April 27, 2016 | Israeli FinTech startup BlueVine, an online provider of financing to small businesses, announced it has received a strategic investment from Citigroup’s venture capital arm Citi Ventures. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed. This investment comes on the heels of a $40 million financing round led by Menlo Ventures, which closed three months ago. BlueVine was founded in 2013 by Nir Klar and Eyal Lifshitz.
April 26, 2016 | Israeli parking app Polly has launched in Paris, France, potentially helping 4.5 million Parisian drivers daily to find a parking spot. “Polly The Parking Fairy” aims to eliminate the frustration associated with finding a parking spot in the big city. The free mobile app emulates driver behavior and guarantees a parking space – whether in a lot or on the street – within 11 minutes of cruising. Polly comes into action as drivers approach their destination, displaying a personalized map and turn-by-turn navigation directions through nearby streets with the greatest chance of finding on-street parking. The route is based on statistical information about streets with the highest parking turnover. The app was created by Israeli startup sPARK, which was founded in 2012 by Zohar Bali and Eran Balter.
April 25, 2016 |Cyber security company Preempt Security has closed $8 million in Series A funding. General Catalyst Partners led the round with participation from well-known security leaders and innovators, including Mickey Boodaei and Rakesh Loonkar, the founders of Trusteer, and Paul Sagan, the former CEO of Akamai Technologies. The financing will be used to expand marketing and sales efforts, and accelerate product development. With offices in San Francisco and Ramat Gan, Preempt Security was founded in 2014 by global security and networking experts. The team has deep roots in security with a large component of the team from Unit 8200, the elite intelligence unit of the Israel Defense Forces.
April 25, 2016 | Sirin Labs, a new high-end smartphone manufacturer, has raised a $72 million seed round from Israeli Singulariteam founder Moshe Hogeg, Kazakh businessman Kenges Rakishev, and the Chinese social networking service Renren to launch a new, secure smartphone. The phone will be revealed in May at Sirin Labs’ flagship store in London. Sirin, a stealth startup almost three years in the making, aspires to combine both the safety of a military-grade device and the features of an everyday phone. Headquartered in Switzerland, most of Sirin’s day to day operations are managed from the company’s offices in Tel Aviv (R&D and operations) and in the Swedish city of Lund where they are assembled by Sigma Connectivity.
April 25, 2016 | Israeli venture capital fund LionBird II will soon make an initial closure of $40 million in funding. The fund is the second by the LionBird group, which invests in digital health and financial services companies. The company is led by brothers Chaim and Itschak Friedman, who founded STARLIMS and sold it to Abbot in 2010 for $123 million. Another partner in the fund is former Abbot executive VP diagnostic products Ed Michael of the US. The first LionBird fund raised $20 million in 2013, and invested in companies like Tyto, Sweetch, Fundbox, Telesofia, and Genome Compiler. The Friedman brothers and Michael will invest 15-20% of the amount, as they did in the first fund.
April 24, 2016 | Four Hebrew University faculty members are among the 213 new members to have been elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS). The academy includes some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders. The Hebrew University faculty selected are Prof. Robert Benny Gerber, The Saerree K. and Louis P. Fiedler Chair in Chemistry, in the Institute Of Chemistry; Prof. Sergiu Hart, The Alice Kusiel and Kurt Vorreuter University Professor, and Professor of Mathematics and Economics, in the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality; Prof. Menachem Magidor, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, in the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, and a Former President of the Hebrew University; and Prof. Zeev Sternhell, The Leon Blum Professor Emeritus of Political Science, in the Department of Political Science. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 8, 2016, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of America’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. Current Academy research focuses on higher education, the humanities, and the arts; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good.
April 24, 2016 | Israeli startup Brayola, a new online service that helps women find bras that fit, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from HDS Capital and FirstTime Capital. The company is also unveiling its own marketplace, leveraging inventory from brand partners to help women not only find the right bra, but take action on that item directly from the Brayola website. Founded in 2013 by Orit Hashay, the company reports that their conversion rate is around 5.5 percent and their return rate is lower than 8 percent.
April 21, 2016 | Israeli online fraud prevention company Forter has closed $32 million in Series C funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Series B investors Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Headquartered in San Francisco, the company maintains its development center in Tel Aviv. Forter helps retailers prevent identity fraud, internet fraud and phone fraud and offers an automated, real-time Decision as a Service solution for online merchants. The company, which was founded in 2014 by CEO Michael Reitblat, COO Liron Damri and Chief Analyst Alon Shemesh, has raised $50 million with this latest financing round and has tripled in size since its founding.
