Monday, September 29, 2014

Magma Venture Partners Closes $150M Fund For Early Stage Israeli Startups

The Israeli venture capital firm Magma Venture Partners announced the closing of a $150 million fund for early stage, Israeli technology companies. 

Magma, which was also an investor in Waze, the navigation application that sold to Google for $1.3 billion in 2013, plans to invest in seed and Series A funding rounds for approximately 25-30 companies. Each investment in the 25-30 companies, or opportunities, will run anywhere from $500,000 to $6 million. 

Magma hopes to pump more juice into the local Israeli startup scene, that has seen a lot of local venture capital firms turn elsewhere in recent years.

In the year 2013, Israeli venture capital firms raised $526 million, a 27 percent decline from 2012 and a 38 percent drop from 2011, according to IVC.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

China's Ping An and CBC To Invest In Israel Company IronSource

TEL AVIV | Digital delivery company IronSource, announced a $85 million investment round from investors from China, US and Europe.

Ping An, one of China's largest insurance companies and China Broadband Capital Partners, a China based Venture Capital Fund participated in the round together with other institutional investors from the US and Europe.

IronSource has developed a comprehensive platform to help developers improve digital discovery, delivery, distribution and monetization. The solution consists of four cores – mobileCore, installCore, displayCore and mediaCore – that connect software developers and users across devices.

Tel Aviv based ironSource has developed rapidly in a short period. The company currently handles over 5 million installs each day, and has over 50 thousand applications utilizing the mobileCore SDK. The company has increased from 30 employees to 450 in Tel Aviv as well as Beijing, San Francisco, and New York.

IronSource CEO and Co-Founder Tomer Bar-Zeev said, “ironSource has enjoyed amazing growth over the last three years, opening international offices, debuting our mobile solution, augmenting our team of employees, and increasing revenue.” In the last year ironSource has placed special emphasis on broadening its global presence, and earlier this year, opened an office in Beijing to strengthen ties with the Chinese market.

IronSource’s worldwide distribution capabilities match with the strategic decision of Chinese internet giants to gain a global footprint and increase their presence outside of China. Bar-Zeev added, “This latest investment from major Chinese investors is a testament to the value ironSource is already bringing to its Chinese partners, and more importantly, our ability to help major Chinese internet players to succeed in a global market.

China is one of today’s most exciting internet and application markets, and we’re looking forward to strengthening our presence there and fostering ties between Tel Aviv and Beijing.”

IronSource is reportedly planning a Wall Street public offering in 2015. The latest round of financing was reportedly at a company value of $800 million.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ten Startup Nation Movers and Shakers You Need To Know

Publish on Forbes by Ilya Pozin 26/9/2014

There are a number of startup hubs around the world that have grabbed the spotlight. Silicon Valley is the original and most famous, but New York, London, Berlin, Boston, and my own Los Angeles are climbing the ranks. Of course, no list of startup hubs would be complete without talking about the second Silicon Valley – Israel. Small in size and population, Israel is nevertheless a giant in the world of tech and startups. Israel received nearly $12 billion in foreign investment in 2013, has around 100 companies listed on the NASDAQ, and is home to more startups per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Israel, as a startup ecosystem, is ripe with opportunity. If you’re looking to tap into the incredible energy coming out of this country, then you need to know these ten power-influencers and industry leaders.

They are the ones who hold the keys to Israel’s thriving tech scene.

The Godfather of Tech – Yossi Vardi:

No list of Israeli tech insiders is complete without Yossi Vardi – he’s the insiders’ insider. He kicked off the Israeli startup craze with the first huge Israeli exit – ICQ’s acquisition by AOL for $300 million back in the late 90’s. Following that massive success story, Vardi has taken on a unique leadership role serving as mentor, organizer, investor, and spokesperson for the whole industry. He’s helped found and invested in over 60 startups including, SimilarWeb, and The Gift Project. Vardi keeps himself busy running multiple tech events throughout the year, including the prestigious DLD and Kinnernet conferences, as well as the Israeli tech industry’s “secret” hangout – Garage Geeks. This recurring event held in an old, rundown mechanic’s garage has been the stage for many of the world’s tech leaders due to Yossi’s connections and influence in bringing them there.

The Author – Saul Singer:

It wouldn't be fair to talk about ‘Start-up Nation’ insiders without mentioning the man who helped coin the phrase in the first place. Singer is a co-author of the now famous book that examines how tiny Israel became a center for innovation and tech development, attracting investment and partnerships from nearly every corner of the world. Singer was able to gain an insider’s perspective on Israel after years of reporting on the country’s tech scene for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington, The Jerusalem Post, and other publications. Following the success of his book, Singer is continuing to tell the story of Israel’s tech industry far and wide.

The Investor - Gigi Levy:

Anyone looking for a new financial opportunity will always want to know ‘where the smart money is’. In Israel, you need look no further than Gigi Levy. He’s a serial investor and ‘super-angel’ that not only helps startups with the cash they need to grow, but also provides key insights and mentorship. Most importantly his background is simply incredible: Former CEO of 888 Holdings for years, and investor in Kenshoo, Playtika, Bizzabo, myThings, MyHeritage, SweetIM, and more. These are only a small part of the list of companies that he has helped propel to success.

The PR Pros – Ayelet Noff and Motti Peer:

This power couple runs award-winning new media PR agency Blonde 2.0. The pair, beyond serving as evangelists for the Israeli tech scene around the world, are also super-connectors helping to bridge the literal ocean between Israel and Silicon Valley. They help Israeli startups gain access to reporters, executives, and influencers, otherwise inaccessible to them, such as Robert Scoble and Randi Zuckerberg. They know everyone in Israel and abroad – from journalists to top corporates, entrepreneurs, and VCs. They have helped create some of the most well-known Israeli startup success stories, such as: Viber,, StoreDot, Yo, and Applause, while also helping craft the digital messaging for giants like HP and Applied Materials.

The Journalist – Orr Hirschauge:

You can’t get to know a market without a guide walking you through the intricacies of the deals and technologies. In Israel, a reliable guide has been Orr Hirschauge. Previously the leading tech writer at one of Israel’s top business publications, TheMarker, Hirschauge is now bringing inside stories from Israel to the pages of The Wall Street Journal. Though his last name may leave your tongue twisted in knots, his clear and succinct coverage is one of the best sources for news on Israeli technology. Orr had some big stories recently including a sneak peak at a new funding round for Taboola and a scoop on $10 million in funding for StoreDot.

The Entrepreneur – Avishai Abrahami:

One area where Israel has lagged behind is in the creation of large, independent companies. There is, famously, no Israeli version of Facebook, as most startups look for an exit. One company bucking the trend is Wix, a consumer website creation platform led by CEO Avishai Abrahami. Wix is a rare consumer-facing public Israeli tech company. It’s a consumer brand – an area where Israel hasn’t shined in the past. However, Abrahami is helping Wix pave new ground, combining innovation with effective marketing to bring the platform to over 50 million users.

The Jack of all Trades – Moshe Hogeg: Chairman of VC firm Singulariteam. CEO of mobli. Creator of the insanely successful and simple messaging app Yo. Moshe Hogeg holds all of these titles and more. Starting with mobli, Hogeg has built a powerful network of companies while making strategic investments in key technologies. such as Storedot, Effective Space, Beyond Verbal and InfinityAR. In addition, he has raised incredible sums from global business leaders, tech veterans, and celebrities alike. A cursory glance of those Hogeg has partnered with, reads like a who’s who list of global elites: Carlos Slim, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kenges Rakishev, Serena Williams, Vic Lee, and more. Hogeg’s power lies in an uncanny ability to identify key trends and to tell a story both in terms of the technology and the messaging needed to attract users.

