November 20, 2017 | China is looking for more areas of cooperation with Israeli startups, with a focus on technology related to smart cities, aging tech, robotics and 3D printing, according to a report in the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Israeli and Chinese entrepreneurs gathered in Haifa on Sunday for the 6th China-Israel Hi-tech Investment Summit, a yearly conference that also brings together officials and academics to discuss potential cooperation opportunities. Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said: “We enjoy every moment of this collaboration and this summit here shows that we have a good ground to enlarge the relations,” according to Xinhua. The summit, which “aims to encourage commercial and technological corporation and to promote investments between China and Israel,” was organized by the Israeli company Messila – Medical Startup Academy.
At the event, the Chinese company Huafa Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Haifa Economic Corporation for future collaboration in the fields of smart cities and “life sciences.” according to the report, which indicated that China is especially interested in aging technology, given its increasing elderly population. Ties between China and Israel have been flourishing in recent years. China hosted “Israel Culture Week” last week to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The event was part of the 19th China Shanghai International Arts Festival
China has also been seeking Israeli talent and know-how, with at least seven Chinese multinational corporations opening up R&D or innovation centers in Israel over the past three years according to a recent report by Start-up Nation Central, including electronics giant Haier and Huawei, which also bought Israeli startup Hexatier for a reported $42 million last year.
November 20, 2017 | Israeli startup acquisitions by foreign investors from July-September 2017 have hit a record, posting its highest numbers since the dot.com bubble in 2000. Figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics show startups volume reached an almost $1.6 billion peak in the third quarter. Research was also conducted by Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services showing that the quarterly figure for exits is the highest reported in Israel other than in 2000 — 17 years ago. Harel chief economist Ofer Klein says this may be cause for concern for Israel’s economic leaders because once companies are moved out of the Israeli economy, future contribution will be lost. While sales of these companies bring dollars into the economy, they will be lacking in import and export accounts, exports of goods, and revenue, he said. [Photo: 3333873]
November 20, 2017 | US authorities are seeking help from Israel in their investigation into insider trading surrounding the sale earlier this year of the Israeli-founded company Mobileye to Intel for a whopping $15.3 billion. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) petitioned the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to ask Israel investigators for testimony from four Israeli nationals suspected of the insider trading in the case, Haaretz reported. Mobileye founders Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram were questioned by SEC authorities earlier this year on suspicion of passing on non-public information about Intel’s offer to friends and acquaintances who are believed to have profited illicitly from the deal. They have denied the suspicions against them. Mobileye was founded in 1999 in Jerusalem by Shashua and Aviram and went public in 2014. It developed a warning system that alerts drivers of road hazards using software, cameras, and sensors.
November 20, 2017 | During a visit to the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C., Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen signed an agreement with the World Bank to bring Israeli agricultural technologies to Africa. The agreements will focus on ICT, water, and agriculture to encourage developing countries to adopt Israel’s innovative approaches and technologies. Two additional representatives from Israel’s Ministry of Economy will be sent to Kenya and Ghana in 2018. The meeting was preceded by additional events to launch a new cooperation agreement between Israel’s Ministry of Economy and the agricultural unit of the Bank. In July 2016, the Israeli government transferred funds for knowledge-sharing activities in water, cyber protection, and agriculture, in order to strengthen ties with Africa, which was followed up by the signing of three agreements with the World Bank. The agreement enables Israeli companies in these fields to participate in World Bank projects in Africa. Cohen also signed an agreement to expand the “Tech Emerge” program, established in 2015 to help bring innovative technologies to emerging markets.
November 20, 2017 | An Israeli PhD student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has made the global list of most prolific inventors, the university announced Monday. Assaf Natanzon, who studies in the Department of Computer Science has registered 202 patent families in the fields of storage systems and data protection and has 200 pending patent. He is the first Israeli to make the list, which is dominated by American inventors and includes Thomas Edison. Natanzon said he plans to reach 1000 patents, according to a statement sent by the university. Natanzon’s patents were registered for work he has done for Dell EMC as VP Advanced Technology and Investment evaluation EMEA, Distinguished Engineer. Natanzon said he was “proud to be the first Israeli to make the list of Prolific Inventors. I already have 202 registered patents and 200 pending ones; my next goal is to reach 500 and then 1000 patents. Most of my patents are in the area of data protection and disaster recovery, which is also the subject of my PhD thesis which I have recently submitted.”