April 21, 2016 | Every year since 1996, the innovation magazine and news service Red Herring chooses the 100 most promising tech companies, with separate contests for the United States, Europe and Asia. This year 13 Israeli startups from a variety of fields (Life Sciences/Biotech, Cloud, Medical Devices, Big Data/Storage, Venture Capital/Investing, Web/Internet) made the the 2016 Red Herring Top 100 Europe list: Accellta Ltd, CloudEndure, CropX, HeadSense Medical, ICS2, Leverate, moblin, Optimal Plus, OurCrowd, Privatequity.biz, Shadow Technologies, Stratoscale, and Zebra Medical Vision. Over the past five years, more than 200 Red Herring winners from around the world have achieved exits, including the Israeli navigation app Waze, which made the Red Herring 100 in 2010.
April 21, 2016 | Inno-Negev, Ben-Gurion University’s technology accelerator, has successfully concluded its first cycle. Eleven new start-ups were unveiled at the concluding event held at WeWork in the Advanced Technologies Park in Beer-Sheva late last week. The accelerator has demonstrated its importance in promoting cutting-edge innovation and the strength of Beer-Sheva’s entrepreneurial community. Demo Day showcased the fruits of Inno-Negev’s first cycle – 11 new startups in the fields of communication and information. These 11 initiatives were chosen from 130 teams, which included more than 300 entrepreneurs, most from Beer-Sheva and its environs. The entrepreneurs accepted included BGU students and alumni, alumni of elite IDF technology units and others.
April 21, 2016 |The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, arrived in Israel this week on the first prime ministerial visit since Singapore’s independence 51 years ago and diplomatic relations were established in 1969. The Prime Minister’s first official stop was the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he witnessed the signing of three agreements with the Hebrew University, and where the university conferred upon him an honorary doctorate. The agreements that were signed call for the Hebrew University and the Government of the Republic of Singapore, represented by the National Research Foundation, to continue existing collaborations on joint research and development and educational activities of mutual interest, together with Singapore’s universities and research institutions; and for the Hebrew University, together with National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), to pursue and promote collaboration on joint research and development and educational activities of mutual interest.
April 21, 2016 | Motorola Solutions has announced it is establishing a new Innovation Center in Israel. The new center will seek out startup investments in cyber security, mobile technologies, Internet-of-Things, big data analytics and more. Motorola Solutions Chairman and CEO Greg Brown made the announcement during a meeting in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd. is based in Airport City near Tel Aviv. The firm develops, manufactures and markets communications infrastructure, devices and solutions for public, private and other environments. Motorola has had a marketing presence in the country since 1948 and was one of the first multinational companies to set up an R&D center in Israel way back in 1964.
April 20, 2016 | Major layoffs are expected at Intel Israel, after the global chip giant Intel Corp. announced that it is cutting 12,000 jobs worldwide, 11% of its workforce. The downsizing comes on the back of a downturn in PC chip sales due to increased use of clouds and smartphones for computer purposes. Intel is Israel’s largest high-tech employer with a staff of 10,000. The company exported $4.1 billion of goods in 2015, 11% of Israel’s high-tech exports, slightly down from $4.25 billion in 2014. Intel in Israel released an official statement saying, “This is a global announcement and we’re studying its implications on the operation in Israel. One thing is certain: Intel will meet the obligations it gave to the Israeli Government.”
April 20, 2016 | Israeli online contract review platform LawGeex announced today $2.5 million in funding from Lool Ventures and LionBird and angel investors Eilon Tirosh and Rami Lipman. The startup has also launched its online contract review solution free of charge for consumers. Using machine learning, the Israeli startup sets out to “out-lawyer” the lawyers. LawGeex allows consumers to upload any type of contract to its platform and receive, within 24 hours, an in-depth report of what’s good, bad and even missing from their contract. Currently reviewing over 20 types of contracts, the free solution begins with employment agreements, with more contract types to be offered for free in the near future.
April 20, 2016 | Israeli cyber security startup TrapX has closed a $14 million Series B financing round. The company raised $9 million of this amount last year led by investors Intel Capital and Liberty Israel Venture Fund together with investors BRM Group and Opus Capital. It has now expanded this round with an additional $5 million investment from Strategic Cyber Ventures. The company was founded by VP services and research Moshe Ben-Simon and CTO Yuval Malachi. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, the company’s development center is in Tel Aviv.
