Photo: Omar HaCohen
Even sharks have trouble swimming in shallow water: the startup L1ght, which wanted to use AI to identify bullies and pedophiles online, collapsed under the current economic situation and all its employees were laid off. The startup was headed by Zohar Lebkovitz, the well-known “shark”, who only less than a year ago testified that this was the greatest achievement of his career.
Less than a year ago, he looked at the “fire” from the side
According to a report by TheMarker, all 22 L1ght employees received layoff notices last month, and according to the company, the reason for the closure is a surprising failure in negotiations for its sale: “A public American company withdrew at the last minute from a purchase due to the economic slowdown in the market,” according to the company’s response.
Lite (formerly known as AntiToxin) has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that are able to scan online content, be it text, audio, videos or images, and detect offensive content. The system was also able to identify more extreme cases of suspected correspondence between a child and an adult posing as another child. Lite was founded in 2019 by Lebkowitz (CRO) and Ron Porat (CTO). According to Pitchbook data, since its inception, the company has raised approximately $17.5 million, among others, from the funds Tribeca Venture Partners, Western Technology, Mangrove, as well as angels such as Ofir Azuri.
In an interview published only in August, Lebkowitz stated that “if there is something I am really proud of in my career, without cynicism, it is Lite. Knowing that we are simply saving children and catching the pedophiles is worth everything”, but he also noted that entrepreneurs do not come prepared to establish a startup and that he Asking them to think about “what is a startup, what are the prices you’re willing to pay. It’s not just a dream and the journey is long, frustrating and doesn’t always end well. So at least enjoy it.” Levkovic added in the context of the current crisis: “I was sitting on the sidelines and now a fire has started. As an investor I like fires and also as an entrepreneur… it removes the bad startups from the market, it cleans out the less good investors and it helps the good entrepreneurs grow faster.”