November 19, 2017 | Microsoft will hold its cloud conference Microsoft Tech Summit on November 29 and 30 at the Tel Aviv Convention Center. The conference will present the latest trends in Microsoft Cloud. It is the main conference Microsoft will hold this year, with a participation of 2,000 developers, IT professions, students, and technologists speaking on subjects like IT infrastructure, cloud application, artificial intelligence, and more. Conference attendees will be able to experiment with cloud technologies in special Hands-On labs. Special guests such as Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group in Microsoft, Julia White, leading product management of Microsoft’s Cloud Platform including Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft 365 Product Manager Brad Kev and more will be on hand to give lectures, workshops, and demos showcasing Microsoft’s most recent innovations and launches, including Cloudyn, an Israeli company recently acquired by Microsoft within their management portal Azure.
November 19, 2017 | Israeli agro-biotech company Rahan Meristem recently established a joint venture with leading indoor plant growth tech company Future Farm Technologies. The Canadian company will provide funding and an indoor, air-conditioned laboratory in the United States or Canada so that the Israeli-founded company can continue its proprietary technology to mass produce cannabis clones and hemp plants that can be sold for medical purposes worldwide. Rahan has already produced elite clones of bananas, plantains, and other plants for customers around the world, Future Farm Technologies CEO Bill Gildea noted. These clones are tissue cultured produced plants genetically identical to the plant they were taken from. Rahan can create exact replicas of their best plants, with the same characteristics. A positive by-product of the joint venture is that the plants will be patentable and the two companies have agreed to share in the profits.
November 19, 2017 | Premium cars manufacturer Daimler opened a Mercedes-Benz research and development facility in Tel Aviv, Reuters reported on Thursday, November 16. The center will focus on digital vehicle and mobility services. Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed. The Tel Aviv Mercedes-Benz R&D center and Daimler IT have already partnered with “The Bridge” accelerator program to better recognize and act on customer demands quickly. In September, Daimler’s van division invested $50 million in a joint venture with Israeli-US ride-hailing startup Via. Founded in 1883, Daimler is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles worldwide. [Photo: Toby_Parsons]
November 16, 2017 | The Israel Tax Authority confirmed that it will send tax bills to tech giants Google and Facebook “within a year,” as other countries, notably those in the European Union, grapple with the same issue. Moshe Asher, the chairman of the Tax Authority told Israeli media that “ultimately, taxes can be charged based on their operations in Israel. Our goal is to obtain as much data as we can, even if many of these figures are held outside of Israel. Within a year we’ll issue these companies tax bills.” Asher said Israel believes “in the process, and ultimately we’ll be able to issue justified tax bills, even if we’re among the first in the world.” Both companies have Israel-based operations.
November 16, 2017 | Israeli-founded content promotion company Outbrain will appoint David Kostman as co-CEO of the firm. Kostman will join CEO and co-founder Yaron Galai. Kostman is a member of Outbrain’s board of directors since 2014 and will continue the role even as he steps up to CEO. He is also the chairman of the board of cybersecurity firm NICE and a director at companies like adtech firm IronSource. The New York-based Outbrain is one of the top online content discovery and promotion companies in the world. It was founded by Ori Lahav and Yaron Galai in 2006.
November 16, 2017 | South Korean giant Samsung opened a cybersecurity center for cars in Israel, in cooperation with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, CYMOTIVE Technologies, Deutsche Telekom Innovation Laboratories and Jerusalem Venture Partners, according to Globes. The International Cyber Security Smart Mobility Analysis and Research Test (SMART) Range in Israel will test cybersecurity solutions for the automobile industry, autonomous driving and general auto technologies, the report said. The conglomerate already operates a number of centers in Israel, including the Samsung Global Innovation Center (GIC) in Tel Aviv, focused on investing in Israeli startups and entrepreneurs, the Samsung Catalyst Fund, which specializes in seed investments and early-stage startups, and two R&D centers in Tel Aviv and Herzliya. Last month, Samsung was said to be in talks to open an Artificial Intelligence research center in Israel.
November 16, 2017 | Indian multinational conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Technology Services announced they will set up a design center in Jerusalem as a global hub to further advance solutions in video, integrated circuits, and security. In a statement, the Mumbai-based hub calls it a “Center of Excellence” to develop and deliver Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design, hardware, and software-based security solutions to customers around the world. The center will focus on areas such as automotive, entertainment, Internet of Things (IoT), media, and telecom. L&T has also opened a sales office in Tel Aviv to offer engineering services in areas such as medical devices, plant engineering, semiconductors, and telecom. The company is in talks with Israeli universities for collaboration opportunities and R&D projects. It is developing the “smartest office campus” for an Israeli technology company in partnership with software giant Microsoft. L&T was founded in 1938. It currently has 15 delivery centers and 38 innovation labs.
