October 19, 2017 | A cancer treatment drug developed by Israeli-based biotech company Kite Pharma has been approved by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company’s Yescarta drug is approved for treatment of certain kinds of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It uses a technology to take out T-cells (white blood cells that fight infection), engineers them to fight the cancer, and then returns them to the cancer patient, to produce a specific form of treatment. The drug will sell at $373,000 for each treatment. This news comes after American pharma giant Gilead Sciences Inc. announced the acquisition of Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion at the end of August. Kite Pharma was founded by Arie Belldegrun and Joshua A. Kazam in 2009. [Photo: mTOR-FKBP12-RAPAMYCIN]
October 17, 2017 | The Junction, an Israel-based seed stage program operated by VC fund F2 Capital, is ready to receive applications for Wave 18, a program that works with 5 to 6 selected companies for a 6-month time frame to focus on growth, achieve market traction,and empower founders, CEOs, and CTOs for future B2B tech success. Companies should be focused on industries that include Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Connectivity, including more specifically energytech, fintech, drones, robotics, enterprise software and more. These firms can become part of a community of more than 130 companies that have raised over $360 million between them. Upon acceptance, companies will receive guidance from leading F2 capital mentors as well as mentors in their field, access to corporate partners like HP, Deloitte and more, connections to an international network of customers, investors, and recruits, and perks like free office space in Tel Aviv, cloud hosting credits and more. To apply, click here.
October 16, 2017 | Israeli-based overactive bladder treatment startup Vensica Medical has raised $2 million in a round led by Minnesota-based urology and gynecology device proprietor Cogentix Medical. Cogentix will receive one seat on the Vensica board with options to acquire the entire company for an additional $8 million. Vensica Medical is a private preclinical startup in the process of developing a system to treat overactive bladder (an urgent need to urinate and involuntary loss of bladder control) by using a type of needle-free ultrasound device that will deliver Botox to the bladder using ultrasound technology. Vensica Medical was founded by Avner Geva in 2014.
October 15, 2017 | Microsoft Ventures is partnering with Israel’s Vertex Ventures, North America’s Madrona Venture Partners, and Europe’s Notion Capital to launch an AI startup competition in Israel, North America, and Europe. Winners will receive a total investment prize $3.5 million. The Innovate.AI competition will look at very early-stage AI startups in the above mentioned regions and award $1 million to one startup per region. This will be in addition to the $500,000 “AI for Good” prize. All prizes will come with $500,000 Azure credits. Microsoft’s Executive VP of Business Development Peggy Johnson says the competition isn’t about cash, but rather the fact that the partners will really invest into very early-stage startups that aren’t even on anyone’s radar yet. Startups can apply to the Innovate.AI competition until December 31. Microsoft Ventures is the venture capital arm of Microsoft, currently investing in technology companies (Series A and beyond).
October 15, 2017 | Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is opening an R&D center in Israel. CTO Jeff Zhang revealed at Alibaba’s Computing Conference in China that the company was opening seven R&D centers around the world over the next three years as part of a $15 billion global research program. The R&D labs will be located in Tel Aviv, Beijing, Hangzhou, San Mateo, Moscow, Bellevue, and Singapore. Zhang says Alibaba is looking to recruit 100 talented researchers worldwide in areas like data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, and more. The Chinese firm has greatly expanded in the past year, and is now in direct competition with US e-commerce giant Amazon.
October 15, 2017 | Israeli and US-based manufacturer, TIPA Sustainable Packaging, an eco-friendly developer of groundbreaking bio-based flexible packaging, has closed an $11 million Series B finance round. Leading the round is Austin Hearst, an owner and director of Hearst Corporation. Austin and Gabriela Hearst were joined by TIPA investors GreenSoil Investments and Horizons Ventures. The company hopes this new round will allow it to expand sales in new territories as develop new generations of sustainable packaging solutions for a wider amount of food and non-food goods. TIPA, whose office is based in Hod HaSharon, was founded by Daphna Nissenbaum and Tal Neuman. It’s products are available in the US, France, England and the Netherlands.
October 11, 2017 | The Beersheva High-Tech Park Bridge was chosen by a panel of judges to win the long span category at the triannual Footbridge Awards. This bridge, also called the double-helix bridge or DNA bridge, for its unusual design, links Beersheva’s University railway station with the Gav Yam High Tech Park, next to the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The $25 million bridge opened in January 2016. The bridge, commissioned by the Beersheva municipality, was designed by Bar Orian Architects with Rokach Ashkenazi Engineers taking part as structural engineers. Lighting design was by Orly Avron-Alkabes. The Footbridge Awards 2017, which highlight the best in bridge design, renovation, and lighting for cycling, pedestrian, and equestrian bridges, are presented once every three years. The long span category is for new footbridges with a maximum span greater than 75 meters. Beersheva’s bridge beat out competitors from Canada and New Zealand. Beersheva’s bridge was announced as the winner in the 6th International Footbridge Conference in Berlin. [Photo: Ben Gurion University of the Negev]
October 11, 2017 | Investment firm Apax Israel has completed the acquisition of 3M’s electronic monitoring business for $200 million. Based largely in Israel, the business’s electronic monitoring technologies are used by law enforcement agencies in at least 34 countries with annual sales at about $95 million. The business will be renamed Attenti, the name of the Israeli company which was acquired by 3M for $230 million in 2010. Originally called Dmatek, Attenti offers a range of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Radio Frequency (RF), alcohol verification monitoring, and tracking solutions, through an integrated software monitoring platform.
