2008 is almost upon us and the deal flow doesn’t seem to slow down for the holidays. I can hardly keep up with the headlines, so here’s a short recap of the latest business news in the Israeli start up and vc industry.
Israeli Cleantech News
New Israeli fund raises $100 million for Cleantech VC Fund
Tamarix Ventures LP plans to become Israel’s largest cleantech venture capital fund. Founded by former Formula Ventures partner Shai Beilis and former Star Ventures partner Yaffa Krindal, Tamarix plans to invest in clean tech companies regardless of their geographical region, fields and stage of development.
Solar continues to take in Cash
Israeli solar startup SolarEdge raised $11.8 million in a Series A round. The funding comes from Opus Capital, Genesis Partners, Walden International Ventures, and ORR Partners. SolarEdge is developing technology to increase the efficiency of solar power components.
New Israeli Cleantech VC fund to invest in projects in the Negev
And here’s another one! Oasis Investment Fund is a new vc fund with a social mission to develop the Negev and increase prosperity in the southern region of Israel. Oasis was co-founded by Gideon Soesman (former senior director for global M&A activities at Philips Electronics), Ronen Gadot (a combat pilot and most recently an executive vp at SHL Telemedicine) and Lior Berger (former general partner at Gemini Israel Funds). The three are currently raising $30 million to invest in 10-15 early stage companies in the areas of solar energy, water technologies, smart desert agriculture, tourism, small real estate projects, and traditional industries.
Israel Venture Capital
VC funds see 30% jump in Israeli exits
It’s been a good year for Israeli VCs. According to the latest report by Ernst & Young and VentureOne, 168 venture capital investments totaled $1.3 billion were made in Israeli start-ups between January and November of 2007.
The value of exits by Israeli companies, either through IPOs or by sale, totaled $3.5 billion, 30% more than the $2.7 billion in 2006, and 58% more than the $1.7 billion in exits in 2005. IPOs accounted for 57% of exits of Israeli start-ups in 2007, with M&As accounting for the rest.
Investment in Israeli cleantech start-ups increased substantially this year, with seven companies raising $38 million, 65% more than the $23 million raised by three companies in 2006. Download the report Acceleration: Global Venture Capital Insights Report 2007 (pdf).
Canaan Partners hopes to invest at least 25% fund in India and Israel
Canaan Partners manages nearly $2.4 billion. The $650 million fund was the eight raised by Canaan Partners and was recently closed to develop the markets outside the US. The vc firm has offices outside the US in India and Israel (opened in December 2005) and it has already invested 10% of its previous fund of $450 million in these markets. With the new fund Canaan is looking to tap the emerging “Indo-Israel corridor”, exporting Israel’s wireless and software security technologies to India.
Israeli VC fund Vertex sold 10 portcos to Siemens
This could have been a huge exit for Vertex. Globes reports that Vertex Venture Capital has sold ten portfolio companies to Siemens AG’s venture capital unit SMAC Partners. Neither company disclosed the size of the sale, but estimates say it’s evaluated at a few million dollars.
The sold startups include:
- Mobile WiMAX solutions developer Runcom Technologies Ltd.;
- Internet quality-of-experience (QoE) solutions developer Flash Networks Ltd.;
- Image ID Ltd., a developer of supply chain tracing solutions for logistics companies and manufacturers
Peace Economy News
Palestineans to get cell phone network
Palestinians and Israelis are moving ahead with peace talks and negotiations officially began last week in Jerusalem. As part of warming relations between the side, Israel will alocate frequencies to allow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to add an additional cellular network.
Saudis plan $200 million West Bank property venture
Arab investors, led by Saudis, have signed a deal with the Palestinian Authority to develop a $200 million West Bank real estate project in the first such venture since recent peace moves. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said such deals by private Palestinian and Gulf Arab investors will help rejuvenate the ailing economy…
Israeli Startup news
Israel’s Pando powers HD downloads for NBC Online
Techcrunch reports that Pando’s technology will be incorporated into the new NBC Direct video player. NBC decided to move to P2P technology to start distributing high definition videos, which will naturally put a lot of strain on their servers. Instead, using Pando’s P2P client will allow NBC not only to lower distribution costs for the large files, but also be the first network to provide HD video downloads. Pando is based in New York but has strong Israeli roots – the co-founder and CMO Yaron Samid. Check out his recent interview on IPTVevangelist.
Israel-based Hiro Media fins a monetization model for P2P Movies
P2P downloading of movies is illegal in the US, but it doesn’t deter millions of people around the globe from downloading the latest movies using client software such as bit torrent and other file sharing sites such as Kazaa and Emule. Hiro Media, a three-year old privately-backed Israeli startup, has developed a patent-pending codec for Windows media player, allowing it to send a targeted advert to a video file put out by British Telecom. If this technology is successful, it could potentially remove any objection Hollywood studios might have to P2P file-sharing . Ronny Golan, Co-CEO of Hiro Media said that the technology cannot be pirated and the ads that run within the movie and cannot be zapped or fast-forwarded through.
Israel’s IRSeek makes IRC conversations searchable
IRSeek, an Israeli company founded in 2006 by CEO Eran Cohen and CTO Ariel Berkman, has already indexed 300 million conversations made in IRC foums, growing at a rate of 6 million conversations a day. Although once considered part of the “invisible web”, conversations are now fully searchable including the most popular networks: EFnet, DALnet, Freenode and QuakeNetUndernet. In total, IRSeeK is now “listening” to 2000+ channels across 10 networks.
Hi-G-Tek raises $5.5 million for cargo monitoring technology
Israel’s Hi-G-Tek, provider of pro-active RFID systems for high value cargo and sensitive materials, has raised a $5.5 million round led by New York-based L Capital Partners and Princeton, N.J.-based Battelle Ventures. The company plans to use the proceeds to develop new products for the international cargo security market. Hi-G-Tek was founded in Israel in 1989 and has a headcount of 30 – 20 people in the U.S. and 10 in Tel-Aviv, Israel. The company has no less than 25 current or pending patents. L Capital Partners also has an office in Tel-Aviv.
Israel M&A News
Spansion took over Saifun and they just increased the cash distribution
Spansion and Saifun Semiconductors Ltd. announced that they have executed a revision to their merger agreement under which the cash distribution will be increased by about $31.4 million to $6.05 per share in cash, based on Saifun’s current capitalization.
Cell Cure Raises $3 Million to continue stem cell research
Israeli startup Cell Cure Neurosciences has completed a $3 million funding round, to continue stem cell research beyond Parkinson to other neurodegenerative diseases. The round was led by Teva Pharmaceuticals, who invested $1 million