The Official – Avi Hasson:

In Israel, there is one government office that every tech entrepreneur needs to know – the Office of the Chief Scientist. This government official serves a unique role in Israel by providing low-cost funding for startups and other companies. The current Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson, was previously a partner at a leading investment firm, and understands the funding needs of young companies. While here in the U.S., taxpayers may frown upon investing in high-risk startups, Israel has used this tool to help spark incredible growth in its tech industry.

The Politician – Erel Margalit:

If Israel’s tech industry could choose a representative to the country’s parliament, then Erel Margalit would probably be its top choice. Margalit has deep ties to the country’s capital city, having founded Jerusalem’s premier VC – Jerusalem Venture Partners – one of the top VC’s in the country. While he was there, he personally led multiple exists for the firm’s portfolio companies including the massive exit of Chromatis for nearly $5 billion. His transition to politics started when he worked as an activist raising support for Israel’s Labor party, which ultimately led to his election to the Israeli parliament in 2013. Margalit now serves on the Finance and Science & Technology committees, where he is well positioned to advance the Israeli tech industry from within the confines of the government.

The Inventor – Dov Moran:

In Israel they call it disk on key. Everywhere else its called a USB flash drive or thumb drive. Whatever you call it, these small devices have become a ubiquitous form of storage that are so common (and affordable) they are often given away for free. All of this started with Dov Moran and his company M-Systems, which released the first USB flash drive in 1999. Ultimately, all this led to a massive acquisition, with SandDisk acquiring the company for $1.5 billion. He later founded Modu, which holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s lightest Wifi phone, and today he acts as CEO of Comigo, his latest venture. Moran continues to look for new opportunities, and has more experience in bringing a new hardware product to market than almost anyone else in the country.

In conclusion, of course no list of talented individuals can be totally complete or exhaustive. Each of the people on this list is backed up by incredible teams, family and friends, and the support of a community that understands the value of entrepreneurship and risk-taking. While I love the name – ‘Start-up Nation’, looking at this list reveals that Israel could just as easily be called ‘Entrepreneur Nation.” After all, a country or industry is nothing without its energetic and driven folks, working to make their ideas into reality.

Source: Forbes

Friday, September 26, 2014

Xiaomi Unveils Smartphone Dock That Monitors Blood Pressure, Heart Rate

Xiaomi launched a smartphone dock which will work as a health station for monitoring blood pressure and heart rate. The Chinese company has notably announced the new smartphone dock in partnership with iHealth Labs.

The company reportedly had invested $25 million in iHealth Labs earlier this week.

The Next Web reports that the smartphone dock will go on sale in China exclusively via Xiaomi's official site at CNY 199. The smartphone dock from Xiaomi, built in partnership with iHealth Labs, can measure blood pressure including both systolic and diastolic pressures, alongside tracking the heart rate of the user.

The report notes, "The dock includes an attached pad which is simply attached to a person's arm, as happens in a hospital, to get things going. The app is then used to operate the device." Further, Xiaomi stressed the fact that the new smartphone dock from Xiaomi is easy to use and is ideal for even elderly customers.

Notably, the results of blood pressure and heart rate can be shared with others via the companion app. For now, the new smartphone dock is said to be China exclusive as there is no word from the company on a launch outside the country.

Tech in Asia quotes a Xiaomi spokesperson, who said, "The blood pressure monitor can be used on other Android devices, but it is best suited for Xiaomi smartphones." It's worth pointing out that iHealth Labs in the past has launched a similar blood pressure dock for the iPhone.

However, the blood pressure dock for iPhone cost $79.95, which is more than twice the amount Xiaomi's new dock costs. Xiaomi had marked its first move to health-related gadgets back in July when the company launched its Mi Band alongside the company's flagship smartphone, Mi 4.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chinese Firms Swoop Into Israel Looking for Tech Investments

Published on The Wall Street Journal

By: Orr Hirschauge  

TEL AVIV—Chinese investors are pouring millions into Israel-focused, tech-investment funds—as well as launching their own funds and investing directly in Israeli startups—amid a frenzy of tech investment and deal making here. 
Yongjin Group Inc., a Chinese equity-investment management and financial- services company, has put between $15 million and $20 million into Israeli venture fund Pitango Venture Capital during the past year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Lenovo Group Ltd., the big Chinese computer maker, meanwhile invested around $10 million in Canaan Partners Israel, a venture fund affiliated with American-based Canaan Partners, in late August. 
And Ping An Venture, the venture investment arm of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., one of China's biggest financial conglomerates, in November created a $100 million fund dedicated to U.S. and Israel tech ventures. It has made six investments in Israeli startups so far, said Jiang Zhang, an associate director at Ping An Ventures.
The moves come amid a frenzy of fundraising among Israeli entrepreneurs. Israeli and foreign investors—lured by a drumbeat of stock-market listings and acquisitions among Israeli tech startups—have rushed in. In the first half of 2014, 335 Israeli high-tech companies raised a record $1.6 billion in capital, according to estimates by consultancy IVC Industry Analytics and KMPG. That was 81% higher than in the year-earlier period.
While Israeli, European and American investors have long trawled Israel for tech opportunities, Chinese investors are relatively new here. Industry insiders say so far they have preferred longer-term bets and looked for technology that is already being used back home, or sought investment possibilities there. 
"Most of the investments we're seeing are strategic investments and not purely financial ones," said Yoav Sade, a partner in law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal and vice chairman of the Israel-China Chamber of Commerce. 
"Chinese investors would look for tech companies that already have a product and sales with an added value that has to do with China," said Mr. Sade. "Many times the investment contracts include commercialization licenses for operations in China."
In July, Chinese venture fund SAIF Partners participated in a $15 million funding round in app-monetization company SupersonicAds Ltd. It was SAIF's first investment in an Israeli company, according to Ben Ng, a partner at SAIF Partners, who joined Supersonic's board following the investment.
At the same time, Supersonic announced plans to expand its business in China, Japan and India, saying it intended to open offices in Beijing, Tokyo and Bangalore.
"For the last two years, SAIF has been looking to expand its portfolio with a cross-border view. We're looking at companies in Israel" and Silicon Valley, said Mr. Ng.
Ping An and Chinese venture investor China Broadband Capital Partners LP took part in a $85-million, pre-initial public offering funding round in adware company IronSource Ltd. IronSource launched its Chinese branch with offices in Beijing this week. 
Despite these direct investments, much of the early money is being funneled through Israeli funds. Chinese Internet-security company Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. and web search giant Baidu Inc. have both invested in Carmel Ventures, an Israel venture fund, according to people familiar with the matter, with Qihoo putting in about $10 million in early 2014. Qihoo has also invested money with Jerusalem Venture Partners, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chinese Overseas Buying Increasingly Shifts to Private From State

Published in WSJ

China has been Asia's top buyer of overseas assets for years, but inside the country, the pendulum of buyers is shifting. Instead of state firms armed with billions of dollars pursuing assets from oil to mining, China's buyers are increasingly companies led by homegrown entrepreneurs on the lookout for Western brands and technology.

