Tonight was the Oscar night, but Hollywood stars are not the only ones getting the attention. No less than eight rounds were raised by Israeli companies in the last couple of weeks, totaling over $72 million.
What are the reasons for so many announcements in such a short time? Is it newly raised funds, such as Canaan’s $650 million fund that announced its plans to invest a quarter of the fund in startups from India and Israel? Or perhaps we can find some of the answers in IVC’s survey of last year’s most active Israeli venture capital funds.
According to the survey, the top nine funds made 75 First investments in the aggregate. Thirty-two or 43 percent were in Seed stage companies. The Internet sector attracted the largest number of First investments with 26 deals (35%), followed by the Semiconductor sector with 14 (19%). That would explain the intensity of the investments in the beginning of 2008 – funds compete with each other to make the deals as startup seek for money in face of a potential downturn in the economy.
The figures below provide additional insight. Click to enlarge:
Here are the nominees for best Israeli fund raising startups of Feb 2008:
1) N-trig Secures VC Investment Round of $28 Million
Components company N-trig (see also here) has closed $28 million in new venture capital investment, according to a company press release. N-trig is the provider of DuoSense digitizer technology that provides equipment OEMs with a new pen-based technology for making next-generation laptops more user-friendly and productive. Investors in the round were Canaan Partners, Evergreen Partners, Plenus and others. Included in the $33 million was $5 million of venture debt from Plenus.
See the video demo of N-Trig:
2) Collarity Raises $7.8 Million Second Round For Improved Site Search
Palo Alto and Israel-based Collarity, which helps companies improve the performance of their websites, has raised a $7.8 million second round led by Amicus Capital and Israeli firm JC6, according to VentureBeat. The company’s first round has not been announced. The company claims it can improve the performance of a given site, by making content easier to discover, and by letting website owners get a better understanding of how their site is used. Originally, the company focused on social search. See my interview with Levy Cohen here.3) Veteran Payment technology company Trivnet raises $6m
Payment technology start-up Trivnet Ltd. has raised $6 million in its fourth financing round. The company’s Israeli investors participated in this round: Magma Venture Partners, Stage One Ventures, Star Ventures, and Veritas Venture Partners fund Millennium Capital Ltd. The company has raised $35.5 million altogether, including this round.Trivnet was founded more than a decade ago, and has undergone a number of incarnations. The company is developing products that enabled communications providers to offer advanced payment and money transfer services to subscribers, including the purchase of goods and services (m-commerce).
Trivnet’s target market is advanced services that both cellular and wireline operators want as new sources of revenue.
The company also announced the appointment of former Comverse CP Amit Mattatia as CEO.
Investors include a multi-billion dollar European asset management firm, whose identity was not disclosed, and three existing investors, Elron Electronic Industries Ltd.; Intel Capital, which is the investment arm of the Intel Corp., and Walden Israel Venture Capital.
The funds will be used to accelerate development of Safend’s core technology, add products, and expand partnerships and distribution channels worldwide, the company said. Safend earlier had raised $7.4 million in January 2006 and $2.5 million in September 2004.
Israel Cleantech Ventures led the round, joined by Pitango Venture Capital and Evergreen Venture Partners.
Pythagoras Solar, the first company that was conceived and incubated within Precede Technologies, will use the funds for Israel-based R&D and global commercialization of its technology and products that are claimed to be able to change the economics of solar power.
The company is working to combine software models, optic design, semiconductor processes, materials science, and mass manufacturing techniques to build highly durable, cost effective solar energy products.
It was founded in 2006 by Gonen Fink, previously at Check Point Software, Dr Itay Baruchi, a winner of the Scientific American magazine’s “50 most significant scientific breakthroughs” award, and Precede Technologies. Pythagoras , which expects to disclose more details about its technologies and products by early 2009, has an R&D center in Hakfar Hayarok, Israel and a U.S. office in San Mateo, California.
ConTrust (aka “content you can trust” and formerly known as Celtego) has raised $700K, of which $500K were invested by Xenia Ventures and the rest by American angels. ConTrust develops a holistic approach to enable websites and media platforms to control, detect and filter User-Generated-Content (UGC) risks and threats, like spam, malware and phishing content, based on unique patterns and adaptive approach to adhere to website policy and profile. This service improves UGC moderators operation, increases UGC quality and enhances user-experience of websites content contributors. The company was founded in Israel in 2007 by Nir Abraham and Shai Wolkomir.
Wireless high definition interface (WHDI) developer Amimom Inc. has raised $10 million out of a planned $15 million third financing round. The company expects to close the round in a few months. The firm’s technology links wireless devices with LCD screens.
The company’s current investors are participating in the round: Evergreen Venture Partners, Cedar Fund, Walden Israel, Argonaut Private Equity, and Stata Venture Partners, as well as strategic investor Motorola Ventures, which also invested $2 million in the company a year ago. The company has raised $33.6 million to date, including the present round.
Motorola, Inc. subsidiary, Motorola Ventures, has made an equity investment in DesignArt Networks of Israel, an emerging and leading supplier of silicon system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for WiMAX radio access network infrastructure. Motorola Ventures led this second round for DesignArt Networks, joined by existing investors, Carmel Ventures and Magma Venture Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
DesignArt Networks has developed an advanced and cost-effective SoC silicon platform for the WiMAX infrastructure to drastically lower deployment and operational costs of WiMAX networks. Offering one of the most compact BTS design architectures while providing integrated high-capacity in-band backhaul and advanced networking capabilities, the single-chip SoC platform is used to build a portfolio of compact, yet powerful base station and relay products, suitable for both in- and outdoor deployments.
Resolute Networks Ltd. (Modi’in, Israel), a provider of circuits for telecommunications, is set to be acquired by BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (Kfar Netter, Israel) for $2 million. According to press reports in Israel, the investors in Resolute will lose more than 90 percent of their money after investing almost $30 million in the company.
Resolute offers silicon and module technology, which is claimed to support converged communications services over Ethernet, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and IP networks.
Resolute Networks is set to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of BATM. The companies said they will combine the professional know-how, technology, and manufacturing capability required to assume a significant role in the carrier IP/Ethernet/MPLS and circuit emulation markets. Brian Bortz, previously vice president of marketing and sales at Resolute Networks, is set to become Resolute’s chief executive officer following the acquisition. BATM, which employs over 400 workers, operates subsidiaries in the United States, France, Germany and the Asia Pacific region.
10) Will only be published tomorrow due to a press embargo.