As 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. Lots of international brands are actively investing in Israel, as evidenced by this last edition.
eBay TO ESTABLISH INCUBATOR FOR START-UPS IN ISRAEL
Internet sales giant eBay has announced plans to open a technology incubator in Israel to attract early stage companies in the on-line, social networking and Big Data sectors. The facility will be located in Netanya on the ruins of the IKEA store destroyed by fire two years ago. eBay will assist the selected companies with financial solutions, marketing assistance, technology testing and conducting market surveys. The center is due to open by the end of the year.
BUFFETT COMPLETES PURCHASE OF ISRAEL’S ISCAR FOR $2 BILLION
American investor and financial icon Warren Buffett paid $2 billion for the remaining 20% of the Israeli firm Iscar. Buffett had bought 80 % of the Iscar Metalworking Company Group, in which Iscar is the main company, for $4 billion in 2006. The company, which makes precision carbide cutting tools and is located in the Tefen industrial park in northern Israel, was founded by Israeli Stef Wertheimer. It employs 2,500 people in Israel and another 7,500 at its facilities around the world.
INDIA’S TATA INDUSTRIES TO INVEST $5M IN NEW TAU TECH FUND
Tata, part of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, will be the lead investor in a planned $20 million fund at Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer company Ramot, aimed at commercializing the university’s research, saying it sees the university as its Israeli R&D center. Tata executive director Rameshwar Jamwal said it was Tata’s first major investment in Israel and that it would likely invest further. “This allows us over a period of time to show our commitment to Israel but we are interested in doing more.”
CHINESE FIRM BUYS ISRAEL’S ALMA LASERS FOR $240 MILLION
The Shanghai Fosun Pharma group has purchased Israeli medical and cosmetic laser equipment maker Alma Lasers for $240 million. This was the second major transaction involving an Israeli company within a few days, following the sale of Prolor Biotech to Nasdaq-listed OPKO Health for $480 million at the end of April. Alma Lasers develops, manufactures and markets light-based, radiofrequency and ultrasound devices for cosmetic and medical applications to treat conditions including acne, psoriasis, fungal infections of the nails and varicose veins.
ISRAELI START-UP TAPPED FOR PRESTIGIOUS U.S. COMPETITION
Binpress, which is developing a platform that lets independent open-source code developers register and license out their software, has become the first Israeli company chosen to participate in the accelerator program of 500 Startups. Along with Y Combinator, 500 Startups is considered one of Silicon Valley’s leading seed accelerators. The current round includes 28 companies. All but eight of them are from outside the United States. Binpress, founded in 2011 by Adam Benayoun and Eran Galperin, has helped commercialize some 1,000 open-source components, with the company collecting 30% of the proceeds generated.
QUALCOMM: WE ARE GROWING IN ISRAEL
Qualcomm Inc.’s Paul Jacobs announced that the company would be upgrading the importance of their Israel R&D center, making it one of its major strategic centers. “We are growing in Israel in a very organic and pragmatic way… We seek talents and leaders in the technology sector,” he said. Jacobs also announced managerial changes in Israel. Ayal Bar-David will be promoted to VP global market development, while Marvell Israel’s Arik Mimran will serve as general manager. With a market cap of $114 billion and expected revenue of $25 billion in 2013, Qualcomm is the world’s third largest chipmaker after Intel and Samsung.
HP-SCITEX OPENS NEW KIRYAT GAT PLANT
HP-Scitex opened a new ink production plant in Kiryat Gat. The new plant will be replacing the old one in Ashkelon, with several dozen workers at the Ashkelon plant moving to the new one. The company plans to ramp up production, says Boaz Peretz, manager of HP-Scitex activity in Israel. The new plant is the first in HP, as well as in Israel, to be built according to the strict environmental standards. The plant is water-economizing and energy efficient, using raw materials and attention to high air quality.The HP-Scitex operation is based on the wide-format printing company Scitex Vision that HP acquired in 2005 for $250 million.