November 15, 2017 | The Israeli Parliament amended a series of regulations that will “help ease fixed-income debt crowdfunding for startups and small businesses,” a Calcalist report said. Current regulations allow private companies to raise funds from banks or investors, venture funds, angels, or raise capital and debt financing from a group of up to 35 certified investors. In the past five years, 145 tech companies linked to Israel were funded through equity crowdfunding platforms, according to a report from IVC Research, an Israeli tech research company. Startups linked to Israel raised $173 million through equity crowdfunding in the first half of 2017.
November 15, 2017 | Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen met with entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs of Israeli companies in New York praising their work in the United States. The Ministry of Economy released a statement Wednesday saying 94 Israeli-founded companies are currently traded on the NASDAQ, for a combined worth of $70 billion. The ministry added that exports to the US have also increased and currently stand at $11.6 billion. Cohen said that the fact that “94 companies are traded on the NASDAQ “indicates that Israel is a key player in the innovation and technology field.” Foreign investors understand that Israel is a country with breakthrough innovation, he said, calling on Israeli entrepreneurs in New York to “return home” and keep intellectual property in Israel, citing the intellectual property tax relief approved last December in Israel.
November 14, 2017 | The Israeli tech company Sesame Enable, the creator of the first hands-free smartphone and a developer of hands-free control technologies for mobile devices, has opened its first US headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. The Hadera-based company was founded in 2012, developing its Open Sesame technology which enables users to operate smartphones through head movements and voice commands. The touch-free smartphone is primarily aimed at disabled users and those who cannot use their hands. It was developed by tech entrepreneur Oded Ben Dov and former electrical engineer Giora Livne, who became a quadriplegic following a serious accident over a decade ago. The technology is used in the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program which gives communications devices to disabled citizens, according to a report in the Washington Business Journal. Executives from Sesame Enable met Maryland Governor Larry Hogan during a trade mission to Israel in 2016. “Governor Hogan has been an active supporter of Sesame Enable for the past year as we searched for a US headquarters that would align with our vision of supporting people with physical challenges,” said Sesame Enable CEO and co-founder Oded Ben Dov, in a statement released by the governor’s office. “We chose Maryland because of the backing we have received from the state subsidy program, and Bethesda’s proximity to health institutions, including those focusing on veterans. In addition, we are now close to Washington, DC, where we know we’ll have opportunity to influence change needed to make our technology readily available to all Americans who can benefit from it.”
November 14, 2017 | The University of Juba opened the country’s first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center on Monday, a result of a partnership with the Israeli aid organization IsraAid, STEM Synergy, the Mark Gelfand Family Charitable Fund and UNESCO, IsraAid said in a statement. The center will provide an “educational platform for South Sudanese youth, training them to become engineers, technicians, mechanics and physicians who will contribute to the economic and social development of South Sudan,” IsraAid said. Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, James Wani Igga attended the event.
November 14, 2017 | Fifteen Israeli ICT and Life Science companies were selected to present their technologies to the Chinese market at the annual Israeli roadshow in China, an event organized by the Israel Innovation Authority in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. While more than 160 Israeli companies signed up, only 15 were selected out of 40 by a Chinese investors’ delegation in a preliminary pitching event held in Israel in July 2017 by the Israeli Innovation Authority. During the roadshow, Israeli companies visited Shanghai, Changzhou and Beijing and held more than 100 B2B meetings to promote cooperation. The companies also participated in pitching events in Changzhou and Beijing, presenting their products and technologies to dozens of investors, investment groups and companies like Fuson, PingAn Ventures, Go Capital, and San Power. The pitching events were organized as competitions and three Israeli companies won modest monetary awards in each city. The winning companies in Changzhou were Life Science companies Brainsway, Vectorious Medical Technologies, and OrthoDrill Medical. The winning companies in Beijing were ICT companies Myndlift, CellO-Photonics, and Brainster.
