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Israel’s Startup Hype Master Faces His Toughest Test Yet

The guy behind Yo and a $14,000 smartphone got Alibaba to help bankroll his AR glasses startup.
Moshe Hogeg.

Moshe Hogeg.

Photographer: Jenny Schweber for Bloomberg Businessweek
Updated on

Israel’s most prolific startup hype man is a scruffy 35-year-old named Moshe Hogeg. Among his various endeavors, he convinced Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to invest in an Instagram look-alike. He raised more than $1 million from tech industry bigwigs for a messaging app that lets users send the word “yo” to each other. (That’s pretty much all it does.) And this year, he helped recruit Tom Hardy, who starred alongside DiCaprio in The Revenant, to hawk a $14,000 smartphone.

But Hogeg’s newest product may be his toughest sell. He’s helping develop computerized glasses that aim to deliver relevant information as people go about their daily lives. He hopes his startup will succeed where Google and others have failed.