One-off acquisitions by China's big state companies remain bigger, but in the last three years, privately owned firms like computer maker Lenovo Group and Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. have contributed to the ever-larger volumes of buying abroad. Even Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese ecommerce giant that just raised US$21.8 billion in a New York initial public offering, has built up stakes in overseas assets, including U.S. mobile messaging service TangoMe Inc. this year.

"The theme of outbound China M&A has changed. State-owned enterprises are no longer the only buyers going overseas, private companies in industries like consumer and technology have started doing high-profile acquisitions on the global stage in recent years," said Stephen Gore, Asian-Pacific head of mergers and acquisitions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

At no time in the past has the gap between private and state buying of overseas assets been so small: This year alone, 188 overseas purchases worth $21 billion have been undertaken by non-state-owned Chinese firms, just $2 billion less than their bigger government counterparts, according to Dealogic data. Four years ago, state purchases, such as the $7.1 billion acquisition of Repsol Brasil SA by China Petrochemical Corp., contributed to a $24 billion gap.

By last year, overseas buying by private companies had reached a record high of $23 billion, almost three times the level in 2010. As single deals, state acquisitions remain bigger, but private firms have been busier. This year's top Chinese outbound deal was the $7 billion acquisition of Peruvian copper mine Las Bambas, followed by Lenovo's $2.9 billion bid for Google Inc. Motorola business and its $2.3 billion offer for International Business Machines Corp.'s IBM low-end server operation. Those transactions are expected to close by the end of the year.

Bankers point to three reasons behind the rising comparative heft of private companies: falling resource prices, the small size of their deals, and even Beijing's anti-corruption drive, which has put the focus on overspending by state firms.

"Large SOEs securing natural resources overseas have accounted for a major part of China's outbound acquisitions, but that's been slowing down because of the commodity backdrop and weak prices," said Lian Lian, North Asia co-head of M&A at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. For instance, oil prices have fallen 9% since the US$15.1 billion acquisition by Cnooc Ltd. of Canadian oil explorer Nexen Inc., still the biggest Chinese acquisition overseas.

"Another reason for the slowdown of state buying is that there's been tighter scrutiny of acquisitions under this new [leadership regime] and people have become more cautious," Ms. Lian said.

Bankers say the many foreign purchases by private firms are often also too small to attract regulatory scrutiny. Under new rules, only overseas purchases worth over $1 billion need a full review by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, though acquisitions in "sensitive" industries like news media and telecommunications will still have to be vetted.

Brett McGonegal, chief executive of Hong Kong-based boutique bank Reorient Group Ltd. ,said he expects Chinese private companies to continue their overseas purchases, with the West as their main target.

"The U.S. market has a big pool of available assets for sale, and Europe has a lot of distressed assets, which are attractive from a price perspective," Mr. McGonegal said.

Earlier this year, Reorient advised House of Fraser Ltd., a U.K. operator of luxury departments stores, on its £480 million ($786 million) sale to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group Ltd. The deal was the largest investment by a Chinese company in the retail sector overseas. The 165-year-old British department-store chain posted a loss before tax and exceptional items of £6.9 million for the year to January 26, 2013, its last publicly disclosed financial statements. In April Israeli tele-medicine company Natali Seculife Ltd. was acquired by Sanpower Group Ltd. at a value of $70 million.

Monday, September 22, 2014

With 10M Users, Israel’s Moovit Tries To Follow In Waze’s Footsteps For Mass Transit

After Waze’s $1.1 billion sale to Google on the back of crowd-generated data for drivers, it feels obvious that someone should do the same thing for the world’s mass transit systems. And indeed, another company out of Waze’s home market of Israel is trying to provide real-time, crowdsourced data on public transit.

Called Moovit, its backed with more than $30 million from investors including Sequoia Capital. The startup is adding adding a new city every two days and is growing at about 1 million users per month. Moovit has 10 million registered users total; it’s not sharing daily or monthly actives.

Unlike other apps like Uber, which have been criticized for being too exclusive before moving down-market, Moovit attracts a totally different clientele. For instance, many of their users in Los Angeles are working-class Latinos who rely heavily on public transit over commuting by car.

With more than 400 cities, Moovit is starting to amass data on the efficiency of public transit in different cities. For instance, they’ve found that Bogota and Los Angeles have the longest commute times with more than two hours in each system per day. While Los Angeles is understandable given its sprawl, Bogota is famous for pioneering a special Bus Rapid Transit system that has dedicated lanes and designed pick-up stops to make bus transit faster. They’ve also found that cities like Rome and Rio de Janeiro have the unfortunate distinctions of having the longest wait times for transit in their global network.

Like in Waze, Moovit users can look up directions to different places and see live commute times. They can also put in tips or data that alert other users in the community to delays.

That could form the basis of a valuable network of mapping data if they can scale the user base fast enough. Waze took a similar approach and it ended up being an enormous strategic acquisition even though Google already had overlapping mapping and transit data. Google didn’t want the app to fall into the hands of a rival like Facebook or Apple, that could build or improve a competing mapping product with the live Waze data.

Moovit now has about 55 employees and is in the process of opening Bay Area offices around marketing and business development.

Source: TechCrunch

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Siemens To Invest In Israeli Cyber Firm CyActive

ISRAEL: The venture capital unit of German industrial giant Siemens said it was investing an undisclosed sum in Israeli cyber-security startup CyActive. Launched in 2013, CyActive gained traction earlier this year when it was accepted into the Cyber Labs startup incubator, an investment vehicle backed by Jerusalem Venture Partners and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

CyActive’s business focuses on industrial and utility companies—high-risk targets for cyber security attacks. Industrial systems often operate continuously and are rarely taken offline for security updates, explained CyActive Chief Marketing Officer Danny Lev.

The company’s approach starts from the premise that most hackers are unlikely to create entirely original viruses. Advanced threats “always have at least one recycled or adapted program,” Lev said.

CyActive takes existing malware strains –essentially computer programs that are used for cyber hacking attacks–and mutates them into every possible format its algorithms can think of, thus hoping to predict and head off future attacks using recycled malware. The company’s software consists of detectors that it says can stave off hackers and viruses three-to-five years ahead of time, eliminating the need for regular upgrades.

Yoav Tzruya, a partner at JVP Cyber Labs, said the predictive malware strains are securely quarantined for their very short lifespan, and are deleted moments after they are created, so that there is no chance of them leaking out onto the Internet.

“It’s a bio inspired algorithm,” said Liran Tancman, CyActive’s co-founder and chief executive. “We do not make weapons; what our algorithms create are predictions.”

Siemens is CyActive’s first outside investor. Earlier this year, Siemens Venture Capital launched a $100 million “Industry of the Future” fund designed to target early stage tech startups.

“By investing at the early-stage, Siemens can access powerful and potentially game-changing technologies ahead of the market,” said Ralf Schnell, CEO of Siemens venture capital division. 

Siemens is in the late stages of evaluating and testing CyActive’s software for its own cyber security systems, with the aim of pitching it to Siemens’ industrial customers.

CyActive hopes to use the new funding to expand its presence in the United States and Europe. It plans to open its next regional office in Germany. The startup expects to benefit from Siemens’ ties to “key players in the industrials market…and their knowledge and experience designing and deploying advanced cyber solutions,” said Tancman.

In addition to CyActive, Siemens’ Industry of the Future Fund has made investments in three other tech startups: Boston-based CounterTack, Montreal-based Lagoa, and New York-based Augmate. The fund has yet to invest in Germany’s homegrown, Berlin-based startup scene.

