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Putting the media focus on Israeli tech

The first season of TechTalk will highlight over fifty cutting-edge Israeli companies, showcasing revolutionary technological innovations, from flying taxis to robots for the elderly.

AI ROBOT Nao teaches ‘TechTalk’ host and executive producer Jonny Caplan how to do Tai Chi in the Curios Robots Lab at Tel Aviv University (photo credit: Courtesy)

Jonny Caplan is living the dream. Having moved from cold, grey London to the sunny shores of the start-up capital Tel Aviv several years ago, the British-born entrepreneur, and CEO and co-founder of Tech Talk Media, is about to launch an Amazon Prime documentary series – TechTalk – on emerging global start-ups. The first season will highlight over fifty cutting-edge Israeli companies, showcasing revolutionary technological innovations, from flying taxis to robots for the elderly.

Serving as the writer, executive producer and co-host of the series, (together with The Voice finalist Jessy Katz), Caplan has just spent two days filming on location in Tel Aviv for another series, The Cannabis Biz, which profiles the burgeoning medical cannabis industry both in Israel and abroad, set for worldwide broadcast next year.

Caplan’s foray into business and entertainment started early in his life. Accredited by the international high-IQ society MENSA in his teens, the serial entrepreneur possessed an IQ among the top one percent in the UK, which often left him bored and unsatisfied at school. While attending the local Jewish Hasmonean High School for boys, Caplan divided his time between studying for exams and developing his first innovative business, at the age of just fourteen, creating digital games and platforms.

His all-round abilities may also have something to do with the fact that he is a born creator and entertainer. At eight years old, he began singing, dancing and acting on both stage and TV. He is also a talented artist, guitarist, pianist and writer. He studied interior architecture at university in the UK; many of his abstract paintings adorn the walls of his Tel Aviv home.

By 1999 he got the entrepreneurial bug and spent the next few years in the gaming business, building companies and suffering through what he called a company “takeover,” which took place while he was attending a friend’s wedding in Israel.

“It was a shocking experience, where all of my hard work and huge success was unfairly and swiftly taken from me,” he recalls. “It’s an experience I will never forget.”

Caplan firmly believes that with the right mindset, corporate challenges can actually lead to incredible growth. Indeed, he views these “temporary setbacks” as valuable “business lessons” that have not just strengthened his resilience, but have enabled him to unleash creative energies that may have otherwise remained dormant.

Indeed, it enabled him to co-found his US based media company TechTalk with his partner Ronald R. Hans, who is a seasoned technology veteran based in New York. The company, which produces other independent titles within tech, science and lifestyle, has offices in LA, New York City, London and Tel Aviv.

Since arriving to Israel in 2006, the multi-talented, single, eligible businessman has continued to share his business acumen by providing strategic direction and Western resources to several leading Israeli start-ups, some of which are referred to in Dan Tenor’s bestseller The Start-up Nation.

Having come from a formal cultural lifestyle in London, Tel Aviv is a real breath of fresh air. When he is not traveling around the world filming, he really appreciates the city’s combination of business dynamism, exceptional restaurants and scenery. “ Having a business meeting in the morning, filming in the afternoon and attending a party on the beach in the evening is a real treat. I never dreamed it could all happen in one city.”

Season one of TechTalk, which begins airing in November, focuses exclusively on Israeli companies, followed by New York and Los Angeles for seasons two and three respectively.

“We chose Israel to launch the show, as it is the start-up nation and the only location on earth that has such a vibrant mix of innovators and technologies in one space,” he said.

Without giving away too much, Caplan is excited about another upcoming project, combining A-List Celebrities, augmented reality, and using green tech to address global and sustainability issues. “This is going to be our legacy project,” he says. “We are creating a unique platform and vessel to accelerate the development of world-changing technologies. This is a venture that will be incredibly impactful to everyone on the planet.”