Funding Intucell’s entire $6 million Series A round was a risky bet for Bessemer. At the time, the startup had just six employees and no customers. But together, two of Bessemer’s partners realized there was something special about Intucell and its self-organizing network (SON) software.
Intucell’s technology helps mobile carriers dynamically adjust their cellular grid to maximize mobile traffic speeds and minimize dropped calls. Without SON software, a carrier’s service slows down and becomes less stable under heavy load or when users travel to the edge of a geographic block of the static grid. Intucell’s SON lets a carrier’s towers communicate with each other. This way they can expand or contract their cells so customers on the fringes of a block get picked up by neighboring towers, and users in the center of that block get much better reception.
Adam Fisher, head of BVP’s European office in Herzliya, Israel, discovered Intucell. He was impressed with founders Rani Wellingstein, a serial entreprenuer and telecom veteran from Celltick who previously sold NKO to ECI, and Ido Susan, a 26-year-old tech wunderkind. Fisher wasn’t an expert in the mobile network tech space, though.
Luckily, Bob Goodman, the founding partner of Bessemer’s New York office, recognized Intucell would make a great investment because it could help carriers solve the “mobile data crunch”. As smartphones and tablets propagate, and users fall in love with bandwidth-taxing apps and video, network congestion is degrading the service carriers offer their customers. With such deep pockets and a lot to lose, Goodman realized carriers could become serious customers for Intucell.
Two years after BVP’s investment, Cisco saw the potential too, and today will announce it will buy all of Intucell’s business and operations for $475 million in cash and retention-based incentives. The deal is expected to close in Cisco’s 2013 fiscal year after regulatory approvals. At that point, Intucell will be integrated into Cisco’s Service Provider Mobility Group, and will report to Shailesh Shukla, Cisco;s VP and general manager for software and applications.
Bessemer Venture Partners’ returns from the sale will pay out to its “BVP VII” fund, the same one that backed Eloqua, Cornerstone, and Pinterest. BVP tells me it’s still hungry to invest in more startups that solve the mobile data crunch for carriers.
On the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a new survey reveals that Israel has climbed three places in the field of innovation, ranking seventh in the world.
However, the Jewish state ranked just 15th in the creation of an environment and culture conducive to innovation, and fell 12% in governments’ support for companies fostering innovation.
A decline was also recorded in the speed in which innovative products reach the market.
On the bright side, business leaders appeared to be satisfied with the company and young generation’s support for innovation. In addition, the government’s support for innovation was perceived as more organized than the global average.
The GE Global Innovation Barometer surveyed 3,100 industry executives in 25 countries (including Israel) in the fields of IT, telecom and Internet, electronics, energy and health.
The United States ranked first (35%), followed by Germany and China. Israel ranked seventh with 2.59%, preceding most Western countries, including countries which stood out in the field of innovation in recent years, like India (2.55%).
According to the survey, innovation is still perceived as a leading engine in the creation of jobs, economic prosperity and an improved quality of life. Ninety-two percent of Israeli executives give the issue strategic preference.
Eight-nine percent noted that in order to succeed in innovation, one must understand customers and foresee developments in the market. Only half of them believe universities and schools provide a strong educational model for innovation.
Israel may still use paper ballots for the voting process, but the Central Election Committee is not oblivious to the latest technological options available to it.
The committee said that the results would be updated every 10 minutes.
For those who do not have a smartphone, the Election Committee promised a similar feature on its website, via dynamic graphs.
The committee has also team with Google in Israel, and will use its Google Maps service to present a geographic segmentation of the results, also in 10-minutes intervals.
Google.co.il will feature the map on a special tab added to its homepage on Election Day.
“It was important to us to present these technological advances,” Omri Schneider, of the Central Election Committee, told Ynet Sunday.
“It will allow those who feel they have to be constantly updated do so every 10 minutes.”
The archaeological archive of Israel, which is administered by the Israel Antiquities Authority and amasses data on all of the activity of the archeological entities in the country, is being computerized and will go online in the coming days. This is being underwritten with joint funding provided by the Landmarks heritage program in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The scientific archive has its beginnings in the British Mandatory Department of Antiquities. It was continued by the Israel Department of Antiquities and is managed today by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which invests considerable thought and resources in its operation.
The first stage, containing tens of thousands of documents, photographs, maps and plans from the years 1919-1948 from Akko and Jerusalem, is already available for viewing online. Most of this material was written in English.
