Red Herring, IVA to choose Israel’s most promising start-ups
Gali Weinreb and Shmulik Shelah
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes.co.il – on June 6, 2007
The Israel Venture Association (IVA) and leading technology magazine “Red Herring”, have selected the nine most promising Israeli start-ups for the final of the start-up competition. The magazine, which influences the world venture capital industry, is sponsoring the contest at the annual IVA Hi-Tech conference for the second consecutive year running. Last year’s winners from the telecommunications sector were Amimon Inc., Axerra Networks Inc., and Discretix Technologies Ltd.; Zend Technologies Ltd.; Itemfield and BeInSync Ltd. represented the software industry, while Mazor Surgical Technologies Ltd., BrainsGate Ltd. and Deep Breeze Medical Diagnosis Ltd. were the top companies in life sciences. Since the awards, Discretix and Zend have each raised $20 million, Itemfield was acquired by Informatica Corp. (Nasdaq: INFA), while Mazor and Brainsgate have each announced plans to hold an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).
IVA said that the start-ups were chosen for their vision, technological achievements and market leadership. The winning companies will be given international exposure in “Red Herring” and they will be presented at the annual IVA conference on June 10-11 in Tel Aviv.
The finalists of the 2007 contest are as follows:
Altair Semiconductor Ltd.
Altair Semiconductor develops low-power state-of-the art WiMAX silicon solutions optimized for handsets and handheld devices, including MP3 players, games consoles, digital cameras and others. The company has raised $8 million to date from BRM Capital, Giza Venture Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
Power ID Ltd.
Power ID was spun off from Power Paper Ltd. as an independent unit this year. The company develops radio frequency-based identification solutions for tagging and identifying items in challenging environments where passive UHF technology is ineffective such as in airports or at newspaper of media publishers. Power ID says that the rival solutions are larger and more expensive. The company has already had its first sales.
Unipier, formely Cash-U, provides cellular content management solutions to cellular and wireless service providers. The company’s flagship product enables providers to define their content policies and business rules. Its other products support user interface design and development, cellular advertising campaigns, and cellular-based social games and networks. Unipier has had initial sales and it has raised $40 million to data from Carmel Ventures, Fidelity Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Greylock Partners, Intel Capital, JP Morgan Partners and Argoquest Holdings LLC.
Red Bend Software Inc.
Red Bend develops wireless communications-based software and firmware solutions for updating mobile phones and other mobile devices, without the need for physical contact between device and base station. The company has raised $24 million to date from Carmel Ventures, Israel Infinity Venture Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, Poalim Ventures, and Greylock Partners.
Safend provides endpoint security solutions that protect enterprises from data leakage and targeted attacks via physical and wireless ports such as Disk-on-Keys and others. The company has already had initial sales, and it has raised $10 million to date from Elron Electronic Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: ELRN; TASE: ELRN), Intel Capital, Walden Israel and Western Technology Investments.
DriveDiagnostics provides software solutions for that encourage safe driving by issuing alerts of traffic lights, and monitoring speed and irregular driving patterns. The company’s solutions are targeted at car fleet managers and private vehicle owners, and it claims that these can reduce the risk of accidents as well as vehicle fleet operational costs. DriveDiagnostics has raised $4 million from Benchmark Capital.
Drug development and medical devices
GI View Ltd.
GI View develops endoscopic devices for viewing the gastrointestinal tract. The company aims to replace the traditional colonoscopy device with a flexible, more patient-friendly product with improved diagnostic capabilities. The company says its device contains two technological breakthroughs in the field of microscopic motion and viewing. The company has begun developing a second generation of the product to include treatment capabilities. GI View has raised $20 million to date from Israel Healthcare Ventures, Delta Fund I LP, and from the private investors Igal Ahuvi, and Shimon Weintraub. The company’s device recently received the CE Mark certification for sales in Europe.
Gamida Cell Ltd.
Gamida-Cell is developing innovative treatment methods in stem cells field, for patients suffering from blood cancer, heart diseases and hematology-related diseases. The company has developed a method for stem cell regeneration that does not make the cells lose their basic characteristics, thereby enabling umbilical cord blood cells to be also used in the treatment of adults, for whom the current rate of cells in umbilical cord blood donations was not sufficient. The company intends to develop further cell therapy treatments on the basis of its existing capabilities. Gamida-Cell has raised $40 million to date from Denali Ventures Fund, Israel Healthcare Ventures, Pamot VC, Biomedical Investments Ltd., Comverse Investments Ltd. (Comsor), Elscint Biomedical, Auriga Partners, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), Moti Zisser and others.
Multi-Gene Vascular Systems (MGVS)
MGVS develops gene and cell therapy products to address a number of vascular-related disorders. The technology is based on using the patient’s own blood cells, (endothelium), and inserting a number of genes using a genetic engineering process. The company’s first two products are designed for patients suffering from diseases in their cardiac and leg vascular systems. MGVS is a graduate of Naiot Venture Accelerator and it has raised $7.5 million to date from Tamir Fishman Venture Capital (TASE: TFVC), Ofer Hi Tech Ltd., Eitan Wertheimer, Aviv Venture Capital, and Biocom.
All investment figures in this report are based on IVC Online data.
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