Back in November, I posted a call for Israeli companies to apply to the Israel Web Tour, a week long trip to Silicon Valley organized by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce led by Shuly Galili. 90 companies have applied, and after careful deliberation, the tour’s steering committee has selected the 15 companies that will take part in this unique opportunity.In my opinion, these will be Israel’s hottest Internet startups in 2008.
The Israel Web Tour is not an ordinary conference. In the four day tour, the chosen CEOs will get a chance to meet with some of the valley’s top companies, including Google, Yahoo, Ask, Facebook, Microsoft and more. In addition, the lucky participants will have working sessions with prominent VC and angel investors including: Gemini Israel funds, Opus Capital, USVP, Charles River Ventures,Mayfield Funds as well as potential partners. The impressive list of speakers includes “valley celebrities” such as: Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn, Michael Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch, Bradley Horowitz, VP, Product Strategy, Yahoo !, Jonathan Abrams, Founder and CEO, Socializr and the list goes on.
And the 2008 Israel Web Tour participants are:
– started in 2007 by Eran Har-Nevo, Tal Simantov and Hanan Lashover, 5min.com has established itself as the leading source for short “howto” videos on the web. 5min reported 5 million views in December of 2007, with a 30-40% growth month over month. Most recently, 5min.com has received a five million dollar investment from Spark Capital. (learn more on 5min on vc cafe)
– a pioneer in the development and deployment of an interactive, multi-dimensional web video platform. PLYmedia developed the PLYplatform – a suite of applications that gives broadcast and video publishers/viewers an opportunity to create interactive content layers such as: Contextual ad insertion, Speech-to-Text recognition, text bubbles and more. Most recently, PLYmedia won the 2nd place in Le Web 3 competition in France. The company is led by co-founder and CEO, Ben Enosh. (learn more about PLYmedia on vc cafe)
– aims to aggregate the complete web presence of a user into a chronological timeline including photos, emails, videos, documents and more. The service is targeted at families, who wished to organize and share digital assets. Most recently, Allofme has been in the news following an undisclosed investment by Yossi Vardi. The company’s co-founders are Adi Feuerstein and Tal Yaniv. (learn more about Allofme on vc cafe)
– a web analytics startup designed to cater the special needs of web 2.0 sites, while personalizing the service for each client. The analytics platform allows measurement of user interaction and activity. Founded in 2007 by CEO Shahar Nechmad, CTO Haggai Schahar, Eli Shahaf and Tal Barnoach.
– “a virtual usability lab”. Clicktale is an innovative hosted service that enables websites to record and watch movies of their users’ complete browsing sessions – every mouse movement, every click and every scrolling action. Recently, Clicktale has been in the news for raising an undisclosed round by boutique-VC firm YL Ventures. Clicktale was Founded in 2006 by CEO Tal Schwartz and CTO Arik Yavilevich. (learn more about Clicktale on vc cafe)
– an online live broadcasting platform for user generated content. Using blogTV, anyone can create his own TV channel to be viewed both online and on mobile phones.. A subsidiary of Tapuz.co.il (Israel largest online portal), BlogTV was founded in 2006 by Nir Ofir and Dan Chen. It is currently led by CEO Guy Eliav. (learn more about BlogTV on vc cafe)
– a user generated social network and content site focused on all kinds of sports. Sportingo lets fans share their opinions with the sports community. Founded in 2006 by Ze’ev Rozov and Tal Barnoach (the same founder of NuConomy above). Sportingo caught some headlines after buying the UK based sporting site CaughtOffside and raising a $3.2 million round from Ingenious Media in London. (learn more about Sportingo on vc cafe)
– deploys technology for content monitoring of visual assets. Its Image Tracker service allows digital assets owners such as getty images to track the usage of copyright protected images. Most recently, PicScout released PicApp, a new product that enables bloggers to legally embed high-quality/ right protected images with no cost. Founded in 2002 by CEO Eyal Gura and Ofir Gutelzon.
– a video commerce platform founded in 2006 by Richard Kligman. Qoof offers online retailers to sell their producst using targeted web video publishers who are members of the Qoof Network.
– stands out in the group as the only client install software. 8hands is a desktop application that allows a single point of entry to all social networks, eliminating the need to open multiple browser tabs. 8hands is also an instant messaging client and media sharing platform, enabling users to drag and drop youtube videos and flickr images. Founded by Kobi (Jacob) Meranko.
– develops a Search Mining application using and patented technology.Velingo gets users more accurate results by aggregating their searches across different sites and processing the information using proprietary algorithms. The result is better search results and user experience for the user, and highly targeted ads for the publisher. Founded in 2006 by CEO Nicky Pappo.
– an open platform that enables the generation of advertising real-estate within on-line video. I’ve met the founder and CEO Zvika Netter at the New TV conference in San Francisco and was extremely impressed by the technology. Founded in 2007, Innovid remains in stealth mode.
– a semantic people search engine. Still in stealth mode, Semingo is developing a semantic engine, designed for near real-time performance, introducing a unique approach for adaptive semantic analysis. In June 2007, Semingo raised a round of $2.25m from Carmel Ventures. Semingo was co-founded by CEO Liad Agmon, Sagie Davidovich, and Avital Yachin
– the first Personal Internet Assistant, PageOnce developed a technology they call FetchOnce, enabling information retrieval from the users sites and applications of choice. Still in stealth mode, there’s little known about the product at this point, but it sounds to me like a sophisticated use of XML feeds or RSS technology. PageOnce was founded by CEO Guy Goldstein and Ahikam Kaufman.
– is developing a casual gaming site for simultaneous use of multiple players. Fouded in May 2007 by CEO Guy Bendov.
As a proud member of the Israel Web Tour’s steering committee, I wish all the startups a successful trip to the west coast. I plan to cover the tour both on VC Cafe and Israelwebtour.com and conduct interviews with the tour participants. If you applied for the tour but didn’t qualify, fill the contact form to get featured on VC Cafe.