Oxford University Press signs deal with 3 Israeli start-ups

The world’s largest university press is working with Israeli firms to digitize its content

Screenshot of the Kidoz game portal (Courtesy)
Screenshot of the Kidoz game portal (Courtesy)

The Oxford University Press (OUP) announced Tuesday that it was teaming up with three Israeli education technology start-ups to develop additional online educational services, amid a growing movement among academic institutions worldwide to boycott Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians.

The three firms – Tiny Tap, Kidoz, and Total Boox – are involved in all aspects of the digital book business, from creation to distribution to marketing. With the deal, said Paul Riley, Director of Channels and Partnerships at OUP, the organization will be in a better position to “develop innovative products and services that improve the lives of teachers and learners globally.”

Over the past two months OUP has signed deals with three Israeli digital book start-ups to help the publishing house digitize and distribute its content. One of the firms, Tiny Tap, will digitize some of Oxford University Press’ key pedagogical materials, making them available as cross-platform interactive lessons using its customized game creator system. Tel Aviv-based TinyTap is a free platform for teachers and students to create personalized interactive lessons.

Another agreement was signed with e-book service provider Total Boox, which provides a unique “pay as you read” e-book distribution platform, where all books are always available to all users and readers, or libraries, are charged only for the portions actively read by each reader. Hundreds of OUP’s popular English teaching books and professional materials for language teachers will be available for hundreds of libraries in the United States, and to millions of students and teachers worldwide, the organization said.

And, in December, the publishing house signed a deal with Kidoz, a children’s content discovery platform based in Netanya. Using Kidoz, OUP can ensure that material appropriate to kids can be accessed by them, with the company hosting kid-appropriate OUP content on its app and web portal.

OUP found out about the companies via the UK Israel Tech Hub, which develops collaborative efforts between British and Israeli companies. The Tech Hub, the only business development group of any foreign embassy in Israel specifically focusing on tech relationship, was established in 2012, and since then has run dozens of programs to foster partnerships between Israeli and British firms.

Among those projects is the TexChange program, brings Israeli entrepreneurs to London (and other UK locations) to meet with entrepreneurs, investors, and potential customers. The program is targeted at start-ups and entrepreneurs working in the hottest technologies, such as gaming, advertising technology, mobile technology, e-commerce, video, convergence, social media, convergence technology, and other cutting-edge areas. Participants attend networking events, conduct mentoring sessions with top industry pros, and network with their British business counterparts.

In recent months, the Tech Hub has begun developing relationships between Israeli educational technology start-ups and UK firms – like OUP. According to Dona Haj Manaa, the Hub’s Creative Industries Manager, “Edtech is a key area of synergy for the UK and Israel. OUP represents the UK’s world-leading education and publishing industries, and these new relationships demonstrate how innovative Israeli edtech startups can grow by working with them. Israeli tech executives repeatedly mention the UK as their preferred business destination in Europe.”

According to the OUP’s Riley, the organization is pleased with the deals. “Edtech ventures are increasingly influential as they shape and improve the educational experience. Through this relationship with the Tech Hub, OUP is introduced to inventive Israeli startups, which provide us with opportunities to combine our high quality content with ground-breaking technology.”

Besides having one of the most distinguished nameplates, OUP is the largest university press in the world and the second oldest (after Cambridge’s publishing house). OUP publishes more than 6,000 titles a year in a variety of formats, with annual sales of more than 110 million units. OUP publishes more than 6,000 titles a year in a variety of formats and in dozens of languages, with annual sales of more than 110 million units.

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