BBC profiles Israel in ‘Next Silicon Valley’ series
Israel was the first country profiled in a new BBC series “The Next Silicon Valleys.” The report by technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones cites Wishi, a tiny startup based in a Tel Aviv apartment that helps people choose clothing, and publicly traded Wix, which creates tools for people to build their own websites. Cellan-Jones visited the robotics lab of Amir Shapiro at Ben-Gurion University and attended a Tel Aviv dinner organized through the Israeli startup website Eatwith. “Belief in its own future is what makes this country so confident that it can emulate Silicon Valley,” Cellan-Jones concluded.
Tapingo raises $10.5m for takeout-food app
Tapingo, an U.S.-Israeli startup whose mobile app enables university students to check out menus and order online from local restaurants, has raised $10.5 million in an investment round led by Khosla Ventures. Tapingo didn’t announce the funding but its Facebook page cited a report from the technology website TechCrunch, which said it would use the proceeds to expand its presence to more campuses. Tapingo, which has offices in San Francisco and Tel Aviv, now serves 25 universities, including New York University, the University of Southern California and Case Western Reserve. Israel’s Carmel Ventures, which was already an investor, also participated in the current round.
Israelis make more use of gov’t online services
Israelis made 24 billion shekels ($6.8 billion) worth of online payments of fees and charges to the government last year, a 26% increase over 2012, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday. The increase came even though the state remains an Internet laggard, with most government payment systems and online forms remaining accessible only through Internet Explorer and are poorly designed. The most popular online services were accessing data and paying fees from the official land registry (tabu), paying the television license fees, fines for driving infractions, paying for driving licenses and making value-added and income tax payments. Israelis downloaded some 7 million online forms in 2013, up from 5 million the year before, the treasury said.