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2018-05-18 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


May 18, 2018  RSS feed
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Israeli tech companies to show off products at Tampa event

Executives Aron Di Castro of WAZE, left, and Danny Brigido of Wix will be guest speakers at Innovation Fusion. Executives Aron Di Castro of WAZE, left, and Danny Brigido of Wix will be guest speakers at Innovation Fusion. Eight startup companies from Israel and two speakers from Israeli tech superstars, Waze and Wix, will be featured at the second annual Innovation Fusion event on Wednesday, June 13 at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa.

The event is being put on by the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA), based at the JCC, and will showcase how FIBA is enabling partnerships and collaboration between Israeli tech companies and local organizations with the goal of bringing in hi-tech jobs and growing the Tampa Bay economy.

The Israeli companies presenting at the event are participating in the FIBA 2018 program. Each of the FIBA companies has developed solutions in the healthcare, construction, HR, advertising, security or retail industries.

Aron Di Castro, head of WAZE global partnerships and business development, will speak about the post-acquisition integration of Waze into Google, and about Waze’s plans for growth. Waze is a GPS navigation app developed by an Israeli startup that was acquired by Google for nearly $1 billion in 2013. Di Castro recently relocated from Tel-Aviv to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Danny Brigido, Wix director of customer solutions, built the Wix office in Miami. He will ad dress the challenge of hiring tech employees in Florida and how Wix was able to overcome this challenge and hire more than 100 Floridians to grow Wix’s Miami operations. Wix is a website development platform for small businesses. Wix was founded in Israel in 2006 and today has 120 million users worldwide. Wix is traded on the NASDAQ.

Each year FIBA brings in promising Israeli tech companies that are ready to expand into the U.S. market. FIBA offers Israeli entrepreneurs strategic alignment with corporate partners, facilitates introductions to prospective customers, strategic partners and investors. FIBA also encourages the companies to establish a U.S. subsidiary in Tampa Bay that is responsible for sales, marketing, tech and customer support throughout North America.

FIBA, created in 2016 with a $1 million state grant, and received additional state funding in 2017 and 2018, said Rakefet Bachur, FIBA’s executive director of marketing. Additionally, FIBA receives support from Hillsborough County along with corporate and individual donations.

The Tampa JCCs and Federation originated the idea for FIBA to assist Israeli tech companies, create jobs in the Tampa Bay area and to provide a new revenue stream for the JCCs and Federation. FIBA negotiates individual agreements with each of the companies in the program. There are some companies in which the JCCs and Federation or its affiliates has a small equity stake.

From the inaugural cohort in 2017, StemRad, an Israeli company that makes personal protection equipment from deadly gamma radiation, landed a $6 million investment led by Tampa’s investor Jeff Vinik, and WeissBeerger, a beverage consumption analytics company, was acquired by Anheuser- Busch InBev SA/NV, the world’s largest beer brewer, for a reported $80 million.

FIBA’s 2018 cohort of eight Israeli companies included four that came to Tampa in February and another four that were welcomed on May 9. All will be showcased at the Innovation Fusion event.

The newest contingent of companies is:

• GlobeKeeper: This company developed an encrypted communication platform centered around an intuitive collaboration interface to create a secure, end-to-end solution that keeps security personnel safe, reduces costs, and enhances decision making capabilities, using standard equipment.

• Intervyo: Leveraging human predictive analytics, Intervyo is the first and most advanced interview simulation engine in the world, capable of screening candidates, and accurately predict their suitability for the job.

Say: This company created a dynamic wearable display controlled by a smartphone that can be incorporated into clothing and accessories. It allows consumers to express themselves, brands to engage with their fans in a new way and event organizers to deliver a synchronized live content experience.

• WiseShelf: This company transforms existing shelves into a dynamic inventory management solution for retailers. Using low cost hardware and a sophisticated software, WiseShelf helps stores to manage inventory and fulfill online orders.

Of the companies that joined with FIBA earlier in the year, three are already in active discussions about pilot projects with local businesses and are looking into opening an office and hiring in the Tampa Bay area. The four companies are:

• BetterCare: This company develops a real-time communication and care management platform to improve care at skilled nursing facilities.

• ECOncrete: This company has developed a revolutionary approach to eco-engineering of coastal and marine infrastructure.

• Nucleon: The focus of this company is on identifying and analyzing cyber threats.

• UC-Care: This company develops, manufactures, and sells two products aimed at improved detection and treatment of prostate cancer.

More about the speakers

Aron Di Castro has been leading global business development and partnerships at Waze since April 2017. He and his team focus on partnerships aimed at improving mobility for cities and citizens. The company leverages data and technology platforms to help develop smart cities through partnerships with municipalities, governments, startups and large enterprises. Prior to his current role at Waze, Di Castro led the Google “Startup Nation” Department, managing Google Israel international strategic business.

Danny Brigido co-manages the Wix Customer Solutions office in Miami, an operation of more than 120 highly trained gurus ready to provide support to an ever-growing number of Wix users. He started with Wix at the ground level in the Customer Solutions department in San Francisco in 2012. He has since helped the company grow its customer solutions reach by developing the U.S. Languages department. Brigido also developed the Miami office. Prior to Wix, he worked in retail management and CG Animation. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, he holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Tampa.

More about the event

Innovation Fusion 2018 will begin with registration and breakfast from 8-9 a.m. The program, featuring the two speakers and presentations from the eight 2018 FIBA companies, will be from 9 a.m. to noon, with a networking lunch from noon to 1 p.m. The cost is $25 and includes breakfast, lunch and free parking. Valley National Bank is presenting sponsor.

To register, go to

The Glazer JCC is at 522 N. Howard Ave. in Tampa.

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