November 13, 2017 | Israeli regenerative medicine company Collplant has raised about $7.4 million in private placement due to a number of filings submitted by the company to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange over the past three months, according to a report in Calcalist. In November, the Ness Ziona-based company announced a private placement agreement with Ami Sagi, father of Israeli-born businessman Teddy Sagi. The agreement was worth $1.05 million. They also announced an agreement with Israeli investment company Meitav Dash Investments for $1.34 million. In September, the company had a private investment agreement of $5 million signed with Alpha Capital Anstalt of Lichtenstein. In June of this year, Collplant filed a U.S. patent application for a collegen-based bio-ink for “3D printing of tissues and organs.” The company wants to establish its ink in the market and is negotiating with companies in organ printing. Collplant develops medical treatments using plant-based collagen. Human collagen can be harvested from a plant that is created with a combination of human genes and tobacco plant DNA. The company was founded in 2004 by Oded Shosheyov.
November 13, 2017 | Researchers at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have decoded a mechanism that leads to why some patients of thyroid cancer appear to be unaffected by iodine treatment. Iodine is a standard treatment for the disease, but is causing a resistance of thyroid tumors. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, some patients are developing a distant metastases or local recurrence that is resistant to iodine therapy, causing low survival rates. Iodine treatment is based on partial or full removal of the gland in the front part of the neck, through surgery, with a supplement of radioactive iodine if necessary. Thyroid cells transfer iodine through specific channels that allow the radioactive iodine to enter the cancer cells in the body and destroy them without harming other tissues.The research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) and offers hope for more successful treatments in the future.
November 12, 2017 | Israeli pharmaceutical company Nextar Chempharma Solutions will set up an incubator and development center for medical cannabis products, accepting at least six companies per year for the project with initial investment of between $100,000 and $400,000, according to a report in Globes. Nextar will provide a variety of services to the participating companies, “including laboratory and analytic testing, business development, and clinical trial management services.” Nextar will also provide cannabis development services to external companies and will independently develop its own cannabis products, according to the report which added that the company has signed an initial cooperation deal Australia’s Budding Tech, an organization that works in the medical cannabis sector. Nextar is excepted to invest $5 million in the venture.
November 12, 2017 | Israel and India inaugurated a beekeeping development center over the weekend in the city of Ramnagar in the province of Harnaya in northern India. The center is officially called the Center of Excellence for Integrated Beekeeping Development, and is one of 18 centers of excellence set up through the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project (IIAP), a collaboration project between the Indian Federal Government, Indian State Governments and Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation – MASHAV, the Israeli Embassy in Israel said in a statement. The embassy said the Beekeeping center in Ramnagar was the first of its kind between India and Israel, and will address a number of issues like “Queen Rearing, Quality Control Labs, Enhanced Production, Honey Production Value Chain, [and] Pollination.” The IIAP is active in nine states across India, and is set to include seven more states in the next phase. The Israeli ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, said in a tweet on Friday that a dairy farming center of excellence would soon be inaugurated but did not specify where. “Centers of Excellence are an integral part of India and Israel’s growing partnership. Haryana is one of the first to implement this tool for its farmers, and has more IIAP centers than any other state. I hope to see more states open IIAP centers across India, and that the private sector too joins us in the endeavor to bring advanced agro-technology to Indian farmers,” Carmon said in a statement.
What a grand inauguration of the @MASHAVisrael #MIDH #Beekeeping #CenterofExcellence in #Ramnagar, #Haryana with the August presence of CM @mlkhattar @cmohry #agriculture Minister @OPDhankar and many,many farmers and beekeepers. Congratulations! @IsraelinIndia pic.twitter.com/KX80YGPcsx
— Daniel Carmon🇮🇱 (@danielocarmon) November 10, 2017
November 9, 2017 | Israeli clinical stage biotech company MitrAssist has raised $30 million, in a funding round led by Fosun Pharma, the pharmaceutical arm of China-based pharmaceutical company Fosun International. China’s Ping Ang Insurance Company also contributed to the round. The heart valve company received $16 million according to its pre-closing valuation of $80 million. The company will also receive an additional $14 million according to a pre-closing valuation of $136 million when it begins clinical trials within a year. The Caesarea-based company developed a heart valve implant that can be installed through a thigh catheterization into an artery, without invasive heart surgery. The company was founded in 2009 by Gil Naor.
November 9, 2017 | The State of Israel and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which hopes to bring with it a new chapter of business development between the two regions. The Consul General of Israel in New York signed the memorandum on November 6 along with Pennsylvania Secretary of Community and Economic Development Dennis Davin and Ambassador Dani Dayan at Thomas Jefferson University. Dayan said that this document will open the gates for many Israeli companies in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and that both regions have economically reinvented themselves along the same lines of innovation. The signing came after a series of panel discussions and one-on-one meetings at the Greater Philadelphia-Israel Big Data and Digital Health Summit, on November 6, where Israeli startups met with potential investors. Nineteen startups made the trip as part of a delegation. The MOU is the 14th Israel has signed in the United States.
