Happy belated 2008! After a week of vacation in sunny Miami, it’s good to be back on the saddle. Most of us are still caught up with a large inbox to clear after the break, having 35 firefox browsers open doesn’t exactly help. Israeli high tech M&A, Clean tech, life sciences and consumer internet are the focus of today’s roundup. Leave a comment if you think I missed anything major.
So, without further ado, below is a compilation of the latest Israeli tech and VC news, in its first installment of 2008:
Elron Electronic Industries Ltd. has completed a $14 million financing round led by Shamrock Israel Growth Fund
The investment was made on Elron’s subsidiary (AMT), developer of “technologies for amorphous and nano-crystalline materials”. In simple words, AMT builds sensors and electronic components using nanotechnology. Following the transaction, Elron will hold approximately 34 percent of AMT.
High Tech Solutions (HTS) raises $3M in round B led by Pegasus Capital
Hi-Tech Solutions is a system and software company that develops cutting edge optical character recognition (OCR) solutions. HTS’ main products are license plate recognition, container ID recognition and homeland security applications using OCR technology. The $3 million investment will be used to increase the company’s presence in North America, by leveraging Pegasus’ experience in the homeland security industry.
AMD to collaborate with chipset start-up Commex
Israel-based Commex is working on the development of a multi core processor, but does not have a final product yet. This is a major break for the startup, which could potentially reach tens of millions of dollars per year. Commex was founded two years ago by president & CEO Tal Horowitz together with brothers Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel who joined him as seed investors in the company.
Israel’s Allot buys Esphion for $5.5m
Allot Inc, provider of broadband traffic management solutions for intelligent networks, made a first acquisition since its IPO a year ago, in which it raised $80 million. Allot has acquired Esphion, a New Zealand-based developer of network protection solutions for carriers and internet service providers, for $5.5 million. The acquisition will assist Allot to increase its market share with broadband operators, who are increasingly concerned with network and subscriber security.
Pudding Media Raises $8 Million To Serve Ads Against Phone Conversations
Opus Capital and BRM Capital led the $8 million A round to test the concept. Pudding Media currently provides free, PC-based phone calls to anywhere in the US or Canada through its consumer facing site, ThePudding.com. The calls are then recorded and analyzed in order to contextually match ads against the call. Pudding is planning to use the proceeds to cover all types of voice communications including: mobile carriers, VoIP operators and Web voice applications. Despite some evidently serious privacy issues, Pudding might win the lottery if the service is widely adopted.
Israel’s MeeMix opens in public beta
Tel Aviv, Israel based MeeMix, a taste-predicting Internet radio service has started the year by opening its doors in an attempt to compete with internet radio giants such as Last.fm and Pandora and also newer players like SpiralFrog, Jango and Slacker.
Now it’s official, 5min raised $5M from Spark Capital (official press release)
After a long weeks of rumors, the investment from Spark Capital is finally confirmed. 5min was started in 2007 by Eran Har-Nevo, Tal Simantov and Hanan Lashover. 5min reported 5 million views in December of 2007, with a 30-40% growth month over month. Other companies in the how-to space include ExpertVillage, Instructables, DIY Network, eHow, HowCast and Israel’s-SuTree. 5min plans now to open its new headquarters in New York. The development center will remain in Yehud, Israel. This is Spark’s second investment in an Israeli company. They previously invested in cable and multimedia switch company BigBand Network Inc.
KCPS completes third Israeli acquisition
Private equity group KCPS Private Equity Partners has made its third acquisition in Israel in two weeks with the acquisition of Employment agency Danel, one of the five largest employment agencies in Israel. Danel specializes principally in nursing staff, providing services to more than 10,000 customers.
Alma Lasers files for an $86.3 million IPO
Israel-based Alma Lasers develops non-invasive aesthetic treatment systems. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol, with Citi and UBS serving as co-lead underwriters. TA Associates is the company’s majority shareholder, based on a $55 million investment in 2005.
Bioness buys NESS for $75 million
Israel-based Bioness Inc. completed the acquisition of NESS, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Systems for $75 million. NESS utilized neuromuscular electrical stimulation to develop equipment and systems to activate paralyzed muscles.
Israeli Biotech to Facilitate Early Detection of HIV and HCV
Israel based Smart Biotech has developed a new blood sample treatment technique, SMARTube which enhances antibody production and allows to detect the HIV virus within 2-3 days of infection. This is a major improvement in the fight against HIV since tests can currently remain negative for weeks or even months in infected individuals.Watch the video.
Startup Gelesis grabs $16M in first funding
Gelesis is developing a drug for the treatment of obesity. Gelesis was formed in 2006, with technology developed and manufactured in Israel, in cooperation with Israel-based Exo-tech bio solutions, maker of polymers for the healthcare industry. The round was led by Orbimed Advisors, a New York PE firm, Queensland bioCapital funds and other. It comes on top of a $900K seed round raised by PureTech, the firm behind Gelsis, and an additional $1 million grant from the BIRD Foundation, whose mission is to encourage cooperation between U.S. and Israeli companies. Based in Boston, Gelesis is headed by Israeli CEO Yishai Zohar.