Big day for Israeli start ups today as two companies announce funding from unexpected sources. No VC money? no problem!
Modu Mobile, Dov Moran’s mobile company aiming to create the world’s smallest cell phone, gets an oxygen injection today with the announcement of a $7 Million dollar round from chip manufacturer Qualcomm. The strategic agreement signed between the companies also gives Qualcomm the rights to make the chips inside Moran’s cell phones.
The investment is strategically important for Modu at this point in time. After laying off 35% of its workforce, and raising only $65 million out of the intended (and ambitious) goal of $100 million (Gemini and Genesis are among investors), Modu seemed to have hit the rocks. The company’s absence from CES this year was mentioned by Israeli media outlets as a potential sign of trouble.
Dov Moran was the founded of M-Systems, inventor of the flash drive that we all love. His previous company was sold to Sandisk for one and half billion a year and a half ago. Modu’s flagship product is a tiny phone weighing only 40 grams, which serves as the ‘brain’ in additional products such as navigation devices, digital cameras and mp3 players, through the use of ‘jackets’.
Next in line was Ginger, a small start up developing spelling check software. The Israeli start up founded by Yael Karov and Avner Zangvil has announced a first round of $3 million led by private investors in Israel and the US. Ginger distributes a free program that helps users with Dyslexia by providing automatic text correction English using patent pending technology.
The target market of Ginger is apparently 15% of the western world (see learning difficulties organizations here). There are 50 million people suffering from Dyslexia in the US and UK alone. and the company claims it has the potential to correct 95% of their errors. Even though word processing software is already equipped with spell checkers, Ginger says it can correct heavy misspellings that are far from the ‘right’ word, as well a full sentence correction.
Started in 2007, Ginger has raised $4 million from private investors to date, including Yoni Hefetz, a serial entrepreneur and a partner at Lightspeed as well as Zohar Gilon, an angel investor who also founded B-Hive and Oberon.