Tech Nation / Unilever Joins Government's Tech Program

Unilever joins state tech program, My Size looks to expand, while Uber gets free ride on Channel 10 election show.

Amnon Haas

Unilever joins government's tech program

Unilever yesterday signed up to a program sponsored by Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist to identify Israeli startups with technology that the giant food maker might want to use. The British-Dutch firm is the 41st multinational to sign onto the OCS program, but is one of the few non-tech companies to join, Chief Scientist Avi Hasson said at a signing ceremony with Unilever’s R&D chief, David Blanchard. Under the program, the OCS will identify relevant startups with interesting technology in development and, with the multinational partner, jointly fund the startup’s continued R&D work. "The participation of Unilever, a recognized world leader in food processing and personal care, in our cooperative program, testifies to the attractiveness of Israel’s innovative sector, even for companies not engaged in technology or telecommunications," said Hasson.

My Size looks to expand with $4 million convertible loan

My Size, the Israeli company whose mobile app lets people keep track of their measurements and clothes size – making it easier to buy apparel online – is seeking to raise $4 million through a convertible loan. The board of the publicly traded company said it had already raised about $500,000 from an unnamed private investor, who will be entitled to convert the loan into 150,000 ordinary shares, reflecting a price of $3.50 apiece, or double My Size’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded price. The investor will also get 150,000 warrants, convertible to shares in 18 month at $4.50 each. The company recent announced it had completed development of a system that can take measurements from the flat surface on a smartphone screen. My Size shares fell 1.5% to 6.27 shekels ($1.62) yesterday.

Uber gets free publicity in Channel 10 election show

Uber, the ride-sharing application, is promoting its service in Israel through a deal with Channel 10 News. As part of the TV broadcaster’s election coverage, candidates running for the Knesset have been acting as drivers, picking up passengers through Uber’s ride-sharing app and discussing their campaign ideas during the drive. Channel 10 has been broadcasting clips from the conversations, in a show called “Taxi Polling Place,” with Uber’s logo appearing occasionally. Promoting products and services in programing, in exchange for money or other compensation, violates broadcasting regulations, but Channel 10 said its agreement with Uber did not require it to show the logo. It promised in the future to blur the logo.