Microsoft Israel accelerator graduates raise $27 million

Microsoft Israel accelerator graduates raise $27 million

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

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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