Note:  During the month of March, I was back in the U.S. visiting family, friends, working with my wonderful team at Rackspace Headquarters in San Antonio, reporting from the Interactive portion of SXSW and the Israel Dealmakers Summit.

Even though I was away, I was keeping a pulse on what was going on back in Israel.  

One of my favorite accelerator programs, The Hive, which provides new immigrants to Israel the opportunity to thrive in the heart of the country organized an international pitching competition with start-ups competing from Israel, Turkey and Japan.

On March 22nd, over 250 people attended the historic StartUp Fusion event organized by TheHive by Gvahim in collaboration with Samurai Incubate (Japan), and ONEN CONSULTANCY (Turkey). Turkish, Japanese, and Israeli start-ups competed for a $100,000 seed investment. The event aimed to promote young and talented entrepreneurs on the rise and created an international synergy between Japan, Israel and Turkey based on entrepreneurship.

The Hive

Israel was represented in this event by six startups of the 5th session of TheHive by Gvahim TLV accelerator program, with Israeli and new immigrant entrepreneurs from Russia, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. Three Turkish startups flew to Israel to participate in the event and three startups were selected as part of the Japanese platform Aniwo Million.

I can only imagine the energy at the event was electric, with investors mingling with entrepreneurs from diverse nationalities- and great   exposure for all.  This is one event I did not want to miss, but could not be in two places at once.

Kentaro Sakakibara was so impressed by the start-ups that the initial prize (a seed investment of $100,000 by Samurai Incubate), that in a surprise twist, he offered two investments of $100,000 to: Dogiz, a dog friendly social network app and to Themego, an amusement park rating website.  I have personally met with members of both founding teams and I was thrilled to learn about this huge win.

SOAP, an audio solution, came in second with a $15,000 media boost package from Krypton VC, and GISonDemand, an advanced 3D mapping technology, came in third with a year of free consulting services from PwC .

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I caught up with Danny Djanogly, a co-founder of Dogiz to find out what it meant for him to participate in such an event and to congratulate the team on receiving their first $100k seed investment.

“It was an amazing experience, we are honored to get to work with Samurai Incubate, and thank TheHive for making this opportunity happen. It was great to be able to mingle with the Turkish and Japanese start-ups, and to see how the bond of entrepreneurship is greater than common politics.”

I have had my eye on the Dogiz team now for a while and it’s great to see the team make such fantastic progress. I first met Danny in September and it’s amazing to see how passion, commitment and the right team have allowed Dogiz to reach this fantastic milestone. Alon Zlatkin (CEO of Dogiz) shared with me…. “This is only the beginning for Dogiz and we have some exciting new features and changes to the app in the pipeline. We received great feedback from our community and we are working on new ways to ensure urban dog owners can easily connect with their canine community and their local doggie services.”

It is clear the Dogiz team have their eye on international expansion and this is definitely a start-up worth watching.

I believe they have an amazing vision which is clearly inspired by their dogs and their own personal experiences as dog owners. For those dog lovers who haven’t yet joined the fun, download the app on IOS or Android today.