SANTA MONICA — A dozen Israeli tech startups pitched investors and fellow entrepreneurs in Santa Monica Monday evening, highlighting a diverse range of new innovations. From a better mousetrap (literally), to cybersecurity tools that detect and defuse flash mobs, the companies presenting at the Cross Campus workspace highlighted the cutting edge of Israeli innovation and the deepening links between experts and investors in Israelis and California.
The conference was organized by ZionTech Angels, which helps new Israeli companies reach out to the world. Several of the presenters were not Israeli themselves, but had developed products in coordination with Israeli entrepreneurs. For example, Thanh Tran of Zoeticx had been a Vietnamese refugee rescued by the U.S. in the 1970s. Today, he is the CEO of a high-tech startup company creating new ways to manage health care data.
One of the more interesting–and perhaps rather chilling–companies to present was BlackSwan Technologies, which is developing algorithms to prevent social unrest and terrorism by studying messages and data shared on social media. Though the company’s staff is part-time at present, it already has sparked interest among counter-intelligence agencies in Europe and the Middle East, and is seeking funding to bring its products to market.
Another company of particular interest to this author–given recent adventures in public transportation–was Optibus, which develops technology for managing public bus transportation fleets efficiently.
Some of the participants are celebrities in the tech industry, and attracted the polite attention of local fans. One Israeli tech guru spotted in the audience, for example, was Hagai Arbel of Vtool fame.
The event also provided kosher food.