Entrepreneur

UpWest Labs launches its fifth batch of Israeli startups (exclusive)

Silicon Valley’s investors are increasingly looking to fund startups in emerging tech hubs around the world.

Many of the prestigious firms have their eyes on Israel, which has established itself as fertile ground for tech companies. Some of the hottest companies in Israel could benefit from access to the experienced tech investors in Silicon Valley, who are often willing to write larger checks.

Gil Ben-Artzy and Shuly Galili have spent the better part of a decade fostering connections between the two regions. In January of last year, they launched UpWest Labs, a Silicon Valley-based accelerator program for Israel companies.

The accelerator just launched its fifth class of startups. They only accept a handful of companies, so only about 25 have graduated so far. The entrepreneurs live and work together in a house in Palo Alto, Calif. for three months before launching their products to investors and the press.

Most of the entrepreneurs in the most recent batch are targeting businesses, rather than consumers, a sign of the times. Galili told me she’s particularly proud that two of the founders are women — a chief executive and chief technology officer. (Read more on the reasons behind a lack of women in tech here.)

It hasn’t been around for long, but UpWest Labs has quite an encouraging track record. Alumni of the program have gone on to raise an average of $1 million in seed funding, according to Galili. Many have caught the eye of high-profile tech investors — Invi just announced a $3 million seed round led by Ashton Kutcher, among others, to replace native SMS messaging.

Without further ado, meet the fifth batch of startups. In their own words:

Neura consolidates and automates your connected environment. Pursuing the exponentially growing connected devices market, Neura is a horizontal solution for the Internet of Things. Neura’s users can profile the smart world around them and create logical connections between objects, people, locations, and the web.

Reactful enables websites to listen and react to visitors in real time. Reactful’s engine engages each visitor with the right content at the right time. These real-time reactions are based on predictive analytics and machine learning, combining the behavior of the crowd and each individual’s actions and mood. With Reactful, marketers can reach their business goals, like increasing conversion rates, lowering bounce rates, and deflecting customer support calls.

TapDog is a competitive intelligence platform, delivering actionable insights for organizations. In the $30B competitive intelligence market, only TapDog offers a powerful solution that requires no special training or implementation. The team behind TapDog has years of technical and analytical experience, in both business and government intelligence agencies.

Comeet helps companies make better hires. More than 1 billion job interviews are conducted annually in the US, most of them by managers with limited professional interviewing skills. While current solutions focus on supporting the HR function, Comeet targets hiring managers and their teams. Comeet offers an easy-to-use tool that integrates interviewing best practices, streamlines the hiring process, and serves as a platform for third-party recruitment tools.

Dscovered developed a genetic algorithm for design that simplifies creative processes. Using Dscovered’s taste-mapping technology, graphic designers and clients save valuable time and money that is wasted on design iterations. In addition, Dscovered helps match clients with graphic designers who share their taste and style. 


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