Source: WSJ

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Xiaomi To Invest 25 million in Medical Device iHealth Lab

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc.'s venture capital arm has agreed to invest US$25 million in Chinese health products maker Andon Health Company Limited, according to a regulatory filing.

Tianjin-based Andon Health will establish a new entity called iHealth Inc. in Cayman Island, and inject its related global businesses in electronic and smart health device division iHealth into the new platform.

Xiaomi Ventures Limited will hold a 20% stake of iHealth Inc.

The two will develop new health products and services that can be applied to Xiaomi's e-commerce and cloud platforms.

The investment is part of Xiaomi's drive to invest in emerging new technologies, and to expand service offerings in healthcare, payment, e-commerce and more on its smartphone devices. For example, earlier in September, Xiaomi teamed up with Shunwei Capital Partners, a venture fund established by Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun, to lead a US$37.19 million series B financing in P2P (Peer-to-Peer) lending platform 

Established in 1995, Andon is one of the largest makers of blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters globally.

In August 2013 Xiaomi led an investment round in Israeli gesture control company Pebbles Interfaces.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Winnovation and Financial Investor From China to Invest $3.3 million in Beyond Verbal

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL,  – Beyond Verbal, the world’s Emotions Analytics leader, today announced a new cloud-based Wellness API tailored to developers of wellness and fitness solutions to create emotionally-aware apps, devices and services.

Simply using the human voice, the Beyond Wellness API turns a smartphone, microphone-equipped wearable device or app into a sensor that discovers and proactively tracks emotional wellbeing over time and in correlation with different lifestyle activities or events.

This announcement comes in conjunction with an additional $3.3 million round of funding led by Winnovation, SingulariTeam, and an unnamed financial services firm from China, bringing total funds invested in Beyond Verbal to more than $7 million.

Beyond Wellness API adds a new dimension to human-machine interaction for wellness tracking, the technology can be used to spot trends in the change of peoples’ overall emotional state and can be correlated with daily activities, life-style choices, fitness and more. Until now, emotions discovery and tracking have been largely limited to users self-logging and subjectively reporting their perceived emotions. With the Beyond Wellness API, emotional discovery is now instantly available in a more insightful, objective, scalable and scientific way.

“Wellness and fitness applications have advanced tremendously in recent years through technologies that quantify our exercise, our diet and our behavioral patterns. With the launch of Beyond Wellness API, we’re about to take another huge leap forward by enabling emotionally-aware wellness and fitness applications and devices,” said Yuval Mor, CEO, Beyond Verbal. “Since our initial launch, our primary requests have come from those in the healthcare and wellness space asking our company to integrate those aspects into the platform.”

Beyond Verbal’s technology is based on 19 years of research, hundreds of thousands of emotionally-tagged voices in over 30 languages, and five granted patents. The technology decodes and measures moods, attitudes and decision-making traits based on the underlying emotions that are carried through the sound of the human voice. The Beyond Verbal Wellness API will be available end of month.

Emotion analytics are continuing to be implemented as an additional layer into already existing intelligence platforms. Beyond Verbal recently partnered with Lieberman Research Worldwide (LRW), and also launched their first consumer based app, Moodies. Beyond Verbal launched in May 2013 and has raised over $7 million to date.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Israel Looks To China And The East - Article by Jennifer L. Schenker

Written by Jennifer L. Schenker

When Pebbles Interfaces, an Israeli gesture-control start-up, needed to expand into Asia in 2013 it turned to Xiaomi, one of China’s largest smartphone manufacturers, to help it complete an $11 million round. It was among the first Israeli tech startups to receive funding from a Chinese company.

It will most certainly not be the last. Israeli high-tech companies and the venture community have traditionally looked at the U.S. as a source of funding and as a primary market, particularly in the software, Internet and media sectors. But times are changing and Israeli companies are increasingly looking east.

It’s not surprising: if predictions are right, ten years from now China will have overtaken the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. Technology will play an important role in helping China move ahead. So, “as Israel has innovative technology solutions to offer, we are beginning to see a growing Chinese interest in Israel, alongside a growing Israeli business interest in China,” says Chemi Peres, a co-founder and managing partner at Israeli venture firm Pitango Ventures.

Indeed, the ties between Israel and China’s tech sectors are “growing tremendously year on year,” says China specialist Yair Geva, a lawyer in the high tech and M&A group at Israeli law firm Herzog Fox & Neeman.

A lot of M&A Activity

The investments — which were nonexistent until about three years ago — began with deals targeting traditional sectors. China National Chemical Corporation acquired Israeli agrochemicals manufacturer Makhteshim Agan Industries in 2011 in a deal worth over $2 billion. Han’s Laser Technology, a Chinese supplier to Apple, bought Israel’s Nextec Technologies in 2013 to expand in the market for laser measurement devices used in the auto and aircraft industries. Earlier this year Bright Food Group, the dairy and consumer-products company backed by the Shanghai government, purchased Tnuva Food Industries.

There has also been a lot of M&A activity in the medical devices and pharmaceutical sectors. Now the focus is turning to the Internet sector. Last year Israeli startup company Cortica, which develops photo identification technologies, raised $20 million. The lead investor was one of China’s big four Internet companies. (It chose not to disclose its name publicly.)

“Tencent, Qihoo 360, Alibaba and Baidu are all very active here now and are considering opening accelerators here,” says Geva. “We will see real M&A activity in this field as well. Once this happens Israeli companies will be even more open to focus on the Chinese market as opposed to only looking at the U.S.”

The reason for this investment is “Chinese companies are seeking access to cutting-edge technologies and the way for them to do that is to invest in an Israeli start-up company and in parallel to have some sort of business development with that company. That was the case for Cortica and it is the case for Pebbles Interface,” says Manor Zemer, a banker at Lanta Capital Holdings, a Tel Aviv consulting company that mainly focuses on seeking investment opportunities and business cooperation for Chinese technology companies and venture capital funds in the Israeli high-tech arena.

Venture Investments Are On The Rise

Another example is Visualead, a QR code design maker, which has formed a joint venture with Renren, a Chinese messaging system similar to Twitter, and recently moved to Shanghai.

Along with M&A deals, venture investments in Israeli start-ups are on the rise. Horizon Ventures, the venture capital fund of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, is now among the most active venture firms in Israel. It has invested in more than 25 start-ups in Israel in the last three years, says Horizon Ventures’ Gilad Novik, a scheduled speaker at the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival.

Some of the investments are being made indirectly. Israeli venture firm Pitango Venture Capital has raised money from investors in China, Korea, Taiwan and India for a fund. “All of those investments were first-time investments in Israel and I think this trend will continue to grow,” says Peres.

“In many cases China is willing to invest in Israel assuming there will be matching funds. It is always a challenge to find matching funds. We need a little more time to redefine the way we work with China and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole but the potential is huge and we are just at the beginning.”

Genesis too is “starting to look at China and Chinese corporations and investors as a potential source of funding for our fund,” says Jonathan Saacks, a partner at Israeli venture firm Genesis Partners. 

China’s Focus On Israel Will Continue To Grow 

Amid all of the activity the number of government-funded R&D projects between Israel and China is dramatically increasing. “Every year with China there are more agreements and activities and I believe in the next few years there will be almost the same or even more cooperation between companies in Israel and China than there are with the U.S. ” says Avi Luvton, executive director of Asia Pacific in Israel’s Chief Scientist’s Office.

