Showing posts with label pebbles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pebbles. Show all posts

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.

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.

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

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 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Xiaomi Sold 20,000 Units of Mi3 Mobile Phone Within 2.4 Seconds

Xiaomi, Chinese leading smartphone manufacture sold yesterday on Flipkart, India's leading online megastore, 20,000 units of their Mi3 smartphone within 2.4 seconds. The sale began at 2pm and users that tried to order the smartphone received the message that the sale was completed and the smartphones are out of stock.


Xiaomi started to sell in India on July 22nd and it took 40 minutes for all the smartphones to be sold. the second batch was sold in 5 second and the third batch at a record speed of less than 2 seconds. Next sale is schedule to begin on August 19th and registration begins today.

Last year Xiaomi invested in Pebbles Interfaces, Israeli start up that develops advanced motion sensors.