A reassuring parental-monitoring application for the over-protective Jewish mother, enabling her to keep an eye on her kids even when they are far away. A peace-making application that will help you get friendly with the Iranians and a Pinterest interface unique to Israel — these are but a few of the projects developed at the first "Hackathon Israel" get-together assembled over a weekend earlier this month by the "Innovation Israel" community.
Seventy entrepreneurs from local startups, among them Conduit, Soluto, JoyTunes and BillGuard, shut themselves up in an office room for an eight-hour-long intensive brainstorming session. A coding marathon wrapped up the event and the exhausted participants were treated to pizza triangles. Eleven projects made it to the finals. They would have made Trumpeldor (a Zionist hero) very proud.
Ben Lang and Nir Koris, who organized the event, promise more "hackathons" in the best Silicon Valley tradition. "The emphasis at the brainstorming get-together was on developing viral products that would automatically run even after the 'hackathon' was over, and in general, the goal was to create a positive image for Israel on the Web," says young entrepreneur Ben Lang, who has already taken part in quite a number of " hackathons" around the world and even won quite a few prizes. Ben Lang is working at Conduit and is about to enlist in the IDF in a month.
The event was sponsored by the Carmel Fund and the ROI community, a global community of Jewish innovators.
Daniel Strenlicht from Conduit and JoyTunes' Yoni Zafir conceived and developed the PeaceConnector, a Facebook-based application designed to connect people in countries of conflict simply on the basis of their shared hobbies. Thus, for instance, Israeli users who are fans of the Barcelona Football Club would be able to exchange comments during a decisive game with Iranian users of the same age who are also Barca aficionados. The interaction between the users does not have to end on Facebook: Users on both ends would be left with the email addresses of their chat buddies and would be able to carry on the conversation in any way they choose.
Reassuring parental-monitoring app
Entrepreneur Nir Alon, together with JoyTunes' Roy Isakovitz and other colleagues from Soluto, developed the Twitter-based "Gefilte Fish" application. (Gefilte fish is an Ashkenazi Jewish ground-fish dish.) The Gefilte app is intended for the over-protective, over-worried Jewish (or any other) mother that we all know so well. The application can monitor activities of Twitter or Facebook users and reassure worried mothers that their kids are still alive and kicking. "Of course, no reports on the user's doings or whereabouts are passed on," Isakovitz says. "Rather, a daily report is generated, delivering the message: 'Mom, it's okay; I'm okay.'"
Hang Israel on the wall
Dotan Galron and Ronen Ya'acovi, two of Drippler's founders, used the recent trend on the Pinterest social network to develop Pinsrael, a unique gallery of products and pictures related in one way or another to Israel. "Our goal is to visually present Israel on a magnificent Internet showcase. We intend to display on this platform the most glorious images of Israel for viral distribution on the Web," explains Nir.