ISN members, Chen and Racheli Levkovich of ZUZNOW, were written up in Small Business Trends by Sramana Mitra:
"M-Commerce: Why Your Website Needs to Be Mobile"
Zuznow enables small businesses to automatically render a traditional website in mobile form without the need for programming. Basically, it's "One-Click Mobilization".
Currently enrolled in Sramana Mitra's One Million by One Million initiative, Racheli says they are learning a lot, making great contacts, and highly recommend the program to Israeli startups.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Eli Sasson, founder of Minicom (http://www.minicom.com), was one of the speakers at our recent Bootstrapping event. He was interviewed by Sramana Mitra for her Entrepreneur Journeys series.
Definitely worth reading Minicom's great story. And, while you are on the site, browse through the many wonderful bootstrapping and other stories gathered by Sramana Mitra that make up the tribal knowledge of Silicon Valley!
Posted by Arlene at 11:07 PM
Friday, February 1, 2013
by Simon Minitzer
(Note: See Simon's BIO on the Contributing Authors’ Page)
“Test your assumptions via customer feedback” - Yossi Pinkas
Magpointer allows presenters to engage their audience by focusing on specific aspects of data-rich presentations in real time ... enlarging, focusing, or highlighting specific slide elements, on-the-fly and without any preparations in advance, allowing a smooth navigation back-and-forth between objects, keeping presentations flowing. www.magpointer.com
Pinkas embarked on this journey with a clear business model. Magpointer is about a month away from charging its first customers, including Universities wanting to acquire ‘site licenses’ for Magpointer’s patent pending technology (patent over ‘Interacting with displayed objects during presentation or online collaboration meeting’). With Yossi’s feet firmly planted on the ground, he focuses on exactly this, his critical success factor, ensuring that customers pay for his product.
Pinkas is not expecting to raise big venture funding. Magpointer has managed to attract a few thousand users to date, and on the back of a Microsoft PowerPoint-dominated market in the hundreds of millions, he intends to re-invest cash flow via sales back into marketing to facilitate organic growth.
Pinkas is quite comfortable bootstrapping, and he is not operating under any illusions about the risks of startup life. Pinkas’s co-founder is still working at a full-time job, and has no problem with this. If you are a more ‘senior’ entrepreneur with a family to support or other commitments, it may not be that practical to just ‘jump ship’ and start swimming. The business risks in starting up should be managed - and only when it's appropriate, should you quit your day job. Pinkas does not necessarily advocate that this is the best approach, but it’s more a case of ‘horses for courses’ and you should figure out what approach best fits you and your startup.
‘Small things mean a lot to people’ says Pinkas when he reflects on his biggest learnings at Magpointer, ‘I just had no idea people would be so emotional about something like this.’ Pinkas wants young entrepreneurs to focus on testing the minimum viable products that they are conceptualizing via user feedback. Pinkas concludes, ‘I initially believed the product was useful and had business potential, but hadn’t realized how valuable it really was until we’ve received feedback from our first users.’
Pinkas is dreaming only of his business model, he isn’t thinking too much about exits or the like, he would be just as happy to have a few hundred thousand paying customers, validating a profitable business model. With a few hundred million customers out there, and having recently acquired a grant from the Chief Scientist Tnufa Program, who would bet against him and MagPointer?
Posted by Arlene at 7:45 AM
Thursday, January 31, 2013
This is an exceptional software project management tool.
According to Briox, the first Israeli customer:
" About our experience with BST - I can say that we've done an extensive survey of the project management tools out there, including the most well-known names and the shiniest ones - and even have used one of these for a while. However, when it comes to the level of detail and specialization that hardcore software project management requires, the shiny UX & big name just didn't cut it. You need strong issue management, project management, awareness of your software components, good way to work with milestones, ability to work with files in way that makes sense for a software development management system, a way to sensibly share knowledge the team... and more.
Honestly, these were things we *assumed* we'd find in the "big name" systems but did not, to our surprise. It seems most of the other offerings in the market aim more to small shops, collaboration with less software-centric orientation, or in other cases - a heaviness that tries to tie you to a certain workflow and way of doing things, instead of adapting to you. BoostrapToday gives us the power we need without getting in our way. Add word-class support we've received from Anand and the team and a great price, and the value is unbeatable."
Can't get a better testimonial than that! And, Briox is willing to speak with you about their experience - they are that happy with the product and the service! Contact us to receive their details: arlene at tech-river dot com
Posted by Arlene at 1:47 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2013
by Simon Minitzer
(Note: See Simon's BIO on the Contributing Authors’ Page)
"The User Experience is only as good as the underlying data." Yosi Glick
Yosi Glick has been immersed in building technology for the entertainment industry for 15 years. He doesn’t believe in ‘Cinderella stories’, and he doesn’t see his focused vision for Jinni having been sparked by an ‘aha’ moment. Yosi Glick was persistent.
Glick refused to give in to the notion of why TV and video guides were always presented in an unsatisfying way to its customers - he saw the standard grid-style guide as a barrier in the user experience. Glick made it his mission to break through this barrier. It became his obsession. His motivation came from his customers, reinforced every time he asked them if they were happy with the services they were receiving. They would always respond ‘there is no other way’.
