Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chinese Internet Tycoon Xu Xiaoping to Invest In Israeli Start Up Percepto

Chinese internet tycoon Xu Xiaoping participated in the recent $1 million investment round in the Israeli computer vision drone technology startup Percepto. Other investors in the funds are R&R Ventures, Ronald Lauder venture fund and Mark Cuban, NBA's Dallas Mavericks. Existing investor in Percepto, Israeli based The Elevator, also invested in this round.

Percepto develops a camera that can be mounted on an existing drone. The user can then download apps to a mobile phone that can interact with the camera in different ways. The company has already built apps for the device, including one that can automatically follow and film a particular object. But the idea is to let other developers join in. The company plans to open source its machine vision platform, enabling developers not just to build their own apps, but improve upon the vision software itself—the heart of the technology that allows drones to operate on their own.

Those could include collision avoidance, urban navigation, gesture control, or other applications that the company hasn’t even thought of yet.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Shanghai Jiuchuan Buys Israeli Telemedicine Co. SHL For $130 mm

SHL Telemedicine Ltd., headquartered in Tel Aviv, a leading provider and developer of advanced personal telemedicine solutions, and Shanghai Jiuchuan Investment (Group) Co., Ltd., a Shanghai based private investment firm, announced today that Shanghai Jiuchuan will acquire the entire share capital of SHL by way of a reverse triangular merger following which SHL would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Jiuchuan.

After consummation of the merger, expected to happen in October, a delisting of SHL from the SIX Swiss Exchange will take place.

SHL Telemedicine is engaged in developing and marketing personal telemedicine systems and the provision of medical call center services, with a focus on cardiovascular and related diseases, to end users and to the healthcare community. SHL Telemedicine offers its services and personal telemedicine devices to subscribers utilizing telephonic and Internet communication technology.

The Company operates in Israel, Germany, India and the United States in one business segment, Telemedicine services. SHL is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has an ADR program listed over-the counter.

Shanghai Jiuchuan Investment (Group) Co., Ltd. is a Shanghai based private investment firm having also holdings in a company principally engaged in development in the medical science and technology field.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Israeli Startup invi raises $2 million led by former CTOs of SINA and Tencent

Israeli text message enhancement co. Invi has raised $2 million USD in new funding in a round of investment led by Seven Seas Ventures.

The funds will be used to help the company support the app’s rapid growth and further development.

Led by Jeff Xiong, former chief technology officer of Tencent, and Jack Xu, the former co-president and chief technology officer of SINA Corporation, the funding commitment took place through Xu and Xiong’s investment group, Seven Seas Ventures. Streamline Ventures, InnoValley, F50 and Pre-Angel completed the round of funding.

“Mobile messaging has a huge impact on people’s daily lives, and we are very excited to work with invi team to bring further innovation to this space”, said Xu. “invi is the first smartphone messaging application that enables seamless multitasking and sharing. This experience should be standard for all mobile messaging apps in the near future,” said Xiong.

“We are honored to have Jack and Jeff join us, bringing exceptional experience in the messaging domain to continue to make invi the best SMS replacement on the market,” said Iddo Tal, founder and CEO of invi.

Xu and Xiong are both leaders in the global messaging space, bringing invaluable knowledge and expertise to the invi team of advisors. Xu’s time at SINA Corporation centered on Weibo, the most influential social media in China with over 200 million active users. Prior to SINA, Xu was the vice president at Cisco and eBay. While Xiong was at Tencent, he managed the product and engineering of the messaging app WeChat, which has over 550 million active users.

“People spend a lot of time trying to find a messaging app that suits their needs. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve received over 5,000 messages from users with positive feedback and requests,” said Tal. “We try to respond to each and every one of these requests to improve their experience. We’ve learned a lot and it’s amazing to see how eager people are to upgrade their SMS experience.”

invi is led by four co-founders: Iddo Tal, Noam Etzion-Rosenberg, Adrien Aubel and Nir Meidan.

