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 September 2011 edition after the jump. For previous editions, click here.
TECHNION PROF DANIEL SHECHTMAN WINS NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY
Professor Daniel Shechtman of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has been designated the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2011 for his discovery of quasicrystals – a new form of matter that has become a major subject field for physicists, materials scientists, mathematicians, and crystallographers.
Shechtman, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1941, had previously been awarded the Israel Prize in Physics in 1998 and the Wolf Prize in Physics a year later.
He discovered the Icosahedral Phase of crystals aluminum transition metal alloys in 1982.
Shechtman is the tenth Israeli to win the Nobel Prize. The most recent awardee was Prof. Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on the ribosome.
ISRAEL TO TRADE FREELY WITH MERCOSUR; ARGENTINA – ISRAEL SIGN FTA
Argentina became the last of the South American Mercosur trade block of four to sign a free trade agreement with Israel. Trade in 2010 between Israel and the other countries that comprise Mercosur, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, reached $1.8 billion. Trade with Argentina, on the other hand, only reached $130 million due to high tariffs on Israeli goods there.
With the gradual expiration of the tariffs prescribed by the free trade agreement, Brazil, the largest regional economy, expects to triple its trade with Israel by 2015. Its $1.35 billion in trade last year increased from $922 million in 2009.
CITIGROUP OPENS R&D CENTER IN ISRAEL
Citigroup intends to open a technology research and development center in Israel in December to support its global activities.
“Citi has many development centers which support the bank’s global operations, and it will add the Israeli center to its portfolio as a center of strategic innovation that focuses on the development of advanced products and applications for the capital market,” said Don Callahan, Citi’s chief operations and technology officer.
As part of a plan launched by the Israeli government in 2010 to attract financial services sector firms to Israel, the government has granted Citi 93 million shekels ($25 million) over five years to help finance the center.
The U.S. bank will become the second international bank to open an R&D center in Israel after Barclays Capital, which opened earlier this year.
INTEL BUYS ISRAELI MOBILE NAVIGATION FIRM TELMAP
Chipmaker Intel Corp has agreed to acquire mobile navigation software maker Telmap.
Telmap, which provides mapping, local business listings and other location-based services, has been profitable since last year, with sales for 2010 reaching $28 million, and an expected turnover of $33 million for 2011. Telmap powers mapping applications for a number of mobile operators, including Orange, Telefonica’s O2 and SFR in France.
Herzliya-based Telmap has 210 employees. Intel, the world’s No. 1 chipmaker, has two plants and four development centers in Israel.
Take a look at the official Telmap announcement.
BIOTECH GIANT MONSANTO BUYS ISRAEL’S BEEOLOGICS
The Monsanto Company, a US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, has acquired Beeologics Ltd., a developer of targeted biological pest and disease control solutions for bees and bee colonies.
Monsanto stated it would support Beeologics’ team and products pipeline and intends to apply Beeologics’ expertise in biological products for more general use in agriculture, by using the company’s core technology for its discovery and development pipeline.One of Beeologics’ current projects includes a product that uses a naturally-occurring process to help protect bee health.
Monsanto is the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed and provides the technology in 90% of the genetically engineered seeds used in the US market. The company is headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
ISRAELI START-UP SHAKER WINS TECHCRUNCH DISRUPT CONTEST
The TechCrunch blog named Shaker, a social game played via the Facebook platform, the winner of its TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2011 start-up contest.
Shaker, which has raised $3 million in funding, takes basic social gaming a step further by allowing users to meet new people. The game uses profile information to show what else each player may have in common with seemingly random people in the room to facilitate communication between players.
More on Globes.
ISRAELI RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY KEY TO INSULIN PRODUCTION
A multi-year project led by Prof. Yuval Dor of the Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research has identified a glucose-sensing enzyme in the cells, glucokinase, as the key molecule that triggers beta cell regeneration in diabetic mice.
Since the study showed that regeneration depends on glucokinase levels, the finding may pave the way for developing a new kind of drug to modulate glucokinase or other steps in the glucose-sensing pathway to direct beta cells toward regeneration and replication, and offers hope for people with Type 1 (“juvenile”) diabetes.