Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
Intel Israel nearly doubled its exports in the past year, increasing by $2.7 billion to reach $6.6 billion in 2019, a figure that represents 12.5 percent of Israel’s total high-tech exports for the year, according to the company’s newly published Corporate Responsibility Report for 2019-2020 (Hebrew). Intel Israel also indicated that over the course of 2019, it made $1.8 billion of local procurement in Israel, purchasing materials and services from Israeli suppliers (up from $1.5 billion in 2018.)As the largest private employer in the country, Intel Israel said it added nearly 1,000 jobs in 2019 and now employs 13,750 people across the country, including over 1,000 from Mobileye, the autonomous driving tech company Intel bought in 2017 for over $15 billion.
Intel Israel also released a number of corporate commitments it hopes to meet over the next decade as part of Intel’s overall corporate responsibility strategy and goals published last month including collaborations in health and safety, pandemic preparedness, carbon-neutral computing, and increased inclusion of women and minorities in senior roles.
Intel Israel said it currently spends NIS 250 million ($72 million) with diversified businesses and will double this amount to NIS 700 million (approximately $200 million) by 2030. It also announced it was launching a new training program next month to support 100 Israeli businesses owned by women, minorities, or situated outside Israel’s central region where more business and tech activity occurs.
Currently, women make up 25 percent of Intel Israel’s workforce and it hopes to increase the rate of women in tech positions to 40 percent with continued scholarship offers and empowerment programs such as Boost Your Career. In addition, Intel Israel said it will launch a separate program called “AI for youth” as part of a global project to equip over 30 million people with AI skill. A pilot of the program will open in September in four towns and is set to expand later to additional schools across Israel.
Intel Israel is also embarking on a number of sustainable projects including a commitment to purchase 100 percent of the energy it uses from renewable sources, send zero waste to landfills, and advance rehabilitation of water sources through funding, publishing a call for proposals for such projects from external parties. Intel Israel says that currently, 50 percent of the electricity it consumes is generated via green technologies and hope to implement a circular economy strategy on 60 percent of the waste it generates.
“The goals to which Intel Israel has committed to in our Corporate Responsibility Report for 2019-2020 are very ambitious,” said Yaniv Garty, general manager of Intel Israel. “They reflect our strong ambition, willingness and need to take the lead in collaborations that will address the challenges no one can overcome alone.”
Bella Abrahams, director of corporate affairs at Intel Israel, said the publication of the report was “a special landmark” that recaps “a decade of unprecedented accomplishments we are proud of and ushers a new decade, in which we strive to stretch ourselves even higher.
“As a company that attaches strong importance to transparency, the annual report serves the complete information of Intel Israel’s work. We look forward to continuing leading the Israeli high tech industry in technological innovation, as well as in impactful social initiatives,” she added.
Intel began operating in Israel in 1974 and has said that its investments in the Israeli economy have totaled over $35 billion since then.
A pilot initiative that will change how cyclists and scooter riders – as well as delivery messengers, couriers, and residents — get around cities is winning international attention, even before its planned July launch.
Bird, the shared electric scooter transportation company, and Trailze, the Israeli navigation tech startup that is remapping the urban grid, announced in mid-June that they’re collaborating on a pilot, the Bird Maps app, which will offer navigation specifically created for riders of human-scale vehicles to safely navigate urban streets.
“We looked for the need, not the solution,” Ronen Bitan, CEO at Trailze, tells NoCamels about his company’s groundbreaking navigation software. “Google maps is amazing for cars. But there’s a huge vacuum when it comes to city navigation for cyclists and scooter riders.”A Bird rider using the Bird Maps powered by Trailze. Photo: PRNewsfoto/Bird
Bird Maps is a free standalone app, available soon on iOS and Android, that will allow riders the opportunity to enter their destination information and get in return audio and visual turn-by-turn navigation.
“Our vision at Trailze is to make riding human-scale vehicles the easiest and safest option for all,” says Bitan. “We couldn’t be more excited to join forces with Bird, the Apple of the shared micromobility space, and use our unique navigation technology to revolutionize the way people move around in our cities.”
Indeed, how people and goods get around our cities is changing every day. New shared mobility options propose lower emissions, better safety, and enhanced affordability.
