Invest in Israel Newsletter – February 2012

Invest in Israel newsletter VC CafeAs 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.  For the Invest in Israel archive, click here.

Israel is the second-most educated country in the world, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported recently.

The evaluation considered several factors in establishing its rankings, including: the number of highly-educated adults, the amount spent on education by the state, and the amount of time spend in class. The report stated 45% of Israeli adults have university or college diplomas.

The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor launched two new programs to help promote foreign investment in Israeli R&D in the Life Sciences sector.

Under the first initiative, international corporations will commit to establishing an R&D center in Israel that will employ more than 60 workers for a period of no less than 5 years. R&D centers established in the center of the country will receive government support of about 19 million shekels ($5.1 million), whereas R&D centers set up in Israel’s periphery in the north or south will receive about 32 million shekels ($8.6 million).
Under the second initiative, international corporations invest no less than $20 million in projects by Israeli companies in the Life Sciences sector over the course of 5 years. The OCS will then offer support of up to 50% of the projects. The corporations will also be required to contribute to R&D activity through professional guidance, managerial advice and exposure to knowledge and work methods at the international corporation.

IBM is acquiring Worklight, a privately held Israeli company that provides a mobile software platform for smartphones and tablets. Worklight is IBM’s 11th acquisition in Israel.

Worklight’s technology enables application programmers to create, in one single process, an application that will work with a range of devices without having to rewrite the application for each platform. The Worklight platform, which is suitable for developing mobile applications for both consumers and commercial enterprises, includes SDKs (software development kits) for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows mobile devices.

Once the acquisition has been completed, Worklight’s operations will be merged with IBM’s software laboratory in Israel, which is headed by Dr. Daniel Yellin.

ATX Networks Inc. is buying multimedia transmission solutions developer Arcos Technologies Ltd. for $26 million. The Petah Tikva-based company was founded in 2005. Its solutions target the home video network market.
ATX has been relying on Arcos to provide a number of the video processing products it sells. The company name will change to ATX Networks Israel.
ATX Networks Corp. designs, manufactures, and markets a range of products for the cable television (TV) industry. The company was founded in 1985 and is based in Ajax, Canada.

OCZ Technology Group, a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, acquired SANRAD Inc., an Israeli provider of flash caching and virtualization software and hardware.

SANRAD, founded in 2000, designs cutting-edge cloud storage acceleration and virtualization software and hardware for datacenters. The company transforms storage access in virtualized environments with NAND flash, allowing data centers to fully leverage their flash based storage investments, extending the lifespan of the storage infrastructure and maximizing efficiency.

“Check-Cap’s technology is not only innovative but it presents great promise to change the standard of patient care,” – GE Healthcare CTO Mike Harsh

General Electric Company has invested in colon cancer imaging capsule developer Check-Cap Ltd. through its GE Healthymagination Fund, an equity fund of GE Capital and GE Healthcare. This is the fund’s first investment in Israel.

Check-Cap plans to raise another $20-25 million in a private placement with the support of Citigroup Inc. in addition to the investment by the GE Healthymagination Fund.

Check-Cap will use the proceeds to carry out clinical trials and, pending their success, plans to begin marketing its ingestible and disposable 3D colon imaging capsule in Europe in 2013.

“Over the past 15 years GE Healthcare has benefited from Israel’s spirit of innovation and scientific discoveries,” said Oded Meirav, manager, GE Global Research–Israel Technology Center. “Seeking partnerships between a global company such as GE and Israeli high-tech companies like Check-Cap can truly be a win-win for all.”

Nearly half a dozen shows in development at U.S. networks are based on hit Israeli series, their themes and language tweaked for American audiences, and their numbers continue to grow.
“Homeland,” a show that broke Showtime’s ratings record for a first-year series finale, is adapted from the Israeli show “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War) and marks the latest successful milestone for Israel’s TV industry.
Following the maturation of the Israeli television industry, a small group of creators and businessmen have established an entertainment pipeline with the Los Angeles entertainment world, turning Israel into Hollywood’s hottest spawning ground.
Other successful adaptations include the divorce sitcom “Life Isn’t Everything” (CBS), a time-travel musical dubbed “Danny Hollywood (the CW) and the border-town murder-mystery “Pillars of Smoke” (NBC), all of which started as Hebrew-language series. All of these come on the heels of the very first such effort a few years ago when the U.S. serial “In Treatment” premiered based on the Israeli drama “B’tipul.”

Israeli filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger won the best documentary film award at the Bavarian Film Awards (Bayerischer Filmpreis) in München, Germany for his film “The Flat”.

“The Flat” is the first Israeli film to win the documentary award in Bavaria and one of the few films to win the award before being screened to the public.

In Israel, “The Flat” was awarded the Ophir prize for best documentary of 2011, the Documentary Forum prize for best film, best direction and best investigation, as well as the award for best directed film at the Jerusalem Film Awards.

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

General Partner, Google Ventures at Google
Eze is a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before joining GV, Eze started Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and led Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before joining GV, Eze started Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and led Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.

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