It’s been a while since the last edition of VC Cafe’s bitesize. Below is a round up of noteworthy Israeli startup headlines. Tip VC Cafe and get your startup on the map by filling the form: http://goo.gl/Ju2sC
Venture capital Rounds
Footbo raises $2.5 million from Pitango for 11 Runs, a fantasy Baseball game, and 11Rush, a fantasy American football game. Footbo has been running since 2007 and is led by co-founder and CEO Mani Honigstein – full article on Techcrunch
Chicago-based Future Simple raised $1.1 million to help SMBs upgrade their business practices through SaaS tools. The company was founded in 2009 by Uzi Shmilovici raised the funding from OCA Ventures, I2A Fund and angel investors. Future Simple is already getting great traction with its CRM system for SMBs, PipeJump, and QuoteBase a nicely designed quote generator used by thousands already – full article
California-based Gigya, an Israeli startup developing social tools for websites, quietly raises $6 million according to a regulatory filing. Gigya was founded in 2006 and has raised close to $30 million to date. Gigya seems to be going through some rough waters these days. Last week, Gigya announced the departure of its former CEO Dave Yovanno and the appointment of a new CEO, Patrick Salyer (former VP of biz dev). The latest company news posted on its website are from November 2010 – full article
Boxee Inc. has raised $16.5 million in its third financing round led by Pitango Venture Capital. Japan’s Softbank and current investors General Catalyst, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures also participated. The company has raised $26.5 million to date, including the current round. – full article
Clean tech headlines
TaKaDu, winner of the Technology Pioneer Award by the World Economic Forum annual meeting is helping London keep its water clean. Founded by Amir Peleg, Takadu offers a SaaS platform to detect leaks in water pipes and is already working with large municipalities, including London. The company has 25 employees and has raised $10 million so far – most recently $6 million in a round led by Emerald Technology Ventures. Full article and Video
Project Better Place opens first dealership and announces the price of the first EV batteries:
The Fluence Z.E. that Better Place is offering — a quite attractive sedan in our opinion — goes for a little more than $38,000 (at current exchange rates) in Denmark. It’s got a claimed range of 114 miles, a swappable battery and features that put it on par with conventional cars in the same entry-level luxury segment. Add another $1,870 for a charging station, plus a battery-subscription service that runs $277 to $556 per month and you’ll have your total cost of ownership
Chicago-based InterCall buys Unisfair, Israel’s virtual conference tool, for $35 million. The exit is not a huge deal considering the $22 million put into Unisfair by Sequoia and NVP in the past five years. Unisfair CEO Hoang Vuong said, “Unisfair and InterCall have a shared vision to offer industry-leading technology to improve virtual communication and collaboration for companies around the world.” – Full story on Globes
Last Friday 888 announced that because the results of Wink Bingo’s acquisition were above and beyond expectations the value of the purchase will be at the maximum threshold set in the original agreement – full article
New Product Launches
AnybodyOutThere is a chat platform which helps users find the right people to talk with about what interests them – the user types a question or topic and the system matches him/her with other people who want to talk about the subject. The site leverages Google Translate, so users can type their question/topic in any language and translate it to English. Perhaps this is how we’ll start solving co-existence in Israel?
Israeli startup SohoOS launches an About.me for SMBs – After raising $1.75 million from Mangrove Capital in January this year, SohoOs continues its focus on SMBs wit the launch of SohoOS.me, a customizable company profile page. From the article: “Instead of treating it as a simple contact form though, SohoOS built the functionality to serve as lead-generation for its customers. This means that when information is plugged-in, it’s pushed into the CRM portion of SohoOs, as a lead to be followed-up on” – Full article on PC Magazine
Israeli startup Willook developed a Facbeook application that enables users to send a message after their death. It’s a bit dark, I know. “”If I Die”, allows Facebook users to prepare a video clip or text message in advance, which will be published on their Facebook profile after their death. The message can be a will, story, accumulated experience, a secret never shared, a message to the nation, or video clip for the next generation” – Greenprophet and Globes
Israeli startup Bioexplorers has developed a new and unique way to sniff out terrorists – literally. After years of research, company CEO Eran Lumbroso said, Bioexplorers has hit upon a foolproof, non-invasive and easy method to detect contraband in purses, luggage and even cargo – using mice – full story on Israel21C
Top Israeli researchers are responsible for several robotic breakthroughs in Security, Defense and medicine – take a look at the latest robots! – Israeli MFA
Google partners with The Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and the Technion to fund 20 research projects that address the opportunities of the Internet economy, with a particular focus on the fundamentals of online auctions.
At the Hebrew University, the projects will be led by Professors Danny Dolev and Jeffrey S. Rosenschein from the School of Computer Science and Engineering; and Professor Noam Nisan from the School of Computer Science, Dr. Liad Blumrosen, Dr. Alex Gershkov, and Professor Eyal Winter from the Department of Economics, and Dr. Michal Feldman and Professor Ilan Kremer from the School of Business Administration, who are also members of the Center for the Study of Rationality. At Tel Aviv University, the projects will be led by Professors Yossi Azar, Amos Fiat, Haim Kaplan, and Yishay Mansour from the School of Computer Science; Prof. Zvika Neeman from the Department of Economics; Professors Ehud Lehrer and Eilon Solan from the School of Mathematics; and Dr. Gal Oestreicher from the Business School. At the Technion, the projects will be led by Prof. Seffi Naor from the faculty of Computer Science; Dr Ron Lavi from the faculty of Industrial Engineering; and Professors Shie Mannor and Ariel Orda from the faculty of Electrical Engineering.
Israeli venture capital news
Atlantic Capital, a new German venture fund based in Munich, has allocated $100 million for secondary (growth) software investments in Europe and Israel. The method: finding tired Israeli entrepreneurs that are looking for liquidity. Moshe Bar, a general partner in the fund is a former entrepreneur and chairman of Zooppa – full article
DFJ Tamir Fishman raises 400 million NIS fund ($110 million) focused on late stage investments. The new fund will operate under the Ministry of Finance program for encouraging investment in venture capital by giving breaks to institutional investors that invest in funds – a program that is largely criticized by the industry – full article
Israeli VC funds raised no capital in 2010 according to the Israel Venture Capital Association (IVC) and KPMG Somekh Chaikin. The situation is becoming critical says Koby Simana, CEO of the IVC Research center: “Without improvement, it threatens the survival of numerous Israeli high-tech companies that cannot raise needed capital. Moreover, venture capital funds will not be able to finance new companies or, in some cases, support their existing portfolio companies” – full article.
Yaniv Golan and Avichay Nissenbaum, co-founders of Yedda (sold to AOL) have announced the hatching of Lool (chicken coop in Hebrew), the first Israeli Micro-VC fund focused on Media and Internet. The fund hasn’t disclosed its size, but says it plans to invest seed and A rounds and help companies grow with the help of product, design and user experience team aimed at ‘flipping’ the companies with humble exit expectations of up to $50 million – read Sara Lacy’s post on Techcrunch