Ultra-Orthodox VC Invests in Verifuel

There isn’t much connection between the ultra-orthodox community in Israel and aircraft, especially the military kind.  Nevertheless, Bashalva, a Haredi VC fund, has invested NIS 1.1 million in Aviv Tzidon’s new startup, Verifuel, which is valued at NIS 7 million.  Aviv Tzidon is the founder of BVR Systems, a company that develops and manufactures training and simulation projects for the military and civilian industries.

The former IAF combat pilot, according to Globes, “has developed an optical sensor that enables pilots and ground crew to spot the presence of water in a plane’s fuel tanks, which is a significant hazard.”  The investment is Bashalva’s second in a company established by Tzidon. “It also invested in his ergonomic chair, called the “Netron”, which has hydraulic and massage systems, designed for the computer working environment.”

Bashalva, which means “in peace”, is managed by Yosef Boimgarten out of Jerusalem.  It was launched two months ago with the mission of investing in the Haredi community and has already raised $5 million.


Bio-Sense Dog Bark Analyzer Raises $0.5M

doggaurdddd.jpgBio-Sense Technologies Ltd. is a Beer Sheva-based company established in 2000 that has created a novel security device called DogGaurd which allows the ability to distinguish between a regular dog bark from one that is trying to register real alarm. The firm, which was incubated at Maayan Ventures, has now raised $0.5 million from the Office of the Chief Scientist and company investors, according to Globes.

Bio-Sense, which has a team of experts specializing in advanced signal processing and biotechnology, is aiming to sell its technology commercially to high-security systems like prisons and power plants. The DogGaurd can be mounted on a fence or wall and connected to the internal security system. By monitoring the dog’s behavior, the DogGaurd can determine whether a real threat or emergency exists.

The DogGaurd is based on advanced proprietary algorithms that monitor the dog’s barking and other sounds to determine the dog’s state and can identify the dog’s natural instinctive reaction to emergency events. No training is required and the technology works on all dogs, regardless of age, size, race or creed.

This interesting technology is successfully in operation at several governmental agencies including the Israeli Air Force and Prison Service, as well as at commercial sites and private residences in Israel. CEO Eyal Zehavi says that in a few years time the market for Bio-Senses devices could be worth up to $100 million.

Check out videos on how DogGaurd works here.

Where Was The Elcopter on September 11th?

elcopter.pngOne of the more interesting inventions coming out of Israel recently is Olive Engineering’s Elcopter, which can be seen in animated action here. It’s a new contraption designed to rescue survivors who are stranded in a burning building with no way of getting rescued. The helicopter flies over the building, far enough from the flames to be safe, and lowers an elevator which victim’s climb into and escape unscathed.

The Israeli rescue solutions company was founded by Nehemia Cohen, a mechanical engineer with a master’s degree in aeronautics and previously employed at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. He invented the Elcopter a few years before the September 11th attack, but interest in the project has increased dramatically since then as governments scramble to prepare for similar attacks in the future.

The Elcopter can be used for other purposes as well such as “rescuing people trapped in ravines which are too small for the helicopter to approach and are on the verge of being flooded or enveloped by fire, or airlifting VIPs or injured people from urban areas where there is no room for the helicopter to land, with the lift serving as an airborne ambulance. It can also be used for rescue operations at sea, where if the helicopter descended too low it would create a whirlpool that could drown the survivors waiting to be rescued, and to extinguish fires and send firefighters in to rescue survivors from burning towers, or train hose pipes on the source of the blaze.”

According to Cohen Olive Engineering is initially trying to launch Elcopter (a 5-$10M add-on to a helicopter), and its smaller less expensive model The Spider (a $3M add-on), in Israel: “We’re already in negotiations with the Defense Ministry on the Spider. The aim is to spread a network of cabins like these in strategic locations, a few cabins in each city, for use by the Israel Air Force’s regular helicopters. We believe that the moment they see the helicopter on the news, orders will start coming in from all over the world. We only need a few orders to reach break-even, and at its peak, this market could reach $500 million. People will feel safe with one or two one or two helicopters like these in the country,” he concludes. “They’ll say, ‘if I get trapped, they’ll have a way of rescuing me.'”

For more info check out this long feature article from Globes.