April 20, 2016 | Israeli real-time application repair company Takipi has closed its $15 million Series B round of financing to scale its efforts in the enterprise IT operations market. The round was led by Lightspeed Ventures with participation from existing Series A investors Menlo Ventures, and will accelerate the company’s investments in sales, marketing and R&D. To date, the company has raised $22 million. Takipi was founded by Tal Weiss and Iris Shoor, who previously founded VisualTao, a startup that was acquired by Autodesk for $20-$30 million in 2009. The company has moved its headquarters to San Francisco and maintains its development center in Tel Aviv.
April 20, 2016 | Apester, an Israeli digital storytelling platform for publishers, has raised $17 million in a financing round led by Blumberg Capital. The financing round includes $5 million raised last year from Mangrove Capital Partners, former AOL CMO Tal Simantov, Wix co-founder Gigi Kaplan, Silverstein Properties President Tal Kerret, and Amdocs founder Morris Kahn (Wellborn Ventures). Founded in 2014 in Israel by CEO Moti Cohen, Apester is now headquartered in New York City but has kept its research and development center in Tel Aviv. Publishers using Apester’s platform in over 40 countries include Time Inc, AOL, The Daily Telegraph, The Huffington Post, FOX, USA Today, BBC, Sky and Bild. The company’s workforce has grown from 8 last year to 50 and will more than double over the coming year.
April 19, 2016| Israeli company SintecMedia has been acquired by US private equity fund Francisco Partners for $400 million. 84% of Jerusalem based SintecMedia, which has developed Internet-based management applications and software systems for broadcasters, is owned by Riverwood, another US private equity firm which bought out many of the previous investors including Sequoia Capital, Waldman, Kardan Communications and the Fishman Group. SintecMedia was founded in 2000. In 2014 it acquired its rival Pilat Media Global Ltd., which had been traded on London’s AIM, for $103 million. This is Francisco Partners third Israeli acquisition in Israel. Last year, the US private equity firm acquired Clicksoftware for $438 million and previously it bought homeland security company NSO for over $100 million.
April 19, 2016| The Trendlines Group, an Israeli innovation commercialization company, and the CropScience division of Bayer AG announced Monday that they had signed an agreement to form a $10-million venture capital fund to invest in early-stage agrotechnology startups and other companies of interest to the German pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals giant. The capital for the Bayer Trendlines Agtech Innovation Fund will come from Bayer and be allocated over the next five years; Trendlines will manage the portfolio. The partnership couples Bayer’s decades of experience in agricultural science, innovation and regulatory affairs with Trendlines’ specialization in investing in cutting-edge, early-stage medical and agricultural technologies. Based in the Israeli town of Migav and traded on the Singapore Exchange, Trendlines invests in medical and agricultural technologies.
April 19, 2016| Taglit-Birthright Israel is set to open the “State of Mind” center for entrepreneurship and innovation in Tel Aviv with the cooperation of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The center, which will open in June 2016, will highlight Israeli achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology in a variety of sectors including agriculture, medicine, defense, cyber security, science, transportation, and aerospace. Each future Birthright Israel group will meet with various Israeli entrepreneurs, who will share their personal stories with the participants. The center will be multilingual, with content presented in French, English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. Some 28,000 tourists will arrive in Israel this summer as part of Birthright Israel, the program that offers a free ten-day educational trip for the participants, young Jews from across the world. Founded in 1999, Birthright Israel, now in its 16th year, is actively working to influence the attitudes of young Diaspora Jews towards the State of Israel by helping foster a personal connection by building relationships with the country and its people.
April 19, 2016| Combining its specialties in the field of tourism and technology, Tel Aviv is taking a new step towards becoming a ‘smart tourism city’ by leading an integration of travel apps made in Tel Aviv into 12% of the city’s hotels. The apps will allow tourists to enjoy improved communication with the hotels before and during their stay, access to local activities and events, advanced tourist profiling for hotel marketers, and more. Tel Aviv, which was awarded Smartest City in the World in 2014 and was ranked the #1 startup ecosystem outside of the United States in 2015, was also recently ranked as one of the top tourist destinations by Lonely Planet. Some of the participating technologies include Howazit, which provides a seamless connection between guests and hotels throughout the different phases of the visit; Dotz, which offers the ideal events guide for visitors based on their geo location and personal interests; and Aspectiva, which offers customer review insights. The participating hotels in the project are: Royal Beach, Isrotel Tower, the Dan Group hotels, Deborah, Golden Beach, Arkadia Tower, Carlton, Mergoza, West, Alexander, Embassy, Cucu and Port.