In 2013, invi secured a $3 million in funding from Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s A-Grade Investments, Atlantic Bridge, Alpha Investment, UpWest Labs, and Silicon Valley angels from Google, Nokia, Yahoo, Groupon, Spotify, SRI, Comcast, Chegg and others. invi’s investment round follows its recent feature on Google Play as one of the best apps to replace your native SMS app.

With many exciting features already available, invi is actively updating its service with the integration of new mini-apps and enabling rich media engagement for its users.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mictosoft Buys Israeli Company Adallom for $320 million

An amazing exit: Cloud access security broker Adallom is sold to Microsoft for $320 million. 

In April Adallom secured  $30m round C investment including a strategic investment by newly launched Hewlett Packard Ventures, new stakeholder Rembrandt Venture Partners, and previous investors Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures.

Adallom has raised a total of $49.5 million since its inception in 2012.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Facebook Buys Israeli Startup Pebbles Interfaces

Another acquisition for Facebook in Israel: the social network has signed this morning an agreement to acquire Israeli based start-up Pebbles Interfaces. Facebook will integrate the body gesture recognition and control technology in virtual reality glasses Oculus Rift.

Pebbles Interfaces was founded in 2010 by Emil Alon Nadav Grossinger and Doron Levit.

Pebbles has about 50 employees in Israel. Following the acquisition, Pebbles Interfaces will be joining the hardware engineering and computer vision teams at Oculus to help advance virtual reality, tracking, and human-computer interactions.

Based in Israel, Pebbles Interfaces has spent the past five years developing technology that uses custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms to detect and track hand movement. Over time, technology breakthroughs in sensors will unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people communicate in virtual worlds.

Up to now the company raised about $20 million from Israeli venture fund Giza Israel, Robert Bosch Investment Fund, SanDisk, iNetworks as well as XiaoMi and Shunwei from China. XiaoMi is the most notable Chinese mobile and consumer product developer and Shunwei is Lei Jun venture arm.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

SinoPharm, Hefei Life Science & Technology Park To Invest $50 million in Israeli Co. Oramed

Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ORMP), an Israeli clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral drug delivery systems, announced that it has signed a non-binding LoI for an investment and license agreement in China with Sinopharm Capital Management Co. Ltd. and Hefei Life Science & Technology Park Investments and Development Co., Ltd. potentially valued at $50 million plus royalty payments.

Oramed will receive $500,000 in exchange for exclusively negotiating with Sinopharm/Hefei for 60 days, while the final terms of the agreement are negotiated and finalized.

The transaction which additionally includes 10% royalties on sales, will allow Sinopharm/Hefei to purchase a roughly 10% stake in Oramed Pharmaceuticals and acquire rights for oral insulin in China.

The terms are to be broken down as follows: Oramed will sell Sinopharm/Hefei 1,155,367 shares of common stock for approximately $12,000,000. In addition, Oramed’s wholly owned subsidiary, Oramed Ltd, will license to Sinopharm/Hefei the exclusive rights to ORMD-0801, oral insulin capsule in China, for a total amount of $38,000,000, of which $18,000,000 will be paid upon the signing of the license agreement and the remaining $20,000,000 will be paid following the completion, and release of results, of Oramed’s current Phase IIb trial in the United States.

Sinopharm China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation is the largest medical and healthcare group in China which is directly managed by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, with the core businesses of distribution, logistics, retail, scientific research and manufacture of healthcare related products.

Sinopharm owns 11 wholly owned or holding subsidiaries, and 6 listed companies. The sales revenue of Sinopharm exceeded $39 billion in 2014. Sinopharm Capital Management Co. Ltd. is a professional asset management company within Sinopharm.

Hefei Hefei Life Science & Technology Park Investments and Development Co. focuses on industrial investment and incubation services; high-tech product R&D; technology transfer and related consulting services. HLST has state of the art insulin production facilities in Hefei, China.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

China's Haisco Pharmaceutical To Invest in Israeli Medical Device Company MST

MST - Medical Surgery Technologies Ltd., a leader in the field of image-guided surgical systems, has announced the closing of its Series C investment round.

The $12.5 million investment was led by Haisco Pharmaceutical Group (“Haisco”), a leading Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer, and was joined by existing MST investors: Triventures, SCP Vitalife Partners, Agate MaC Medical Investments, OurCrowd and Jacobs Investment Company.