Uploading the old and valuable material to the website required special preparations. In order to scan the material, the Israel Antiquities Authority engaged the services of ImageStore Systems Ltd. This is because the archival material is especially delicate and sensitive and cannot be scanned with industrial equipment; rather it can only be done individually and manually. The documents in the archive include texts photographs, maps, and plans etc. on many different kinds of paper.
According to Israel Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hausner and Reuven Pinsky, director of the heritage project in the Prime Minister’s Office: “The Mandatory archive constitutes the principal foundation of archaeological research of the past one hundred years. This program, as part of the Israel Archives Network project for scanning and digitalization of the material on file in the archives, will make it possible for the public in general and particularly scholars in Israel and abroad to access these resources of knowledge.”
According to Dr. Uzi Dahari, Deputy Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The scientific importance of the archive is invaluable, and it is the only one of its kind in Israel and in the world. In Israel there are approximately 30,000 known and declared antiquities sites that constitute our cultural heritage – the largest and most important asset of the State of Israel. The Israel Antiquities Authority declares, treats, surveys, and researches the antiquities sites in the country. One of the many activities of the Israel Antiquities Authority is the management and running of the scientific archive. The Israel Antiquities Authority decided to transfer the archive to the digitalized media, in order to disseminate the information throughout the world. To this end, all of the information was scanned and it was indexed according to rules that are suitable for research needs.”
Tell us about Online Pianist
OnlinePianist is a one of a kind animated piano tutorial application which enables its users to fully control their learning experience. Our unique player includes 12 different features that the user can use in order to learn to play his favorite songs, on his own time and pace, based on his current playing skill. The other significant part of our product is the huge variety of piano tutorials including the most popular and classical songs, arranged by artist, genre & difficulty level, all are being recorded by professional piano teachers.
Who came up with the concept ?
About three years ago, I decided to follow my childhood dream to learn how to play the piano. A good friend of mine suggested that I browse the internet before spending lots of money on piano lessons, especially not knowing wether or not I would like it! While browsing Youtube, I realized that millions watch other people play songs on the piano and try to copy them on their own pianos at home. Learning from a video could work but the user is very passive in the process (… the user can’t really control the learning experience), so I decided to ask my cousin Tal (now my partner) who plays the piano to try and recreate the same process with animation,while enabling the user to control his learning experience. The rest is history…
It seems pretty easy to use, how does it work ?
It’s very simple, head to our site (an iPad application is coming very very soon….), choose the song you want to play, adjust the options to suit your level and progress (Examples of some of our most popular features: Speed adjustment, individual hand practice, running notes, beginner version and more…) and simply follow the tutorial, before you know it, you’ll be playing your favorite songs!
What differentiates your platform from others ?
There are three things that make our product stand out:
- The player: With a suite of 12 unique features that were developed with the help of our awesome fans (…based on their needs)
- New, fresh and professional content – we follow international music charts and upload a new song every day.
- Unique relationship between the brand and its followers – Although OnlinePianist’s community is quite large (600k members), we preserve a strong connection with every fan, read every comment, answer any issue and include our fans in our decisions.
Generally speaking, who are the users, Beginners/Intermediates/Advanced ?
Our application suits pianists of every level and our content is highly diverse in this regard. I would say that most of our users have very basic playing skills. They are usually those who always wanted to play the piano but decided to take an unconventional route, and just want to play the today’s big hits.
What is the cost?
There are two types of accounts at OnlinePianist: Basic & Premium. The basic account is totally free and allows unlimited access to all the tutorials on the site, and two features on the player (Speed & individual hand practice). The Premium membership which includes all 12 player features starts at $3.99/month for a yearly membership. Users can also purchase a monthly membership for $9.95/Month
What’s next for Online Pianist ?
These days we are working on an iPad APP, something our fans are very excited about. In addition, we are working on a new layout for the site with lots of new surprises including making our site available to a wider audience by making it available in different languages.
Why is it, in your opinion, that Israel is such an innovation hub?
I believe that this is a combination of the lack of natural resources alongside the small Israeli market that force the Israeli mind to be more creative.
When it comes to Innovation and Israel, does Size Matter?
This is a tricky questions as it is also depends on the industry and type of product, but in general terms, the internet significantly removed economic and physical barriers and for most products, especially in the internet industry, size doesn’t matter.