Ties with academic institutions are also being strengthened not only through R&D projects but also due to a $130 million grant to Israel’s Technion University from the Li Ka-Shing Foundation. The contribution is a part of a larger deal in which the Israeli university will partner with China’s Shantou University to establish a technology institute to be called Technion-Guangdong Institute of Technology, in Shantou (Shantou is a city in China’s southern Guangdong province). The new institute will be built with Chinese funding, but will grant its graduates a Technion diploma.

“China’s focus on Israel will continue to grow, and so will its interest in the Middle East as a whole,” predicts Peres. “These two trends offer opportunities for cutting-edge Israeli technology companies as well as the region as a whole.”

Source: Infomilo

Israeli Security Company Sentrix Raised 6 Million from Magma VC and Cedar Fund

Sentrix, formerly Foresight-Air, has opened its first US office in Boston, MA after securing more than $6 million in funding from Magma Venture Partners, Cedar Fund, Israel’s Chief Scientist program (OCS) and Board members. Sentrix is using the funds to significantly redefine website security in order to better protect today’s organizations against a rapidly evolving threat landscape.

Sentrix’ cloud-based, context-aware website security solutions protect websites against data breaches, as well as known and unknown cyber attacks including: DDoS, OWASP Top 10, Defacement, Zero Day and more. Web Protection and DDoS attacks are 2 of the 3 major security concerns that enterprises have today, according to a 2013 report from Ponemon. The solutions empower security teams with enterprise-grade SECURITY, SIMPLICITY in management and maintenance, as well as SPEED, by maximizing website performance.

Today’s enterprises need to choose between minimal protection – mainly against known threats/signatures – using SMB targeted cloud-based filtering services, or a higher level of protection – using an on-premise Web Application Firewall, which involves long and costly configuration processes and endless maintenance cycles. The former is easy to deploy yet very easy to bypass, while the latter slows time to market and puts a significant burden on security teams in terms of configuration and ongoing analysis.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Application Firewalls specifically states that: “Dedicated DDoS protection, WAFs and next-generation firewall technologies overlap for protocol attacks, provide very limited synergies and are not fully efficient against volumetric attacks.” [Jeremy D'Hoinne, Adam Hils, Greg Young, Joseph Feiman, Gartner WAF Magic Quadrant, June 2014]

Sentrix’ ground-breaking technology has broken current paradigms by providing high security from known and unknown attacks while simultaneously reducing the complexity of deployment and operation by an order of magnitude (from weeks and months to days). See how it works.

“Sentrix is attracting a growing number of mid-size and large enterprises in the financial services, telecom, education, government, manufacturing and other sectors. Our customers use Sentrix to protect their websites against the entire range of Web Application attacks, and benefit from dramatic improvements in website security and management simplicity,” explained Ofer Wolf, Sentrix CEO. “By reducing the attack surface and simplifying the complexity and cost of maintenance, the solution cuts management time by up to 80% and reduces TCO by up to 50%.”

U.S. and Leadership Expansion

With news of its funding and U.S. expansion, Sentrix has also expanded its leadership team. Veteran executive appointments, along with an expanded Board of Directors, will help guide the Company’s proven and powerful cyber security technology toward rapid growth in the U.S. and Europe.

“The gap between the cost of attacks and the cost of prevention is skyrocketing, forcing organizations to look for innovative solutions that disrupt traditional approaches,” stated Zeev Bregman, Sentrix’ new Chairman of the Board and former CEO of NICE and Comverse, Inc. “Sentrix has developed an approach that empowers security teams to sensibly manage their web security operations while focusing on what’s really important.”

“I’ve been working with dozens of executives in the industry over the years and consistently hear a strong, clear demand for advanced web security solutions that offer high security protection, as well as instant and simple integration, while significantly reducing management overhead and limiting operational costs,” explained Amir Orad, Sentrix’ new Board Member and Former CEO NICE Actimize and Cofounder of Cyota (RSA).

As part of its U.S. expansion, Sentrix has opened a new Boston-area office located at 1050 Winter Street in Waltham, MA. Sentrix co-founder Israel Barak has relocated to the area and will be managing the North American expansion.

Source: BusinessWire

China’s Shenyang Yuanda To Acquire Israeli Company AutoAgronom For $20M

Israeli smart irrigation tech company AutoAgronom is set to be acquired by Chinese company Shenyang Yuanda for $20 million. The news comes after AutoAgronom, a young company with offices in Israel and the US, saw impressive results using the company’s patented technology, Root Sense, and three months after the two companies signed a joint venture agreement.

Using AutoAgronoms systems, farmers were able to increase yields and resource efficiency dramatically. The acquisition is important for the Chinese market that struggles with issues of food security. To date, the company’s technology has been successful with over 70 different types of crops in 13 different countries. AutoAgronom is a MassChallenge 2014 finalist and a Clean Tech Open winner in Israel.

Source: NoCamels

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Slyce To Buy Tel Aviv Based Startup Pounce for $5 million

Tel Aviv-based Pounce, a mobile shopping app that surfaces deals from retailers, as well as a way to shop print ads and catalogs from your smartphone, has been acquired by visual search company Slyce for $5 million in shares, cash and earn-out incentives. The deal wasn’t entirely a talent grab either, says Slyce, as the company was already on track to roll out a consumer-facing app of its own. The technology from Pounce is helping it to speed things up.

Additionally, the technology from Pounce will be offered to Slyce’s retailer customers.

Pounce, for a bit of background, is the main product from BuyCode, founded in 2012. The app was tackling one of the harder aspects to mobile shopping: the checkout process. But instead of strictly going after e-commerce website integrations, for example, the app worked with retail partners and other third parties to link item photos to inventory and pricing information. The end result was an app that allowed consumers to scan items – like retailer circulars or magazine ads – or browse through a series of deals, then checkout in just a couple of clicks.

It was an e-commerce experience, essentially, since the retailers’ commerce platforms were involved in making the sales happen, but it was one that began through a different sort of user activity – scanning and snapping, not surfing the web.

As of last year, the app supported retailers like Macy’s, Ace Hardware, Target, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Staples, Best Buy, and more. More recent integrations included other large brands like Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay.

According to Slyce, one of the things that made Pounce’s technology desirable was that it allowed customers to continue to checkout items from multiple retailers’ commerce platforms after entering in their payment information just one time. That’s still a difficult aspect to mobile shopping today, which a number of companies are tackling, including PayPal with its new SDKs and One Touch product, as well as Google with Google Wallet, and Apple more recently with its Apple Pay for mobile apps. 

Now image recognition startup Slyce has something similar, thanks to this acquisition.

For those unfamiliar with Slyce, the Toronto-based image recognition startup itself offers similar technology to “Amazon Flow” or Amazon’s Firefly feature in its new Amazon Fire smartphones. Firefly lets you point your Amazon phone at objects in the real world, and then buy them (from Amazon, naturally!).

Slyce, meanwhile, has been partnering with major retailers so they can offer the same to their own customers, as well as video and audio recognition, QR and barcode scanning, and NFC. Once items are scanned with Slyce, they can be purchased immediately. However, Slyce had been focusing on retail customers until now, not the consumer. That will change in Q4 2014 when the company rolls out its own consumer app that will be capable of recognizing objects in the real world and enabling one-click purchases. Call it “Amazon Firefly” for the rest of retail, perhaps. Pounce fits in nicely by helping Slyce save on development time and investment with its B2C strategy.