“With millions of people embracing shared electric micromobility and cities everywhere committing more resources to the development of bike and micromobility lanes, we wanted to ensure that riders could more easily navigate and utilize city infrastructure,” Patrick Studener, Head of Bird EMEA, said in a press statement.
Before COVID-19, electric scooters and electric bicycles were slowly gaining traction as the transportation mode of choice for inner city destinations the world over. Shared electric scooters are used in 626 cities, in 53 countries and have made over 300 million trips, according to an EY report.
During COVID-19, over 300 cities introduced plans for more than 2,600 additional kilometers of slow streets and temporary bike lanes. Among them, the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality recently approved a strategic plan to double the length of bike paths in the city from 140km to 300km by 2025.
US multinational Intel confirmed on Monday that it is acquiring Israeli mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) solutions company Moovit for approximately $900 million. The deal was first reported on Sunday by Israel business daily TheMarker which reported the acquisition value at $1 billion.
Intel previously led a $50 million investment in Moovit in 2018 and announced a partnership with Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based developer of driver assistance system acquired by Intel Corporation for $15.3 billion in 2017 in what is the biggest deal in Israeli high-tech history.
Intel said in a statement on Monday that the acquisition of Moovit will bring Mobileye “closer to achieving its plan to become a complete mobility provider, including robotaxi services, which is forecast to be an estimated $160 billion opportunity by 2030.”
“With this acquisition, Mobileye will be able to use Moovit’s large proprietary transportation dataset to optimize predictive technologies based on customer demand and traffic patterns, as well as tap into Moovit’s transit data repository of more than 7,500 key transit agencies and operators, and improve the consumer experience for more than 800 million users worldwide,” Intel said.
Headquartered in Ness Ziona, Moovit was founded in 2012 by Nir Erez, Yaron Evron, and Roy Bick and developed the first free crowdsourced app that provides real-time bus, train, subway, and light rail schedules and offers route options to help users find the quickest, most efficient way to their destinations. In addition to its public transportation data features, Moovit’s mobility options are quite extensive and include ride-hailing companies, car-sharing companies, station-based bike-share systems, dockless bikes, scooters and Mopeds.
Today, Moovit has over 800 million users on its free mobile and web app, providing mobility options in 3,100 cities, 100 countries, and in 45 languages. The company also sells transit data analytics to municipalities and public transport operators through its Smart Transit Suite, a platform that provides real-time information on people’s movement, optimal routes, wait times, locations of buses and trains and other data for network managing. Moovit collects more than 6 billion data points daily about traffic flow and user demand.
Mobileye co-founder Professor Amnon Shashua, senior VP at Intel and a member of Moovit’s board of directors since 2018 said the company is a “critical piece to our mobility stack” and will accelerate “our way toward becoming a complete mobility provider.”
Mobileye has been developing self-driving technology and, earlier this year, announced two new partnerships for robotaxi-based mobility solutions powered by Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology, and an agreement with SAIC, a leading Chinese OEM to use Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REM) mapping technology to prepare the country for autonomous vehicles.
Moovit “owns underlying assets and capabilities, which will give us the insight needed to turn on cost- and demand-optimized driverless mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) almost anywhere in the world,” Shashua wrote on Monday, explaining Intel’s strategy in acquiring the Israeli company.
By working together as part of Intel and Mobileye, Moovit will advance the company’s MaaS strategy and the global adoption of autonomous transportation, Intel said.
Moovit will join the Mobileye business while retaining its brand and existing partnerships, Intel indicated. Erez will join Mobileye’s executive team as an executive vice president.
“Intel’s purpose is to create world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on Earth, and our Mobileye team delivers on that purpose every day,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “Mobileye’s ADAS technology is already improving the safety of millions of cars on the road, and Moovit accelerates their ability to truly revolutionize transportation – reducing congestion and saving lives – as a full-stack mobility provider.”
The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) said on Tuesday that it completed a “groundbreaking scientific development” toward a potential treatment for COVID-19 based on an antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus that causes the disease.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense speaking on behalf of the institute emphasized that this achievement could potentially develop into a treatment for COVID-19 patients but that the development was not a vaccine.
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The IIBR is a governmental research center specializing in biology, chemistry and environmental sciences that falls under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tapped the secretive institute in early February to begin development on producing a vaccine. In early April, the center reported “significant progress” and trials on animals.
