Will.i.am investigates the Israeli tech scene
Black Eyed Peas member eyes 5 companies for potential investment opportunities.
Will.i.am – music mogul, businessman, philanthropist – is known around the world for his unique personal brand. A founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, Will.i.am is now bringing his creative passion to Israel, where he recently scouted investment opportunities.
Earlier this summer, Will.i.am met with five Israeli tech startups in which he reportedly wants to invest. Tal Chen, a partner in the technology group at Deloitte Israel, helped organize the meetings. "Will was highly impressed by the quality of the people and by the innovative way of thinking by the startups," Chen told From the Grapevine. "And I believe he will get back to Israel."
The Israeli companies Will.i.am met with include:
1. Tonara: A digital sheet music app that actually listens to the music using a built-in microphone and turns the page accordingly.
2. WiShi: An acronym for "Wear It, Share It," WiShi is an online fashion recommendation engine that TechCrunch named a startup to watch.
3. Guester: A service for the nightlife industry, connecting consumers and businesses to the same platform so reservations and guest lists can be synchronized.
4. Fashioholic: A platform that enables fashion designers to reach customers in a more engaging way than just display ads – through online fashion games.
5. Replay Technologies: Fast Company magazine describes it this way: "Replay turns sports highlights into jaw-dropping 360-degree clips. Think Keanu Reeves' bullet-dodging moves in the sci-fi trilogy." No wonder the magazine put Replay on its list of the world's 50 most innovative companies.
Will.i.am is not new to the world of electronics. He was an early investor in the popular Beats electronic brand, which was recently purchased by Apple for $3 billion. He has also expressed interest in learning computer programming. And in 2011, the seven-time Grammy winner was named director of creative innovation at Intel, where he offers advice on tablets, laptops and smartphones.
The 39-year-old is currently promoting a new smart watch he helped fund and develop, which he showed off in Israel. His device differs from other new watches on the market in that it does not require the aid of a nearby cell phone. Here is a video of Will.i.am showing how it works:
And here he is speaking to a group of developers in Israel about the smart watch:
Evan Lowenstein, the founder of music startup StageIt, has relatives in Israel and travels there often. “It makes absolute sense for Will.i.am to invest and even collaborate with Israeli companies," he told From the Grapevine. "Nobody is better than Israeli engineers at taking an emotional experience and converting it into a working, algorithmic language. If you can dream it, they can build it.”
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