Following the acquisition, Pounce’s team will join Slyce and CEO Avital Yachin will join the company’s executive team.

“We’re incredibly excited to be acquiring both the technology and the immense talent that Pounce comes with,” said Slyce CEO Mark Elfenbein in a prepared statement. “We are consistently looking to add and perfect the functionality we can offer major retailers with the Slyce visual search platform.”

Source: Techcrunch

Monday, September 15, 2014

Israeli Startup Fitterli The Winner Of Intel Business Challenge Europe 2014

The young Israeli startup Fitterli, a service that provides an online virtual changing room for shoppers, is the winner of the Intel Business Challenge Europe 2014. The Israeli team beat teams from 12 European countries.

The winning teams of the various Intel Business Challenges will be presented with the opportunity to attend the final Intel Global Challenge 2014 at the University of California later in the year. Three Israeli startups made it to the final phase, Augmedics and Pzartech, but Fitterli’s unique method of online clothes shopping won over the judges.

Fitterli is run by the four man team that includes CEO Daniel Mankowitz, CTO Aaron Wetzler, CSO Matan Sela and COO Sebastian Derhy.

Source: NoCamels

Israeli Start Up Cloudyn Closed 4$ million Investment Led By Titanium Investments

Cloudyn, a cloud administrative service that helps companies monitor and optimize cloud utilization and cost across different infrastructure providers, announced today it had received $4M in Series A funding led by Titanium Investments with additional funding from existing investor RDSeed. The funding brings the total amount raised to date to $5.5M. Alexander Aivazov, Managing Partner of Titanium Investments will get a seat on the Cloudyn board of directors.

Cloudyn is part of a growing group of services designed to support and administer the use of cloud resources. In the case of Cloudyn says CEO Sharon Wagner, “We provide monitoring for cost, usage and performance across different cloud vendors, whether public or private.” That could mean monitoring pricing across services, recommending the right cloud configuration for each one and optimizing resource allocation across services. “We will recommend increasing size of instances to increase performance and recommend consolidation of similar resources,” Wagner said. He added that, you can always pay for additional performance, but customers are looking for that optimal point between cost and performance. Ideally that would mean Cloudyn would give you visibility across your different cloud instances wherever they lived to help you find that balance.

For now, Cloudyn supports Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and OpenStack, but Wagner says the company intends to use part of the funding to expand support to other popular cloud platforms, particularly Microsoft Azure and VMware. Wagner said he is seeing increased demand from customers for both of these platforms and they needed funding to build the support into the platform. “Customers want a more holistic view of cloud optimizations, not just Amazon, Google and OpenStack we support today,” Wagner explained.

Wagner said, Cloudyn also wants to provide additional ways of measuring performance moving forward, helping to find ways to connect cloud performance metrics to business revenue. If companies can maximize use of their cloud services and run more efficiently, it stands to reason they could tie that to lower operational costs and potentially increased revenue.

Wagner said the company, which is based in Israel, wants to build out the customer support and success part of the business by opening and staffing a support office in the US somewhere in Silicon Valley. Today, 80 percent of Cloudyn’s customers are in the US.

The company received $1.5M in seed funding in September, 2011 and has built the company to 17 people, mostly engineers. It claims 2400 customers to date.

Source: Techcrunch

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Israel's Insightec to receive $12.5 Million investment from Chinese Investors

Elbit Imaging Ltd. (TASE, NASDAQ: EMITF) announced today that it was informed by InSightec Ltd. of the closing of investment of US$ 12.5 million by Shanghai GEOC Hengtong Investment Limited Partnership and Fortune China Limited.In the framework of the present investment round in InSightec, the Chinese Group has acquired 5% of the share capital of InSightec on a fully diluted basis, in consideration for a total payment of $12.5 million.

InSightec is the pioneer and global leader in MR guided focused ultrasound technology. Founded in 1999 by GE Healthcare (then GE Medical Systems) and Elbit Medical Imaging its mission is to transform its MR guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) into a clinically viable technology.

Since then, InSightec has invested close to $200 million in research and development. The company holds over 90 patents with additional intellectual property pending.

The company is headquartered in Tirat Carmel, Israel, near the port city of Haifa. It has US offices in Milwaukee, WI and Dallas, TX as well as offices in Europe and Asia.

Kenshoo to buy Israeli ads company Adquant.

Kenshoo, a global software company that engineers cloud-based digital marketing solutions and predictive media optimization technology will pay $12 million for Adquant. 

Adquant, launched in 2012, is a SaaS company focused on delivering the best-of-breed social advertising platform. Developed as the internal Facebook platform for the Adotomi agency in 2009, one of the first Facebook PMDs, the Adquant technology has been market proven by the most demanding Facebook advertisers.

Kenshoo empowers the world’s most sophisticated advertisers with the tools needed to succeed in a quickly changing digital landscape.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ericsson buys Israeli startup Fabrix Systems for $95 million

Ericsson today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Israeli startup Fabrix Systems, a leading provider of cloud storage, computing and network delivery for video applications that today power some of the most advanced cable and telecom cloud DVR deployments. Fabrix Systems further extends Ericsson's leading TV and media portfolio with a cloud based scale out storage and computing platform focused on providing a simple, tightly integrated solution optimized for media storage, processing and delivery applications such as cloud DVR and video-on-demand (VOD) expansion.

The approach takes advantage of the latest advances in clustered storage; grid computing; virtualization and video processing technologies enabling a wide range of applications. The acquisition enables new services and migration to cloud DVR deployments in all TV platforms including Ericsson MediaFirst and Ericsson Mediaroom. It also adds to Ericsson's video-centric network and services capabilities to ensure that video can be managed, stored and delivered from the cloud to all TV Anywhere devices efficiently and with assured quality of experience. As TV evolves ever more rapidly in the Networked Society, the rise of broadband connectivity, cloud services, and mobility will lead to a highly disruptive period in the entire media value chain. Ericsson's annual ConsumerLab TV & Media Report shows consumers are rapidly embracing TV services that provide immediacy, ease of access, and personalized relevance.

This acquisition accelerates Ericsson's capability to meet consumers' expectations in the way they want to enjoy TV today and into the future. It will enable TV service providers to migrate key consumer services and applications into the video cloud while at the same time ensuring the delivery of video efficiently and with assured quality of experience to TV Anywhere devices.

Per Borgklint, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson says, "We are investing significantly across our TV platform and video-network areas to extend our market leadership position. Our Media Vision 2020 shows that traditional TV is shifting rapidly towards TV Anywhere and Ericsson's leadership in broadcast, video and networks places us in a unique position to enable the most demanding customers to define and deliver the future of TV. Fabrix Systems further positions Ericsson to help customers deliver on the Networked Society's global demand for personalized video content on any screen, at any time."

Ram Ben-Yakir, CEO and co-founder of Fabrix Systems, says: "TV service providers, particularly those with IP delivery networks, are accelerating their network architecture investments in video optimization to deliver on the promise of TV Anywhere. Through worldwide deployments of our cloud storage and computing capabilities, we have enabled leading TV service providers to provide consumer services such as DVR through cloud-based deployments, lowering costs and enabling a more unified consumer experience in content on-demand." Fabrix Systems was founded in 2006 with offices in the US and Israel and brings a team of highly skilled cloud computing software engineers. The company has 103 employees.