October 11, 2017 | Swiss pharma and biotech supplier Lonza announced it will establish an innovation center in Haifa Economic Corporation’s life sciences park. The 1,000 square meter Lonza Collaborative Innovation Center will begin operating by the end of 2017. Fifteen to 20 researchers are expected to be working there in 2018. Lonza plans to use the center to accelerate its R&D projects in its pharma and biotech divisions, while gaining exposure to Israel’s strengths in engineering, molecular biology, cellular biology, software, and tech. Lonza has already signed a memorandum of understanding with each schools like Tel Aviv University, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and Weizmann Institute of Science and has begun conducting an initial survey to find breakthrough technologies. The Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza Group supplies products and services to pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. [Photo: Lonza]
October 10, 2017 | Israeli clinical-stage biotechnology company Azura Ophthalmics has raised $16 million in a Series B funding round led by investors that include a syndicate of Orbimed, TPG Biotech, and Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialization. There was also participation from existing investor Ganot Capital. The company, based in Tel Aviv, will use the funds to advance their development of a drug therapy for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) to the next stage of their clinical research. The company’s current treatment is being prepared for a Phase IIa trial. Meibomian glands in eyelids produce an oily layer that forms the outermost layer of tears. If not treated, MGD affects tears, causes eye irritation, inflammation and severe dry eye often leading to Dry Eye Disease.
October 8, 2017 | Israeli emergency communication provider Beeper Communications and US robotic systems developer Mantaro Networks have been chosen to receive funds from the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation to develop robots and other search and rescue technologies as first responders. The two companies will receive a $900,000 award over an 18-month period as part of the Unmanned Search and Rescue Systems (USRS) project for the foundation’s NextGen Responders program. Since 1988, Beeper Communications is Israel’s leading provider of emergency communication services for security, military, and homeland defense organizations. The BIRD Foundation was founded in 1977 as an Israel-US partnership organization that sponsors R&D projects in the scientific and technological sector.
October 8, 2017 | Israeli-founded information security company ForeScout Technologies has filed for a public offering of up to $100 million. Underwriters for the initial public offering are Morgan Stanley and J.P Morgan. The company intends to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol FSCT. To date, ForeScout has raised more than $125 million. While it currently has locations in San Jose, California, and Tel Aviv, it was originally founded in Israel in 2000 by Israeli-born founders Oded Comay, Dror Comay, Hezy Yeshurun, and Doron Shikmoni.
October 8, 2017 | Israeli digital storage company Infinidat has raised $95 million in a Series C fundraising round led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, with participation from previous investor TPG Growth. This brings the company’s total equity funding raised to $325 million. The company is now valued at $1.6 billion. Infinidat was founded in 2011 by Israeli-born engineer Moshe Yanai, who is currently the company’s CEO. The company currently has headquarters in both Herziliya, Israel and Waltham, Massachusetts. There are also offices in over 15 countries worldwide. Infinidat offers enterprise data cloud storage solutions to telecommunication firms, banks, and cloud service providers. [Photo: Thompson Reuters]
October 3, 2017 | Three graduates from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have won the BizTEC 2017, an entrepreneurship program run by students at Technion’s Bronica Entrepreneurship Center, which has raised over $300 million over the years. The three graduates developed NowTecc, a technology that provides insight into network behavior by analyzing user preferences while still maintaining user privacy. BizTEC is a leading tech entrepreneurship program in Israel founded in 2004 as part of Technion’s Bronica Entrepreneurship Center with the goal to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among students at Israeli academic institutions. Its Demo Day took place on September 26 at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this year where 120 Israeli students and alumni applied to the program. Twelve of these students reached the final change. NowTecc, run by graduates Anastasia Logvinenko, Taly Bonder, and Tal Yahav, have won $10,000 donated by David Cohn from Phoenix. Three other groups placed second and won a prize of $3,300. [Photo: BizTEC]
October 2, 2017 | Israeli-based agricultural tech startup Phytech has raised $11 million in a funding round led by Tencent Holdings. Swiss seed and pesticide developer Syngenta and other investors also participated in the round. Phytech develops sensors and other applications that monitor irrigation levels and plants, offering recommendations through a mobile app to help farmers manage crops and increase profits. The investment will support the growth of this company in new locations. Phytech was founded in 1998 by Zohar Benner. [Photo: HypnoArt]
October 2, 2017 | Magenta Medical, a medical device company specializing in the treatment of acute heart failure, has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round led by transcatheter hearts pump leader Abiomed Inc. and international venture capital firms Pitango Venture Capital (Israel) and JAFCO Co. (Japan.) Also contributing to the round are a group of private investors made up of industry and cardiovascular experts led by Professor Jacques Seguin. Seguin is a renowned cardiac surgeon, entrepreneur and founder of CoreValve Inc., a transcatheter developer acquired by medical technology leader Medtronic in 2009. He has since joined the Magenta Board of Directors. Magenta Medical was founded by Ehud Schwammenthal and Yosi Tuval in October 2012.
