Sol Chip CEO Shani Keysar Featured in Merck’s Pro Magazine

The Promised Land

Apart from the United States, there is no country in which more startups are founded than Israel; not just per capita, but in absolute terms. And on the U.S. technology stock exchange NASDAQ, Israeli companies are well represented. Only China has more companies listed here. Just in February, Apple boss Tim Cook inaugurated a new research center in Israel. Silicon Wadi is the name of the coastline between Tel Aviv and Haifa, where all the major companies such as Intel, Google and IBM have built their laboratories among the palm trees. How does it come to be that a state in the Middle East with a population of around eight million is so successful in the high-tech sector? What makes Israel so innovative?

Nearly 1,000 new companies – every year

Shani Keysar of Sol Chip

Shani Keysar, Ph.D., CEO of Sol Chip, presents the company’s everlasting solar battery during a Trendlines U.S. road show event.

The cliché of a tank commander, as the ­Google boss called her, is definitely not an accurate description of the 59-year-old Shani Keysar. She sits happily in her whitewashed, light office in Haifa, a short distance away from Israel’s largest harbor. “Sol Chip – Chips From The Sun” is printed on the glass walls between the rooms. The office doors are all open.

It was her daughter’s idea to combine microchips with solar cells. With this idea, Keysar has won pretty much everything a young entrepreneur can win, starting with the prize for Israel’s best startup in February.

Keysar proceeds into an adjoining room. On a round table, she has spread out examples of her chips. They are larger, but more intelligently built than RFID chips. Because their energy comes from the sun, minicomputers can work with them autonomously and the batteries no longer need to be changed. The chips can, for example, transfer data such as patients’ body temperature, the number of occupied spaces in a parking lot or the dryness of farmland.

Keysar developed the chip here, in ­Haifa. However, the first units are now ­being manufactured at the Fraunhofer Institute in ­Duisburg, Germany and assembled in China. For example, a transmitter is placed on the chip and on top of it, “like the icing on a cake,” the solar cell, explains Keysar. They are then checked one last time in Israel. Once they have been sealed and are weatherproof, the chips should last ten years, at least.

What did Keysar do right with Sol Chip? On her desk are fist-sized white orchids in full bloom. Keysar looks at them half reverently, half proud. “You have to be patient and tenacious,” she says, smiling. “That applies to looking after orchids. And startups.” Read the full article.

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