Invest in Israel Newsletter – September 2012 Edition

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.  Large US tech companies continue to open innovation and R&D centers in Israel – Apple with the acquisition of Anobit, eBay with the acquisition of the Gifts Project, Yahoo who bought Dapper and so on…  See the headlines below.

MICROSOFT INAUGURATES ISRAELI INNOVATION CENTER
Microsoft Corporation has completed the establishment of its Israeli innovation center, one of 31 Microsoft Technology Centers worldwide. Microsoft invested millions of dollars in the Microsoft Technology Center Israel, based at the company’s premises in Ra’anana. The Microsoft Technology Centers serve mainly for the building and sale of IT infrastructure products. The centers function as places where company representatives spend several days in developing customized solutions with Microsoft staff.

MOODY’S REPORT ON ISRAEL’S ECONOMY UPBEAT
According to Moody’s September 3, 2012 annual credit report on Israel: “Israel’s A1 government bond rating and stable outlook are underpinned by the country’s high economic, institutional and government financial strength…Israel’s high economic strength is supported by its relatively high GDP per capita (US$31,200 in 2011) and its economic resilience, which has been illustrated in recent years during frequent economic and political shocks.” Moody’s assesses Israel’s government financial strength as being high thanks to the improving debt trajectory, the favorable debt composition and the comfortable debt service schedule.

102 INTERNET COMPANIES FOUNDED IN ISRAEL IN Q2 2012
Israel has recently seen a leap in the number of new start-up companies, with 199 new start-ups founded in the second quarter of 2012, according to a report by the Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI). The new figures marked a substantial increase beyond the 114 start-ups that were founded in the preceding two quarters. “The increase in the number of new start-ups created was due to the sharp growth in the number of 102 new Internet companies,” write the authors of the report, who are members of the market intelligence company International Data Corporation.

SINGAPORE TELECOM EYES MORE INVESTMENTS IN ISRAEL
Singapore Telecommunications, the largest telecom company in Southeast Asia, plans to acquire more high-tech firms, including in Israel, as it transforms itself into a multimedia and ICT company. “Israel is an important part of our golden plans for the digital space. We will be making strategic acquisitions and we will be partnering with companies here,” Allen Lew, chief executive of SingTel’s new Digital Life unit, said at the annual High Tech Industry Association conference in Jerusalem in September. In March, SingTel bought Amobee, an Israeli mobile advertising solutions firm, for $321 million. Lew said the company has a venture capital fund of S200 million to invest in global start-ups.

KAZAKH INVESTOR INVESTS $20M INTO ISRAELI START-UP MOBLI
Kazakh businessman Kenges Rakishev has invested $20 million into Israeli start-up Mobli with another $2 million coming from previous investors. Mobli develops social networking apps for sharing pictures and videos. Mobli is best known for its famous investors, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who invested $4 million a year ago in the company’s second funding round. Tennis player Serena Williams, actor Tobey Maguire and cyclist Lance Armstrong are among its other celebrity investors – along with a number of New York hedge funds. Last month Rakishev, one of his country’s most influential investors, put $5 million into Israeli company TriPlay, which develops cloud-based storage services.

eBAY CEO PRAISES ISRAELI INNOVATION
eBay CEO and President John Donahoe speaking at the Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) conference in Jerusalem in September commented: “I want to see the next wave of innovation in commerce coming from Israel and I want eBay to be a part of it. We are here in order to cooperate with Israeli innovators to change the world of commerce.” eBay currently works with the Israeli start-ups Fooducate, which developed an app that presents nutritional information for food products using barcode technology, and Kenshoo, which develops technology solutions for search marketing, social media and online advertising. In addition, eBay previously acquired the Israeli e-commerce start-ups The Gifts Project and Shopping.com.
CANADA AND ISRAEL CALL FOR JOINT R&D PROJECT PROPOSALS
Canada and Israel have issued a call for proposals for joint R&D projects in the fields of renewable and alternative energy, water recovery/treatment solutions and brain-related research. Projects will be evaluated based on a number of criteria including novelty; possible impact; qualifications of the applicants; and expected economic results. The chosen projects will be financed by the respective authorities in the two countries. The call is jointly administered by MATIMOP – the Israel Industry Center for R&D on behalf of the Office of Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. Deadline for submission is October 22, 2012. For more information, please contact Liron Eldar, liron@matimop.org.il

GROUNDBREAKING COMPANIES TO PRESENT AT ENERGYVEST SUMMIT IN EILAT
HelioFocus, Tenoga and TransBiodiesal will be among the 16 Israeli companies presenting their innovative technologies at ENERGYVEST SUMMIT in Eilat, Israel on November 26, 2012. The event, in association with “Invest in Israel,” Israel NewTech, Capital Nature and PwC, will bring together members of the energy investment community, Israeli entrepreneurs and government officials for a brainstorming day exploring challenges and creative solutions within the industry. The day will be followed by the 5th International Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference, one of the world’s most prominent conferences in the field. For a complete list of participating companies and to register, please visit the conference website.

TENDER TO BUILD JERUSALEM HOTEL ANNOUNCED
A tender for building a hotel in one of Jerusalem’s new prime locations, at the entrance to the city, has been announced. A project of the Israel Land Administration, the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority, it entitles bidders to submit a grant request to the Ministry of Tourism for up to 28% of the recognized investment for the construction of a hotel. The Jerusalem Municipality will accompany the entrepreneur in advancing plans, obtaining building permits and business licensing. For the tender documents, details of the property, general information and statistics, click here or contact ilanit@jda.gov.il

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head 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
Follow me

Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups, and was the Head 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.