April 17, 2016 | Israeli startup Mobite Media has acquired another Israel startup, Vinko, for $1.7 million according to an announcement made by the companies. Both companies specialize in mobile advertising. Vinko has seven employees who will now join Mobite. The acquiring company, Mobite, is jointly owned by the Webpick group and by Alon Rosenthal, Mobite’s Founder and CEO, was founded in 2014, and currently has 30 employees.
April 14, 2016 | Israeli software solutions provider NorthBit has been acquired by Florida-based Magic Leap, one of the companies considered to be at the forefront of augmented reality. The sale price has not yet been made public. NorthBit was co-founded in 2012 by CEO Gil Dabah and CTO Ariel Shiftan and has 15 employees. Last month Northbit announced that they had successfully hacked Android’s OS using the Stagefright exploit, highlighting the risk of remote hacks on over 95% of devices running the software. This is Magic Leap’s first investment in an Israeli strartup.
April 14, 2016 | Israeli startup Meucci, an app that provides free GSM group calling, is announcing its public launch and that it has raised $6 million in seed round funding. The app allows users to make free group GSM and VoIP to GSM calls. Participants in the round include Moshe Hogeg’s Singulariteam (backed by Tencent and Renren), Dragon Ventures (China), Xu Li (China), and serial entrepreneur Alon Carmel (Co-Founder of JDate and Christian Mingle). Meucci aims to bring the same simple experience that users know from group chat apps, like WhatsApp, to the process of group calling. Relying on GSM, users can enjoy the app while on the go without having to find a Wi-Fi hotspot. The company will put the $6 million it has acquired in funding towards developing other new features and reaching emerging markets that struggle with few communication options. Founded in 2011 by CEO Rubi Kizner, COO Yubal Cnaan, CTO Arnon Ayal, and investor Alon Carmel, the Meucci team started work on their product in 2014.
April 13, 2016| Venture capital firm Accel announced the launch of Accel London V; a $500 million fund that will invest primarily in the UK’s start-up community. The fund is intended to “support the next generation of entrepreneurs” across the UK and will also invest in burgeoning business opportunities in Europe and Israel, with a focus on marketplaces, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and next generation infrastructure. Since launching its London office in 2000, Accel has invested in early to growth-stage businesses across 19 countries in a cross-sector of industries including software infrastructure, cloud computing, SaaS, and financial services. The VC firm has participated in a number of major funding rounds in UK start-ups. Accel claims its London team’s investments generated more than $15bn in exit market value in 2015 alone.
April 13, 2016| Israeli eSports startup Zengaming announced that it has rained $2.8 million in a round led by Crown Resorts, a leading Australian gaming company. This is the first investment in Zengaming, which has built a network similar to LinkendIn where players can join groups, find sponsors and gain exposure to fans. Also participating in the funding round was 500Startups, iAngels, Foundation Capital, and NFX Guild. Zengaming, which has eight employees, was founded in 2015 and has offices in Tel Aviv and San Francisco.
April 13, 2016| Israeli startup EQUInom, which utilizes novel computational breeding technologies in the breeding of seeds for the global food industry, has closed a $1.25 million financing round led by Hazera Ltd., a specialist in seed and field crops production. EQUInom has also signed an agreement with Obela, a joint venture of PepsiCo Inc. and Strauss Group Ltd , to cooperate in a breeding program using EQUInom’s proprietary breeding process and technology. The financing will be used to accelerate the company’s plant-protein seed breeding program through bioinformatics, genomics, and phenomics. The company has raised a total of $2.25 million to date including the latest round. EQUInom was founded in 2012 by Dr. Gil Shalev, who serves as CEO of the company. To date, EQUInom has developed varieties of sesame and quinoa that enable farmers to grow the two food crops at greater cost efficiency while enhancing their nutritional value.
April 13, 2016| In partnership with Israeli content marketing startup Outbrain, CNN is the first publisher to implement Outbrain for Chat. Together with Outbrain, CNN is using bots for Facebook Messenger to interact with users in a natural and conversational way. Subscribers to CNN on Messenger will receive a daily digest of top stories right within the Messenger app. The bot will also recommend personalized content based on a user’s preferences and learned interests. The experience gets more personalized with each interaction on Messenger. Launched in March 2016, Outbrain for Chat was developed on top of the Outbrain content discovery platform that serves more than 250 billion recommendations each month. Combining the unique power of its personalization platform with access to a proprietary Editorial Chat Management System or “ECMS”, Outbrain for Chat allows publishers to bring together editorial programming with true content personalization. Outbrain was founded in 2006 by Ori Lahav and Yaron Galai.
