Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Shanghai To Establish An Innovation Centre for Israeli Companies

Hongkou District today established a science and technology center in the Dabaishu area that includes an incubation center to help more Israeli companies invest in Shanghai. The Dabaishu Science and Technology Innovative Center includes laboratories studying energy dissipation and industrial bacteria strains in cooperation with universities like Fudan and Tongji.

It will also offer supporting services in the fields of intellectual property and risk assessment to institutes and companies based in the center, the district science and technology commission said. Haifa, Israel, signed an agreement with the center to establish the Hicenter to help high-tech companies from the country invest in Shanghai.

Arnon Perlman, consul general of Israel in Shanghai, said the Hicenter would work two ways. It will allow Israeli companies to get a foothold in China while also allowing Chinese firms to apply to enter Israel, he said. Perlman said Israeli companies investing in Shanghai mainly focus on hi-tech, medicine, water treatment, the environment and agriculture. The commission built an apartment building beside the center on Handan Road to accommodate experts from outside the city and abroad.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Teddy Sagi buys Israeli startup Adience

Adience, founded 18 months ago, today announced that it had been acquired by the Teddy Sagi group. Sources inform "Globes" that the price was $20 million. Adience operates in the mobile applications market, in which Sagi is trying to get as big a foothold as possible. The company has developed a system for managing mobile user applications, based on deep learning technology. The purpose of this technology is to understand the user's needs, which are becoming more complex with time and the increase in the mass of information on the Internet. Adience's solution generates a user profile, which helps mobile advertising agencies and their customers improve their offerings to users of their applications, thereby upgrading the user experience and maintaining their loyalty to the application as much as possible.

Adience, a very young company, has only 10 employees in its Tel Aviv offices, so the $20 million value generated by its founders is quite considerable. The company was founded by three veterans of the IDF 8200 Intelligence Corps unit: CPO Sasha Medvedovsky, CTO Eran Eidinger, and CEO Roee Nahir. According to the Registrar of Companies, each of the three owns 19.6% of Adience, while the largest financial shareholder in the company is Magma Venture Partners (7.7%). It is believed that Adience has raised $1.6 million since it was founded, which means that its shareholders have made a return of 13 times on their money.

Nahir said, "We are excited and glad to join Teddy Sagi's group of companies. We have developed an amazing technology, and we, together with and through the group, can bring it to the biggest market - the e-commerce market - in a shorter time."

Sagi's still-private e-commerce activity is growing, and Adience is expected to constitute the technological base for it. In this framework, the company will take part in developing the e-commerce of Camden Market, the popular UK shopping forum owned by Sagi, which held its IPO on the AIM UK stock exchange only last week at a valuation of $1.2 billion. In order to perform this task, Adience will open offices in the UK, Germany, and other European countries. The company's R&D unit will continue operating from Israel, and is expected to triple its staff in the first stage, according to Adience's announcement.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Israel's Trax Image Recognition Closed a $15m Investment Round, Singapore Fund to Invest

Israeli-Singaporean company Trax Image Recognition, which provides in-store shelf monitoring, analysis and technology powered by image recognition, has raised $15 million in a Series D round of financing from previous investors and Singapore's Broad Peak Master Fund.

The company has raised $37 million to date.

Trax will use the fourth round of investment, which is its largest to date, to expand its global operations with a focus on developing its market share in the US and Europe.

In addition, the new funds will also allow the company to launch new products and services enabling it to meet the growing requirements of its global manufacturing and retail customers. The new offerings, available in 2015, will be initiatives in market research and the consumer space.

The investment will also help Trax secure a leading position in the crowdsourcing market by forming partnerships in this sector.

Mr. Joel Bar-El, Trax CEO, stated, “Trax is committed to constant innovation so we can always meet our customers’ needs and provide tailored offerings for the ever-changing retail industry. This round of funding will allow us to continue providing our manufacturing and retail customers with services that will ultimately allow them to make better decisions, thus helping improve sales and increase market share.”

“It will also support our growth in geographic markets such as the US and Europe and our desire to form partnerships with companies that complement our technologies. This will ensure both new and existing customers can access the best and most accurate technology in the industry at cost-effective prices.”

