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Viva Technology show in Paris. Israeli start-ups make strong showing at giant Viva Technology Show in Paris by Brett Kline
PARIS – Speaking at one of the feature conferences at the three-day Viva Technology Show  in Paris this past week, the founder and CEO of the wildly popular independent digital news and content provider, BuzzFeed, commented about the growing role of AI, artificial intelligence, in solution and software development.
Jonah Peretti noted: “computers are good at some things, and humans are good at other things,” adding, “those of you who want to start companies should do so in areas where you have passion and insight, not simply to fill a market need.”
But if the Ramat Chayal-based Intervyo start-up, headed by Jacky Hazan, is any indication of the future…and it is, BuzzFeed’s Peretti may be wrong.  In an era when an average of more than 200 candidates are being interviewed for single job postings by large companies, Intervyo will revolutionise corporate Human Resource department capacity, and fill a serious market need.
Hazan’s presentation video shows a candidate being interviewed by a robot with a human face.    Every bit of data possible about the candidate is analysed by the software, including answers, voice, gestures, and physical and psychological aptitude and attitude, and collated to rate the candidate at high speed.
“Interviewing job candidates has always been a job for humans,” commented Hazan, sitting at a table at the Israel Pavillon, one of fewer than a handful of country pavillons at the show.  “So our solution is controversial, to say the least.  And some companies are afraid.”
Hazan, born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and in Israel for 20 years, said that his is not the only product on the market, but added, “we are pioneers, because the automated interview is followed by a rapid 360° analysis with no subjectivity.”
This is a shift from manual to automated HR work.  “Some companies are wondering, can the virtual interviewer do the job, while others are afraid that the robot will do a better job,” Hazan continued in English and French.   With funding in Israel, Intervyo is perfecting its system everyday, he added, explaining that because the team is small, he is what Israelis call the “kod-kod”, the do-everything captain.
He is putting together a team in France, where he already has two or three clients, to serve as the “point d’entrée” to Europe.  Hazan said he could soon be signing a strategic alliance with a French corporate giant, which he declined to name.
The 200-candidate figure per job posting is “very modest,” he noted, citing the example of a posting in China by French giant L’Oréal that received 60,000 candidates.  “The more attractive and well-known the company, the more candidates every posting receives,” he said.
Indeed, interviewing hundreds of job candidates has become an HR nightmare, it sound like, and the dramatically reduced workload proposed by Intervyo may be a real-time solution.
Fourteen Israeli start-ups were based at the pavillon, with 17 others at the stands of various corporate giants.  For example, Trucknet is a cloud based transport optimisation platform that uses a smart freight exchange to improve efficiency and profitability while reducing environmental impact.  It is, like Intervyo and most of the Israeli start-ups present, a B2B solution.
For Omri Halevi, the CEO of Mobil Research Labs, the VivaTech show was a hit and run operation, but he did stay long enough to comment, “this is the most impressive tech show I’ve ever seen in Paris.”
MRL offers solutions to media giants to “detect exposure to media and advertising impact.” Clients include Google-France, radio in China and TV in Germany.  He too has a deal to be signed in France.
Prompted by a journalist, Halevi delved into the subject most absent at the show: politics. “Last year, I met entrepreneurs from Ramallah with a tourism start-up,” said.  “I offered to work with them, but they didn’t get back to me.  I think the Palestinians should be a part of the start-up success story in Israel.”  It could be a stabilising factor between the two peoples, he added.
Suddenly the Israel Pavillon was full of people.  It was Happy Hour.  The tiny sandwiches were welcome, but it was simply too hot to enjoy the good Israeli red wine.  Faces and necks were shiny with perspiration being wiped with napkins.  Séphora Cohen, from the business department of the Israeli embassy, was on the run refilling glasses of cold water.   When the French decide one day to invent air conditioning, this tech show, organised by advert giant Publicis and business media Les Echos, will be a truly cool affair.
Super high energy Start-up Nation Central head Jeremie Kletzkine agreed, but commented that “good things are happening here” in spite of the heat.  He counts more than 5,500 start-ups in Israel, and helps organise logistics for dozens of business delegations visiting from France.
“Many start-ups in France are simply small businesses,” he explained.  “In Israel, any revenue goes directly to R&D.  Salaries are paid by investor funding.”  He recently did a presentation to the MEDEF, the French association of business called  “Ingredients for Innovation”.
For Ron Waldman from the CCIF, the Chambre de Commerce Israel-France, precisely because France is still in fourth place, far behind Great Britain, Germany and Italy, for business done with Israel, “it is important to be present at this show.  And we must bring more French companies to Israel,” he said.
Noting that new French President Emmanuel Macron has visited tech companies in Israel and is very interested in innovation, he said this can only be good for Israeli-French business relations.

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