Below are the headlines for the week of July 8 2010:
Startups of the week
SupersonicAds – a dominant leader in virtual currency monetization for online games, virtual worlds and social networks. The company’s customizable, plug and play payment platform gives consumers the opportunity to earn virtual currency for free by completing targeted offers, watching video branded ads, and engaging with leading brands. The company is headquartered in London, UK, with satellite offices in the US and Israel. Supersonicads was founded in 2008 by Gil Shoham (CEO) and Arik Czerniak (COO) and Nissim (Romi) Romano (CTO).
Legolas Media – Currently in stealth mode, The Legolas Media team is focused on innovating digital display media. The company is currently engaging with buyers and sellers in the marketplace, focused on revolutionizing the usage of data for performance based advertising. Co-founded by Yiftah Frechter, Yoav Arnstein and Ran Cohen, all former execs of recently IPO-ed Eyeblaster.
Cellcom, the leading mobile provider in Israel, enters the financial services market with new “mobile wallet” product. Cellcom partnered with Citi Bank to offer its customers a mobile payments solution and money transferring, to be launched by the end of 2010. Amos Shapira, Cellcom’s CEO in the official press release: “The mobile phone is the world’s most common computerized retail point of sale. It is this added value that Citi and the Company intend to bring to the financial services market.”
Soho OS raised $1 million from The T.i.m.e (as in Telecom, Internet, Media and Entertainment), an angel fund led by Ilan Shiloach and Nir Tarlovski among others. Soho OS offers a suite of freemium software packages such as Quicken for accounting, Yahoo’s Zoho for word processing and MS-office like tools and SalesForce’ s CRM. Roi Carthy covered them on Techcrunch and Hebrew coverage is available on TheMarker. See the Soho OS video demo below.
Rumors: Compass EOS, an Israel-based stealth chip developer specialized in electro-optical systems for telecommunication, announced that it will raise $20 million in a round of funding led by new investor Crescent Point Group. The round will include participation from existing investors including Benchmark Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, Pitango Venture Capital, and Cisco Systems. On closing of this round the company would have raised $55 million in funding till date. The company was founded in 2007.
Venrock, the Rockefeller family’s venture capital arm, announced its has raised $350 million for its Venrock VI Fund. Venrock actively invests in technology and telecommunication companies in Israel including: Bhive, which was sold to VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) in 2008 for $67 million; P-cube, which was sold in 2004 for $200 million; web application firewall developer Imperva, B2B market platform developer Bizo, and Web 2.0 services developer Xconnect.
Around the world
Twitter’s founder and CEO Biz Stone said that Twitter gets over 800 million queries a day at a conference in Aspen. That’s more than Bing and Ask combined. A deeper look into the nature of the queries created controversy. It appears that most queries are automated pings from third party services looking for the freshet updates, as opposed to people typing the query into the search box and clicking on search. Paidcontent and Alley Insider debate.