The institute has also been involved in plasma collection from Israelis who have recovered from COVID-19 to research antibodies, proteins made by the immune system that can attack the virus.
“This is an important milestone, which will be followed by a series of complex tests and a process of regulatory approvals,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the process could take several months given “the nature of this breakthrough.”
The development has three key parameters, according to the IIBR: first, the antibody is monoclonal (lab-made identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell), and contains a low proportion of harmful proteins; second, the institute has “demonstrated the ability of the antibody to neutralize the coronavirus”; and third, the antibody was specifically tested on SARS CoV2.
“Based on comprehensive scientific publications from around the globe, it appears that the IIBR is the first institution to achieve a scientific breakthrough that meets all three of the aforementioned parameters simultaneously,” the ministry said on Tuesday.
The Ness Ziona-based institute is now pursuing a patent for its development, according to the announcement, after which it will approach international manufacturers.
Meanwhile, a study in the Netherlands published this week in Nature Communications also claimed that a human monoclonal antibody neutralized SARS-CoV-2, and SARS-CoV, in a lab setting.
“Monoclonal antibodies targeting vulnerable sites on viral surface proteins are increasingly recognized as a promising class of drugs against infectious diseases and have shown therapeutic efficacy for a number of viruses,” the scientists of this study wrote.
The antibody known as 47D11, targeted the spike protein that gives the coronavirus its name and shape, and “exhibited cross-neutralizing activity of SARS-S and SARS2-S,” according to the researchers.
These neutralizing antibodies “can alter the course of infection in the infected host supporting virus clearance or protect an uninfected host that is exposed to the virus,” and the 47D11 antibody can either alone or in combination with pharmaceuticals and therapies, offer potential prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19, according to the study.
Some 50,000 Israelis are currently in quarantine with a majority of the rest of the population practicing social distancing, caring for kids out of daycares and schools, and trying to get the hang of the Health Ministry’s changing directives — which include staying home, limiting contact, and being at least two meters away from the next person if they are out.
Hours and days at home have many capitulating to Netflix or mindlessly scrolling social media while attempting to keep children busy.
While museums, clubs, and other recreational establishments have also closed, they’ve made a dedicated effort to stay on the radar, not only to connect with their patrons but also to offer those cooped up at home some options amidst a harsher reality.
NoCamels highlights six of these institutions, programs, apps, and courses and how they’re helping to offer comfort and entertainment and infuse culture into Israel’s new normal.
Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 500 museums and galleries to feature virtual tours and online exhibits from the most famous museums around the world.
Among prestigious names such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, is The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Google’s platform gives a detailed description of the museum — perhaps best known for housing the Dead Sea Scrolls — and allows viewers to experience virtual reality tours from the museum.
The museum offers one online exhibit called “Questions of Identity,” as part of the platform, featuring historical costumes from the museum’s collection. It also has galleries made up of paintings of Israel, sculptures, ceramics, and more.
NoCamels spoke to Professor Ido Bruno, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the museum, about other virtual projects on the agenda now that most tourists have left the country (Prof. Bruno said they made up 50 percent of the visitors) and residents are staying home.
A newly released Israeli app will notify users if they’ve crossed paths with a person confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus currently raging across the world.
The app, Track Virus, sources data collected by the Israeli Health Ministry which conducts interviews with confirmed patients on their whereabouts and releases the information publicly to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Israel. The country has 213 confirmed cases as of March 14, according to ministry data, and some 45,000 people are currently in quarantine either because they had traveled abroad or came into contact with someone diagnosed with the disease.
Israel has taken some of the farthest-reaching measures outside of China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, to help curb the rate of infection in the country. Since late January when the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency, Israel has curbed international travel, barring entry to non-citizens from a number of Asian and European countries, and ordering mandatory hospitalized or home quarantines of 14 days for anyone arriving from abroad. The country has also banned social gatherings of more than 10 people and ordered all kindergartens, schools and universities shut, as well as public venues such as malls, restaurants, gym, theaters, among others.
Each confirmed case in Israel is investigated and while the person’s name is not released, their whereabouts – including dates and times – prior to the diagnosis are publicized widely in official government announcements and in the media. This is done to alert others who may have come into contact with them and who are then tested or ordered into 14-day home quarantine.