April 12, 2016 | Israeli startup Bonshine, led by former Gett (GetTaxi) CEO David Glatman, has raised $1.5 million from investors Theodore Gur and Alex Nagorski. Glatman himself also took part in the round. The company developed an app for ordering an environmentally-friendly waterless car cleaning. Company representatives arrive to clean the car inside and out, as arranged in advanced and at the requested location. The innovative technique used in the auto cleaning service employs a liquid produced from plants and five types of wax made by Italian company Mafra. The car is polished and covered with a wax layer that protects the paint. The free app provides online updates on the status of the car cleaning and allows payment by credit card, including a tip for the cleaner. The customer can rate the cleaning according to level of service and satisfaction. The service will be operated in Herzliya Pituach in the initial stage, and its extension throughout Israel is scheduled for the coming months. When nationwide deployment is completed, the service will be provided upon request. The service is available during working hours at the usual prices for a car wash NIS 29 for an external cleaning and NIS 50 for cleaning inside and out. Bonshine currently has 40 employees in its offices in Petah Tikva and is looking to expand in Israel and abroad.
April 12, 2016 | Israeli chip design startup Rocketick Technologies Ltd. has been acquired by US company Cadence Design Systems Inc. Financial details about the deal were not disclosed but sources close to the deal say that Cadence could be paying up to $40 million. Rocketick helps chip manufacturers reduce the overall time to market of new chip designs by up to 30%. Its flagship product, RocketSim, solves functional verification bottlenecks by complementing simulators with a multicore processor based co-simulator acceleration solution, offering over 10X faster simulations for highly complex designs. The Ramat Gan based Rocketick was founded in 2008 by CEO Uri Tal, CEO & VP R&D Tomer Ben-David, and CTO Shay Mizrachi, who all served in the IDF 8200 Intelligence Unit. Investors in the company include Intel Capital and Nvidia. Rocketick’s 25 employees in Israel will join Cadence’s Israel R&D operations. Cadence has offices in Petah Tikva, Rosh Ha’ayin and Haifa. In 2005, Cadence acquired Israeli electronics design solutions company Verisity for $280 million.
April 11, 2016 | The Chinese pharmaceutical investment firm Fosun Pharma has officially acquired Israeli Dead Sea cosmetics company Ahava for a total of $77 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Fosun will acquire the holdings from all Ahava’s shareholders including Gaon Holdings, Livnat family, Shamrock Israel Growth Fund Advisors, Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, and Kibbutz Kalia. Fosun will wholly own Ahava, which makes skin care products from Dead Sea minerals and mud. Ahava was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Lod, Israel.
April 11, 2016 | Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd. unit Elbit Systems Australia is to provide a Beechcraft King Air B200 flight simulation and training system for the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service. The project was announced this week, during New South Wales Premier Mike Baird’s trip to Israel, where he visited Elbit’s “Tzofit” training center in Netanya. This project is an Australian first. It will be the only facility in Australia to provide aero-medical training for pilots as well as medical staff. The flight-training simulator will be installed and operated by Elbit Systems of Australia, based on its integrated solution.
April 10, 2016 | Forbes, in partnership with Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), announced four winners of a hackathon designed to promote Co-Existence, held on April 7th at the JVP Media Quarter in Jerusalem. More than 150 of the most influential young entrepreneurs from around the world, as well as Israeli and Palestinian innovators, participated in the hackathon, capping off Forbes Under 30 Summit EMEA with a service day in Jerusalem. The winning teams included: Smart Mobility – “Bridging Innovation Through Mobility: Air – The Sky Is Not The Limit;” Bridging Food Through Innovation “Food Compass;” Creating Smart Cities Through Innovation “CityOS;” and Bridging Regions Through Innovation “DataBOX.” Participants of the hackathon were divided into ten teams, under different themes ranging from music, mobility, health, food and sport to smart cities and shared economies. The winners will receive mentoring from JVP and may have the opportunity to present their ideas at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston, October 16-19. Leading local entrepreneurs and mentors coached each team. Judges for the hackathon included Randall Lane, Editor of Forbes magazine; Saul Singer, Co-Author, Start-Up Nation; Paul Steinberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Motorola Solutions; Professor Yuval Elovici, Director of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Ben-Gurion University; Zvi Ginosaur, the Chairman of the Board of Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem; and Fiona Darmon, COO and Partner, Jerusalem Venture Partners.
