Israeli media art curator Niio offers free Zoom Art Backgrounds to add some flair to your video calls.

Are you one of the many people who’s been downloading fake backdrops to appear more intellectual, hip or tidy during your online video meetings?
Now there’s an unusual dynamic option available.

Israeli company Niio, which offers curated video art for lobbies, offices and public spaces, invites anyone to download moving image artworks as Zoom backgrounds.

“Niio’s purpose is to inspire people everywhere through redefining the screen as an art destination for all. That’s why Niio directly responded to the impact of Covid-19 and is supporting global communities who are in lockdown during the pandemic, by gifting beautiful, dynamic video art backgrounds created by leading international media artists,” the company related in a press statement.


It’s also an innovative way to showcase some of the 4,000 established and emerging media artists whose premium digital artwork collections are available on the Niio platform.

Niio’s collection of more than 40 virtual Zoom backgrounds include such collections as Quayola’s “Camouflage” series of abstract landscape algorithmic paintings and Joe Hamilton’s “Cézanne Unfixed,” which blurs the relationships between painting and the museum.

They can be downloaded in video or still-image versions.

Art backgrounds for your video meetings, courtesy of Niio

“At a time when people all over the world are confined to their homes, consuming more digital media than ever before, it’s crucial that we are also able to access more meaningful digital experiences, such as moving image art that expresses our individualism and personality, and that we can also share with others during our virtual interactions,” said Niio CEO Rob Anders

The United States and Israel have enjoyed mutually beneficial business relations for many years in the areas of defense, commerce and technology.

While Israel seems to be ahead of the curve in combating Covid-19, cooperation on the US state level has increased regarding relevant Israeli technology and solutions.

The relationship between Israel and states like New York and California are well known. But over the past few years, other states have looked to develop strong relationships with the Startup Nation in order to benefit from Israeli knowhow as well as entice Israeli startups to open local offices.

Even in this unstable economy, we see global companies like Intel continue to acquire Israeli startups such as Moovit for their data (data is also playing a major role in the fight against Covid-19).

There is a lot of activity happening as many states begin reopening their economies amid this crisis. Let’s explore how they are cooperating with Israel, and how these relationships are helping combat Covid-19.


Florida and Israel have maintained a close relationship in travel and trade. In tech, having an active community is important in building an ecosystem and an economic bridge to promote mutual trade and assure Israeli startups arrive on a soft landing pad.

However, it’s not Miami with its large Israeli population and tech connection to Latin America but Tampa that has taken the lead in building that bridge.

Tampa is recognized as an emerging ecosystem and it’s home to the Florida Israel Business Accelerator. FIBA connects high-potential Israeli tech startups to partners, investors and advisers.

FIBA’s latest cohort of Israeli companies traveled throughout Florida to gauge economic opportunities. FIBA offers insights to the Israeli startups in its program as well as those in Israel looking for an opportune US market entry.

Recently, FIBA hosted webinars helping Israeli founders learn more about how Covid-19 is impacting the local ecosystem. Topics ranged from US government PPP loans for struggling businesses, to employment, to the challenges around remote selling.

FIBA Executive Director Rachel Marks Feinman reports, “There is a tremendous amount of activity and communication on many levels between Israel and Florida related to Covid-19 specifically. Some examples of what FIBA is doing to help participation include a webinar hosted by the Israeli Consulate in Miami featuring healthcare-related companies from Israel addressing Covid-19 with over 200 participants.”

She says FIBA has facilitated introductions for several companies with solutions for combating Covid-19, such as Uniper Care, GlobeKeeper, Aura Air and MilagroAI.

Marks Feinman says FIBA is “connecting leading Florida hospitals with hospitals in Israel to share best practices and explore research opportunities, and the continued work under the USF-TAU-FIBA Memorandum of Understanding that was focused on healthy aging and addressing ways to support the elderly during the pandemic.”

As it’s still unclear when major Israeli tech ecosystems in cities such as New York will reopen after the pandemic, there could be a migration of tech employees to places like Florida. Additionally, as remote work has become the norm, Israeli companies may decide to make Florida their landing pad for US market entry.


