TechNation: Capital Markets Authority Slates First-ever Hackathon for Pensions and Insurance

Gov’t plans second biotechnology incubator, this time in the north ■ Augmedics raises $7 million for augmented-reality surgical device

File Photo: A Hackathon in London, UK on Dec 5, 2015.
Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Capital Markets Authority slates first-ever hackathon for pensions and insurance

The Capital Markets Authority said on Monday it would be holding the country’s first-ever hackathon devoted to tech solutions for the pensions and insurance industry. Coders and others vying for prizes in the thousands of shekels each will compete on projects helped along by key people in the industry. The challenges will be defined by teams of experts from the authority, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and financial institutions, the authority said. “A unique hackathon like this marks another step in our efforts to promote innovations and digitalization in pensions and insurance for the benefits of policy holders and savers,” said Dorit Salinger, the capital markets commissioner. “Solutions to the challenges presented to the competitors will help redefine consumer culture in the pensions and insurance field and help consumers learn their rights.” The hackathon will take place November 6-7 at the TASE’s conference center in Tel Aviv. (Assa Sasson)

Gov’t plans second biotechnology incubator, this time in the north

In a bid to build a domestic pharmaceuticals industry, the Israel Innovation Authority said on Sunday it would be seeking bids to help a biotechnology incubator in the country’s north. The new facility will be the second of its kind after the government-sponsored FutuRX incubators opened three years ago in Nes Tziona operated by a partnership that includes Johnson & Johnson, Japan’s Takeda and the OrbiMed venture capital fund. Israeli institutions of higher education produce about 1,500 graduates a year in biology and life sciences, but there are not enough jobs for them. The new incubator, which has a second role in helping in economic development of the north, will get 27 million shekels ($7.7 million) of government aid to help build labs and co-invest in eight companies in the first two years. The tender to manage the facility will be issued in November and the winning applicant announced about six months later, the authority said. (Ruti Levy)

Augmedics raises $7 million for augmented-reality surgical device

Augmedics, which has developed a head-mounted display that uses augmented reality to help surgeons as they are conducting procedures, said on Monday it had raised $7 million from a group of investors. AO Invest, a Swiss fund specializing in imaging and robotics investments, led the round, joined by Terra Venture Partners. The fundraising, which comes after Augmedics won $2.4 million in aid from the Israel Innovation Authority, will be used to fund clinical trials and seek regulatory approvals. The Israeli startup’s ViZOR head-mounted display projects a real-time, 3D image of the patient’s spine onto the surgeon’s retina, in effect allowing the surgeon to see the patient’s anatomy through skin and tissue as if he or she had X-Ray vision. “Our technology aims to reduce mistakes that happen, among other reasons, because of inaccuracies, in the absence of sufficient visual data for the surgeon – for example, tissue that hides the bone or bone angle,” said CEO Nissan Elimelech, who co-founded the Yokeneam-based company in 2014. (Ruti Levy)