Israel doubles down on Rosie the Robot

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Israel doubles down on Rosie the Robot

Generative AI is transforming our world, particularly when it comes to creating content. But what does it all mean? Some of Israel’s leading innovators in the field share their views on the latest tech revolution

Remember The Jetsons? It was a futuristic cartoon where machines and technology had advanced to become a routine part of daily life. Fast forward (or backwards) and while we may not have a robot housekeeper called Rosie, Artificial Intelligence is very much revolutionising the way we live, work and interact with each other.

Generative AI has been thrust into the limelight recently with the launch of tools like ChatGPT, a free natural language chatbot. Ask it any question and it will answer. It can help compose emails, essays and code.

Eze Vidra, Remagine Ventures

But ChatGPT is just one of over 800 Generative AI companies out there, says Eze Vidra, the co-founder and managing partner of Remagine Ventures, which has been investing in Generative AI since early 2019 – before the term ‘Generative AI’ even existed. And Israel is a key player, home to around 100 Gen AI startups.

Vidra says: “Israel has long been a strong producer of AI startups. The talent pool in AI, and Israeli entrepreneurs’ high disregard to the impossible, combined with an active investment ecosystem gives Israel a great starting point to excel in the generative AI space.”

The most notable Israeli generative AI startups include AI 21 Labs, developer of the Jurassic LLM (an alternative to GPT) and Wordtune, a product that helps users re-write, summarise and enrich text.

Remagine recently published the first Israeli generative AI landscape mapping 68 startups active in the space across a range of areas. Among them are HourOne, Munch and Piggy.

Shaul Olmert, Piggy


Piggy is a mobile content creator that enables smart phone users to quickly create fully-designed visually-appealing documents from their phone using text prompts. Whether it’s a presentation, marketing material or teaching resources (plus so much more), via the Piggy app users can come up with something within a minute and then amend if they want to. There’s also the option to add videos, voice memos, GIFs and create quizzes. The documents are in a shareable format and can be incorporated into social media platforms like TikTok and Facebook.

Founders: Shaul Olmert and Ilan Leibovich

Founded: 2022

Investment: $7.7 m

Based: Tel Aviv

Case Uses/Clients: Educational resources, media companies, marketing materials, publishing and promotional content.

Rationale: Co-founder and CEO Shaul Olmert says: “The original idea came from my daughter’s friend, who was asked to write an essay for school about how Covid affected her morale and mood, and instead of an article, she came up with something really creative and posted it on TikTok. It showed me that there was a whole new generation of people that grew up with a smartphone and a new form of creativity so let’s help them unleash their creativity, providing them with the right tools to do so.”

On Generative AI, Shaul Olmert says: “The pick-up of Gen AI is outstanding. At first it was mainly about the marvel and people being fascinated by the technology, but now, people are using Gen AI in their day-to-day, and thinking how it can help them solve a problem.”

What does Gen AI mean for jobs? Shaul Olmert: “The internet has created a wave of very shallow content which can be used for marketing and promotional articles but when it comes to more in-depth analytical pieces, you can’t replace people. For everyone concerned about AI replacing humans, I remember the same concerns over the invention of Personal Computers. People thought we were going to be replaced by robots. Yes things will have to change, but it’s good because the computers can do a lot of the leg work, which helps people to develop skills that machines can’t. There’s always suspicion when new tech emerges but we need to see it as an opportunity.”


Natalie Monbiot (avatar) HourOne


Hour One creates virtual humans, aka avatars, for use in professional video communications. Taking just a few seconds of a video, Hour One’s technology creates lifelike digital clones of real people. It uses deep learning algorithms to analyse a person’s voice, mannerisms, and facial expressions, and then creates a digital avatar that can mimic their behaviour and speech patterns in real-time, bypassing the need for the actual person to be in front of the camera. There is also an Hour One self-service platform, Reals, enabling users to generate their own fully-produced videos automatically and within minutes. Simply type what you want in the text box and a storyboard for your video gets created. It can then be edited before hitting ‘generate’.

