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Is Israel on its way to becoming a mobile app superpower?

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The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI) has marked out the global mobile apps market as a new area for Israeli companies. CEO Ofer Sachs said, “There is no reason why Israel should not become a power in this field in the next few years.”

The IEICI says that the global mobile apps market is worth $12 billion annually and still rising. Forecasts suggest this figure will double in the next three years and some say it could even reach $60 billion annually. Sachs is convinced that Israeli entrepreneurs and companies can provide solutions for this growing demand and reap a lucrative share of the market.

IEICI estimates that there are at least 500 independent developers of cellular apps in Israel as well as 150 companies involved in the field. IEICI believes that many of these can achieve the hoped for major breakthrough and see their labors transformed into a desirable icon on the screens of smartphones around the world.

In its attempts to make cellular apps a flourishing export sector, IEICI recently set up a unit to create an infrastructure allowing these developers dreaming of the global market to enter these beckoning and lucrative markets. The unit is headed by Ohad Kogeman who was formerly in charge of projects in the technology division. The new unit will: provide export promotion services; expose entrepreneurs to the world’s leading cellular companies; coordinate delegations of developers and entrepreneurs to the sector’s giants, and to conferences, exhibitions and workshops that will instruct the app developers in how to sell and sell a lot.

Sachs said, “This is a dynamic market continually moving forward at a frantic speed. Israel has so many small companies most of which are run by young people with amazing ideas but with a very long and complicated road ahead of them in turning their developments into a valued asset. The new unit we have set up will provide them with the required tools so that they will know what measures must be taken to get to overseas customers.”

IEICI’s presence at the Israeli pavilion at the annual GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona each February is one of the tools by which Israeli app developers that believe in their product and feel the time is ripe to unveil it to users can reach a wider audience. Sachs said, “Above and beyond the mobile exhibition, which is a classic venue for unveiling developments and demonstrating them, we will put together for those engaged in this field a focused assistance package that will allow them to gain a foothold in this vast market.”

Israeli apps that will be brought to the exhibition will be presented on an interactive screen in the Israel pavilion. The apps will appear, divided into specific categories including games, medical services, entertainment, social media and more. Sachs said, “The Barcelona exhibition is very important and is a great stage for presenting innovations in this area but it is not the only exhibition that is interesting for those involved in this field. The IEICI plans broadening its presence to other international exhibitions.”

My Tourmate founder Yoav Ben David told “Globes” “The Israel Export Institute is very helpful.” Founded 18 month ago, Tourmate offers Smartphone (and soon Android) users tour routes with an audio guide without surfing costs even when they are overseas. The app includes over 100 routes in countries such as France, the UK, Spain, and the US, and enables information from tour guides (in Hebrew, English, German and French) for both car and walking tours. The information is moves forward automatically by GPS sensors in the smartphone. He added, “They have really got to know our app and helped us reach key people at cellular operators worldwide.

The company already has a business model and offers its app for free but then charges $3 for each tour route.

Visualead founder and CEO Nevo Alva is also more than satisfied with the assistance received from IEICI in reaching overseas exhibitions. He said, “They help us reduce the cost of being in Barcelona. They also help us in business development and one of the advantages is that they are globally orientated and can help us reach places like Japan and China.”

Visualead develops systems for integrating QR barcodes into ads and help raise the level of interactivity between users and ads. The company has an engine for large organizations that can install a personal barcode for every individual.

mbox founder and CEO Naor Brachel also told “Globes” that the IEICI’s assistance and connections have been most helpful. Brachel set up mbox after he understood that the music market was moving to a model of unlimited content consumption by users. Mbox offers companies like Walla, Partner Communications Ltd. and Cellcom Israel Ltd., who are already its clients, the possibility of building systems that manage and make content accessible to consumers while offering songs, movies and books in one location.

For the full Globes article click here.