The Israel Reseach tour organised by Ntegra in partnership with Bird & Bird and Barnea & Co. commenced in Tel Aviv.

Day 1

Ntegra and Bird & Bird are joined by delegates from Baillie Gifford, Coventry University, KPMG, My Home Move, Ntegra, Superdry and South Bay Connections for a 4 day research tour where they will be introduced to over 25 Israel based tech companies.

This is Ntegra’s first research tour to take place in Israel, as it is one of the most interesting technology centric economies in the world, with the second largest tech start-up scene and supporting ecosystem, second only to Silicon Valley.

The business program commenced on Monday 5th, with the morning session being hosted at the Deloitte Innovation Tech Terminal in the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, here Arod Balissa explained the background to Israel’s emergence as a global tech hub with more tech start-ups and Venture Capital firms per capita than any other in the world.

Israel based companies Binah.ai, the first end-to-end signal processing-based artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning platform and Dataloop,  a one-stop-shop platfrom for developing visual recognition applications provided very informative presentations covering AI and how it can:

– deliver a competitive edge through analytics and signal processing to deliver previously impossible levels of accuracy, stability and performance to drive better insights

– improve timings and cost for visual data processing

– unburden legal departments from reviewing high volume low value contracts

The afternoon session took place on the 61st floor of the Azrieli Sarona Tower, the building where Amazon have setup their Alexa voice shopping R&D centre.

The retail tech specialists The Shelf, a top global tech hub for retail gave an insightful presentation on how Israel is a AI superpower across all different types of data sets and is channelling its expertise into the retail vertical, with both Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma visiting in the last 12 months to explore how they can leverage Israeli start-up tech further.

Start ups coming out of the Shelf are building technology to help a business’s bottom line, The Shelf shared numerous examples of creative business problem solving using technology and provided a very useful map of the Israeli Retail tech landscape.

Following this, the delegates received presentations from a number of companies within The Shelf portfolio whose technology includes:

– Visual search technology which essentially makes any image instantly shoppable and provides the ability to search for products based on posts from influencers and models. They are already working with a number of large UK & Global retailers and have been replacing traditional recommendation based ecommerce tools with “Show similar”. The company have the largest visual search marketplace through partnerships that were already in place with two mobile manufacturer giants.

– A platform which democratises data usage across an enterprise by automating data management and making enterprise analytics agile. The technology puts a business in charge of its own data giving the agility of a start-up with security and governance of large enterprise systems.

– An ecommerce analytics platform that was able to identify that a well known online marketplace was producing a $40 million loss which could have been avoided simply by adding a pre-order page to one of their upcoming SKU’s. This platform provides brands and retailers with the detailed path to purchase analytics for ecommerce highlighting funnel breakage points along with analysis on what other products were considered along the way.

The first day has provided valuable information and a number of interesting insights, thank you to all who presented.


Day 2

Our morning session today was kindly hosted by our partners Barnea at their offices in southern part of Tel Aviv in Nave Sha’anan district on the 21st floor overlooking the Mediterranean.

We were given an introduction to Barnea’s role in the Israeli tech ecosystem from Micky Barnea, Managing Partner at Barnea. He described Israel as the “Silicon Wadi” and believes the military influences and competitive culture of the Israeli people are key to its success in the technological innovation.

We had a wide range of subject matters covered by our presenters, which included:

– A Digital engagement company demonstrated live how customer channels can be converged into a digital channel either replacing or complementing the customer interaction. Simply by placing a call on a mobile phone with a call centre, a digital experience can be initiated to drive better conversion for high value transactions or reduce the cost of servicing low value transactions.

– A tool for delivering security assessments with a goal of “finding weaknesses before the bad guys do” provided by a more established Israeli company which has a suite of products covering static analysis of code, zero day vulnerability discovery and automated scanning & risk management, effectively providing a hacker who is on your side.

– A computer vision and natural language processing startup demonstrated how their technology can be used to break an image of an object into fields to enable advanced searching capabilities. With a background in Israeli Intelligence, they provide a B2B service for e-commerce platforms to transform the online shopping experience that has been demonstrated to provide a 20% uplift in conversions.

– A tool for to provide data science as a service, we saw how the latest machine learning models can be accessed by existing teams of data scientists. By closing the gap in expertise and capability AI can be used to augment the skills of data scientist to answer questions with higher accuracy and faster, meeting the demands and expectation of the boardroom.

Our afternoon session today was also at Barnea and we saw presentations from:

– An AI driven content marketing platform, which uses AI, NLP and machine learning to curate the most relevant and personalised content for your audience from all of the web. The platform is brings technology and content together, to categorise prioritise and determine the best content for your users to drive increased engagement & lead generation.

– Proxy technology which provides transparency to the web, as websites today shows personalised content based on the individual user this proxy tech gives the ability to bypass this and give full visibility by using a vast network of global IP addresses. It can produce 3.5 million unique IP addresses ranging from residential to datacentres. The solution can be used for a variety of solutions including spotting ad fraud and supply of complete competitor pricing information.