April 10, 2016 | Israeli startup Karamba Security has raised $2.5 million in seed funding to bring cybersecurity solutions to the automotive industry. The funding came from YL Ventures and from GlenRock, Leon Recantai’s private investment company. Karamba has built a solution that hardens the externally connected controllers within an automobile against hackers. The typical customer for Karamba is the system manufacturer, who buy those various controllers or systems, that make up the car. The solution can be used to protect both new and existing car models. The new funding will be used mainly for customer engagement. Karamba Security was co-founded in 2015 by Chairman David Barzilai, CEO Ami Dotan, CTO Assaf Harel, and VP R&D Tal Ben David.
April 7, 2016 | Twiggle, a digital commerce search engine powered by data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, has secured $12.5 million. The Series A round for the Israeli startup was led by South African multinational Naspers along with participation from Yahoo Japan, State of Mind Ventures, and Sir Ronald Cohen. Twiggle said in a statement that it intends to use the funds to continue its international expansion and challenge Amazon’s A9 search engine in digital commerce search. Twiggle was founded in 2013 by Dr Amir Kongsberg and Dr Avi Avidor, two former Googlers, and uses AI and machine learning to create better search and product discovery solutions for online commerce. Twiggle previously raised an undisclosed seed round in 2014 while Naspers, the chief investor in this round, has a history of investing in digital commerce such as Flipkart and Tencent.
April 7, 2016 | At an official signing ceremony in Tel Aviv this week the government of the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) and the State of Israel signed a joint industrial R&D agreement. The goal of the agreement is to establish a mechanism of cooperation with parallel funding for companies from both countries conducting joint research and development projects. Under the agreement, Israeli companies will team up with companies from New South Wales (NSW) to co-develop and commercialize innovative products. The companies will receive financial support from both governments. In Israel, support will be granted by the Israel Innovation Authority and in New South Wales participants will be supported by the Department of Industry of NSW through the Office of the Chief Scientist & Engineer. Support will be available to all industry fields, but with a particular emphasis on cyber-security, water management and agricultural technology. The official ceremony was presided over by the Premier of New South Wales (NSW), the Hon. Mike Baird MP, and Mr. Avi Luvton, Asia Pacific Director at the Israel Innovation Authority. The agreement was initiated by the Israel Innovation Authority and the Israel Trade Commission in Australia as part of their efforts to strengthen the R&D cooperation between the two countries. Baird is currently heading a trade mission to Israel, which is focusing on innovation and research. The Premier is accompanied by a senior trade and official delegation, including the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione APM, as well as the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane. The mission was organized by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) and the Jewish Board of deputies. The State of NSW represents over 30% of the Australian economy. It is Australia’s most populous state with close to 8 Million residents spread over 800k Sq. Km. NSW has a large and growing domestic market with GDP per capita around $US60,000. The NSW Government is undertaking an ambitious $20 billion infrastructure program as part of the Rebuilding NSW plan with significant investments in transport, roads, water, education, health,
April 7, 2016 | Israeli mobile network management company Vasona Networks has closed a $14.6 million series C financing round, bringing total funds raised by the company to $48 million. Participants in the funding round include Bessemer Venture Partners, New Venture Partners and NexStar Partners. Founded in 2010, with offices in San Jose, California and Tel Aviv, Vasona Networks provides platforms for mobile network capacity, resource management and edge intelligence. The financing builds on global momentum that has seen the company’s solutions used by tier-one mobile network operators in four of the world’s largest cities, including announced use by Telefónica UK in its London O2 system. The additional venture capital supports these deployments and drives ongoing research and development efforts, such as extension of Vasona Networks’ leadership in the emerging edge computing movement.
April 7, 2016 | Israeli digital health startup Sweetch Health, which has developed a “digital vaccine” for diabetes, has raised $3.5 million in a Series A round led by OurCrowd, a leading equity crowdfunding platform, and Philips, a leading health technology company. Participation from prior investors also included Pontifax L.P. and Lionbird L.P. Sweetch Health has developed a revolutionary platform that assists in identifying individuals at risk of developing diabetes and coaching to prevent diabetes and other chronic conditions. Current funding will be used to complete a pilot program and clinical trials soon to begin at a major international medical institution and jump start commercialization in the USA. Upon completion, Sweetch will be well positioned to be “prescribed” by medical team personnel worldwide. Sweetch Health was founded in 2013 and is run by CEO Dana Chanan. Headquartered in Jerusalem, OurCrowd was founded in 2012 by Jon Medved.
