Israeli Company Launches New Mobile Printer

The mini PocketPrinter by Israeli startup ZUtA Labs makes you wonder why nobody thought of this before.

Cofounder Tuvia Elbaum, 29, was amazed to find no such solution on the market when he and fellow Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) student Matan Caspi envisioned the first-ever mini mobile printer last year. Tired of searching for a printer whenever they needed to print out papers and presentations, they looked for a mobile alternative.

“When you have an idea like that, you figure someone else must have done it,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

But nobody had. So Elbaum and Caspi brought their business plan to JCT’s Friedberg Entrepreneurship Program, which accepted it and provided initial support and guidance.

The mini PocketPrinter by Israeli startup ZUtA Labs

The mini PocketPrinter by Israeli startup ZUtA Labs

Debuted at Microsoft’s ThinkNext event in April, the 10-by-11.5-centimeter (3.9-by-4.3-inch) PocketPrinter wowed critics for its ability to connect to smartphones and PCs, and print on paper of any size. After reaching its fundraising goal in a Kickstarter campaign, ZUtA Labs intends to have a full line on the market by January next year.

The basic unit, with rechargeable battery, will retail for about $240.

Elbaum explains that printers essentially consist of a printhead running left and right on a moving piece of paper. “We asked ourselves, why not get rid of the entire device and just put the printhead on a set of small wheels and let it run across a piece of paper? By doing so, we allow the printer to really be as little as possible.”

The printer is activated by sliding a hatch at the bottom, revealing a standard HP cartridge inkjet. The USB connection for battery charging is also on the bottom of the device.

In its first iteration, the PocketPrinter will be available in black or white polycarbonate. Printouts will be grayscale. In the future, the founders hope to offer a color printing model. Elbaum says he and his partners are ironing out details concerning product development, manufacture and distribution.

“If we can assemble them here in Israel, that would be amazing,” says the serial entrepreneur, who started his first company at age 21 and is still very much involved in Umoove, a startup he cofounded to great acclaim that created a face- and eye-tracking technology for mobile devices.

“We’re also working on apps for iOS and Android that will allow direct printing from your smartphone and tablet,” says Elbaum.

“Following ThinkNext, we are getting encouraging feedback from around the world. Everybody needs a printer on the go, and people are really relating to the idea.”

The PocketPrinter team also includes designer Yonni Stein, a Bezalel Academy graduate; robotics engineers Leon Rosengarten and Gilad Schnurmacher; social media and marketing specialist Jack Gottesman; startup adviser Hillel Fuld; and Yitzi Kempinski, CEO of Umoove. They’ve been mentored by Reuven Ulmansky, an Israeli angel investor.

Still finishing his degree and nurturing two startups requires a difficult balancing act for Elbaum, and he credits his “wonderful wife” for being supportive and understanding.

“Having two startups is like having two kids — you give each the most attention you can, he says. “If you have a passion for something, you find the time.”

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This blog looks at how modern technology affects Jewish life, particularly the impact of the Internet on Jews across the globe. The Internet has made the Jewish community seem smaller. The Jewish Techs blog, written by blogger Rabbi Jason Miller (The Techie Rabbi), explores the places where Jewish culture, education and faith intersect with technology. Of course, like anything, Jews will continue to ask if technology is good or bad for the Jews – the age old question of our people. Good or bad, it is undisputed that technology has changed Jewish life. If you’re Jewish or interested in technology or both… you’ll enjoy the conversation. Thanks for reading the Jewish Techs blog.

The Techie Rabbi – Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Jason Miller, the Techie RabbiJason Miller is NOT your typical rabbi. Known as the Techie Rabbi, he launched Access Computer Technology in 2010 and has grown it into a full-scale technology firm that provides social media marketing consulting and web design in addition to IT support. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary a decade ago, Rabbi Jason has made a name for himself as a popular blogger, social media expert, educator and entrepreneur. Based in Detroit, his congregation includes more than a million people who read his blog and follow him in Cyberspace. He began the Jewish Techs blog in January 2010 as the New York Jewish Week's technology expert.

An entrepreneurial rabbi and an alum of Clal's "Rabbi Without Borders" fellowship, Jason Miller is a rabbi and thought leader whose personal blog has been viewed by millions. The Detroit Free Press called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader" and the Huffington Post ranked him among the top Jewish Twitter users in the world. A social media expert, Rabbi Jason is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world. He writes the "Jewish Techs" blog for The Jewish Week and the monthly "Jews in the Digital Age" column for the Detroit Jewish News.

Miller won the 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce and is one of the winners of a Jewish Influencer award from the National Jewish Outreach Program.