The purchase price for 100% of the shares in Fabrix Systems is USD 95 million. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, 2014, subject to customary closing conditions. Fabrix Systems will be incorporated into Business Unit Support Solutions.

Source: NASDAQ

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Israel Seeks to Boost Angel Investment in Tech With Tax Break

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett is working to revolutionize the way early-stage startups that drive the country’s economy are funded.

Bennett, himself a former high-tech entrepreneur, is pushing ahead legislation that would let angel investors write off 100 percent of the money they put into young companies.

“This is the most aggressive angel law that I’ve heard of,” said Bennett. “It is explosive.”

In addition to boosting Israel’s technology industry, which makes up about half of industrial exports, the legislation would also cool the housing market by siphoning off investments from real estate, he said. Housing prices have jumped about 80 percent in nominal terms since 2007.

Israel has 6,000 or so active startups, but only about 1,000 raise venture capital, according to Koby Simana, head of the Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center. “It is a good opportunity for both start-ups and private investors.”

Last month, Mobileye NV (MBLY), which makes software to avoid car accidents, raised $890 million, a record for an Israeli company going public in the U.S. Data security company CyberArk this week filed to sell shares in the U.S. for as much as $80 million.

Source: Bloomberg

Israeli cyber security company CyberArk to kick-off $75 million IPO

Israel-based cybersecurity software company Cyber-Ark Software Ltd. kicks off its roadshow Thursday, aiming to start trading on the Nasdaq on Sept. 22, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company will issue about 5.5 million primary shares, looking to raise $75 million for a valuation ranging between $400 million and $500 million, these people said.

Cyber-Ark makes security software for businesses that aims at protecting against intruders hacking into users' accounts. The company was founded in Israel in 1999 and its headquarters and main research and development center is in Petah-Tikva, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The company's U.S. headquarters are located in Newton, Mass., and it also has offices in the U.K., France, the Netherlands and Singapore.

Cyber-Ark filed publicly for an IPO on Nasdaq on June 24th. According to the company's prospectus, after registering revenues of $36.4 million in 2011, the company's revenues in 2012 rose to $47.2 million in 2012 and $66.2 million in 2013. Cyber-Ark's net income grew from $5.9 million in 2011, to 7.9 million in 2012 and went down to $6.6 million in 2013.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Barclays Capital Inc. are acting as joint book-running managers of the offering. The company filed to be listed under the stock ticker symbol CYBR.

The biggest shareholder in the company is Jerusalem Venture Partners, which owns a stake of more than 40%. Jerusalem Venture Partner's founder, Erel Margalit, is a member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Other active investors in Cyber-Ark include Vertex Venture Partners and Cabaret Holdings.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Baidu to Invest $10.6 million in Online Education Company Innobuddy

Baidu is taking a further step to expand to online education industry by investing in a third online education company this year. The Chinese search engine has joined Round C in test prep service Wanxue Education in July and acquired Chuanke one month later. Innobuddy, the operator of online education sites of SmartStudy and SmartPigai, announced that it has secured US$10.6 million of Series A financing from Baidu at a valuation of nearly US$100 million.

The company has previously received 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) of angel investment from undisclosed investors. Launched in Feb. this year, SmartStudy is an online education platform engaged in offering preparation courses that help students to pass standardized language tests before they get enrolled in foreign universities. The courses are mainly dedicated to exam-oriented testing strategies for popular tests like TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, IELTS, etc.

SmartPigai is a personalized writing and oral language improvement site with similar test-oriented focus like SmartStudy. Users can submit their articles or speeches on certain topics prepared by the platform. Language experts with the site will then give personalized suggestions for improvement based on student’s writing patterns and pronunciations, etc.

Innobuddy is co-founded by Wei Xiaoliang and Zhai Shaocheng, two former execs from leading Chinese private education company New Oriental. After this round of financing, Innobuddy plans to shift the focus of both sites from PC to mobile terminals. Wei Xiaoliang, co-founder of the company, mentioned that they are experimenting with applying smart wearable helmet in the learning process in a bid to create better learning environment. Wei added that they are considering to use Baidu Eye. 

The proceeds will be used in team construction, marketing, contents, and algorithm development, noted Wei. In addition to traffic and technical supports from Baidu, Wei expects to find more cooperation opportunities will all the services under Baidu, like Baidu Wenku (document sharing site similar to Google Book), Baidu Brain (an artificial intelligence project), Baidu Zhidao (a Q&A style site with social features), among others. Similar to the case of Wanxue, Baidu’s investment in Innobuddy seems to be mainly driven by its crave for quality education contents.

Source: Technode

Israeli medical device company Inovytec signed a strategic agreement with Chinese comapny Haier

Israeli medical device company Inovytec Medical Solutions Ltd. announce a strategic agreement with Chinese company Haier. Inovytec specializes in providing advanced, state-of-the-art, non-invasive critical care devices for Pre-hospital and Out of Hospital use, by professional and non-professional caregivers under emergency conditions.

Inovytec products are molded to address the 21st Century emergency care expectations, where reliable, fail-safe, and simple to use emergency care will be immediately available for use on-site with the highest assurance of success. Inovytec devices are designed to save lives where the first few minutes are crucial. Not only in cases of SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest), but also in a variety of respiratory, cardiac, central nervous system and trauma emergencies in which airway management, oxygen therapy , monitoring and defibrillating may be required. Inovytec devices are designed to be operated by local caregivers under all conditions that require immediate intervention and assistance. This includes public areas, ambulatory, EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and others.

The critical care market in China has a potential of $500 million per year and is expected to grow up to $10 billion. Inovytec devices will be deployed in more than 900,000 local clinics and later will also enter the domestic market.

BATM to Invest in Israeli Medical Device Startup Opticul Diagnostics

BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. to invest up to $450,000 in the Israeli in vitro diagnostics medical device company, Opticul Diagnostics.

BATM provides real-time technologies for the networked telecoms and medical laboratory equipment markets. Opticul has developed a process for rapid diagnosis, using photonic laser technologies, of micro-organisms based on their outer morphology. The process - applied through the Optidet device - enables faster, lower cost and more reliable diagnostics compared with current technologies.

Opticul and BATM will conduct joint R&D in the U.S. and Israel to develop and launch the next prototype of Optidet. Of the agreed investment, $200,000 is being paid upfront in cash and the remainder as milestones are achieved. BATM will own 20% of the issued share capital of Opticul Diagnostics.

Opticul has already obtained US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European ISO approval for an early prototype. BATM CEO Dr. Zvi Marom said, "Opticul has invented a truly disruptive technology that is able to identify a type of bacteria in minutes instead of days. This investment is complementary to our diagnostics business and adds another technology offering to our portfolio."

Source: Globes

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Xiaomi Leads $37M Investment in Chinese P2P Site JimuBox

JimuBox, an online peer-to-peer lending service, announced today it has raised US$37.19 million in Series B funding led by Xiaomi Corporation, the Chinese smart device and Internet service company, and Shunwei China Internet Fund, a venture capital fund co-founded by Xiaomi CEO and co-founder Lei Jun. Xiaomi and Shumwei invested last year in Israeli startup Pebbles Interfaces. 

Other investors joining this round include Matrix Partners China, Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd (Vertex Group), Magic Stone Alternative Investments and existing investor Ventech China. 

JimuBox, launched in August 2013, is founded by Peng Xiaomei, former COO at travel search Qunar, Dong Jun, Wei Wei and Barry Freeman. The service is available on its website, iOS and Android.