With a growing Jewish population and several family foundations focused on supporting Israel-related initiatives, the city of Tulsa is becoming a hub for Israel-related activity.

Tulsa has worked to become a destination for young professionals (many of whom work remotely in tech) and has been building a robust tech ecosystem.

An example is the region’s work in developing cybersecurity expertise, an area in which Israel has excelled. Cyber is placing a strain on many governments already faced with burdens on resources, taxed healthcare systems and uncertain economic futures.

Rogue governments and hackers thrive in crisis times like these. Elite Israeli cybersecurity foundry Team8 has partnered with the University of Tulsa to offer an advanced degree in cybersecurity studies. The TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows is just another example of how academic institutions can parlay the Startup Nation’s knowledge to develop the next generation of business leaders.

Michael Basch, managing partner at Atento Capital and Venture, Investment, Partnership & Migration at the George Kaiser Family Foundation, has led and evangelized Israel-Tulsa tech relationships.

He communicated via email that “Tulsa sees Israel as a source of innovation and a place to see some of the most interesting technology, especially in sectors that Tulsa already has a competency in, such as cybersecurity, energy, drone analytics, and health tech. We have been closely eyeing early-stage technology companies with relevant concepts to bring to Tulsa and help have a US presence, and we help them with our local corporations to expand their US customer base. This has been a win for the Israeli companies from a revenue perspective, and a win for Tulsa from innovation as well as job creation perspective.”

There was a lot of activity pre-corona, and now Basch reflected that Oklahoma-Israel relations are “working through Zoom remotely and continuing existing projects and pushing through on new ones.”

In a post Covid-19 world, we may not only see young professionals migrating from urban centers to places like Tulsa, but also Israeli companies that will look favorably on opening offices there.


Another state with traditionally strong ties to Israel and strong tech and healthcare ecosystems is Texas, the second largest economy in the US.

The city of Austin is one of the leading tech ecosystems in the United States. Cooperation between Israel and Texas has been focused on energy, as Houston is one of the world’s energy centers, but is developing in other fields as well.

Houston boasts one of the largest concentrations of hospitals in the world and Israeli startups want to partner with them on solutions against Covid-19.

Healthcare cooperation between Israel and many parts of the world has been active for some time, but startups (including Israeli ones) sometimes struggle to work with larger hospitals. That connection is key, particularly now as Israeli entrepreneurs have been coming up with innovations to help battle Covid-19.

“The Texas-Israel Alliance has brokered a number of innovative healthcare initiatives, including with the head of the FDA, and created a longstanding partnership between the University of Texas System and Rabin Medical Center. We are currently expanding this initiative for a Covid-19 collaboration project using innovative data and research,” according to Toba Hellerstein, the CEO of the Texas-Israel Alliance and president of the Israel-Texas Science & Education Foundation.


Traditionally, California has been the landing pad for Israeli startups seeking US market entry because of Silicon Valley and now LA. However, as the cost of doing business in California has increased, newer tech ecosystems have begun to spring up. An example is Arizona, which has greatly strengthened the relationships with both regions.

It’s been less than a year since Arizona Governor Doug Ducey opened a trade office in Israel, but things have progressed with organizations such as the Arizona Trade Technology Alliance, the Arizona Israel Trade and Investment Office and VCs such as Grayhawk Capital.

Ducey is interested in collaboration with the Startup Nation, and more than 20 Israeli-based companies have opened offices in the state.

David Yaari, director general of the Arizona-Israel Trade and Investment Office, said his organization “works closely with strategic partners like Glenn Hamer, the CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and with the team at the Arizona Israel Technology Alliance.”

An example of possible future economic cooperation includes the UNMET Conference Arizona, which features several Israeli startups and EcoMotion, Israel’s premier mobility conference (which this year happened online, May 18-21).

Yaari adds, “Our goal is to assist promising Israeli startups to raise their profile and raise capital through the conference and to expand the collaboration between the Arizona startup state and the startup nation, Israel.”

Jonathan “Yoni” Frenkel heads a digital marketing agency, YKC Media, focused on engaging millennial and tech professionals through content. He’s been involved in the New York Israeli tech community for many years and previously held roles as a non-profit professional at the IAC Dor Chadash and AIPAC.