making it possible to combine unplanned tasks with the shortest routes in the timeliest way.
The business model: revenue sharing with the couriers of the fee per delivery.
Target markets: worldwide.
Main competitors: large courier companies and US ventures such as Zipments, Postmates, and Deliv.
Main investors: 2BAngels, Plus Ventures, Explore.
Amount raised to date: $600,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): the company is making an anachronistic, inefficient, and inaccessible service, which everyone uses, into something innovative, available, and experiential. The Grid is also a unique, attractive, and flexible source of livelihood that is relevant for almost anyone with free time and can-do attitude.
Sling Ltd. - fintech program
Founders: CEO Erez Yerushalmi; COO Jacob Cohen; CTO Tzadok (Steve) Eliyahu.
The solution: allows micro-merchants to be paid by customers via the smartphone. 100 million micro businesses have no cash alternatives, as the use of cash is dropping rapidly worldwide. After a quick registration, the micro-merchant receives a payment code on his or her smartphone. The customer scans the code to identify the business and make an immediate payment. The technology is unique because (1) it allows immediate registration, allowing micro-merchants to begin receiving payment by credit card or Paypal within two minutes; (2) Micro financial services are suitable for micro business on demand; (3) there are diverse methods of payment proximity, remote, PC card; (4) a proprietary Champion Kit that includes a series of physical means of payment payment bracelet, payment labels, payment tags.
The business model: three-way model to lift the burden from the business and to develop new profit channels; a 1.5% clearing fee; and a NIS 0.50 transaction payment by consumers; and pebbles - small added value services tailored for micro-merchants at $0.99 per pebble per month paid via the app. Pebbles launched include rapid clearing and splitting payment messages. Each business activates pebbles as needed, giving them modularity and customization.
Target markets: emerging markets Israel and the Middle East, Africa, Latin America.
Main competitors: LevelUp and Square Inc. of the US, South African SnapScan Ltd.
Main investors: Michael Katina, Erez Shani
Amount raised to date: $400,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): advanced fintech technology to empower a clientele, which has been outside the circle of banking, credit, and technology for years. The company also brings micro-merchants close to banking and financial infrastructures, which struggle to locate, aggregate, and serve micro-merchants.
TapReason Ltd. - fintech program
Founders: Nimrod Elias, CEO CEO Ailon Velger, CPO Jane Velger, all three of whom are veterans of the IDF Mamram - Center of Computing and Information Systems.
The solution: an aid for virally distributed mobile apps by encouraging users to promote, share, and recommend the app by word of mouth. The technology is unique because it finds the right time to ask users to act. The technology is based on algorithms that learn users’ behavior and offers a customized prediction for timing, and the right message and channel.
The business model: monthly subscription based on use.
Target markets: mobile apps targeting end users in news, health, games, and other fields.
Main competitors: measuring tools (Yozio Inc. and Branch.io Inc.), analytic tools (MixPanel Inc.), and A/B testing tools (Optimizely Inc.)
Main investors: Nielsen Innovate
Amount raised to date: $500,000
Why it should win (according to the founders): the company is offering a material solution in an era in which apps are struggling for distribution. Distribution costs are high, and most apps fail to achieve a critical mass of users, rending the solution critical for contemporary companies and app owners.
GetGems Ltd. - fintech program
Founders: CEO Daniel Peled; CTO Ofer Markovich
The solution: exploiting social network chat rooms for payment. The technology is unique because users pay minimal fees. The technology bridges the gap between banking and social networks. It currently has 15,000 active users, and handled more than $1 million in transactions by mid-2015.
The business model: B2B2C.
Target markets: North America and Asia.
Main competitors: Facebook Messenger, China’s WeChat, Japan’s Line.
Main investors: crowdfunding, Magma Venture Partners
Amount raised to date: $1.2 million
Why it should win (according to the founders): mobile payments is becoming a huge market, and two engines are immediate payments and peer-to-peer (P2P).
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 18, 2015
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