AICC member Kaltura Wins “The Most Promising Start-up in Israel for 2009”

kalturaKaltura, Inc., developer of the first open source video platform, is the winner of this year’s “most promising start-up” competition held by TheMarker and Microsoft. Now in its fourth year, the competition took place as part of the annual internet conference – TheMarker Com.Vention – on Sunday, March 29th in Tel-Aviv. 28 companies were submitted to the competition, out of which three reached the finals – Kaltura, Innovid and Gizmox.

“We selected Kaltura as the most promising Internet start-up as we recognized three critical components that the company offered – a truly innovative open source video platform solution, a super attractive target market of video publishers, and proven execution capabilities that lead to a very impressive number of users and relationships with top-tier partners within only a few months after its launch”, said Ehud Levy Managing Partner, Vertex Venture Capital

“Here at the Microsoft R&D center, we are extremely excited about this year’s finalists, the three companies represent the strengths of the Israeli high-tech industry – innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, and combine both business and technological leadership,” said Barak Shein, Director, Business Development, Microsoft Israel R&D.

“It is an honor to have won this prestigious award, the ninth major international award since our initial product launch in late 2007. As a US-based company, we made a great strategic decision to build our R&D center in Israel, which is a global hub for entrepreneurs and technologists. We are truly proud to have won this competition up against cutting-edge companies in one of the world’s leading high-tech talent centers,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman and CEO

Kaltura was founded in 2006 by Ron Yekutiel, Dr. Shay David, Dr. Michal Tsur and Eran Etam. The company has developed a platform that allows publishers to integrate basic to advanced video and rich-media functionalities, including collaborative remixing and sharing of video, image and audio files. The company’s open source business model is based on a combination of video-related services including streaming and hosting, advertising and monetization, licensing for self-hosted solutions, professional services etc. To date, the company has raised an undisclosed amount of venture capital from Avalon Ventures, .406 Ventures and private investors.

The competition finalists also included Innovid and Gizmox. Innovid was founded by Zvika Neter, Tal Hilazon and Tsachi Zigdon, who developed a video advertising technology that embeds branding into the video itself. Gizmox, founded by Navot Peled, Guy Peled and Dan Lichtenfeld, has developed an internet platform called Visual WebGui that enables simple UI development & deployment of web applications on the server which are then virtualized on a standard browser with no specific installation. The company has raised $1.5 million to date.

The companies that made it through the first cut of the competition were judged by a committee of judges from TheMarker (Israel’s leading economic newspaper), Microsoft Israel and Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel. The ten selected companies then presented in front of a panel of distinguished judges from leading technology and venture capital firms. As the final stage, the three finalists presented their companies’ business and technology vision in front of an international panel of judges.

The competition’s judges included: Jennifer L. Schenker, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Informilo, Ehud Levy, Managing Partner, Vertex Venture Capital, Erez Pilosof, Founder and CEO of Libox, an innovative Personal Media management and sharing platform, Barak Shein, Director, Business Development – Microsoft Israel R&D, Yoram Yaacovi, CTO and General Manager: Innovation Labs, new ILDC ventures and Academia and Industry outreach – Microsoft Israel R&D, Ronen Smooha, Developers & .NET Platform Adoption Division Manager – Microsoft Israel, Galya Yemini, High Tech Editor at TheMarker Magazine.

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