May 5, 2016 | Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of the late civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will attend a ceremony in Israel to honor three Israeli community activists on Sunday. He will be in Israel with attorney William Wachtel, son of the late attorney Harry Wachtel, King’s legal counsel during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The pair will honor singer and songwriter Idan Raichel, former Yesh Atid MK Pnina Tamano-Shata and journalist Anat Saragusti for their work on behalf of the Ethiopian community, to advance equal opportunities between communities, and to bring about understanding between Arabs and Jews. The three will receive the 2016 Unsung Hero Award from the Drum Major Institute (DMI) for Public Policy, originally founded as a civil rights organization by Harry Wachtel in 1961 and revived by William Wachtel in 1999. King III serves as an ambassador for the organization. DMI’s stated mission is “to eradicate poverty, racism and militarism/violence, through advocacy, empowerment and education.” It will be the first time the organization grants the award outside the United States and to non-U.S. citizens.
May 5, 2016 | Israeli startup Via, which develops an on-demand transportation solution, has raised $100 million in Series C funding. The company has already closed $70 million in financing with a further $30 million in strategic investment to close in the coming weeks. This is the largest amount raised by an Israeli startup this year. The funding was led by Pitango Growth, along with leading venture capital firms and strategic investors from North America, Europe, and Asia, including Poalim Capital Markets and C4 Ventures. Previous investors Ervington Investments (representing Roman Abramovich), Hearst Ventures, and 83North (formerly Greylock IL) also participated in the round. The latest funds bring Via’s total investment to $137 million. Headquartered in New York City, the company’s development center is in Tel Aviv. Founded by Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, Via operates in New York City and Chicago and enables tens of thousands of passengers each day to seamlessly share their ride with others headed the same way. The financing will be used to drive growth in those two cities,expand into new ones, and aid municipalities and transit authorities seeking to improve their public transit services by using Via’s technology.
May 5, 2016 | Israeli startup TravelersBox announced a new partnership with Viber allowing travelers to deposit leftover currency to Viber accounts. With TravelersBox, an ATM-like machine at airports, travelers can now credit their Viber Out accounts directly via TravelersBox kiosks by depositing their leftover foreign coins and bills into various eWallets and online accounts, now including Viber, before departing for their home country. Founded in 2013 by Tomer Zussman and Idan Deshe, TravelersBox already operates more than 75 kiosks in eight countries and plans to expand even further throughout Asia, expecting to add more than 150 more kiosks this year. Currently, TravelersBox kiosks operate in Manila (Philippines), Tokyo (Japan), Milan (Italy), Toronto (Canada), Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara (Turkey), Tel Aviv (Israel) and Tbilisi (Georgia), and very soon will be launching in India and other airports throughout Asia. Viber is an instant messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) app for smartphones developed by Viber Media which was founded in 2010 by four Israeli and Belarussian partners: Talmon Marco, Igor Magazinnik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha, with Marco as its CEO.
May 4, 2016 | Israeli gesture recognition company eyesight Technologies has raised $20 million from Shenzhen-based technology group Kuang-Chi. This is the first Israeli investment by the new $300 million technology investment fund announced by Kuang-Chi earlier this week. Part of the investment reportedly will be used to fund joint initiatives in Hong Kong and China. eyeSight is developing touch-free interfaces for digital devices, such as televisions, tablets, and smartphones. The software does not require special hardware, but uses a smartphone or network camera and the company’s eyeCan technology is used by the Windows user interface. Based in Herzliya, the company was founded in 2005 by CTO Itay Katz.
May 4, 2016 | Israeli recruitment startup Woo (formerly Highr.io) announced it has raised $2 million, bringing Woo’s total funding to $4.35 million. This funding from current investors comes on the heels of the company’s $2.35 million seed round in February and will be used to accelerate growth and R&D, as Woo moves to expand its footprint into key technology-focused regional markets across the US. Woo lets employees anonymously contact top tech companies to see what jobs are available and how much they pay. With offices in Tel Aviv and San Francisco, Woo was founded in 2015 by CEO Liran Kotzer and CTO Ami Dudu.
May 4, 2016 | Public transportation app Moovit has announced it will be integrated with the ride-sharing app Uber in 131 cities in 22 countries. Moovit uses official transit data plus crowdsourced data to give riders the best information about potential routes. With Uber integration, ride sharing becomes yet another option for managing local trips, in addition to public transportation. Moovit’s Uber integration will be rolling out gradually over the next few weeks across the U.S., U.K., Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Uruguay, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Greece. Moovit is already available in over 800 cities and more than 60 countries. Founded in Israel in 2011, and run by Co-Founder and CEO Nir Erez, Moovit has already raised $81.5 million in funding from the likes of BRM Capital, Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners and Gemini Israel.
May 3, 2016 | Israel’s Azrieli Group Ltd. is entering the e-commerce field by acquiring the business of the Buy2 Networks Ltd. e-commerce website for $16.5 million (62 million NIS). According to Azrieli, it is acquiring Buy2 Networks subsidiary Netex New Media as part of its strategy aimed at building a new digital growth engine in Israel. Buy2 Networks has 60 employees, and operates a broad range of e-commerce websites and services, such as home and garden products, electrical and consumer electronics products, fashion and cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, products for parents and children, sports and camping, etc. The company’s e-commerce platform contains over 20,000 different items available for online purchase. Azrieli Group, one of Israel`s prominent investments companies, is comprised of Israel’s leading nationwide chain of income-producing properties (shopping malls and offices).
May 3, 2016 | Israeli flavors and food ingredients company Frutarom Industries Ltd. has acquired 100% of German partnership Extrakt Chemie Dr. Bruno Stellmach GmbH &Co. KG, together with the property on which Extrakt Chemie’s plant is situated, for approximately $6 million in cash plus the assumption of debt (net) amounting to approximately $2.2 million. For the fiscal year ended February 2016, Extrakt Chemie’s revenue was some $10 million. The purchase agreement includes a mechanism for future consideration conditional on the business performance of Extrakt Chemie during 2016 and 2017. The transaction was independently financed. Extrakt Chemie was established in 1969. It develops, produces and markets specialty solutions of natural extracts, some that include plant-sourced enzymes for use mainly as raw material (API) in the pharmaceutical market, with proven benefits in, among other things, the treatment of liver diseases, digestive problems and the prevention of infections. Besides Germany, it is also active in Denmark, Switzerland, France and Austria and in Australia. It has about 35 employees. Frutarom was founded in 1933 by Yehuda Araten and Maurice Gerzon.
May 3, 2016 | Israeli payment technology provider Zooz has closed a $24 million financing round led by Target Global Ventures and including Fang Fund, iAngels, Kreos Capital and existing investors Blumberg Capital, lool ventures, Rhodium, Claltech (Access Industries’ Israeli tech vehicle), XSeed Capital, CampOne Ventures and angel Eilon Tirosh. Zooz will use the funding to accelerate its growth, develop new products, open new markets, and increase its presence in existing markets. ZooZ CEO Oren Levy and CTO Ronen Morecki founded the Ra’anana based company in 2010. Zooz has grown considerably since its last round in July 2014 and has opened offices in London, Berlin and San Francisco.
May 3, 2016| Israeli startup Sensiya has been bought up by the musician will.i.iam’s consumer tech label i.am+ for an unknown sum. Sensiya is a mobile SDK that allows application developers to serve a personal, tailor made experience for every user. Users will soon be able play music without their phones, via wearables made by i.am+. Founded in May 2014 by Noam Fine and Yossi Marouani and located in Bnei Brak, Sensiya currently has 25 employees. The startup’s investors include Yossi Vardi, Shlomo Nehama, Avi Shechter, and Stav Shacham.
May 2, 2016 | The Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have announced the establishment of a new innovation center in Israel. The new center brings the total number of Danish innovation hubs around the world to seven; Munich, New Delhi, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Silicon Valley and now Tel Aviv. The center will give Danish research and education institutions and Danish companies easier access to leading knowledge environments and relevant partners in Israel .The innovation center will be located at the Danish Embassy in Tel Aviv and is expected to open in fall 2016.
May 2, 2016 | A 36-hour student hackathon called HackIDC will be held at Israel’s IDC Herzliya this week (May 6-7), where 250 students will compete to create an innovative technology. Students will work in teams of up to five people for thirty-six hours to create a web, mobile, or hardware product. The panel of judges is excepted to include some of Israel’s most renowned entrepreneurs: Dov Moran, Gil Shwed and Prof. Amnon Shashua. As Israel’s leading student hackathon, the annual event provides participants a unique opportunity to build something new and exciting, together with coding and design enthusiasts.
May 2, 2016 | Israeli cancer treatment drug developer Biocancell announced a $6 million financing round from US investors. Biocancell also announced the recruitment of a US CEO: former Ariad senior VP and chief medical officer Frank Haluska. The company also intends to register for trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange and raise tens of millions of dollars there. The company was founded in 2004 by Prof. Avraham Hochberg, a professor of molecular biology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
May 1, 2016 | Israeli-American company JFrog, which provides software developers with a binary repository management solution, is hiring 100 new employees. Based in Israel and California, 50 of the new hires are for its Israel office in Netanya and the rest for its Silicon Valley office. JFrog’s clients include Apple, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, The Gap and more.
May 1, 2016 |China’s Hainan Airlines has launched its first ever direct flight to Israel, linking Beijing with Tel Aviv. The new service will now run three times a week, departing the Chinese capital every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 0155 and arriving at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport at 0810. The return flights will leave Tel Aviv at 1535 and arrive in Beijing at 0555 the next morning. Hainan Airlines will deploy an Airbus A330 aircraft on the new route, configured with 36 flat-bed seats in business class and 178 seats in economy. Hainan Airlines becomes the first Chinese carrier flying direct to Israel, and a second airline operating the Beijing-Tel Aviv route, following El Al, Israel’s national carrier.
May 1, 2016 |Chinese corporation Kuang-Chi is launching an international innovation fund based in Israel to invest in companies worldwide. The “Kuang-Chi GCI Fund & Incubator” will be the first Chinese fund of its kind, combining investment in early to mid-stage Israeli and global companies with incubation by Kuang-Chi. The newly established fund has an initial $50 million and is planned to grow to $300 million within the next three years. Founded in 2010 by five distinguished Chinese scientists who returned to China after earning advanced degrees at Duke, Oxford, and Cambridge universities, Kuang-Chi is a global innovation group with operations from China to North America, Europe, Africa and Oceania. Acting through public companies, private holdings and research institutes, the group’s value exceeds $10 billion.
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.