Football Town With an Autonomous Cars Problem

What do Ann Arbor, Michigan and Hod HaSharon have in common? Karamba Security and a whole bunch of Jews.

Ann Arbor (be still my heart) is the second home to Karamba Security, an Israeli cybersecurity solutions company for self-driving cars. How come nobody told me about this? The company has signed on to the Automotive Grade Linux Project to develop an automotive industry standard for cybersecurity best practices. The project is being sponsored by The Linux Foundation, which is a non-profit aimed at advancing Linux and other open-source technology resources.

Karamba’s software works by hardening ECUs exactly as they’re designed in the factory, preventing hackers from modifying these settings. And for those of you who (like me) need me to Google that for you: “In automotive electronics, Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is any embedded system that controls one or more of the electrical system or subsystems in a transport vehicle.”

Speaking of which, I should start making a bucket list of all the stuff I need to learn about autonomous vehicles before leaving the great state of Michigan this spring. Item one: take the driverless shuttle to Mcity. Because how could I go to this school and not see this?

TLDR; an Israeli-American company is developing best practices for cybersecurity in autonomous vehicles and of course, an obligatory GO BLUE because A-squared ‘til death.

And You Thought Americans Were Lazy


Okay, okay, okay, okay is this not the most Israeli thing you’ve ever heard? Mishlohof solves a very pressing problem in most of our lives. You’re on Gordon Beach, dodging matkot balls, aggressive gentleman callers and shisha fumes. Suddenly hunger hits and you’re only surrounded by 10-20 beachfront restaurants, pita pits, smoothie bars, pizza places, and ice cream sellers. It’s all so close yet so far. Lucky for you, there’s an app for that too.

Mishlohof will deliver beer, ice cream, fruit and more, all in a perfectly packaged cooler right to your beach chair using your geolocation. According to No Camels the plan for the winter is to deliver beer to parks. Somehow this part of the plan sounds way more sketchy to me, but hey, it’s Israel. Founder and CEO Bar Reuven has plans to expand to beach towns in Brazil, France and Cyprus (and changing the name  faster than Netalee Hershlag can say Natalie Portman.)

So next time you’re sunbathing and can’t be bothered to give one single fraction of a fuck, give it a try and let me know what you think. And while you’re at it please explain to me how Israelis can bring their whole refrigerator to the beach while simultaneously pounding fries at La La Land and still look uniformly like bronzed beautiful Olympic athletes? Because me and my countrymen want to know.

Best Places to Work and Play Ping Pong (according to Secret Tel Aviv)

Secret Tel Aviv – part event finder, people connector, olim helper, job finder, dating app and general sausage fest. Not to mention the most entertaining Facebook group you’ll ever join.

The results are in, Secret TLV just came out with the Best Companies to Work for in Israel – Summer 2017 Edition. I think they really mean tech companies (with H&M and Rapaport being the notable exceptions). I decided to take a look and find out: how does the size of the company affect how people feel about working there? Here you can see Secret TLV’s rankings and the size of the companies, estimated by the number of employees they have on LinkedIn. Of course, correlation doesn’t imply causation and there are plenty of confounding factors that might make a big company better to work for aside from the fact that you’re surrounded by lots of people (like, for instance, you’re also probably surrounded by a lot of money.) But for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume number of employees is a decent estimator. Oh and for the purposes of making this visualization a bit more relevant I got rid of #9 H&M because they have a whopping 50,000 employees on LinkedIn, relatively few of whom I can only assume are in Israel.

Secret TLV

So, what do you think? Does size matter?

Spy Kids 4(00 Million)

Ya heard it here (quite possibly) second folks. Blackstone is apparently looking to spend in the ballpark of $400 million for 40% of super-top-secret-spy-team NSO Group . ClearSky, meanwhile, is in as a secondary buyer, looking for a 10% stake in the company. Francisco Partners have another 40% and the remainder’s split between the founders and their employees. NSO Group isn’t your mother’s Herzliya startup- it’s some serious international espionage and overall badassery. Just don’t ask me or any of their employees what they actually do.