MST markets the FDA-cleared and CE-approved AutoLap, the only image-guided laparoscope positioning system targeting the multi-billion dollar minimally invasive surgery market. Based on MST’s proprietary image analytic technology platform, AutoLap® offers surgeons full and natural control of the surgical procedure with minimal user interaction. Healthcare providers benefit from cost-effective, cutting-edge surgical technology to perform more procedures more efficiently.

As part of the investment, Haisco will serve as exclusive distributor of AutoLap® in China.

According to Motti Frimer, MST’s CEO, the investment is primarily earmarked for expanding marketing and sales of AutoLap® in the U.S. Europe and China. “AutoLap has been very well received by surgeons and healthcare providers. We look forward to collaborating with Haisco in bringing image-guided laparoscopic surgery to more centers over the coming year,” stated Frimer. 

“We are delighted to enter the Israeli market with a significant investment in MST,” said Haisco’s CEO, Wang Junmin. “We see great potential for AutoLap in China and look forward to applying our know-how and experience in bringing this exciting surgical technology to the China market to the benefit of patients, surgeons and hospitals alike.” 

Haisco Pharmaceutical Group, founded in 2000, is a publicly listed company focusing on marketing and sales of internally-developed therapeutic drugs. Haisco ranks third in size in China’s chemical pharmaceutical industry. The company’s products are sold to more than 3,000 hospitals throughout China with annual sales of over US$800 million.

MST – Medical Surgery Technologies Ltd. is a privately-held Israeli company founded in 2005 with the mission of bringing image guidance technology to the surgical suite. MST’s team includes professionals with extensive expertise in the development and commercialization of advanced medical systems integrating hardware, software and robotics.

Monday, July 6, 2015

SGX Woos Israeli Startups For IPOs

Singapore bourse a potential hotbed for such listings as some Israeli medical and telecom startups explore Catalist presence

THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) could turn into a hotbed for bite-sized Israeli tech startups hungry for capital and better visibility as they look towards Asia to expand their business propositions.

SGX officials are understood to have made several visits to Israel in recent months to court Israeli listing hopefuls.

"Israel has a reputation for technology startups and biotechnology sectors - two sectors that investors in Singapore already have a deep understanding and appreciation of," SGX head of SME development and listings Mohamed Nasser Ismail told The Business Times.

Even so, an Israeli IPO frenzy on this side of the shore is a long shot - Israeli firms are still hung up on Nasdaq, leaving their own Tel Aviv Stock Exchange feeling neglected.

Moreover, Sarine Technologies is the only Israeli firm on SGX with no new entrant from the land of great innovators over a decade since. But now, there are signs that SGX's groundwork could mark a new inflection point in the coming months.

For one, Trendlines, an Israeli investment firm that specialises in startups in medical devices and agricultural technology, is exploring a listing on Singapore's junior board Catalist.

Todd Dollinger, chairman and chief executive of Trendlines, said in a recent interview with BT: "We started this conversation (listing and other business plans) about late last year and discovered an interesting atmopsheric condition - everyone such as SGX, bankers and lawyers wanted to talk to us. 

"In part because of what we do and in part because it was Israel."

Last year, Trendlines, which has incubated some 60 companies, ditched its plan at the last minute to list and raise US$15-US$20 million in Canada's stock exchange after some buyers pulled out. "They (buyers) couldn't get beyond natural resources, which is their culture," said Mr Dollinger.

Others could follow Trendlines' chosen path to SGX, thanks in part to CLAL Finance, Israel's largest underwriting firm which has been busy helping Israeli firms find a footing on Singapore's Catalist. 

According to CLAL managing director and head of Asian capital markets Manor Zemer, there are at least a handful of Israeli tech startups in the medical and telecommunications space that are mulling over a Catalist listing that could pan out in the next 12 months.

"We are working very closely with the SGX team and have arranged two seminars in Israel with SGX members to introduce this opportunity to Israeli companies," he said.