April 6, 2016 | Genome Compiler Corporation, an Israeli-based company providing software for genetic engineers, molecular and synthetic biologists, has been acquired by Twist Bioscience Corporation, a San Francisco-based company accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Twist Bioscience says it intends to leverage Genome Compiler’s technology and expertise to drive a digital products portfolio, including an eCommerce solution with gene design capabilities, expected to be available in the second half of 2016. Under the terms of the agreement, the Genome Compiler research and development center in Israel will become Twist Bioscience’s first international site. Twist Bioscience intends to expand the center in Tel Aviv to advance its digital product and gene design capabilities. Genome Compiler was founded in 2011 by Amirav-Drory with colleagues from Intel: Nir Ben Moshe, Yogev Debbi and Roy Nevo. The company has raised $6 million to date from LionBirdVC, Autodesk, and private angel investors. Twist Bioscience raised $61 million in January this year, making the total raised in two rounds $133 million.
April 6, 2016 | Mintigo, an Israeli company which offers business intelligence services, announced that Sequoia Capital is leading a funding round by investing $15 million to support Mintigo’s rapid grow. Mintigo has a cloud-based software platform that enables sales and marketing teams to use data and predictive analytics to increase sales. Mintigo’s own data pool now covers more than 200 million individuals and 15 million companies. The technology has also been successfully integrated with top marketing clouds including Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft, Adobe and Marketo, lowering the total cost of ownership and speeding implementation. Mintigo was founded in 2009 by CEO Dr. Jacob Shama, CTO Ehud Ben-Reuven, and VP Custimer Success Tal Segalov. The company’s offices are in Ra’anana, Israel and San Mateo, California.
April 6, 2016 | Three Israeli startups, Somatix, Cellepathy, and Medaware, are among the 15 health startups selected by Philadelphia-based accelerator Dreamit Health to join its prestigious 2016 accelerator class. As a result of their selection, the Israeli startups will benefit from a robust program of mentorships, workshops, exclusive systems and data, and meetings with industry experts and early-stage investors. Dreamit is one of the top 10 accelerators in the world, with only a 3.7% acceptance rate to its 2016 accelerator.
April 6, 2016 | Israeli biomedical company Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral drug delivery systems, announced today that all follow-up visits in the Company’s Phase IIb study of its oral insulin capsule, ORMD-0801, have been completed. The study, of 180 patients with type 2 diabetes, was initiated on June 30, 2015 and conducted at 33 clinical sites in the United States. The study was designed to generate ample data for both safety and efficacy endpoints. Top-line results are expected later this quarter. Founded in 2006 and led by CEO Nadav Kidron, Oramed announced in late December the closing of a $50 million + 10% royalties licensing and investment agreement with Hefei Tianhui Incubation of Technologies Co. Ltd. for its oral insulin capsule in China.
April 5, 2016 | Israeli startup Unispectral today announced the closing of a $7.5 million Series A funding round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners(JVP), Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), Samsung Catalyst Fund and The Tel Aviv University Technology Innovation Momentum Fund. This brings to $8 million, the money raised by the company to date. The company is developing the next generation of digital cameras which will use hyper-spectral sensors for enhanced seeing and sensing capabilities. The company’s algorithms can analyze, with just the image, a material’s characteristics. This technology is already used in laboratories but Unispectral’s relative advantage is in its miniaturization of sensors so that they can be installed in smartphones and marketed to the public at large. Unispectral CEO Rami Feig, a former commander in the IDF Intelligence Corp’s Technology Unit, founded the company earlier this year with Prof. David Mendelevich and Ariel Raz. The company has 12 employees in its Ramat Gan offices and plans on hiring eight more staff members this year.
April 5, 2016 | Some 600 participants from around the globe, including 200 each from Israel, Europe and North America, gathered in Tel Aviv on Monday for the “Forbes 30 Under 30” summit to celebrate innovation and business. The summit, the first Forbes has held outside of the US, spotlights successful young business people. The event kicked off with an address from Israel’s former President Shimon Peres. Also participating was Yossi Vardi, one of Israel’s early entrepreneurs who has co-founded, led, and participated in building over 60 high-tech companies. Shai Agassi, who captured the nation’s imagination with the ultimately- failed electric car company Better Place, spoke at the summit of the importance of taking risks and being willing to fail, saying that “the margin between failure and success is minuscule.” Also, Meron Gribetz, the CEO of augmented- reality company Meta, announced that the company would open its first R&D center in Israel. Zosia Mamet, star of the television series Girls and X-Men actor Evan Jonigkeit came to deliver a message on the importance of storytelling in business. Monica Lewinsky, who has turned her career towards speaking out against cyberbullying, is slated to give a talk on the importance of kindness in a speech later in the week. Those featured on Forbes Israel 30 Under 30 list include: Roy Reznik (27), Co-Founder of Adallom, which was sold last summer to Microsoft for $320 million, Adi Altschuler (29), an educational entrepreneur leading social projects for small businesses at Google Israel, Israeli actress and fashion model Gal (Wonder Woman) Gadot, Omri Casspi, of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Israeli media notables such as Amalia Duek, Yair Sherky and Chen Liberman. The summit will continue with events in Jerusalem, a service day, and a hackathon. Israeli entrepreneur and investor.
