Microsoft Israel accelerator graduates raise $27 million

83 companies have graduated from Microsoft’s eight programs to date in Israel

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Microsoft Demo Day in Tel Aviv, June 2016 (Courtesy: Ori Habushi)
Microsoft Demo Day in Tel Aviv, June 2016 (Courtesy: Ori Habushi)

Israeli start-ups Paykey, Unomy and Imagry were among the 10 companies that completed Microsoft Israel’s eighth accelerator program and presented their developments at a demo day in Tel Aviv. Six of the 10 have already raised investments or received investment offers for a total of $27 million, Microsoft said.

Paykey enables the transfer of money from one person to another using existing social networks and chat applications like Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp and text messages — and says it is making sending money as to one another as easy as sending an emoji; Unomy aims to help business-to-business customers sell in a smarter way by providing them with research, company profiles and data on individuals and sectors; and Imagry has developed a mobile image recognition engine that enables mobile devices to identify objects in real time.

The 10 companies were chosen out of hundreds of start-ups from Israel and 23 other countries including the US, UK, India and Russia that asked to be part of the program, which operates out of Microsoft’s Israeli R&D center, Microsoft said in a statement. The 10 companies were from the fields of fintech, computerized vision, media, marketing and advertising.

A total of 83 companies have graduated from Microsoft’s eight programs to date, of which 81 percent have raised a total of $162 million, the company said, and three of which have had exits already.

This year the companies chosen to join the program were relatively more mature — Microsoft called it the Scalerator program. The aim was to help them grow their businesses beyond just developing their technology and products — from a coaching program for chief executive officers to helping them enroll workers and customers and setting up a marketing and branding plan.

Microsoft said it has already opened up registration for its ninth accelerator program, part of its global initiative to empower start-ups around the world and help them grow by providing them with resources, networks and tools to help them grow. The Microsoft Israel R&D Center is one of three strategic global development centers situated around the world. The US technology giant founded its original R&D operation in Haifa, in 1991. Today, the center’s activity is situated in two main locations — Herzliya and Haifa.

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