Named Fast Company Next Big Thing in Tech in 2021, Hour One is proving popular with HR teams for their training videos and for those with product tutorials. Customers across the world include some of the biggest names in e-learning and media, including Berlitz, NBC Universal and DreamWorks, and spanning HR, e-commerce, SaaS and more.

Founders: Oren Aharon (CEO) and Lior Hakim (CTO).

Founded: 2019

Invested: $25 million

Based: Headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York

Case Uses/Client: HR professionals, people with no expertise or resources for making videos or with no coding experience, anyone who wants to create a video.

Rationale: Natalie Monbiot, Head of Strategy and a founding executive at Hour One, says: “We know that video content featuring real people talking to the camera and explaining something is one of the most effective ways to communicate yet can be one of the hardest ways to generate – you need a studio, with crew, hair and make up etc, and if you then wanted to create more, would have to do it all again and it might not look exactly the same. We wanted to democratise access, enabling as many people and businesses as possible to generate their own videos.”

What does the impact of this Gen AI mean for jobs? Natalie Monbiot: “Where we see the opportunity is in the white space. Video professionals will still be focused on making professional videos – ours are more business focused and about talking to the camera – fulfilling a white space where videos don’t tend to exist. As the technology improves for Gen AI video, the upside is that people who don’t have the skills can now make videos. People who never thought about translating their story into video form now can. I think all companies need to be thinking about the implications of Gen AI for their business and skillset. We do need to be aware of the implications it has on jobs across the board. If you’re a copywriter or video editor, you need to think about what your uniqueness is so you’re not just replaced, but also how you embrace these opportunities to add more strings to your bow, and enable you to be more prolific. It’s not a good time to ignore that Generative AI is here.”

Where do you see the big opportunities for Gen AI in the future? Natalie Monbiot: “Content, but the potential in genetics and science is extremely exciting too. And what the implications are of anyone being able to code. Sometimes with technology you don’t know what the implications and possibilities are. We had that with the internet and smartphones, and now we have it with AI. Anybody can try it out. It’s very accessible. And seemingly immediately so.”


Munch Founders Oren Kandel and Peter Naftaliev


Munch uses Generative AI to extract the most engaging, trending and impactful clips from long-form videos, to create a short video, perfect for posting on social media.

Founders: Oren Kandel and Peter Naftaliev

Founded: 2021

Based: Tel Aviv

Invested:  $5 million to date

Case Uses/Clients: 90% are small businesses (mostly in the US, Canada and the UK), plus large media companies that want to get their videos in the right format for social media.

Rationale: Oren Kandel, co-founder and CEO, says: “We wanted to address the traditional pain point of creating large amounts of content for those who have a limited budget and resources to do so, or can’t afford to pay agencies to do so. There has been a lot of progress in terms of the quality of video tools, but a lot of them are not day-to-day-tools. We can assume that businesses today want to create massive amounts of short videos on a daily basis, to use for marketing and brand awareness, and to create a folk leadership and following. People aren’t really watching long-form videos anymore.”

What makes Israel so well-placed when it comes to Gen AI? Oren Kandel: “First and foremost, there’s the fact that we are a very small country and everyone knows everyone – it’s very easy to start a business and quickly make connections that can help you succeed. On top of that there is the complex security situation, the nature of our history and some of what we go through in the army makes us more willing to take risks and to start our own businesses.”

Other Opportunities for Generative AI: Oren Kandel says: “AI and specifically Gen AI is lowering the barriers to entering every knowledge-based industry, meaning you will be able to start creating new companies faster than before and with less resources, which means you will either succeed fast or fail fast. Now we have GPT companies that can write code, build websites and do so much for you, the capacity of what you can do is amazing, so the barriers are much lower. I think we will see an explosion in creativity – a renaissance based on this type of technology.”




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