Startup nations | In burgeoning field of mobile tech, Israels got buzz

The number of mobile subscribers around the world will increase by 1 billion over the next five years, according to a report issued by the Mobile World Congress, putting the global mobile crowd at 4.6 billion.

With more than half of the world already connected, mobile is the core of the digital ecosystem, providing constant access to social media, e-commerce, digital learning services and more. Mobile technology is also driving innovation in cybersecurity and network connectivity, and has created a whole realm of interconnectedness with new Internet-of-Things devices.

Of course, Israeli companies are at the forefront of many of these innovations, which will be highlighted at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. With 2,200 exhibitors and some 94,000 attendees expected, this is considered one of the most important gatherings of mobile industry professionals in the world.

Last year, Israel had a record-breaking presence when more than 60 Israeli companies each held dozens of top-level meetings with representatives from dominant global players, such as HP, Dell, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, among others.

With so many of these tech corporations headquartered in Silicon Valley, the Israeli Economic Mission in San Francisco serves an important role in facilitating important business partnerships among the various players. Our networking capacity and industry knowledge in Israel and on the West Coast enables us to engage prospective business partners half a world apart.

For example, Lexifone, an Israeli company whose program translates international business conversations from all languages, was able to leverage connections made last year at the conference to become a native application on the Amazon Fire tablet.

One 30-minute meeting at the Mobile World Congress can lead to millions of new downloads for a mobile app, millions of dollars of investment and immeasurable exposure. While the Israeli Economic Mission helps enable these interactions, the credit really goes to the Israeli entrepreneurs who continue to be innovators in the global tech ecosystem.

Among the Israeli companies that will attend the conference in February is the startup WakingApp, which will be showcasing its virtual-reality technology. Any smartphone or tablet and most smart glasses and wearable devices can be used to experience the world of virtual interaction on WakingApp’s innovative platform.

Simgo, another presenting company from Israel, has created a cloud-based virtual SIM card platform that supplants the need for physical cards installed in phones or devices. Instead, SIM cards can be stored in central locations and accessed virtually as needed. This technological breakthrough in global roaming lets travelers use their smartphone for voice and data just as they do at home.

Israel has had the biggest national pavilion at the Mobile World Congress for several years running; this year’s gathering is likely to be no exception. It will present significant opportunities for the pioneering Israeli companies in attendance to create strategic alliances in the fields of advanced network technology, smart-home devices, cybersecurity and virtual reality.


Startup of the month

Based in San Francisco and Israel, uMake last month announced a $5.2 million funding deal to fuel development of what it reports is the industry’s first cloud-based mobile 3D sketching app. The app is free to download and use, with extra paid “pro” features. “UMake transforms the way designers and engineers approach 3D design,” John Malloy of BlueRun Ventures, the Silicon Valley firm that led the round of funding, said in a statement.


Exit of the month

In one of the biggest deals yet between Israel and China — and one of the biggest in the Israeli medical technology industry — Israeli pharma firm Oramed signed a $50 million licensing and investment deal with China’s Hefei Life Science & Technology Park Investments and Development Co., a subsidiary of Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm, for the rights to its oral insulin capsule.

“China recently became the country with the largest number of diabetics in the world. Having signed these definitive license and investment agreements, our oral insulin capsule could help serve the growing population of people in China living with diabetes,” stated Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron.