News

vatboxFebruary 21, 2017 | Israeli VAT recovery company VATBox has announced the completion of a $20 million financing round led by Target Global Fund and with the participation of existing investors Viola Private Equity and other private investors. This brings the total equity raised by the company since founding to $50 million. The financing will accelerate VATBox’s international expansion and the rollout of its innovative VAT solutions. VATBox was founded in 2013 by CEO Isaac Saft and President Noam Guzman. The company has offices in Herzliya, Paris, Frankfurt, and New York.

RealFaceFebruary 20, 2017 | Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition authentication technology. According to Israeli financial news website Calcalist, the deal was worth “a couple of million dollars”.  Founded in 2014 by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader, the Tel Aviv-based startup had developed a unique facial recognition technology that integrates artificial intelligence and “brings back human perception to digital processes”. RealFace’s software is said to use proprietary IP in the field of “frictionless face recognition” that allows for rapid learning from facial features. RealFace’s first product, the Pickeez app, created a new way to enjoy photos, with its recognition software automatically choosing the user’s best photos from every platform they’re on.

RealFace is the fourth Israel-based firm Apple is known to have acquired. In 2011 it bought flash memory maker Anobit for a reported $400 million, then in November 2013 it acquired 3D sensor company PrimeSense for an estimated $345 million. Most recently in 2015, Apple bought LinX for around $20 million.

idclogoFebruary 19, 2017 | Israel’s IDC Herzliya has received the approval of the Council for Higher Education to open enrollment for an undergraduate double major in entrepreneurship, to be taught in English, the first of its kind in Israel. The program will provide young entrepreneurs the knowledge and the tools to realize their ideas and entrepreneurial ambitions. The IDC was the first to develop a training program for entrepreneurship 16 years ago. The Adelson School of Entrepreneurship, headed by Prof. Yair Tauman, offers academic courses to all IDC students as part of joint academic programs, or as elective courses. The new BA program in Entrepreneurship is based on the unprecedented success of two other special programs at IDC: The ZELL program for entrepreneurship and Media Innovation Lab (MiLab). The IDC was founded in 1994 by Prof. Uriel Reichman as a private, nonprofit institution for higher education that doesn’t rely on government subsidies. [Photo: Ofer Amram]

OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo| February 16, 2017 | OurCrowd, leading equity crowdfunding platform, made history today by hosting the biggest investment event in Israel, the 2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit. Some 6,000 guests from 82 countries, including startups, venture capitalists and strategic investors, attended the event at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. Also in attendance were over 200 multinational corporations including Honda, Innogy, GE, Shell, Intuit, Microsoft, and Samsung Ventures. The theme of the summit was “The Future is Here” and it included over 60 booths demonstrating a variety of frontier technologies already changing the world, including industrial drones, companion care robots, miniature spectrometers to “google” everything, tracking devices with centimeter accuracy, phone based glucose monitors, and much more. “This is by far the largest equity crowdfunding conference in the world, and Israel’s largest investor event ever,” Jon Medved, OurCrowd founder and CEO said in a statement. “We have twice the number of attendees that we had last year, giving proof to the tremendous vitality and dynamism in the global equity crowdfunding market.”

 

 

TinyTap Wins $1M Powerful Answers Award From VerizonFebruary 16, 2017 | Israeli educational games developer TinyTap has closed a $1.5 million financing round. The Tel Aviv based startup, which helps parents and teachers create educational games and other interactive apps, raised the funds from Hong Kong based Animoca, Israeli micro-venture capital fund Inimiti VC and New York Angels. Founded in 2012, the startup claims more than 100,000 titles have been created by teachers. The proceeds will be used to develop an online marketplace through which teachers can earn money from games that they’ve developed on the TinyTap platform.

FebruaryOurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo 16, 2017 | Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd is expanding in Asia with a new Taipei office, the firm announced today during its  2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, one of the largest technology and investment conferences in the Middle East. “We see Taiwan as one of the major technology and innovation centers in the world,” Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, said in a statement. OurCrowd community boasts 17,000 investors from 110 countries, who have invested some $400 million in 110 portfolio companies and funds.

Multi-Million Dollar Deal For Sapiens In North AmericaFebruary 15, 2017 | Sapiens International Corporation, an Israeli provider of software solutions for the insurance industry, with a growing presence in the financial services sector, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held StoneRiver Inc., for approximately $102 million in cash. StoneRiver delivers a wide range of solutions and services for the insurance industry in North America. Founded in 1982 by Tsvi Misinai, Sapiens is headed by Roni Al-Dor and is traded both on NASDAQ and on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Intuition roboticsFebruary 15, 2017| Israeli startup Intuition Robotics, which is developing social companion technologies, today announced funding from strategic investor iRobot Corp. and equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. This investment brings the total funding in the company to $6 million across various funding instruments. Ramat Gan based Intuition Robotics will participate in the world’s largest equity crowdfunding conference, the 2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit on February 16th in Jerusalem, where the company will conduct the first live demonstration of Elli•Q, an autonomous active aging companion aimed at keeping older adults active and engaged.

 

Minute Media, 90 MinFebruary 14, 2017 | Minute Media, parent company of 90min and 12up, a leading contributor-driven sports media platform, announced today the closing of a $15 million investment round, bringing its total funding since inception to $60 million. The funding will serve to further boost Minute Media’s global expansion into new markets, introduce new sports brands, and expand the teams across the company’s London, New York, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Singapore, Manila and São Paulo offices. The round was led by Qumra Capital, with participation from Minute Media’s existing investors: Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital and ProSieben. Minute Media allows fans to share their passion for the game with millions of other fans by creating articles, quizzes, slideshows, videos, listicles and other multimedia content to tell the stories behind the game, further integrating sports in to pop culture.

 

 

 

SamanageFebruary 14, 2017 | Israeli employee services cloud based IT company Samanage today announced that it has received $20 million in new capital funding, including investments from Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Ventures, Marker LLC, Salesforce Ventures and Vintage Investment Partners. Samanage was founded by Doron Gordon in 2007 and is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina with a development center is in Netanya, Israel. Samanage also announced that it has recently launched the new Service Desk, Enterprise Edition, on the Salesforce AppExchange, empowering businesses to connect with their customers, partners and employees in entirely new ways.

 

IntsightsFebruary 14, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company IntSights today announced the completion of a $15 million Series B financing round. This latest investment comes only four months after IntSights’ Series A round. The Series B round included investments by Glilot Capital Partners, Blackstone, Blumberg Capital, Wipro, Vintage Investment Partners, and other strategic investors. The Herzliya-based company is an intelligence-driven security provider for cyber threats from the dark, deep and open web. IntSights was founded by CEO Guy Nizan, CPO Alon Arvatz and CTO Gal Ben-David, all of whom are veterans of elite intelligence and cybersecurity units in the Israeli Defense Forces.

credifilogoFebruary 13, 2017 | CrediFi Corp., a leading source for data and analytics for commercial real estate finance, announced today that it closed a Series B funding round of $13 million. The round was led by Liberty Interactive’s Liberty Israel Venture Fund, and joined by 31 VENTURES Global Innovation Fund, a CVC fund managed by Global Brain for Mitsui Fudosan, Japan’s leading real estate developer, along with substantial participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, Carmel Ventures, OurCrowd and Stax. Founded in 2014, CrediFi Corp. is a SaaS big data platform serving the Commercial Real Estate Finance market. CrediFi is the commercial real estate leader in the Fintech space, focused on greater transparency in understanding borrowers, lenders and transactions, enabling better real estate investment decisions. CrediFi currently has 75 employees, dual headquartered in New York City and Tel Aviv.

 

OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo| February 13, 2017 | After a successful Super Bowl Week, which showcased some of the latest Sports Technology, OurCrowd, a global leader in equity crowdfunding is partnering with the Adi Dassler International Family Office (ADIFO) backed sports accelerator LeAD, to discover high potential innovation in sports-related products and services on a worldwide scale. OurCrowd is also gearing up for the  2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, the largest tech investment conference in the Middle East, which will take place this Thursday, February 16th, in Jerusalem. The event is expected to attract over 5000 people from all over the world.

tipitFebruary 13, 2017 | Israeli augmented reality (AR) company TIPIT has raised $2.5 million in a seed financing round. With investment from Atooro Fund, TIPIT has developed a cross-platform engine aimed at innovating in the space of augmented reality (AR), which provides developers, cameras, and brands with a software development kit (SDK) of computer vision and AR technologies that increases platform users’ retention, engagement and boosts revenues at an affordable price. Founded in 2014 and run by CEO Jonathan Rimon, TIPIT has offices in San Francisco and Ra’anana.

joy- ventures logo February 12, 2017 | JOY Ventures, a new investment firm, has recently inaugurated its office in Herzliya Pituach, and earmarked $50 million for the first stages of its operations. JOY Ventures was founded by the Israeli-Japanese Corundum Open Innovation Fund. Joy Ventures will focus on startup companies, technological incubators for entrepreneurs and grants for academic research in the emerging field of Neuro Wellness, related to consumer products and technologies developed based on neuro research as anti-stress and mood alteration solutions. Avi Yaron, a serial entrepreneur, founder of Visionsense and the inventor of a state-of-the-art instrument for complex brain surgery, will head the company.

Demisto_Logo_color_TransBGFebruary 9, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company Demisto Inc. today announced that it has closed its $20 million Series B financing round. The company also announced the appointment of ClearSky managing director Jay Leek to its board of directors. Round participants also included Accel, Slack Fund and other strategic investors. Today’s funding brings the company’s total funding to $26 million. With offices in Tel Aviv and Cupertino, California, Demisto was founded in July 2015 by CEO Slavik Markovich, Rishi Bhargava (VP marketing), Dan Sarel (VP products) , and Guy Rinat (VP engineering). Demisto also unveiled the industry’s first comprehensive incident management platform to offer integrated threat intelligence.

February 9, 2017 | Israeli big data healthcare company Intensix has completed an $8.3 million Series A financing round. The investment was led by Pitango Venture Capital with the participation of German firm Rhon-Klinikum, which also recently invested in Israeli startup Inovytec. The funds will be used to boost the company’s sales and marketing operations in North America and to expand and accelerate the development of its predictive analytics platform. Based in Netanya, Intensix was founded by CEO Gal Salomon. Intensix has developed a real-time predictive analytics platform for early detection of patient deterioration in the ICU and high acuity departments of hospitals.

Chorus a.iFebruary 8, 2017 | Israeli company Chorus.ai completed a $16 million financing round led by the Redpoint Ventures fund. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze sales conversations. Emergence Capital, which has advised the company from the beginning and invested in it previously, also took part in the round. CEO Roy Raanani and president and R&D manager Micha Breakstone founded Chorus.ai in 2015. The company has raised over $20 million since it was founded, including the current round. Chorus.ai has 25 employees in Israel and San Francisco.

IVC Research CenterFebruary 7, 2017 | In 2016, Israeli and foreign private equity funds invested a record $3.5 billion in 68 deals, the highest amount ever invested by private equity entities, according to a new report released today by IVC Research Center and Israeli law firm Shibolet. The amount was 14 percent up from 2015, and 29 percent above the $2.73 billion invested in 2014. The number of deals, however, dropped 17 percent in 2016, down from 103 deals in 2015, and 17 percent below the five-year average of 82 private equity transactions.

laminateFebruary 7, 2017 | Israeli bio-medical start-up Laminate Medical Technologies, which is developing a blood vessel support device implanted in patients needing dialysis, has announced it has raised $8 million in a B round of capital raising. This round brings the total investment in the company to $13 million. A number of European funds took part in the current round, as well as the Chinese pharma giant Haisco. The company’s existing investors are private investors, including Nava and Yehuda Zisapel, Zohar Gilon, Eri Steimatzky, Henit Vitos, Ari Raved, and a grant from the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of the Economy. Laminate was founded in 2012 by Tammy Gilon, who is the company’s CEO, and Dr. Eyal Orion, and started out in the Rad-Biomed incubator.

tevaFebruary 7, 2017 | Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced last night that CEO Erez Vigodman has resigned. He will be replaced as interim president and CEO by Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg, who has served as Chairman of the Teva Board of Directors since January 2015. Vigodman’s sudden departure is unexpected but not entirely surprising. The world’s largest generic pharmaceutical company has suffered a string of setbacks over the past year, which has seen it lose 40% of its share price. Some of the problems are shared by its generic rivals as the US government presses for lower drug prices. Others are specific to Teva including complaints that the company overpaid in the $40 billion acquisition of Actavis, and was duped in the $2.3 billion acquisition of Mexican company Rimsa. Teva has also been forced to pay antitrust fines in the US and last week lost a crucial patent case in the US on 40mg Copaxone, its flagship branded product.

TraxFebruary 7, 2017 | Trax Image Recognition completed a $ 19.5 million financing round led by Investec Bank. Trax will use this investment to expand its global operations with a focus in products and services for top tier retailers. Founded in 2010 by CEO Joel Bar-El and chief commercial officer Dror Feldheim, Trax has raised nearly $100 million since its founding. Headquartered in Singapore, more than half the company’s employees are in its Tel Aviv development center. Trax has developed a computer vision platform that turns retail shelf images into real-time actionable insights. Analyzing over 8 million images every month (representing a quarter of a billion products captured and analyzed monthly), Trax provides high accuracy data, intelligence, insights and recommendations to consumer good companies and retailers in over 45 countries.

spotadFebruary 7, 2017 | Israeli mobile ad company Spotad has raised $3.5 million in a Series A financing round led by Hong Kong’s VLTCM. The startup has developed advertising technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver mobile ads. The startup combines advertisers’ own marketing data and programmatic ad buying with its proprietary machine learning systems to create a demand-side platform (DSP) for buying any mobile ad space in real time. Spotad, with offices in Tel Aviv and Netanya in Israel as well as San Francisco, New York, London and Beijing, claims to be the first Western DSP to enter China. Spotad connects to all the main Chinese ad exchanges, including Baidu, Alibaba, Sina, and Weibo.

ShopizFebruary 6, 2017 | Israeli startup Shopiz, which offers group shopping for products through a connection between consumers, has completed a $2 million financing round led by Ron Zuckerman and other private investors. The company has raised a total of $3.5 million to date. Founded in 2014 by CEO Gilad Brovinsky, Shopiz’s offices are in Tel Aviv. The company’s platform, which is available on its website, makes it possible to purchase goods and services at substantial discounts from a wide range of stores, websites, and various businesses. Shopiz operates a social shopping mechanism for lowering the price when more buyers join a purchase, even after the purchase is made. Customers continue receiving reimbursement directly on their credit card account after they buy a product when other customers join the purchase and the price of the product continues to fall.

codemonkeyFebruary 5, 2017 | Israeli educational games company CodeMonkey has closed $1.5 million in seed funding. The startup has developed a game-based learning platform for teaching children code. These funds will be used to expand CodeMonkey’s research, development, sales and marketing teams. J21 Corporation led the current funding round alongside Invictus Capital from Singapore. China-Israel Education VC Fund and Japanese holding company Edulab also entered the strategic partnership. As part of this partnership, Edulab announced the integration of CodeMonkey into its STEM resources portfolio in China and will expand the CodeMonkey platform to reach 30,000 elementary school students. Founded in 2014 and run by CEO Jonathan Schor, CodeMonkey is a game-based-learning platform that enables students eight years and older to learn the fundamental principles of computer programming. In the game, players help a monkey collect bananas by writing code.

cannabiTechFebruary 5, 2017 | Israel-based Cannabi-Tech Ltd., which provides lab-grade medical cannabis quality control testing systems, has closed a seed investment round of $1 million, and appointed two new directors to its board. The round will support the North American launch of Cannabi-Tech’s fully-integrated testing platform for medical cannabis labs and dispensaries. The robust system features patented optical testing and advanced imaging tools for the industry’s most accurate quality control testing of medical marijuana flowers, along with integrated cloud database, sorting and labeling systems, traceable packaging, mobile apps, and more.

AperioFebruary 2, 2017 | APERIO Systems was selected “most innovative startup” in cyber security at the Cybertech Startup Competition powered by YL Ventures, that took place during Cybertech in Tel Aviv this week. Yoav Leitersdorf founder of YL Ventures, awarded the winning prize to company co-founders Yevgeni Nogin and Michael Shalyt. APERIO Systems secures critical control systems with a last line of defense against both internal and external cyber threats. The company uses statistical physics and state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to detect operational data forgery attempts and reconstruct the true state of industrial control systems in real time. APERIO was awarded two tickets to the prestigious RSA convention, the world’s leading cyber conference, to be held in San Francisco.

 

WiseData MediaFebruary 2, 2017 | Israeli digital marketing and ad services company WhiteSmoke has acquired Israeli company Wise Data Media for up to $5.3 million. The acquisition is part of WhiteSmoke’s growth strategy to deepen its operations in web and mobile ad services and expand operations in video ads. Wise Data Media has developed a technological solution for advertising media buying processes, with a focus on video advertising – automatically with no human intervention. Wise Data Media Corporation was founded in 2012 by CEO Tomer Sade, former CEO of Publicis Group’s E-dia og IL advertising agency and CEO of the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi Interactive Israel. As part of the acquisition Sade and 16 Wise Data Media’s employees will join WhiteSmoke’s Israel office.

Insurance Giant Generali Chooses Israeli Earnix For Its Big Data SolutionFebruary 1, 2017 | Israeli fintech startup Earnix has raised $13.5 million from previous investors Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Vintage Investment Partners and from Israel Growth Partners (IGP), a new investor, bringing the total the company has raised to date to $25 million. Earnix has developed advanced predictive analytics solutions for making decisions about and pricing banking and insurance products. The Ramat Gan based company’s integrative solutions are designed to help financial institutions all over the world achieve business, growth, and profit targets. The solutions facilitate optimal decision-making about the product, pricing, and marketing, with tailoring to dynamic marketing conditions.

Seculert - News Flash - Israel February 1, 2017 | Israeli cyber security and application delivery solutions developer Radware Ltd. has acquired Seculert, an Israeli SaaS cloud-based provider of protection against enterprise network breach and data exfiltration based in Petah Tikva. No financial details about the deal were disclosed. Seculert was founded in 2010 by CEO Dudi Matot, CTO Aviv Raff, and COO Alex Milstein and has raised at least $16 million from YL Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.

feedvisor February 1, 2017 | Israeli algo-commerce company Feedvisor has raised $20 million in a Series B financing round led by General Catalyst, which included participation from existing investors Square Peg Capital, Jal Ventures, Oryzn Capital and Titanium Investments. Larry Bohn, managing director of General Catalyst will be joining the Feedvisor board. Tel Aviv-based Feedvisor’s was founded in 2011 by CEO Victor Rosenman and has raised $33 million to date including the latest financing round. The new capital will be used to expand Feedvisor’s product offering and accelerate the growth of its US operations. The company has developed algorithmic repricing and demand planning for eCommerce marketplace sellers.

inovytec logoJanuary 31, 2017 | Israeli startup Inovytec, which develops emergency medical devices, has received $3 million in strategic investment from Vincent Medical Holdings, which is based in Hong Kong. Founded in 2011 by Dror Matalon and Udi Kantor, Inovytec provides advanced non-invasive critical care devices for pre-hospital and out-of-hospital use, by professional and non-professional caregivers under emergency conditions.

LithotechJanuary 30, 2017 | US company Vention Medical has completed the acquisition of Israeli company Lithotech Medical. Based in Katzrin in the Golan Heights, Lithotech has developed complex nitinol (nickel titanium) wire-based technologies for use in the design and manufacture of medical devices. Capital Point Ltd., which owns a 13.6% stake in Lithotech, reported that the acquisition is for 10 million shekels ($2.64 million) in cash and a further NIS 3 million ($793,000) in milestone performance payments. Founded in 2001 as part of the Katzrin incubator, Lithotech Medical employs a multidisciplinary team of more than 100 technical experts including physicists, material and mechanical engineers, and regulatory and quality control experts. The team has designed and developed more than 100 products for customers worldwide, with dozens of products currently on the market.

RoundsJanuary 26, 2017 | Canadian chat platform Kik Interactive has acquired the Israel-based group video chat platform Rounds. Rounds’s 35 employees in Israel will become part of Kik’s development center in Tel Aviv. Rounds was founded in 2008 by CEO Dany Fishel and COO Ilan Leibovich. The company has raised $24 million to date from Sequoia, Samsung Ventures, Rhodium, Verizon, DFJ’s Tim Draper and other invesrtors. No financial details about the acquisition were disclosed but sources in Israel believe Kik will be paying about $60-80 million. Rounds merges communication and entertainment together into a fun interactive video chat experience by enabling up to 12 friends to simultaneously video chat while experiencing activities together such as watching videos, playing games, sharing photos, and more. Rounds has more than 40 million users.

 

 

TripActionsJanuary 25, 2017 | Israeli business travel management startup TripActions has raised $14.6 million in Series A funding. The San-Francisco based company, which comes out of beta today, is looking to reward business travelers for keeping an eye on their spending. The funding is led by Oren Zeev of Zeev Ventures with Arif Janmohamed of Lightspeed Venture Partners also participating in the round. The investment will go into developing the TripActions platform and expanding its presence in the business travel sector. According to a statement, TripActions already has 70 customers and it claims it can save companies 30% on annual travel spend. Business travellers are rewarded for being cost conscious with TripBucks in the shape of gift vouchers, upgrades and travel credits. The TripActions’ platform enables travellers to book their trips via smartphone or PC and also includes features such as direct booking of ground transportation. It also provides US-based support for travellers and enables travel managers and finance directors to manage the travel program with savings and spend information on flights, hotels and car-hire. The startup was founded in 2015 by StreamOnce co-founders Ariel Cohen and Ilan Twig.

mindspaceJanuary 25, 2017 | Mindspace, an Israeli company that creates boutique coworking spaces for startups and corporates, has raised $15 million from private investors to help it expand to the US and further across Europe. Founded in 2014, the WeWork rival has already opened four creative coworking spaces across Europe and Israel. The company has spaces in Berlin and Hamburg, as well as two in Tel Aviv. The company, which is co-headquartered in Berlin and Tel Aviv, said it plans to use the Series A funding to open five new facilities across the US, Germany, and Israel. After the expansion, which will take it from 150,000 sq ft up to 350,000 sq ft, Mindspace will be able to accommodate 5,000 members worldwide.

 

sentineloneJanuary 25, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company SentinelOne today announced that it has raised $70 million in Series C financing. New investor – and current SentinelOne customer – Redpoint Ventures led the round along with new investment from actor Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s firm, Sound Ventures. Existing investors Third Point Ventures, Data Collective, Granite Hill Capital Partners, Westly Group, and SineWave Ventures also participated in the round, bringing the total investment in SentinelOne to more than $110 million to date. SentinelOne was founded in 2013 by CEO Tomer Weingarten and CTO Almog Cohen. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company’s development offices are in Tel Aviv. About half the company’s workforce of 200 are in Israel and SentinelOne hopes to hire 70 more people in Israel in 2017.

 

IVC Research CenterJanuary 25, 2017 | First investments by venture capital funds in Israel fell 23% from 440 in 2015 to 341 in 2016, according to the IVC Research CenterAPM & Co. report released today. The report analyzes first investments in Israel by venture capital funds in the past five years, and ranks the most active venture capital funds in Israel in 2016. Israeli venture capital funds made 146 first investments, 30% down from the 210 first investments made in 2015, while first investments by foreign venture capital funds dropped 15%, from 230 in 2015 to 195 new deals in 2016. The fall represents both a decline in the number of funds placing first investments to begin with, as well as a decrease in the average number of first investments per fund for both Israeli and foreign funds to 2.7 and 1.5, respectively, lower than the five-year average.

At the top of 2016’s Most Active VC Funds Ranking were three venture capital funds, each having completed eight first investments in 2016. While all three are considered early stage, low-placement, small funds, their new portfolio strategies in 2016 were varied. UpWest Labs, a micro VC with roughly $9 million under management, performed six first investments in seed rounds, in addition to two A rounds. Singulariteam, managing a total of $152 million in three funds, evenly split its eight first investments of 2016 between seed and A rounds. OurCrowd funds, managing a total of $20 million in two funds – OurCrowd First and OurCrowd Qure – tended to invest in relatively later rounds, placing first investments in seed (3), A (4) and B (1) rounds.

Secret Double OctopussJanuary 24, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company Secret Double Octopus announced today that it has closed a $6 million Series A funding round. The financing round included Jerusalem Venture Partners, Liberty Media’s Israel Venture Fund, Iris Capital, Benhamou Global Ventures and angel investor Yaniv Tal. The investment will be used to expand R&D efforts and accelerate growth in key markets, including the US and Europe. Based in Beersheva, Secret Double Octopus was founded in 2015 by Chief Science Officer Prof. Shlomi Dolev, CTO Dr. Shimrit Tzur-David, CEO Raz Rafaeli and VP R&D Chen Tetelman. The company pioneers keyless multi-shield connectivity and authentication.

cybellumJanuary 24, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company Cybellum has raised $2.5 million in a seed financing round led by Blumberg Capital. The company will use the funding to fuel its expansion, including opening a US office in 2017, and to further its R&D efforts. Founded in 2015 by CEO Slava Bronfman and Michael Engstler, both veterans of the intelligence corps of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Tel Aviv-based Cybellum’s mission is to create a real and direct solution to cyber problems, specifically zero-day attacks. Zero-day attacks are cyber attacks against software flaws that are unknown and unpatched. The company also announced the discovery of three new zero-day vulnerabilities that are currently unpublished, unpatched and are potentially being used in the wild.

PluristemJanuary 23, 2017 | Two biomed companies, Pluristem Therapeutics Ltd.  and Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., announced financing rounds at the end of last week. Pluristem raised $15 million, after enlarging its planned offering, while Can-Fite raised $5 million. In May, Pluristem, an Israeli company developing placenta-based therapy products, announced that it was awarded a NIS 12.7 million (approx. $3.3 million) grant from the Israel Innovation Authority (previously the Office of the Chief Scientist ‘OCS’) of the Israeli Ministry of Economy & Industry. The grant will support Clinical trials and R&D activities for calendar year 2016. Pluristem was founded in 2001 by Shai Meretzki. Can-Fite is an Israeli biopharmaceutical company founded in 1994 with fully integrated pharmaceutical discovery and clinical development capabilities. The company has an advanced pipeline of proprietary compounds in phase 2 and 3 clinical development stage, which address autoimmune-inflammatory and cancer diseases.

flok logoJanuary 23, 2017 | Israeli DIY website company Wix.com Ltd. has entered into an agreement to acquire flok, a Tel Aviv-based customer loyalty and engagement platform. flok’s solutions are designed to increase customer value, generate organic referrals and boost small and medium businesses’ online presence and reputation. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. flok has raised $19 million since it was founded in 2011 by Ido Gaver and Eran Kirshenboim. Wix, a leading global software platform for small businesses to operate online with millions of registered users in 190 countries, was founded in 2006 by Giora Kaplan, Avishai Abrahami, and Nadav Abrahami and has raised over $58 million.

forbes January 19, 2017 | Forbes has announced its second Under 30 Summit EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), which will take place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, April 2-6, 2017, under the theme “Innovation, Exploration, and Inspiration.” Over 750 of the world’s most influential young entrepreneurs — 250 from the US, 250 from Europe and 250 from Israel – are expected to attend the invitation-only event. The event will feature product demos and keynotes, showcasing the most cutting-edge innovators and disruptors, and will provide mentorship from successful business leaders.

Zuckerman, rivlin| January 19, 2017 | The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Institute was honored by Reuven Rivlin at the official residence of the President of the State of Israel for its $100 million initiative to provide scholarships to the next generation of STEM leaders in the United States and Israel. The American business leader and philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman launched the Zuckerman Stem Leadership Program, to support future generations of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math in the United States and Israel and, over time, foster greater collaboration between two of the world’s most advanced scientific research centers. The program will give the highest-achieving American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students the ability to collaborate with leading researchers at Israel’s top research institutions – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Tel Aviv University; and the Weizmann Institute of Science – which are among the world’s most advanced.

WoobJanuary 19, 2017 | Leading Israeli adtech firm, Woobi, a startup with offices in London and Tel Aviv, has been awarded Best Video Distribution Platform at The Digiday Awards which recognizes the most outstanding and inspired work in branded digital video, video marketing and video advertising. The awards gala was held on January 17 at The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC. The other three finalists alongside Woobi in the category for “Best Video Distribution Platform” were Unruly, Playbuzz and EPIX. Woobi’s programmatic video solutions are designed to remove the barrier of entry for brand advertisers who are looking for new and engaging ways to reach their target audience. Woobi accommodates ads to each user’s own interaction patterns, and provides brands and advertisers access to hundreds of millions of users. 

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