Israel Leads in Gross Domestic Spending on R&D

Targeted social ads have never worked on me– as a point of pride– until now. Scrolling through Facebook when I discovered a perfectly placed targeted ad with some great news @students – we get free Tableau! I maintain some pride in the fact that I didn’t actually PAY for something targeting me in a Facebook ad, but actually got something of decent value. It’s free for a year and then you have to pay for it at which point you’re addicted to making stunning data visualizations in Tableau and have built a professional reputation on your clearly superior Tableau skills, so you’ll probably go ahead and pay for it for the rest of your life. But hey, for now it’s free.

Anyway, in playing around with it I went to the OECD (The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) for their public datasets and connected to the gross domestic spending on R&D. And check out who came out on top (hint, Israel is ISR): Gross Domestic R&D Spending. One day, I’ll be able to give you beautiful artsy visualizations to show you this kind of thing, but for now you can live with a bar graph.

For reference, here’s how the OECD explains the indicator. “Gross domestic spending on R&D is defined as the total expenditure (current and capital) on R&D carried out by all resident companies, research institutes, university and government laboratories, etc., in a country. It includes R&D funded from abroad, but excludes domestic funds for R&D performed outside the domestic economy. This indicator is measured in million USD and as percentage of GDP.” Yep yep, sounds about right. Wonder how much of Israel’s is made up of CyberSpark money. Fire emoji.

My data source: OECD (2017), Gross domestic spending on R&D (indicator). doi: 10.1787/d8b068b4-en (Accessed on 21 July 2017)


On Mondays we Form Bilateral Cybersecurity Groups

There are certain things in a friendship that you can never forget, like the first time two lifelong best friends first meet. Abbi and Ilana, Michael and Dwight, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. You know, normal best friends with normal interactions, like when Air Force One landed in Israel and Trump greeted Bibi, “Hello, my friend,” to which Bibi replied “Welcome, my good friend” Because that’s normal. As awkward as Trump was all over Bibi’s country (see the cutesy yearbook note he left at Yad Vashem for reference), apparently he didn’t make it friendship-ruining weird. Where some of us pettier world leaders might’ve kicked him out of our lunch table, it looks like Trump’s still there and paying for Bibi’s chocolate milk.

Ignoring the dystopic betchy high school I’ve forever burned into your minds, this friendship is not all bad. In fact, we found out at Cyber Week that we’re getting a bilateral cybersecurity group out of it. Which is, by most accounts, almost as good as free chocolate milk. The group, led by White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce, will work to defend critical infrastructure and track down malicious actors. Trump’s assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism announced at Cyber Week that the group would meet for the first time this week to talk “critical infrastructure, advanced R&D, international cooperation and workforce.” And like, has Modi even been asked to prom yet?

The aim of this group has described as using an Iron Dome approach to cyber, which is precisely the defense strategy we need for the decades to come. It’s tempting to think cyberattacks are all 4Chan trolls and Jennifer Lawrence’s nudes, but it’s a whole lot more than that and lives are on the line when an attack goes as planned. Often many, many more lives than a conventional terrorist attack. In general, it would be much appreciated if Trump and Bibi could quit the circle jerk, but as far as cyber’s concerned, let’s hope this group takes us from talking loosely about establishing a set of norms to actually building an internationally cooperative infrastructure for defending against cyberattack. Because terrorists are like, so not fetch.

Like Birthright for World Leaders


One trend I’ve been noticing lately in Israeli tech news is an influx of new partnerships/mentorships/wehavenothingtodotodayletsgotoisraelandmakeitaboutsomethingships from all around the world. Among others, there seems to be new potential in Israel’s relationships with China, India, Australia, and Houston, Texas—which, let’s be honest, is basically it’s own country. These partnerships are so important, not only to the countries that can learn from how Israel’s built its tech industry from the sand up, but also for Israel. The other day, ex-Intel head Mooly Eden warned us about the threat that success can pose to Israel’s competitive edge in the tech field. Though Israel might’ve been the first startup nation, the rest of the world seems to be catching up (and perhaps with some help from the Eretz). These emerging global partnerships will be essential to stop any Israeli self-congratulatory slide into complacency.


And in unrelated news…

Self-proclaimed cybersecurity powerhouse Team8 is teaming up with Intel to form several companies that will compete in cyber. According to Fortune, Israel’s 450 cyber startups receive 20% of the world’s investment in the field. In addition to Team8, Intel is also pairing up with Illusive, which uses deception technologies to fight advanced persistent threats to corporate networks. Sababa!