But SGX faces acute competition for the Israeli play. Long a preferred listing destination for Israeli firms, the tech-heavy Nasdaq boasts having more than 80 Israeli companies; next to China, they form the second largest firms listed on Nasdaq outside of the US. London hosted 18 IPOs of Israeli corporates in 2014 which was a banner year for Israeli listings - some two dozen firms had reportedly raised US$2.1 billion by going public.

The good news for SGX is that not all firms are fixated on big exchanges, more so the smallish ones that fear being dwarfed by listed giants in their quest for investor attention.

"The cap (market capitalisation) that we expect to go public at is not right for Nasdaq. We want to be in a market where people are going to pay attention to us. To be below US$250 million-US$500 million on Nasdaq is pretty invisible," said Mr Dollinger.

Hong Kong throws up similar challenges whereas London - possibly a natural choice - may not be the perfect option for companies with business interests and connections in Asia. 

Burgeoning cross-border mergers and acquisitions of Israel firms by Asian corporates and more specifically China - think Alibaba, XIO Group and more recently, Fosun International - have set the deal scene ablaze with excitement as firms prowl for some sort of innovation in a tiny nation renowned for its technological prowess. 

According to Israel's National Economic Council, China-Israeli tech deals vaulted to US$300 million last year, up from US$50 million in 2013. And in the first four months of 2015, the figure reportedly stood at US$117 million.

"These acquisitions have led to a significant movement of capital from Asia to Israel many Israeli firms are now looking at Asia for fund raising rather than as a manufacturing base which was not an option two years ago," said Mr Manor.

In that context, Singapore is deemed a respectable market - apart from being a worthy base to raise capital, it also provides business connectivities, owing to its preferred-gateway-to-Asia status. SGX is a "sweet spot" for firms looking at a valuation of anything between US$50 million-US$250 million, said Mr Manor.

Increasingly too, Mr Manor said investors in Singapore appear to have the stomach for riskier and high growth investments, hence are eager to diversify from traditional safe bets such as real estate investment trusts. IPOs aside, delegations comprising officials from other Singapore agencies have also apparently visited Tel Aviv to eye deals, startups and joint ventures.

In March this year, Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd, a state-backed fund in Singapore and investment arm of Infocomm Development Authority, said it was in talks with several Israeli tech startups to make direct investments.

 In November 2014, Temasek Holdings agreed to be a lead investor together with India's Tata Group, in Tel Aviv University's US$23.5 million research incubator fund.

A market observer who has spotted the trend says: "Israelis are coming and our government and regulators are stepping on the gas pedal to throw them the red carpet treatment. "This trend is now but a ripple but it may morph into a big wave."

Source: The Business Times

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sichuan Hebang Group Buys Israeli Agri Company Stockton Group For $90m

On June 29 an agreement was signed in Beijing the sale of 51 percent of the Israeli Stockton Group to the Chinese-based Hebang Group in return for a $90 million investment in the company.

The Hebang Group is a public Chinese company, traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and is active in a variety of industrial activities, including the agrochemical industry. This is the Hebang Group’s first investment outside of China.

Stockton, a global crop protection company and a leader in the development of botanical based biopesticides founded 20 years ago by Peter Tirosh and managed by Ziv Tirosh, developed its first environmentally-friendly biofungicide, Timorex Gold. The product is successfully sold in nearly 20 countries to treat a large number of crops, such as rice, coffee, grapes, tomatoes, bananas and a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables.

Hebang’s goal with this investment in Stockton is to “support Stockton’s growth as a global leader in environmentally-friendly biofungicides.” Stockton recently received a license to sell Timorex Gold in the United States.

The investment from Hebang will allow Stockton to accelerate its penetration into this and additional markets, as well as to advance the development of other environmentally-friendly products through ongoing cooperation with research and academic institutes in Israel and around the world. Ziv Tirosh, Stockton’s CEO, noted that the company is currently in the process of receiving regulatory approval in China, and the partnership with Hebang will assist with penetration into the Asia.

According to the agreement, Stockton will continue to operate as an Israeli company with no change to its management, while the controlling shareholder of Hebang, Mr. He Zhenggang, will serve as the company’s chairman following the investment.