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Glide closed a $20m Investment Round. Qihoo360 of China to Invest $3m

Israeli video messaging company Glide raised a $20 million funding round led by Marker LLC, with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Menlo Ventures, New Ground Ventures, Eniac Venture and a $3m investment by Chinese company Qihoo 360.

To date, Glide has raised $28.5 million in venture funding.

The new funds will be used to continue development of the company’s Android and iOS messaging apps, as well as to develop apps for Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches.

Glide has roughly 10 million registered users in the U.S., and the Glide apps for Android and iOS are used by 1 million people every day.

Glide’s secret sauce is a video compression technology that allows for near-real-time video messaging but doesn’t overwhelm the Wi-Fi and cellular networks on which the service runs. According to the company's CEO, Glide will continue to invest in its proprietary video streaming technologies, with a focus on developing them for smartwatch hardware and network services.

To support these efforts, Glide is currently expanding its operations by opening new offices in both Silicon Valley and New York.

Glide was founded in May 2012 by Ari Roisman, Jonathan Caras, and Adam Korbl. The three friends lived thousands of miles away from their friends and family and created Glide as an economical and efficient way to keep in touch using video and audio messaging.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Israel's Integra Holdings Closes $3M Investment from China's Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group

Integra Holdings, the biotechnology holdings company of Yissum the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced today that it has received US $3 million investment from Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. a subsidiary of the Guangxi Wuzhou Zongheng Group a Chinese investment holdings company.

Integra Holdings Founded by Yissum Integra Holdings is a unique venture fund focusing on an exclusive selection of biotech companies with proprietary solutions and a competitive advantage in their respective fields. Integra Holdings takes a hands-on approach by providing its portfolio companies with the strategic planning business development and R&D guidance they need to bring their technology to the market.

Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Guangxi Wuzhou Zongheng Group a Chinese investment holdings company traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a current market cap of approximately US $2.8B. The parent company focuses on pharmaceuticals health and food products while Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group is the largest pharmaceutical company in Guangxi and among the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in China.

The funds raised will be used to advance Integra Holdings’ existing portfolio companies and to create new companies based on promising projects originating from the Hebrew University.

Integra Holdings founded by Yissum in 2012 has a robust portfolio of companies operating in a variety of therapeutic areas such as oncology Alzheimer’s disease infectious diseases analgesia and inflammation.

The innovative products developed by the portfolio companies range in maturity from pre-clinical stages of development through clinical stages to registration. Currently the portfolio includes Ayana Atox Bio Avraham Pharmaceuticals Lipomedix Tiltan Pharma Lipocure and HIL Applied Medical in addition to two new companies which are now being established and develop products with expected short time to market. Investors in Integra Holdings are Invatech Holdings a group of private US and Israeli investors; Halman-Aldubi Provident and Pension Fund; the Funds of Teaching Personnel and the HUJI Provident Fund. Integra Holdings has raised a total of US $12 million to date.

“We are pleased to have Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group join as an investor that can also assist us in introducing biotech products and technologies based on research performed at the Hebrew University to the Chinese market” stated Yaacov Michlin CEO of Yissum and Chairman of Integra Holdings' Board of Directors. “After only two years since its inception Integra Holdings has obtained an investment at twice its original valuation.” “We welcome Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group’s investment and vote of confidence in the therapeutic products of our exclusive companies and our unique model of advancing cutting edge science and innovation towards commercial realization” commented Dr.Liana Patt CEO of Integra Holdings.

“We look forward to using this investment to advance products currently in the pipeline of our portfolio companies and forming new companies based on the Hebrew University's most promising inventions in the field of life science.”

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Baidu to Invest $3m in Israeli Start Up Pixellot

Chinese Internet giant Baidu is making its first direct investment in an Israeli startup.

The Chinese company, sometimes called the Chinese Google, is investing $3 million in Pixellot, which provides a unique high-quality and affordable alternative to traditional video capture and production processes, opening the way to a new era in sports and music video production. Pixellot has raised $5.3 million to date with previous investos including the TheTime incubator and the founders.