There were about 1200 peer-to-peer lending sites in China as of July 2014, according to the latest report released by Chinese online financial product search service Rong360. A total of more than 440,000 investors were active on about 300 sites. More than 60 sites were found to be fraudulent or closed down in the first seven months of this year.

As Internet-based finance is regarded as one of the next big things in China, most big Chinese Internet companies have tapped into it. Most of them, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Sohu and Sina, have begun selling mutual funds through their Web-based services or mobile apps. Some new financial products tailored for the Internet have been created, such as Alibaba’s Yuebao.

Xiaomi won’t get left behind. It won’t be long before users can buy online financial products on MIUI, the custom Android system developed by the company for its own hardware products and for free download. 

Source: Technode 

Israeli Cyber Security Start-Up LightCyber Raised $10 Million

Light Cyber Ltd., an Israeli based cyber-security start-up, has raised $10 million in a new funding round led by Battery Ventures. Also participating in the round are existing investors Glilot Capital Partners, which led the company’s previous round, and Marius Nacht, one of the co-founders of Check Point Software Technologies. 

Founded in 2011 by veterans of the Israel Defense Force’s technological units, Lightcyber makes a data security system that it says enables companies to detect cyber penetrations early on.

Once deployed the technology creates a profile for users and devices in the company’s systems. The profile is based on data gathered from the network, devices, and users and detects anomalies based on a benchmark it creates.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen that security products do not keep hackers out. Once the attackers are in they can stay dormant for weeks and months before actually making their move. We have found exploits in every single enterprise our software was deployed in, even in off-line systems,” said Gonen Fink, chief executive officer of LightCyber.

LightCyber started selling its product in 2013 and says it currently has dozens of clients, among them banks, law firms, and government agencies. 

“In today’s landscape of advanced, persistent threats, old-fashioned, perimeter security measures are no longer sufficient. Today, a company’s security arsenal must contain technology that can identify malicious activity in the internal network with a minimum of false-positives,” said Battery’s Parnafes.

Earlier this month Israeli Cyber-Security Startup GuardiCore Ltd. announced an $11 million funding round, also led by Battery Ventures. ThetaRay Ltd. another Israeli cyber security start-up, announced an investment of $10 million in late July.

Source: Wall Street Jurnal

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Baidu to Recruit Microsoft Top Executive Zhang Yaqin

Zhang Yaqin, a Microsoft veteran who has been credited with driving Microsoft’s R&D efforts in China, is leaving the software company for personal reasons. Source said that he would join Chinese search giant Baidu as president for new business. The report added that he would report directly to Robin Li, the co-founder and chairman of Baidu.

Zhang currently works as cooperate vice president of Microsoft and chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group. He leads more than 3,000 engineers and scientists engaged in basic research, technology innovations and incubation, product development and strategic partnerships, according to the report.

The now 57-year-old Zhang joined Microsoft as chief scientist at Microsoft Research Asia in 1999. After taking the post as chairman of Microsoft Research Asia during 2000 to 2004, he worked as vice president to oversee Microsoft’s mobile and embedded division, including Window Mobile and Windows CE platform. Since 2006, Zhang is responsible for driving Microsoft’s overall research and development efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

In recent years, Chinese tech companies like Baidu and Xiaomi has been voracious in snapping up high-profile talents from global Internet giants such as Microsoft and Google in a bid to boost their international businesses and management levels.

Baidu hired Andrew Ng, formerly head of Stanford University’s artificial-intelligence lab, earlier this year to lead its new R&D center and Baidu Brain plan. Hugo Barra, former vice president of product management for Android, left Google for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi as Vice President of International last year. Zhang Hongjiang, a founding member of Microsoft Research Asia Group, left the software company and join Kingsoft as CEO in 2011.

Source: Technode

Ahead of Tonight IPhone 6: Steve Jobs First iPhone 2007 Presentation

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tencent to invests $20 million in mobile game developer PATI

PATI Games, A Korean mobile game producer, announced it has successfully secured a US$19.7 million investment from Tencent, China’s largest Internet service provider. Tencent would invest the amount through the third-party allocation of new shares. With this capital infusion, Tencent became the second largest shareholder of the company with a 20% stake.

PATI Games underwent is in preparation for going public on the Kosdaq market last July and with the Tencent’s investment it is expected to step on to overseas mobile game markets earlier than expected.

Lee Dae-hyung, CEO of PATI, said, “I’m thrilled to have a new growth momentum with the Tencent’s investment amid a situation of ever-fierce mobile game competition. We expect the capital infusion will strengthen our mutual relationship.”

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Baidu Invests $10M In Mapping Software Maker IndoorAtlas

Finnish startup IndoorAtlas, which develops indoor mapping technology that uses magnetic positioning, has received a $10 million investment from Baidu, China’s top search company. The two companies also announced that they have signed an agreement which will make Baidu the only user of IndoorAtlas’ technology in China.

IndoorAtlas will used the capital for research and development, as well as engineering and business development in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. The company’s technology uses the earth’s geomagnetic field to find locations inside a building and says it can achieve accuracy within two meters.

In a statement, IndoorAtlas founder and CEO Janne Haverinen said that the partnership with Baidu gives the company access to over 1.34 billion new subscribers.

In turn, Baidu will be able to integrate IndoorAtlas’ tech into its existing location-based services and mapping products, said Baidu vice president Liu Jun. “IndoorAtlas’ intellectual property portfolio and global geographical coverage will be instrumental in helping us at Baidu build out our LBS platform for local merchants in China and abroad.”

This is the latest in several steps Baidu has taken to ramp up its mobile strategy. While it is China’s search leader and considered one of the top three Internet companies in the country (along with Alibaba and Tencent), Baidu has struggled to compete with its rivals for China’s rapidly growing base of mobile users. But Baidu’s mobile business has been gaining ground. It Q2 2014 results showed that revenue grew 59 percent year over year, with mobile accounting for over 30 percent of total revenue.

Other notable investments that Chinese Internet companies have made in mapping or navigation technology companies include Alibaba’s $1.5 billion purchase of AutoNavi in April and Tencent’s purchase of a 11.3 percent stake in mapping company NavInfo for $187 million in May.


Israel’s SolarEdge to Raise Over $100 Million New York IPO

SolarEdge Technologies Inc., a developer of solar power optimizing systems, plans to raise more than $100 million in an initial public offering next year, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The Hod Hasharon, Israel-based company, whose financial backers include a General Electric Co. investment arm, is in talks with financial institutions for a New Yorklisting next summer, said the people, asking not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.
“We have all intentions to become one of the largest players in the market and doing that in this market requires a lot of money,” Ronen Faier, SolarEdge’s chief financial officer, said in a telephone interview today. Faier declined to discuss details of a potential IPO plan next year. “It’s very hard to grow a large company on private money.”
SolarEdge in 2011 raised $37 million in a funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners. Other existing investors include Opus Capital Venture Partners LP, Walden International Inc., Genesis Partners, Vertex Venture Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Electric Co.’s GE Energy Financial Services unit. SolarEdge is looking to expand its Asia operations, Faier said.
Founded in 2006, the company says it has shipped over 2 million power optimizers to more than 45 countries worldwide and its installations can be found in five continents, according to the company’s website. Annual sales are ’’well north of $100 million,’’ and the company is approaching profitability, according to Faier.

Source: Bloomberg