September 27, 2017 | Israeli life sciences innovations company Integra Holdings has raised $25 million in their latest funding round, led by Singapore-based company Temasek. Temasek raised $15 million for the company and was joined by investment fund Arie Capital, who added to $2 million to the current round. The Israeli Teachers’ and Kindergartens’ Study Funds, who are Integra shareholders, also took part in the round. Integra Holdings is based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where the funds will be used to advance their current companies and launch new companies, based on new technologies developed at the University. [Photo: typographyimages]
September 28, 2017 | The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic) has purchased the WatchPAT device, an FDA-approved sleep apnea home testing device developed by Israeli medical diagnostics company Itamar Medical. The purchase agreement was signed for three years starting May 2017, with automatic renewal possible for one-year periods moving forward. Itamar Medical estimates the purchase will not impact its expected revenue and profit. Itamar Medical was founded in 1997 by Giora Yaron and Peretz Lavie in the Israeli coastal city of Caesarea. The medical company develops and manufactures medical technology products including non-invasive diagnostic devices for sleep disorders and cardiovascular diseases. [Photo: Clare Black]
September 27, 2017 | The Israel Innovation Authority launched a new competitive tender to open its second biotech incubator. The incubator will be located in Northern Israel. It will serve as a space for multinational pharmaceutical industries and investment funds to support Israeli startups. The incubator will help Israel’s pharmaceutical industry by connecting investors with strategic partners, who will work together to find innovative tech projects they can help convert and reshape into new companies. A previous tender won by Israeli biotech accelerator FutuRX spurred the Authority’s decision to launch a new competitive tender. The FutuRx incubator has already invested in the establishment of 10 startups. This tender is responsible for bringing Johnson & Johnson from the US and Takeda from Japan to Israel.
September 27, 2017 | Israeli interactive content platform Playbuzz has raised $35 million in a Series C funding round led by Viola Growth with help from investors that include Disney, Carmel Ventures, and more. This round brings the company’s total amount raised to $66 million. Playbuzz will use the investment to grow its branded content worldwide, as well as distribute new advertising campaigns. The company, providing publishers with a free way to enhance their brand with more viral content, was founded in July 2012 by Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys. [Photo: TeroVesalainen]
September 19, 2017 | Israeli analytics startup Panoply has raised $6 million in a financing round led by C5 Capital, which brings its total equity to $13 million. Founded in 2015 by Roi Avinoam and Yaniv Leven, the startup delivers fast insights by eliminating the development and coding typically associated with transforming, integrating, and managing big data.
September 18, 2017 | Israeli startup Augmedics, a developer of an augmented-reality (AR) surgical visualization system, has raised $8.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Davos, Switzerland-based AO Invest, the Israeli Innovation Authority, Terra Venture Partners and other undisclosed investors. Augmedics will use the proceeds to complete research and development as well as pre-clinical and clinical trials of its ViZOR System. Founded in 2012 by Nessi Benishti and Nissan Elimelech, the company has so far raised $10.1 million.
September 13, 2017 | Zeitgold, an Israeli AI company based in Berlin, just raised $11.97m in Series A funding. The company offers a solution for small businesses who want to save time managing their finances. Zeitgold’s end-to-end solution allows cafes, restaurants, and other small businesses to manage bookkeeping, payroll, invoices, and more through coordination with a tax adviser on a smartphone. The funds will be invested in a new Tel Aviv-based R&D facility as well as testing new products with customers. Zeitgold was founded in 2015 by Stefan Jeschonnek, Jan Deepen, and Kobi Eldar.
September 14, 2017 | The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has just marked a new milestone in its partnership with Cornell University. The Institute has just opened Cornell Tech, a tech-focused graduate school on New York’s Roosevelt Island. The campus is a new spot for the growing technology and innovation scene in New York. It will expand the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, a cornerstone of Cornell Tech. The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute was established in 2013 with the help of a $133 million donation from Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm and Joan Klein Jacobs. [Photo: Julienne Schaer]
September 13, 2017 | Tel Aviv University has been ranked 9th in the world for producing successful startup founders, according to the 2017 PitchBook report. It ranks above American university Yale, Princeton, and UCLA. The PitchBook report says 582 TAU entrepreneurs started 486 companies raising initial capital from investors. Tel Aviv University has ranked in PitchBook’s top 10 for four years and is the only one in the top 10 located outside of the United States. The report ranked Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in 14th place and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 35th place. PitchBook gathers information to provide analysis regarding startups and venture capital for investors. [Photo: tec_estromberg]