November 9, 2017 | Israeli-founded real estate technology startup Compass raised $100 million in a Series E funding round, the company announced on November 8th. The round was based on a $1.8 billion valuation.Compass has raised a total of $325 million. It raised $75 million in August 2016. Revenues for the company this year except to be $350 million. The round was led by Fidelity Investments with participation from Wellington Management. Through mobile tech, Compass matches buyers and renters to homes of interest. Compass will use the new funds to expand across the U.S., with sights set on cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle. It will also enhance its platform, combining client data with transactions and listings to provide recommendations for agents. Compass is based in New York but was founded by Israeli Ori Allon in 2012.
November 8, 2017 | Israel’s reviews and user-generated content marketing platform Yotpo has raised $51 million. The round was led by ClalTech, the Israeli investment arm of American holding company Access Industries. Daniel Shinar, CEO of ClalTech, will join Yotpo’s Board of Directors. The funding included new investors Vertex Fund and the contribution of existing investors like Bessemer, Marker LLC, Vintage, Blumberg Capital, Rhodium, and 2B-Angels . To date, the Tel Aviv-based marketing platform has raised $101 million with the current funding included. The company plans to use the funds to develop the platform and continue their global expansion including the establishment of a second office in the US and recruit 150 additional employees to its current offices in New York, Tel Aviv, and London. They also plan to upgrade the company’s technology and add new features. Yotpo reported that its revenues have quadrupled in the last 20 months. Yotpo uses its marketing platform to help online businesses grow their companies through reviews and other user-generated content that boosts sales and creates “social proof,” so consumers can see that the brand is popular among other consumers. The company was founded by Omri Cohen and Tomer Tagrin in 2011.
November 8, 2017 | The city of Haifa and the Car2Go company have launched a shared transportation project that is the first of its kind in Israel. It is based on electric vehicles and charging stations. One hundred Renault Zoe vehicles will start operating in the city under this project, with 40 vehicles operating in November and 40 more beginning in December 2017. The shared project is designed for short and medium-length trips mainly within the city. The payment, NIS 1.20 or about $0.34 per minute, is based on travel time only, with no other commitments. But rides are expected to be free of charge for the first two months, once you register for the program. The service is based on an app that directs subscribers to available vehicles and parking spaces with a charging station. The vehicle can be ordered up to 15 minutes before the trip. Over 2,000 people have already registered for the service, according to Israeli daily CTech. The project is expected to expand to the Krayot region of the Haifa metropolitan area and 100 more vehicles will be added depending on the results of the project in 2017. Three hundred parking spaces have been set aside for the project. [Photo: Courtesy]
November 8, 2017 | Research Italy, the Portal of Italian Research reports that the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will provide financial backing for the establishment of a joint Israeli-Italian biorobotics laboratory. Both countries has called to public and private Italian universities and research bodies for proposals to establish a virtual Italian-Israeli lab. Proposals are due by January 4, 2018. The objective for this center is to set up a long-term platform for bilateral cooperation, develop future projects, promote exchange between researchers, and share knowledge and ideas on biorobotics, a field that Research Italy is an area that both countries excel in. The call for proposals is falls within the framework of the Agreement on Industrial, Scientific and Technological Research and Development Cooperation Between Italy and Israel. MOST will fund the project at about $250,000 over the first three years of activity of the lab. The research teams for both countries will select a project for the establishment of a joint virtual lab. The call for proposals is to universities in collaboration with an Israeli scientific partner.
November; 8, 2017 | This year’s Axis Corporate Edition 2017 takes place on December 11, 2017 at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Israel’s Axis Corporate Edition 2017 is an event bringing together multinational corporations and leading startups for corporate challenges, startup pitches, keynote speakers, roundtable discussions, one on one meetings and more. It is the only Israeli event to focus exclusively on connecting corporations and startups to create business partnerships and bring innovation to the forefront. Since 2014, over 75 multinationals have participated in the event. Startups and innovators must apply by November 9th to be able to participate in one of 4 challenges, where they will be marketed to over 5,000 startups in Israel and Europe. Startups can apply to one of 4 challenges. Challenges include The Customer Experience challenge, Automating Business Practices, Bringing AR and VR to life, and Securing IoT. The Axis Corporate Edition is brought to Israel through Axis Innovation, a boutique advisory firm globally connecting investors and corporations with the best technology startups.
