Fifteen Israeli startups briefed some 200 UK corporates, investors and family offices on their technologies at an event in London held by the chamber of commerce UK Israel Business (UKIB).
The companies came from a variety of sectors, including developers of artificial intelligence and vision devices for the partially sighted and those with dyslexia; drones, big data, cybersecurity, marketing technologies and nano-satellites.
The keynote speaker at the event, Innovate Israel 2018, held on Tuesday, was Ziv Aviram, the co-founder of Mobileye — a maker of technologies for self-driving cars that was acquired last year by Intel Corp. for a massive $15.3 billion. Aviram and Amnon Shashua, who is a co-founder of Mobileye, are also the founders of Orcam, a startup that has developed devices to assist the blind and visually impaired by using smart algorithms and a camera.
At the briefing, Ziv showcased Orcam’s MyEye 2.0, a wearable artificial vision device the size of a finger. The device seamlessly identifies faces and objects, reads text and more, in real time.
Other companies that spoke at the event included NSLComm, which has developed a new generation of Nano-satellites the same size of a shoebox and was awarded NASA’s New Space Competition prize; Windward, a shipping analytics firm; and ThetaRay a developer of financial crime solutions.
Barclays, Centrica and International Airlines Group (IAG) took part in a panel looking at how UK corporates can access Israeli innovation.
As Britain proceeds with the dissolution of its relationship with the European Union, it has started to court new partners, among them Israel. Last month, Britain’s Prince William visited Israel in the first-ever official visit by a member of the royal family since the British Mandate ended and the State of Israel was founded in 1948.
Brexit — the process the UK has initiated for withdrawing from the EU, which is estimated will impact economic growth, create financial instability and cut jobs — is a challenge, but it also presents huge opportunities for Israel, said Hugo Bieber, chief executive of UKIB said in a recent interview with The Times of Israel.
“Israel is the Silicon Valley for the rest of the world. The scale-up company founders we are showcasing have followed uncharted paths, building huge companies out of nothing,” Bieber said in a statement ahead of the event. Israeli innovation is becoming “ever more important” to the UK, he said.
The reaction to the Israeli companies “has been fantastic,” Bieber added by email after the event. Attendees were “inspired” and ready to “further explore investing in and partnering with Israeli high-tech companies,” he said.
Companies that attended the 2018 Innovate Israel tech summit included: Barclays Plc; Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc; Microsoft; BT Group; London Stock Exchange; BP; JPMorgan; Deutsche Bank; Shell; Amazon; Google and Centrica, and investors like KKR.