Glick was determined to find a way, and he did. Glick understood that all the guides were the same because, ‘the user experience is only as good as the underlying data’. With this in mind, Jinni was conceived. The accepted way to engage with video content was by broadcast time and channel or broad ‘genre categorization’ for VOD content. This approach was not user-focused - and made looking for something good to watch like browsing the stacks at a library. How do I find what I want? How do I know if I’ll like it? So instead of zapping through tons of channels or reading through a long list of titles, it made more sense to Glick to be able to ‘reverse engineer the intention of the director and the scriptwriter’ so as to better reflect the ‘mood’ of the video content, therefore making your selections as a consumer a lot more specific to your mood and interest at that moment. For example, if a user is in the mood to watch something uplifting and humorous about a dysfunctional family, the guide should be able to find them exactly the shows and movies with those characteristics.
Jinni was born. Glick, together with his co-founders, invented the ‘Entertainment Genome™’ Glick wanted to categorize the data better, and he wanted to understand what the attributes, or as Glick puts it - ‘the genetic makeup’ of what the video content was really. Was the movie or TV show ‘sad’ or ‘happy’ or about a ‘dysfunctional family’, or ‘nothing goes right’ or ‘obnoxious boss’. It took the team a year to identify and understand that there were approximately 2,200 attributes that could describe the video content. On average, 30-60 Genome attributes are extracted from each show or movie. These attributes form the basis of the classification, and allow you to select content you have an interest in watching based on your nuanced mood, and not just a broad genre.
How are the Genes extracted? The patented Jinni technology cross-references multiple data sources including synopses and reviews. The Jinni algorithms compute the genes based on understanding of the meaning of the texts, not just simple keyword identification. The magic sauce of Jinni is its ability to understand the text and ‘humanize’ it by extracting the true meaning. For example, Google will index text based on what keywords appear overtly in the text, but Jinni understands the text the way a human does. This ‘machine learning’ ability allows Jinni to understand that the movie ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is about a ‘dysfunctional family’, even though the term never appears in the synopsis or the review. Jinni understands how to seek out evidence (certain expressions) that collectively imply that this content has this particular attribute.
Glick is all about TV and movies. He reflects on how he assembled his team of experts like the opening scene of the movie 'Oceans Eleven'. He identified the skills he needed to make his vision come to life, and literally went on a dating spree. ‘Breakfast, lunch and dinner’ as Glick puts it, ‘but I always paid for the coffee.’ Glick agonized over how it was exactly like dating for marriage. ‘Sometimes you could know within a minute of meeting someone that this wasn’t the guy.’ Glick was persistent, and as he says,’ I was looking for love.’ Glick attributes this careful planning, a period of 6 months, as the most critical part of Jinni’s lifecycle. The team went 18 months without funding, and Glick self-funded sub-contractors to build the alpha version of Jinni.
Today Jinni is funded by the Startup Factory and DFJ Tel Aviv, has 30 employees, 2 sales people located in Europe and the US, with the remainder in Israel. Jinni has 9 tier-1 global Pay TV and online video operators as paying customers for its unique semantic discovery engine. In addition, Jinni operates a free website. Glick has said they have some plans for monetizing the B2C website. Jinni has, to date, won several prestigious industry awards, including an Innovation award in 2010 from Cable Labs (Denver) and an Innovation award in 2011 from IBS (Amsterdam).
Jinni recently announced Time Warner Cable and online video provider, VUDU, a Walmart company, among its latest customers. In the long term, Glick would like to see all pay TV and video guides powered by Jinni discovery technology.
Glick’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple. ‘Be honest with yourself.’ He believes you must accept that you will receive negative comments, but you should do your best to be objective about the comments. We should be careful of ‘adapting our reality to fit our desires.’ So in other words, be wary of rationalizing things to make yourself feel better. Entrepreneurs should always be challenging the assumptions they are working with. One always needs to be working in reality.
Jinni wants to get to know you. It wants to get to know your taste in TV and movies. In a sense, it wants to make your user experience into a fully personalized ‘siri’-like interaction.
While his team came together like that of 'Oceans Eleven', their motives are certainly a lot more enviable. They are giving consumers a way to engage with digital entertainment content in a whole new way, and that is nothing less than just plain awesome.
Posted by Arlene at 10:29 AM
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Congratulations to Tamir Rosenblum @tamirros @playrockapp for selection as one of the winners of the 1M/1M New Year Challenge Finals!
Posted by Arlene at 10:55 AM
Sunday, December 9, 2012
To help support entrepreneur development in Israel, Sramana Mitra's One Million by One Million (1M/1M) program is inviting local entrepreneurs to ATTEND or PITCH during a free online roundtable mentoring session on Thursday, December 20, at 6:00 p.m. IST. The overall goal of 1M/1M is to help one million entrepreneurs each reach $1 million in revenue by 2020.
Serious entrepreneurs are invited to register to “pitch” their businesses to Sramana Mitra, a Silicon Valley veteran who does not sugar-coat her feedback. Everyone is invited to “attend” to watch and learn. Afterwards, Israeli entrepreneurs who pitch will be spotlighted in a column by Sramana Mitra on her blog and elsewhere.
More details here: http://1mby1m.com/free-public-roundtables/
Register here: http://strategyroundtable-dec20.eventbrite.com/#
Posted by Arlene at 1:14 PM