As every month, VC Cafe is re-posting the “Invest in Israel” Newsletter, published by the investment promotion center of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, which offers many helpful tools for prospecting investors. See the March 2010 edition after the jump. For previous editions, click here.
ISRAEL’S WEF RANKING IMPROVES TO 24TH PLACE, BOOSTED BY INNOVATION
Israel’s ranking in the’s Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 increased to 24th place from 27th the year before.
Israel’s improvement in the ranking was mainly attributed to the country’s innovation.
“The country’s main strength remains the excellent and improving capacity for innovation, the category in which Israel came in 6th place, which rests not only on highly innovative businesses but also on the availability of high-quality research institutions and is reflected in a high number of patents,” stated the report.
The report’s country profile assessment also noted that Israel’s favorable financial environment, the category in which it was placed 14th, and the availability of venture capital, the pillar in which it came in 10th place, also contributed to making the country an innovation powerhouse.
The Global Competitiveness Index is based on 12 pillars of competitiveness, which together provide a comprehensive picture of the competitiveness landscape in 139 economies around the world at all stages of development.
ISRAEL RANKED 22ND BEST COUNTRY IN WORLD
Newsweek magazine’s Best Countries survey ranked Israel among the best countries to live in, at the 22nd spot. Israel scored a total of 79 points out of a possible 100.
The magazine rated 100 countries by how well they scored in five categories, namely: education, health, quality of life, economic dynamism, and political environment. Israel scored seventh in health, 25th in quality of life, 15th in economic dynamism, and 41st in education.
The rankings were based on among others economic indicators, the Gini coefficient, the Innovation Index, and the Global Peace Index.
Forbes magazine earlier published its Gallup poll in which it rated Israel as the world’s 8th happiest country.
STANLEY FISCHER NAMED ONE OF WORLD’S TOP 10 BANK CHIEFS
Leading financial magazine Global Finance named Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer among the top ten World’s Best Central Bankers for the year 2010.
Fischer was praised after Israel weathered the global financial crisis far better than many other Western countries. Though Israeli growth dipped to below 1 percent in 2009, it started crawling back to between 3% and 4% towards the end of the year helped by strict fiscal policy and a balanced budget.
The magazine’s “Central Banker Report Card,” which has been published annually since 1994, grades Central Bank governors of 30 key countries, and the ECB, according to an “A” to “F” scale for their performance and success in areas such as inflation control, economic growth goals, currency stability and interest rate management.
TAKADU NAMED WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM TECHNOLOGY PIONEER 2011
“I believe that TaKaDu’s technology will become widely adopted and can become a ‘game changer’ in the water sector”, – Michael LoCascio, Senior Analyst at Lux Research.
The World Economic Forum selected TaKaDu, a water infrastructure monitoring leader, as a Technology Pioneer 2011. Takadu’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product enables utility companies to detect leaks, bursts and equipment failures as well as alerting personnel of any problems through email and SMS.
In its official nomination of TaKaDu, the WEF committee said that “by combining smart IT and SaaS, TaKaDu is radically improving the efficiency of water networks, significantly increasing the world’s water supply. It is also reducing energy consumption since water production and distribution require a lot of energy, so preventing water loss also prevents this waste.”
TaKaDu, founded in 2009, has launched its service with some of the world’s leading water utilities, including Thames Water in the UK, Wiener Wasserwerke in Austria, Sydney Water and Yarra Valley Water in Australia, Evides Waterbedrijf in the Netherlands, Hagihon in Israel and others.
“TaKaDu’s solution is very flexible, easy to set up and easy to use,” said Rob Casey, Strategic Network Performance Manager at Thames Water in the United Kingdom.
The company’s founder, Amir Peleg, is a serial entrepreneur who previously also founded Yadata, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2008, Unipier, and EVS, which went public in 1991.
3M TO PAY $230 MILLION FOR ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY FIRM ATTENTI
Diversified U.S. manufacturer 3M Co is acquiring Israel’s Attenti Holdings SA, which makes technology used to remotely monitor criminals and elder care patients, for $230 million in cash.
Attenti’s two principal investors, Francisco Partners and the Israeli branch of the U.S. venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, had jointly acquired the entire stake in the company in December 2008 for $77.4 million.
3M acquired Attenti, which is expected to have about $100 million in sales in 2010, to get into electronic monitoring devices, which leads to large savings for correctional authorities. Instead of criminals being put behind bars, their location can be monitored.
Attenti was initially founded as a software venture in 1990 by three ex-air force pilots, but after three years the partners decided that a change of business model was in order, and moved to hardware.
AOL INC BUYS ISRAEL’S 5MIN MEDIA START UP FOR $65 MLN
“5min Media is the perfect complement to our powerful video capabilities” – Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL
AOL Inc., the New York-based Internet company spun off from Time Warner Inc., acquired 5min Media, the world’s leading video syndication network with a library of more than 200,000 categorized, tagged and rated videos from more than 1,000 of the world’s largest media companies and professional independent video producers.
AOL began integrating 5min Media’s video content on its sites through a commercial agreement executed prior to the acquisition.
5min Media, founded in 2006, has been named the largest independent video property by comScore, with more than 20 million unique viewers and more than 130 million video streams in the U.S. in August 2010. VideoSeed, 5min Media’s proprietary semantic technology, matches the most relevant videos with a partner site’s text content to enhance the consumer experience and increase monetization rates.
“We’ve seen rapid and successful growth as an independent organization and becoming part of AOL is a natural next step,” said Ran Harnevo, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 5min Media
P&G ACQUIRES ISRAELI MEDICAL DEVICE CO CONTIPI
US consumer products giant Procter & Gamble is buying Israeli start up ConTipi, which develops disposable vaginal devices that reduce or prevent urinary incontinence, for $15 million and up to $100m, depending on milestone payments.
Procter & Gamble and ConTIPI, which was founded in 2002 and is based in Caesarea, have had a distribution agreement since 2007 based on royalties. The current agreement will replace the distribution agreement, although many of the clauses in the agreement remain the same.
ConTIPI’s product has approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Marketing of the inserts is expected to start in 2011.
GOOGLE INSTANT BASED ON ISRAELI DEVELOPMENT
Internet giant Google’s new interface, Google Instant, is based on Google Suggest technology that was developed by software engineers at the Google Israel research and development center in Haifa.
The technology presents the surfer with optional suggestions for completing the search terms as they are being typed trimming two to five seconds off an average 25-second search.