April 5, 2016 | Israeli cancer metabolism company Metabomed LTD. announced today that it has completed an extension of its Series A round from current and new investors, bringing the total of its raise to $18 million. Existing investors include MS Ventures, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), Pontifax Fund, and the Technion Research and Development Foundation. New investors Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Arkin Holdings also joined the round. Metabomed was co-founded by MS Ventures and three leading researchers in the field of cancer metabolism and computational biology — Prof. Eyal Gottlieb from the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, UK, Prof. Eytan Ruppin from Tel Aviv University and the University of Maryland, and Prof. Tomer Shlomi from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Metabomed is focusing on the discovery and development of potential small molecule drugs directed against novel targets in the field of cancer metabolism. Based on its proprietary interdisciplinary target identification platform, Metabomed utilizes a unique approach to discovery, which allows the company to potentially identify new targets that form a synthetic lethal gene pair with metabolic genes inactivated in cancer cells. By inhibiting these targets, Metabomed intends to develop more selective anti-cancer drugs that may potentially be highly targeted, and therefore sparing of normal cells. Metabomed operates out of the facilities at the MS Ventures Israel BioIncubator, which has supported the development of the new start-up with its infrastructure and a wide range of incubation services. Following the completion of this round, Simone Botti, current Head of the MS Ventures Israel BioIncubator, will leave his position in order to join Metabomed as its full-time CEO.
April 4, 2016 | Israel’s BiondVax Pharmaceuticals announced today that recruitment of all 224 participants in a Phase 2b clinical trial of M-001, its universal flu vaccine candidate, is complete. The trial, conducted in collaboration with the EU-sponsored UNISEC consortium, is designed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of M-001 when used ahead of an avian influenza vaccine. According to the company, this milestone brings their multi-strain and multi-season vaccine against seasonal and pandemic flu one step closer to market. Results from this trial are expected late 2016 or early 2017. BiondVax was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Nes Ziona.
April 4, 2016 | Israel’s chief scientist Avi Hasson will present Israeli innovations to members of the European Parliament and to officials at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Europe this week. The meetings will focus on how innovative technologies can help Europe cope with the massive waves of immigration into the continent.
April 3, 2016 | Israeli security solutions provider Magal Security Systems (MAGS) controlled by FIMI Opportunity Funds, is acquiring a Canadian company, Ontario-based video camera security software solutions provider Aimetis, at an enterprise value of $14 million. According to the Canadian company’s website, its solutions are sold through distributors in over 100 countries around the world. The company also has branches in Brazil, Germany, China, and Dubai. As of the end of 2015, Magal had $30.4 million in cash. Magal will acquire Aimetis through its fully-owned Senstar subsidiary. Magal’s market cap is $82 million. The company is active in three fields: perimeter defense systems, perimeter security projects for sensitive installations and special events, and cyber defense. The company made a $3.1 million net profit in 2015. FIMI, controlled by Ishay Davidi, acquired control of Magal in the summer of 2014 at a company value of $60 million, paying Nathan Kirsh, the previous controlling shareholder, $23 million for his holdings. The share price for the deal was $3.50, compared with the current share price of $5. Magal was founded in 1965 as a branch of the Israel Aerospace Industry focused on the development of smart security fences. The company was privatized in 1980 and had its IPO on NASDAQ in 1993.
April 3, 2016 | International credit rating agency Moody’s, the most conservative of the three major international rating agencies, today confirmed Israel’s A1 rating with a stable outlook. In the announcement accompanying its rating, Moody’s economists explained that the rating was supported by economic flexibility and the great effectiveness of the government, which is constantly working to improve Israel’s debt and financing figures. Moody’s describes Israel’s economy as very strong, with growth supported primarily by high-tech exports. Writing about this sector, Moody’s economists say that it rests on a highly educated population and high R&D expenditure. Israel’s debt is low by international standards, and Israel dealt effectively with the crisis that engulfed the world’s economies.The agency also states that were it not for Israel’s geopolitical risks, its credit rating would be higher. However, Moody’s forecasts 2.9% economic growth and 0.6% inflation in 2016, compared with 2.5% growth and minus 1% inflation in 2015.