November 7, 2017 | Tel Aviv-based public transportation optimization company Optibus raised $12 million in a funding round led by Pitango Venture Capital, with participation from Verizon Ventures and Sir Ronald Cohen. To date, the Israeli company has raised $14.5 million including this round. Globes reports that the funds will be used to develop the company’s operating system designed to power smart cities and accelerate world growth. CEO Amos Haggiag says Optibus offers a platform for municipalities and transit operators to move from a static schedule to dynamic real-time operation. Optibus currently provides services to 200 cities on five continents including Los Angeles and Washington D.C. It was founded in 2014 by CEO Amos Haggiag and CTO Eitan Yanovsky.
November 7, 2017 | The investment arm of the Israeli national carrier El Al, Cockpit Innovation, and Germany’s Lufthansa are forming a strategic partnership to identify and team up with Israeli startups working in the fields of aviation and travel tech, the companies announced on Tuesday. Stefan Auerbach, the CEO at Lufthansa Systems, said in a statement that Lufthansa was delighted to be part “of this unique digital travel and aviation collaboration for entrepreneurs,” and that “the core of our company strategy is to put airlines in a perfect position for the digital future. Cockpit CEO Henry Chen said “the right partnerships have proved themselves as innovation catalysts. We are constantly working to expand Cockpit’s global ecosystem. The connection between Cockpit and a leader in the worldwide industry such as Lufthansa Systems is undoubtedly a major achievement on the path toward the ability to invest in and support startups that focus on additional sectors in the industry on a global scale.”
November 7, 2017 | The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo has won second place at the 2017 European Capital of Innovation, where it received a prize of over $100,000. Tel Aviv-Yafo was among 10 finalists up for the award and prize of over $1 million that recognizes the city with the best innovation ecosystem. Paris was awarded the first place prize for its mission to turn into a “FabCity” hosting the largest start-up campus in the world, which encourages innovative projects by citizens and entrepreneurs. Tel Aviv was recognized for its impressive high tech sector programs and city policies, leading to the highest concentration of accelerator programs in Europe. The winners were announced on November 7, 2017 at the Lisbon Web Summit. Other finalists included Nice (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), and more. The 2017 European Capital of Innovation award was launched in March 2017. Thirty-two cities from seventeen countries applied to this year’s competition. The winner and two runner-ups were selected based on initiatives launched since January 2016. The winner were chosen by a panel of experts selected from the Horizon 2020 expert database. [Photo: Courtesy]
November 7, 2017 | PayPal Israel has launched the ReCharge program, a 20-week paid structured program for women who want to return to the high-tech workforce after taking an extended break from their careers. The program is part of PayPal’s global initiative to encourage skilled women technologists who have taken a career break for personal or family reasons to return to the workforce. The program provides ways for these women to “recharge” by sharpening their technical and soft skills, expanding their experience, and finding ways for them to network with their respective industries. There is also the opportunity to join PayPal as a permanent (full-time or part-time) employee after the program. Women can apply for positions that include Analytic Data Scientists, JAVA Software Developer, QA Automation, and Security Automation Engineer. While anyone can apply, PayPal says that is specifically looking for women that have been out of the workforce for at least two years. The Israeli program begins in December and runs through April 2018, but applications should be submitted by November 8. [Photo: rawpixel]
November 6, 2017 | Auto giant Toyota Motor Corp is seeking to invest in more Israeli companies focusing on automotive technology and robotics, months after Toyota AI Ventures invested $14 million in the Israeli robotics company Intuition Robotics, which developed a robot companion that uses artificial intelligence to improve the lives of the aging population. Toyota AI Ventures is a new $100 million-fund launched to invest in AI, robotics and autonomous mobility and is part of the the $1 billion Toyota Research Institute. The managing director of Toyota AI Ventures, Jim Adler, told Reuters during a visit to Israel on Sunday that “we will see more involvement of Toyota in the Israeli market in the future,” adding that “there’s more in the pipeline.” He indicated that technologies enabling autonomous vehicles were on particular interest to Toyota. “There’s a tremendous amount of innovation happening in Israel as cars become more produced by data,” he said.
