Book review

Problem solvers: Book spotlights Israeli firms smoothing out the world’s snags

‘Solution Nation’ makes its mark globally by introducing smartphones that diagnose cancer, dialysis machines that purify water, and robots that keep the elderly company

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

Intuition Robotics' artificial intelligence based robot ElliQ (Courtesy)
Intuition Robotics' artificial intelligence based robot ElliQ (Courtesy)

A new book about Israeli technological prowess, “Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems,” gives readers an in-depth analysis of 62 emerging Israeli companies, all of which are developing solutions to life-threatening problems.

The solutions these companies bring to the world include preventing amputations,  reducing the risk of accidents, using smartphones to diagnose cervical cancer, converting blood dialysis machines into water purification devices, vanquishing influenza and generating water from air.

David Wanetick, the author of the self-published book, said the 62 companies were selected after his team solicited recommendations from thousands of Israelis and others who are familiar with the local high-tech scene, and after reviewing, researching, surveying and getting nominations from countless parties, including university technology transfer offices, incubators, lawyers, accountants and investors.

“In all, we garnered approximately 500 nominations,” Wanetick said in an email interview from California, where he resides. “I reviewed as much information about candidate companies as I could before conducting required interviews with the management teams of selected companies.”

David Wanetick, the author of ‘Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems’ (Courtesy)

Wanetick, who has authored six books before this one, has 20 years’ experience in valuing companies and patents and emerging technologies for clients including Fortune 100 firms, venture capital and private-equity funds, and others, he says. “My book that most closely parallels ‘Solution Nation’ is called ‘Business Model Validation.’ That book explains some of the methodologies I used to select and diagnose the companies featured in ‘Solution Nation,'” he said.

Indeed, the book’s approach to the companies and their technologies is concise, clear and businesslike. It also has a very specific format: every company profile begins with a background explaining the problem and how the featured company tackles it. The author then reviews the innovative solution developed by the company, and the final section of each profile holds a list of questions investors, customers and regulators may want to pose to the management teams.

Wanetick sees three audiences for the book: readers who are interested in Israel, especially its innovations and entrepreneurs; those who are interested in investing in emerging companies or in high-tech companies; and those who’ll “enjoy learning about eclectic topics such as grasshoppers, mangoes, drones, maritime piracy, cervical cancer, anti-bullying apps, algae, construction accidents, wind energy and more.”

Among the companies featured are Caesarea, Israel‐based NUFiltration, which repurposes dialyzers that have reached the end of their lives as water purification devices to help people in developing countries get clean drinking water; Caesarea, Israel‐based G.A.L. Water Technologies, which has developed the GALMOBILE, the world’s first vehicle that can purify water and help in natural disaster areas.

Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems, by David Wanetick (Courtesy)

Readers are also introduced to Mobile ODT, a startup that transforms cellphones into video‐colposcopes to allow clinicians to capture high-quality images in order to screen for cervical cancer. And to the technology developed by RamatGan-based Intuition Robotics, which has developed ElliQ, a robot-companion for senior citizens to help keep them engaged with their hobbies, music and families.

The writing of “Solution Nation” coincided with efforts around the world to boycott Israeli products, divest from companies conducting business in Israel, and sanction Israel, Wanetick wrote in the introduction to his book.

For those readers who may consider joining the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, he said in the interview, “I tried to present a cerebral analysis of the impact that BDS could have not only on the likes of the Israeli companies featured in ‘Solution Nation’ but also on the world’s most disadvantaged people. Their lives would be even more imperiled if they were deprived of the solutions that Israeli companies are developing.”

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