– A VR presentation solution deemed to be the new Powerpoint which allows you create and manage VR presentations yourself in minutes without the costly agency design. It turns any 2D content into 360 environment view and works across all operating systems and VR headsets. It provides real-time control over content streamed to headsets. Already being used by a number of large enterprises use cases can include learning & development, onboarding, change behaviour and has been proven to significantly improve retention levels.

– A digital transformation solution for spreadsheets which was founded in a Microsoft incubator, which converts spreadsheets from a collection of individual documents into a database. It gives a business greater ability to provide control and compliance of spreadsheets. The solution gives the ability to database spreadsheets in realtime and keep a change audit trail at a cell level.

– A Science first relationship marketing hub, which allows marketing professionals to more effectively build relationships with existing customers for renewal and retention. The platform allows a marketeer to put a specific value on the retention work that they are doing and gives the ability for marketing plans across all digital channels to optimised in real-time based on statically analysis of performance.

– An autonomous customer service platform driving better customer experience by providing customer service centres with a suite of capabilities making interactions with live agents shorter and reducing the number of interactions they have to handle by automating interactions where possible.

Many thanks to Micky Barnea and the rest of the team at Barnea for hosting us for the day.

The day closed by visiting the private residence of the British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarry. We met a number of the UK Israel Tech Hub team and keynotes were delivered by David Quarrey and our own delegate Mike Stone from KPMG.


Day 3

Today our tour took us to Jerusalem where we were hosted by 2 Jerusalem based VC’s, JVP & Our Crowd. JVP started the day by giving an insight into their approach to investment and of the 1000+ companies they see they will make investments in approximately 6-8 per year, giving an indication of the level of quality of their companies. Their approach is more of company builders rather than pure investors, taking concepts from academia and combining this with commercial expertise.

Today’s companies included:

– A cyber security company launched only 6 months ago who specialise in vulnerability trend detection. Their methodology is based on prediction, prioritisation and then protection which results in no requirement for patching, access to source code and a significantly greater ability to be able to predict any vulnerabilities within your applications. Their mantra was to “Predict the next trend instead of chasing the next thief”.

– A next-generation data science platform, which can be used to scale AI and data science development, developed by a team of data scientists as an internal tool to help speed up their own processes which they have now commercialised. The tool was an internal tool they built to help them which they have now commercialised. The technology helps scientists work faster without worrying about configuration, leaving the data scientist to focus on the magic of what they do with algorithms and the ability to launch 100’s of experiments with a single click.

– A company which brings enterprise grade security to everyone, specialising in low cost security for small to medium enterprises. The solution is cloud based, requires no human invention is AI managed and is able to deliver enterprise level security within 15 minutes of installation. The platform also takes data from public infrastructure networks and highlights potential threats to any of their 2.3million users.

– A company using technology to take on the challenge of GDPR and privacy regulation, developed by engineers behind the Israeli border control systems. They have a unique approach to addressing the challenges faced by CIO & Data Protection Officers by enabling an organisation to identifying which elements of their network are processing personal data and then take actions accordingly. The solution cuts down the time to respond to personal data requests significantly.

We then moved to Our Crowd who gave an overview of their role in the Israeli start-up eco-system and some highlights and success stories from their significant portfolio of investments. We saw how augmented reality drone technology has moved from gaming to providing intelligence to first responders in emergencies. How simplifying the interface to technology can help the elderly who live alone easily maintain contact with their friends and family as well as providing them with a personal companion at home. How real-time video can be compressed to create a visual tagged index to easily identify key moments, especially useful in surveillance.

The day finished with a walking tour of old Jerusalem by a Mancunian by the name of Yossi.

Final day

Our final day was hosted by Viola Growth Partners in the Hertsyla district of Tel Aviv. Viola Growth is an Israeli-based technology growth capital fund, focusing on investing in global companies at expansion phase.

Viola shared a handpicked selection of companies from their portfolio for our delegates, which included:

– A clickstream analysis company that analyses 1% of all internet data across all devices and makes extrapolations for marketeers, market researchers, sales teams and investors providing speed to insight. The solution is a trusted name for Wall Street and enables visibility of competitive data such as volume of consumer searches by country, keywords used, marketing messages used and display ads used as well as

– Algorithm-driven companies are growing faster than ever. A company that helps marketeers increase revenue by personalising each customer interaction across web, mobile web, mobile apps and email demonstrated how to be like Amazon or Netflix through a full suite of personalisation and engagement solutions to redress the balance of focusing as much on customer conversion as customer acquisition.

– A next generation business analytics company that promotes data innovation for end users without losing control and security, ending the information dictatorship and the silo-epidemic. By combining an erudite and cohesive architecture, strong end user centric governance with a modern UI/UX and new data flows allowing full use of exotic AI algorithms, the solution provides a paradigm shift on how to perform business analytics.

– A cyber security company providing a holistic approach to early threat detection and response for digital businesses. With digital companies being a lucrative target for hackers seeking personal, payment and bank data, a breach not only can cause a compliance issue but also impact brand reputation and customer experience.  Taking an automated outside-in approach providing early visibility of threats, control can be taken early through integration with your internal systems resulting in a fast, managed response.

Many thanks to Eran Westman at Viola for an extremely insightful day.