November 6, 2017 | Israeli defense technology company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., announced late Sunday that it has opened a branch in Melbourn, Australia ahead of a “significant arming program” for the Australian military. Rafael, which co-developed Israel’s famous Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, said the Melbourne office will be run jointly by Israeli and Australian teams. Rafael’s executive VP marketing, Giora Katz, said that there was “potential for deals amounting to several hundred million dollars. Opening the company in Australia is part of Rafael’s global strategy for creating local partnerships with various countries in order to meet the growing demand from many countries for having some of the work performed by local companies.” According to a report in the business daily Calcalist, the Australian military already uses a number of Rafael technologies including remote controlled weapon systems, naval defense technologies and aerial strike guidance systems, Rafael said. The Israeli company has over 100 collaborations worldwide, including a missile factory in India. Defense companies such as Rafael, Elbit Systems Ltd., and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. will soon be able to more freely market their technologies after the Israeli Ministry of Defense last month approved a plan to loosen restrictions on defense exporters.
November 5, 2017 | Germany and Israel have launched a first-of-its-kind accelerator to collaborate on cybersecurity innovation and technology. The Hessian Israeli Partnership Accelerator for Cybersecurity (HIPA), launched on Thursday at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, “will bring together top talents in cybersecurity from Israel and Germany to jointly work on cybersecurity projects in areas such as network technologies, internet infrastructure and software security,” the university said in a statement. The accelerator will connect participants with entrepreneurs, researchers, mentors, customers and influencers. The program launched with a week of entrepreneurship training and technology lectures in Jerusalem, and will be followed by two months of “targeted development” for students of computer science and engineering. The results are set to be presented at an upcoming cybersecurity conference in Berlin, in front of industry leaders and government representatives.
November 5, 2017 | The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced five new projects in partnership with Israel worth a total of over $10 million. Israel’s Ministry of Energy (MOE) and the Israel Innovation Authority will work with the US energy department through the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program on issues related to hydrogen storage, advanced biofuels, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency, the DOE said in a statement. The projects are valued at $10.5 million, with $4.8 million coming from the US energy department. US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said the “BIRD Foundation has served as a matchmaker to develop partnerships between US and Israeli researchers at the forefront of technology across the industrial spectrum. This kind of collaboration will be mutually beneficial and allow both countries to achieve their economic and energy security goals.” Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said “together with the BIRD Foundation we can encourage joint R&D efforts that will contribute significantly to the bright and safe future of our world.” The five projects include partnerships between Israel’s Brenmiller Energy Ltd. based in Rosh Ha’ayin and the Power Authority of the State of New York to develop high-temperature storage based on combined heat and power; Rehovot-based CelDezyner Ltd and Milford, Ohio’s AdvanceBio LLC to “develop a process for the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks”; Rehovot-based QDM Ltd. and Broomfield, Colorado’s ALD NanoSolutions Inc. to “develop third-generation high-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables”; Tel Aviv’s SoftWheel Ltd. and Detroit Bikes to develop “an energy-efficient, low-maintenance, high-performance bicycle”; and Kadima-based TerraGenic Ltd. and Triton Systems, Inc. of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, to “develop a safe hydrogen transport and storage system.”
November 5, 2017 | SEAT, the Spanish automobile manufacturer and Champion Motors, the automaker’s Israel importer, have announced plans to set up an Israeli car technology center. The XPLORA center will house specialists that focus on tech and innovation projects related to the car and smart mobility services, particularly ones that will lead to future solutions for the SEAT brand. The first team will members of the Easy Mobility Tea, specializing in UX Design, Electric Development and Business Development. A Project Manager will also be assigned by Champion Motors. Champion Motors has already set up a similar center with Skoda, a subsidiary of Volkswagen. Hyundai is also setting up an Israel R&D center.
November 2, 2017 | The Wisconsin Water Council signed an agreement with Ben-Gurion University‘s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research during a trip to Israel by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker this week who was leading a trade mission to strengthen collaboration with the midwestern state. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in the southern city of Beersheba, announced the agreement which it said “calls for collaboration on water-related applied research aimed at introducing new technologies into the global marketplace.” Another agreement, signed between the Wisconsin Water Council and the Israeli Innovation Authority, aims to develop a new partnership in which Israeli and Wisconsin water tech startups “will collaborate on piloting and developing new applications for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and other Wisconsin water utilities.” Governor Walker welcomed the agreements and said they “will strengthen the sector in both countries, and are expected to open new markets to water technology companies in Wisconsin and Israel.”
