Source: Animal Tracks Via MSNBC
Israeli startup Mobli enables users to see real-time events that others are watching. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was so impressed he invested in the company.
Contrary to popular belief, celebrities aren’t all “ditzy.” If you’ve heard of them — and if they’ve made a fortune in movies or TV — chances are they are sophisticated, intelligent people who know how to market themselves. After all, there is a lot of competition out there.
So when a celeb like Leonardo DiCaprio sinks a significant sum into the startup Israeli phone app/website Mobli, you have to figure he knows what he’s doing.
Mobli offers a unique and exciting real-time take on mobile video and photography. When you install the app on your phone, or check out the website, you can actually see what someone else is looking at.
According to the company’s website, it all started when founder Moshe (“Moshiko”) Hogeg was at a concert and could barely see the stage because his view was blocked by everyone in better seats holding up their phones to film the show.
“How cool would it be if he could somehow see everyone else’s video from all different angles of the same concert? Not only could he see better videos and photos from better seats, but he could see it from a bunch of different views as it happens!”
Hogeg has been in the social media business almost since its inception. Prior to founding Mobli, he was a social media manager at Nike. A serial entrepreneur, Hogeg also founded Web2sport, where he acquired a soccer team and developed an innovative system to crowd-source its management to fans, eventually selling the product to Israel’s leading sports channel.
See what everyone else sees
Hogeg and his Mobli team realized the technology could be useful in contexts other than rock concerts — such as sports, fashion, news, or just about anything else that interests users. With Mobli, you can see what others are doing in a channel dedicated to a specific interest, and comment on their photos.
You can search for a channel by keyword or location. If a friend is at a wedding, she can take a photo of the event and automatically have it tagged with the location when she uploads it to the Wedding Channel. You can also search for popular events or photos, or for things that are happening in the moment.
Like with any good social media app, you can choose to follow by channel or by user. With DiCaprio’s involvement in Mobli, the app has acquired a touch of “noblesse oblige,” so when you install it, Mobli automatically suggests that you subscribe to Leo’s channel (and channels for other select celebs, like Internet gossip queen Red Carpet Roxy).
You can make your own channel to show off your life to friends, family or even people you don’t know.
“Everyone is on Facebook, which is fine for sharing photos and videos with people you are friends with,” said Boaz Hecht, who until recently was business development VP for Mobli. “The inherent value of Facebook is to close in on the social network that you know. We allow you to expand beyond that network. Mobli enables even people you don’t know to access your photos, Facebook style.”
DiCaprio’s investment was part of a $4 million second round of financing that Mobli received in October. In its two years of existence, the company has raised $5.6 million and has 30 employees, 17 of them in Israel. According to company statements, Mobli is garnering some 10,000 new users a day.
70 Jewish and Arab artists, musicians, performers and dancers are taking part in the annual Speaking Arts Conference, which aims to create co-operation, dialog and joint work between Jews and Arabs in the arts. Events, workshops and classes take place at the YMCA Jerusalem, the Beit Masia Theater and Gerard Behar Center, with the opening and closing concert open to the public. The event was initiated by Nadim Shiban of the Jerusalem Foundation and is supported by the Jerusalem Foundation, YMCA Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Intercultural Center.
This year, more than 70% of the participants are from Jerusalem with most of the Arab participants from East Jerusalem. According to co-project manager, Hanan Ohana, two thirds of participants are Jewish and one third Arab owing largely to the fact that modern dance is a new phenomenon in the Arab sector. However, the aim going forward is to have a balance of both. Hanan was part of a committee of five who reviewed over 150 artist’s applications to take part in the conference. This year’s event will feature more co-facilitation and will build on relationships that were formed at last year’s conference and meetings during the year.
The opening concert takes place at Beit Masia Theater, and features for the first time on the same stage, critically acclaimed Jewish performers Achinoam Nini better known as Noa and Gili Dor, with Arab dancer Mona Mashi’l. The highlight of the closing concert at the YMCA auditorium is a performance by the talented Arab singer, Amal Murkus.
Today, The Creative Coalition announced the organization will lead a 21-member delegation through Israel to meet with Israeli and Palestinian policy leaders, members of the arts, culture and business communities, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The week-long trip
A small guesthouse in the Old City of Nazareth, that has been in operation in a converted Arab mansion since 2005, won an award this week at an international tourism fair in London. The Fauzi Azar Inn was accorded top recognition in the category of “best accommodation for local communities” at the Responsible Tourism Awards competition sponsored by Virgin Holidays.
This is the first time that an Israeli establishment was in the running for the competition, which accords recognition to what the competition sponsor said are tourist enterprises that are operated “in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.”