- The Fung Global Retail & Technology team is attending the Israel Dealmakers Summit (IDS) in Silicon Valley this week. The Summit is one of the largest Israel-focused business events of the year, featuring more than 1,000 global corporations, investors, dealmakers and entrepreneurs from around the world.
- Google is promoting startup innovation with its Launchpad Accelerator program, which provides mentorship to startups.
- The Future is Global, with teams acting locally, but thinking globally. Companies are investing in startups globally.
- Autonomous vehicle technology is making big strides in the areas of autonomous cars and drone technology.
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the next big things with major investments being made in this space.
This week, the Fung Global Retail & Technology team is attending the Israel Dealmakers Summit held in Silicon Valley on March 28–30. The Summit is one of the largest Israel-focused business events of the year, featuring more than 1,000 global corporations, investors, dealmakers and entrepreneurs from around the world. The event focuses on key industries including: IoT and connected devices; cyber security, marketing and e-commerce; industrial technology; autonomous vehicles; data science and analytics; artificial intelligence (AI); and virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR).
The conference began on Tuesday, March 28, with a tour of the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, followed by an evening networking session.
Day 1 of the event consisted of official panel sessions, presentations and one-on-one meetings with startups. The day was filled with networking and shared learnings, and the overarching theme of the day was “Future Trends.” Several event sponsors, including Landmark Ventures, moderated and coordinated many of the Summit activities. Zeev Klein, General Partner at Landmark Ventures, kicked off the day with a welcome address and opening remarks.
Key Takeaways from Day 1
1. Google is Promoting Startup Innovation with its Launchpad Accelerator program
The Israel Dealmakers Summit began on Tuesday with a tour of the Google Headquarters in Mountain View. Summit attendees had the opportunity to network, lunch at Google’s cafeteria and tour the Google campus.
Google launched its Google Launchpad Accelerator program, which is focused on mentoring startups. The company found that startups were encountering the same problems across all geographic boundaries, so it developed an Accelerator program to support startups through mentorship. The Launchpad Accelerator program puts the startups through a boot camp and leverages Google’s resources to help startups reach their full potential. Through the program, startups receive two weeks training at Google’s Headquarters, access to Google engineers, resources and mentors, and the ability to work closely with Google for six months. As part of the Google tour, we met mentors who had participated in the program and specialized in various areas including product design, user interface and analytics. Google lead, Dan Feld said, “One needs to be obsessive about measuring so you can fail fast.” The tour ended with a trip to the Google Museum where the team got to see artifacts from Google’s history, including its original logo.
2. The Future is Global
A recurring theme of Day 1 was global thinking and global partnerships. Managing Director and Head of Samsung Electronics’ Catalyst Fund, Shankar Chandran, said, “Innovation has no boundaries.” He added that it is difficult to put boundaries on the intersection of commerce and content. He also added that he has deep trust with his teams that are local and deeply entrenched; they act locally and think globally.
According to Carla Ghosn, Head of Business Development and Innovation at Visa, 2016 was the first year that electronic payments surpassed cash, which has tremendous implications for global technology. She added that there are benefits to globalization for Visa, and the company is codeveloping with technology companies around the world.
Additionally, companies including AT&T, Samsung, Microsoft, GE and GM highlighted investments in startups from around the globe.
3. Autonomous Vehicle Technology Is Leading the Way into the Future
The technology for autonomous vehicles is growing rapidly, and Israel startups are leading this charge. Over 60% of autonomous vehicle technology is from Israeli startups.
Airobotics: Ran Krauss, CEO and Co-Founder of Airobotics, a developer of automated industrial drones, presented “The Revolution of Automated Drones” and highlighted that although drones started as toys, he realized their potential after working in the drone space for seven years. He created Airobotics, which is a drone in a box, built by a 100-person team in Israel over a one-year period. Krauss said that collecting data is not the end game, but rather working on collective data and gathering insights is what companies need. He learned that many of his clients were unable to gather the data they already had. Today, Airobotics is the first company in the world that was granted permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly without a pilot. Krauss sees the second phase for Airobotics as the move to cities and the third phase as the commercial use of drones for delivery, real estate and industrial uses.
Otonomo: Ben Volkow, CEO and Co-Founder of Otonomo, presented on the connected car experience. Otonomo provides a data exchange platform that allows car manufacturers, app developers and service providers to exchange car-generated data for a better connected-car experience. Volkow proposes that car manufacturers will also become IT providers in the future, since consumers are connected all the time.
Otto: The keynote finale on Day 1 was a conversation with Lior Ron, Co-Founder of Otto (now Uber), the self-driving vehicle that is revolutionizing the car industry. Otto is using self-driving technology in its trucks and is also running driverless car pilots in Pittsburgh.
4. VR and AR Are the Next Big Things
Although VR is still in the “toddler” stage, there are big investments being made in this space alongside technology advancements.
Comcast Ventures: Michael Yang, Managing Director at Comcast Ventures, presented “VR: The Toddler Years” and highlighted that by 2020 the expected adoption rate of VR will be 15%. In 2016, almost $900 million was invested in approximately 125 VR companies. This year, there have been announcements from Microsoft, Intel and Qualcomm that will advance the adoption rates of VR and AR technology.
AT&T: Faraz Hoodbhoy, Director of Outreach, Ecosystem and Innovation at AT&T, emphasized that his team is actively investing in the infrastructure to support VR and AR. He meets with approximately 500 startups a year and invests in about 100 of them. His team looked at the use cases for VR and AR, what people were using them for and the technical infrastructure needed to support these requirements. He said that the infrastructure is holding the market back from making the products more readily available.
Byond: We met with Byond, a cloud-based VR-application platform for businesses. The company is based in Israel and already working with Coca-Cola, McCann World Group, CNN, Samsung and HP. Its platform delivers virtual content through media, sports, virtual tours and marketing, and allows users to see 360-degree views. The content is dynamic, measurable and cross-platform.
5. Connected Devices Are a Key Priority for Technology Companies
There are approximately 30–40 billion devices, and, according to the smart device proposition of the future, every device will be connected. Connected devices are the future.
Samsung: Samsung’s Shankar Chandran, highlighted that smart devices were one of the company’s four priority areas.
Qualcomm: Gary Brotman, Director of Product Management for Qualcomm, spoke on “Pushing the Boundaries of Technology” and predicted that devices will be connected to each other by 2020. The two factors for making this a reality are a 5G platform and intelligence. He described 5G as the connective tissue for the next generation of mobile.
Kwik: Ofer Klein, CEO and Co-Founder of Kwik, presented a solution to combat the “Amazon problem” using an IoT device. Kwik offers a physical button similar to the Amazon Dash, which allows customers to re-order items online with a push of a button. The company also measures product usage and can automatically trigger orders when items are low. The benefits of Kwik are that it can gain metrics on new customers, brand usage and lifetime brand loyalty.