November 2, 2017 | The Israeli startup ecosystem raised over $1 billion in just over 100 funding rounds in Q3 2017, according to a new study released by Start-Up Nation Central, an Israel-based non-profit that “connects global corporations, NGOs, and governments to the Israeli innovation ecosystem.” The average deal size was valued at just over $15 million, a 93 percent rise compared to the same period last year. Israeli-founded carpooling tech company Via led the charge, raising $250 million in September in a financing round led by car manufacturer Daimler. The Start-Up Nation Central study also found that venture capital firms were most interested in investing in companies at later stages, with less money going to startups at pre-seed or seed stages.
November 2, 2017 | Israeli cybersecurity think tank Team8, founded by veterans of the elite IDF intelligence unit 8200, announced that it will open a hub in New York. Team8 made the announcement this week at its annual Rethink Cyber event, adding that co-founder Nadav Zafrir will relocate to NYC to lead the US operations. The think tank and its companies, Illusive Networks, which develops deception tech to detect hacking attacks, and Claroty, which provides advanced solutions to secure critical infrastructure systems, and the brand new Sygnia, a “military-grade cyber consulting and incident response company” will all base their US operations in the hub. R&D operations for all the companies will continue to be based in Israel, Team8 said in a statement. New York City Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamiño, Jr welcomed the announcement, saying: “Team8’s NYC HQ will add jobs to our economy and provide us with opportunities to advance NYC as a cybersecurity hub while strengthening our City’s resilience,” and adding that “to have one of the world’s forward-thinking cyber companies in NYC is a major win for our community.”
November 1, 2017 | The Israeli medical cannabis R&D company Kanabo Research snagged a top award at the recent CannaTech UK event which took place in London on October 26. Kanabo took home the coveted “Live Investor Pitch Award” for its VapePod, a medical device that works with the company’s patent-pending formulations of “targeted, clinically validated” medical Cannabis extracts. The device has received initial approval from Israel’s Ministry of Health and will be available later this year. Kanabo CEO Avihu Tamir told reporters at the event that the company has “worked tirelessly to create a unique product in the world of medical cannabis,” and that its “extract formulations…are able to target specific ailments and medical conditions for a wide range of patients in need.” He said that clinical trials with the product will begin within six months. Kanabo was founded in November 2016 and raised half a million dollars in a Seed round.
November 1, 2017 | A business school in Bangalore, India is launching an Israel Center on campus to deepen India-Israel academic collaboration. The center at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) is set to open November 5, according to a report in the Times of India. Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said “the vision of the agreements between our academic institutions materializing into real centers of learning and rapprochement is a big part of the fruition of our growing partnership.” The chairperson of the Israel Center, Professor Abhoy K. Ojha, said the center “aims to become a leading research and networking place,” that will provide “students, researchers and business managers and firms with deep understanding of Israeli and Indian business, supporting and promoting diversified body of research and teaching related to Indo-Israeli business.” IIM Bangalore Director Professor G. Raghuram said the goal of the center is “to forge academic relationships between IIMB and institutions in Israel, so that there is mutual learning for impact on Indo-Israeli business relationships in the domains of innovation, technology, start-ups and scaling up of organizations.”
November 1, 2017 | Israeli car sensor company Innoviz Technologies has raised another $8 million from Samsung Catalyst and Softbank Ventures Korea in a Series B financing round announced last month, bringing the total raised so far to $73 million. Since it was founded in 2016, Innoviz, which develops technologies for autonomous driving, has raised a total of $82 million. Its High Definition Solid State LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor has been hailed as “disruptive” and “first-class.” The Kfar Saba-based company has previously raised funds from a range of investors including Delphi Automotive PLC, Magna International, 360 Capital Partners, Amiti Ventures and Delek Motors.
November 1, 2017 | The decision was announced at the 2107 Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv. The automaker also partnered with Israeli-based venture capital firm Pitango Venture Capital and invested in Pitango’s seventh fund, which focuses on seed and early-stage investments. This is the first time Hyundai will partner with a venture capital firm, Pitango’s managing general partner told Calcalist. German manufacturer Volkswagen Group will also set up shop in Israel. Its center will be similar to the Future Centers already set up in Berlin, California and Beijing. The German manufacturer hopes to establish itself as a software and services company. Car technologies and the car-sharing economy are booming in Israel. Pitango has already invested in several mobility startups, such as Via Transportation, which already announced a partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vanes and Graphcore, developing hardware systems that accelerate AI and machine learning. [Photo: Ales_Kartal]