Going Public Is The New Exit: Six Israeli IPOs To Watch
When it comes to winning in the Startup Nation, the homerun is to go public on NASDAQ, the stock exchange which currently lists 90 Israeli companies valued at a whopping $40 billion. And this year, or more specifically this week, is panning out to be the winningest ever for Israeli tech, with six companies offering up IPOs (initial public offerings) that are set to raise an aggregate amount of $883 million. Just for comparison, only nine companies went public between 2012-2013 raising a total of $400 million over two years, an indication that Israeli companies are gaining a lot more traction across the pond.
Here is a look at six Israeli IPOs to watch for the remainder of 2014. Each of these companies has already filed forms with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and plan to go public on either NYSE or NASDAQ by the end of the year.
MBLY– At a company valuation of up to $5.2 billion (according to some estimates), the automobile tech firm Mobileye is planning to hold the largest IPO in Israel’s history. Unlike the other companies on this list, Mobileye will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), joining an elite group that currently numbers 21 Israeli companies. Mobileye develops “smart vision” technology for cars used for accident prevention and in the future, autonomous driving. After nearly 15 years of research and development, Mobileye’s technology is now available in 160 car models from 18 car manufacturers, including BMW, GM, Volvo and Chrysler. With this historic IPO, which is expected to occur this week, Mobileye is offering 27.8 million shares to the public, valued at approximately $600 million and underwritten by nine investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citi.
RWLK– With a mission to change the life and health of individuals with spinal cord injuries, ReWalk Robotics has developed a revolutionary exoskeleton walking device that enables wheelchair–bound individuals to rediscover what it feels like to walk again. After obtaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration in June, the company received a swarm of attention from the media and investors, resulting in an IPO filing with the SEC earlier this month. At a valuation of $250-300 million, ReWalk is seeking to raise $58 million when it goes public on NASDAQ.
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VBLX– Founded in 2000, VBL Therapeutics is committed to the development and commercialization of treatments for brain cancer and inflammatory diseases. VBL’s leading drug, known as VB-111, treats an aggressive form of brain cancer and has obtained fast-track designation from the Food & Drug Administration in the United States. In addition, the company has over 120 patents and more than 150 applications pending, according to its website. Since 2000, a number of investors, including Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, have invested an aggregate $100 million in the company. VBL Therapeutics is looking to raise $75 million from its IPO, which it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June.
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RNAI- Based at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, Silenseed is a biopharmaceutical company developing RNA interference-based drugs designed to treat malignant solid tumors, which appear in 85 percent of human cancers. Diseases that Silenseed hopes to target are pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and several brain cancers. The company claims that its drugs and delivery systems have the potential to be one of the most highly effective treatments for solid tumor cancers, which may be why this company has secured what is considered in the biotech world to be a highly-valued IPO. With the public offering on NASDAQ, Silenseed plans to raise approximately $35 million led by Aegis Capital.
MCUR- Adding to the growing list of successful Israeli bio-tech companies is MacroCure, a clinical-stage company that is developing innovative approaches to healing hard-to-heal wounds such as pressure ulcers and post-operative wounds. Seeking to raise as much as $75 million in their IPO, MacroCure hopes to use the funds to finish developing their lead product, CureXcell, which uses cell based therapy to restore the natural healing process to severe wounds. The product has been approved as a medical device in Israel and has been successfully used in over 5,000 patients. Next year, the company is planning to complete a late-stage trial in the US, paving the way to market approval in both the US and Europe.
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ORPN- Rounding out our list of six Israeli IPOs to watch is Bioblast Pharma, a startup that was founded in 2012 and is now seeking to raise $40 million from the public. From the founders of Israel-based Alcobra Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq: ADHD), Bioblast Pharma is developing a group of treatments for rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases such as Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystropy (OPMD), Machado Joseph disease and Kennedy’s disease. According to the company’s prospectus, the biological mechanisms of numerous rare diseases are understood, but very few satisfactory treatments currently exist. At the moment, Bioblast Pharma has potential treatments for six rare diseases, and they plan to use much of the proceeds from this IPO to fund the completion of clinical programs for each of them.
It looks as if 2014 will bring more Israeli companies to the capital markets than the last two years combined, with these six already in the works. Whether this trend continues in the future remains to be seen, but if these companies are successful with their IPOs and become profitable multinationals, it just might encourage more Israeli entrepreneurs to follow suit and set their sights higher than the ever-so-popular exit.
Photos: Rafael Matsunaga/ ReWalk/ Mobileye/ Screenshot/ Silenseed/ La Melodie