TechNation: Tel Aviv Plans Pilot Electric Bus Route Using Local Technology

Gov’t team recommends ‘regulatory sandbox’ for fintech startups ■ Four techies angling for seats in Knesset elections

A bus drives down the streets of Tel Aviv, January 21, 2019.
Moti Milrod

Tel Aviv plans pilot electric bus route using local technology

Tel Aviv will soon be getting its first electric bus. The city announced an agreement to build and operate a trial route with ElectReon, an Israeli company that has developed a system for powering electric vehicles by a power line running under the street, and the Dan bus company. No details were released about which route will be used for the pilot, when it will start or the length of the route. “The electric road pilot project will have a major impact, both by improving the city’s air quality for its residents and presenting an advanced transportation solution to the world and positioning Israel as a global leader in the field.” ElectReon’s technology powers electric vehicles via a copper strip installed under the asphalt of ordinary roads. Tel Avivians have suffered massive traffic jams from construction of the light railway, but ElectReon promises that as much as a kilometer of its system can be installed in a single night. (Jenya Volinsky and Irad Atzmon Schmayer)

Gov’t team recommends ‘regulatory sandbox’ for fintech startups

Israeli financial technology (fintech) startups are due for some help from government regulators. A team from the finance and justice ministries recommended on Sunday that Israel form a “regulatory sandbox” to make it easier for startups developing fintech. Regulatory sandboxes are designed to bring innovative products such as new payment services to the market more quickly by relaxing or adjusting regulatory requirements. It aims to provide a “safe space” for companies to test innovative fintech in a live environment for a limited time without providers undergoing a full authorization and licensing process. The program also aims to help Israeli consumers. “The Israeli industry is an international leader, but the Israeli financial consumer rarely enjoys its benefits,” said Yogev Gordon, a treasury official. “We hope to create in Israel a supportive and stimulating environment for innovation and creativity in the financial field, which will enable the entire public to benefit from the fruits of Israeli innovation.” (Avi Waksman)

Four techies angling for seats in Knesset elections

Israel may be Startup Nation, but at most only four techies will be sitting in the 120-member Knesset after the April 9 election. As head of Hayamin Hehadash, Naftali Bennett – who sold his startup Cyota to RSA for $145 million in 2005 – is sure to earn a place in the Knesset. Nir Barkat, who was a high-tech investor with his brother via the BRM Group before he became Jerusalem mayor, is also likely to win a seat as No. 9 candidate on the Likud list. As polls stand now, Izhar Shay’s 20th spot in Hosen L’Yisrael list should ensure him a place, too. Shay is managing general partner for the U.S. venture capital firm Canaan Partners in Israel. However, Dadi Perlmutter, a long-time senior executive for Intel, is a long shot. He is No. 2 on the Gesher list, which polls show won’t get enough votes to enter the Knesset. (Irad Atzmon Schmayer)