Founded in 2013 by chairman Miky Tamir and CTO Gal Oz, Pixellot develops an ultra-high resolution, unmanned video ‘capture-all’ system with a remote proxy video production suite. This novel solution effectively automates video production by deploying a multi-camera system that covers an entire scene, instead of the traditional method of using several manned cameras and hoping to catch just the right shots. Using a series of ingenious algorithms, Pixellot allows its users to choose an object to zoom in on any part of the venue and to navigate back and forth in time - previously impossible.

Pixellot's target market is primarily the multibillion-dollar "long tail" sports and music production domains, such as high school team sports and amateur community football (soccer) leagues. Pixellot will enable the players, their families and fans to create their own personal videos, as well as to monitor the players' performance parameters using cloud-based services.

Here too, Pixellot’s technology offers new capabilities to a still largely untapped market. Along with its "long tail" product, Pixellot also addresses the needs of the professional broadcast market by offering alternate, low-cost production systems and workflows, as well as unique effects, like spatial replay, tied-to-field graphics, special cameras and unprecedented second-screen applications.

Pixellot is already in advanced talks with leading global networks and sports federations that are interested in using its technology to capture high-profile sports and music events. Pixellot's systems were recently tested by the French Tennis Federation.

“We’re very enthusiastic about bringing Pixellot’s ground-breaking technology to Chinese Internet users. For the first time, video content producers can broadcast concerts, sports, and stage events and enable the audience to watch streaming video with total freedom to choose camera angles in real time on their devices. “We think this will revolutionize video content production," said Senior Director of Baidu Corporate Development Peter Fang.

"We are truly excited to kick off this partnership with Baidu as a strategic investor, which will enable us to grow globally and bring us into the Chinese market. We are both honored and proud to become Baidu's first investment in an Israeli company. With this capital inflow, we plan to invest in further expanding our R&D and advancing our global marketing and business development platform,” said Dr. Tamir. The current investment is Baidu's first in an Israeli start-up, but not its first in the Israeli start-up sector.

Baidu was among the investors in Carmel Ventures' fourth fund, which recently finished raising $194 million. Baidu has been prospering recently, with its share price climbing to a record-breaking $250.

The company held its IPO in 2005 at a company value of $120 million, and is now traded at an $81.5 billion market cap.

Pixellot is not Tamir and Oz's first company. They also founded SportVu, which developed a system for automatic monitoring of players for statistical purposes. SportVu was sold in 2008 to Stats, jointly owned by communications corporations News Corporation and AP. Dr. Tamir was also a co-founder of Orad High Tec Systems, which specializes in broadcasting graphics and virtual studios.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Xiaomi to Invest In 4G Chip Making Solutions

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and China-based IC design company Leadcore Technology have come together and formed a joint venture to develop 4G chip solutions.

According to sources in the Taiwan handset supply chain, Xiaomi will hold a 51% stake in the joint venture whereas Leadcore Technology will have a 49% stake.

Leadcore Technology is a subsidiary of Datang Telecom, a leading Chinese telecom company.

It is being said that the main idea behind the joint venture is for Xiaomi to be able to save cost on 4G chips, which will enable it to launch competitively priced 4G smartphones. So far Xiaomi has been using system on chips by manufacturers such as Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum Communications.

This joint venture, say sources, will most likely affect sales of Spreadtrums shipments to Xiaomi. Xiaomi recently came out as no.3 in terms of global shipments of phones for Q3, 2014, before the Lenovo – Motorola acquisition closed (a day later). It has managed to sell 17.3 million handsets, thereby being the only company to have jumped up by 200 per cent in terms of year-on-year shipment numbers.

With an affordable 4G handset, Xiaomi may just push those numbers further in the next round up. Looking at the response to their flash sales in India, its popularity is unquestioned here.

With 4G circles already present in India and many more expected to come out next year, the time is ripe to woo customers with 4G handsets.

Although there are a lot of 4G handsets around, if Xiaomi is indeed going ahead with its joint venture, an affordable 4G handset from it will certainly have many buyers here.