The new app seeks to simplify this process and minimize the guesswork, as well as limit the anxiety over possible encounters. It works by crosschecking a user’s path with the paths of confirmed coronavirus patients as listed by the Health Ministry. Should a user have been at the same location frequented by a confirmed patient, they will receive a notification letting them know (this works from the moment a user downloads the app, and not retroactively).
The information, the developers stress, is anonymized and is not uploaded to the cloud, and the app does not prompt for any form of identification though users do grant geolocation permissions for their smartphones.
Released late last week, Track Virus is the brainchild of Ori Fadlon, a former social media manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv FC, who partnered with Israeli software development company PandaOS to roll out the app quickly
“We did three-four months’ worth of work – development, design, programming – in a matter of three-four days but the urgency was real and it all happened very quickly,” Fadlon tells NoCamels in a phone interview.
The app currently has over 75,000 downloads and that number is growing fast, he says. It is available in Hebrew and English for Android users and will soon be rolled out on iOS.
“We’re doing this to help people, to save them. It’s for the good of society,” Fadlon explains.
Track Virus partnered with Israel’s United Hatzalah, a volunteer-based emergency medical care organization, to help track information coming in from the Health Ministry.
“As the number of coronavirus patients rises the harder it becomes for the public to keep track of all the different places that they have all been and the updates from the Health Ministry. Additionally, people often have a hard time recalling exactly where they have been and when. The app solves both of these problems,” said United Hatzalah VP of Operations Dov Maisel in a statement.
An Israeli-made AI-powered robot assistant is being used in hundreds of hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes, and corporate buildings in Asia to help minimize human-to-human contact as millions of people take precautions due to the novel coronavirus outbreak worldwide.
Israeli startup Robotemi, the developer of the Temi robot assistant, says the product has already been distributed to hundreds of locations throughout Southeast Asia including China, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. The Temi was initially conceived as a companion to senior citizens and busy families and executives and was not specifically intended to help with a virus outbreak but that is exactly what is happening, the Israeli company says.
This article was originally posted by NoCamels.com. See Featured article: Artificial Intelligence.
The Temi, which the company calls the world’s first intelligent personal AI robot, is a mobile, smart-display assistant, featuring human-robot interaction capabilities and characteristics. Standing at three feet tall and featuring a 10-inch tablet for a head and thin, curved body on top of a base, the Temi can roll on four small wheels for as much as eight hours on battery power. It connects over Wi-Fi, LTE, and Bluetooth has a built-in sound system and can be used with Amazon’s Alexa technology. It also has an autonomous navigation system that allows it to move around on its own while avoiding obstacles.
As the novel coronavirus began spreading starting in late December, the Robotemi team, which is headquartered in New York with an R&D lab in Tel Aviv and a manufacturing location in Shenzhen (China), decided to add special features to the robot including a thermometer, a thermal camera, and even a sink attached to the machine where employees can wash their hands.
“In China, there are regulations currently in place where an employee arriving at the office must get his body temperature before continuing his day. Temi is standing at the front door waiting for him,” Goren explained, “There is a thermometer installed on top of the robot. It can measure the employee’s temperature and show the number on its screen.”
This is not only done in places of work, he explained. It can be integrated wherever there is a Temi, like in hotels, stores, and restaurants.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the world, with infections confirmed in over 60 countries, large conferences and events are being canceled and more people are avoiding large crowds and gatherings for fear of contracting the virus. France went as far as banning all indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people over the weekend, and countries across the globe are updating travel restrictions as the US and Australia recorded their first death from the virus. The future of the 2020 summer Olympics in Japan is also in question.
As of March 1, over 2,900 people have died after contracting the virus,
known as 2019-nCoV and which causes COVID-19, and over 85,000 have been infected globally, with a majority in China. South Korea, Italy, and Iran are also recording a growing number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Thousands of people are in either hospitalized quarantine or home isolation as international health officials try to get a handle on the spread. In China, authorities locked down major parts of Hubei province – home to over 50 million people – where the outbreak was first recorded in the city of Wuhan.
While global travel restrictions are still being heavily enforced, others are cautiously leaving quarantine and heading back to work — but not without emergency measures in place to reduce the risk of exposure.
“Many businesses and offices already have Temi but now it is being used for specific purposes related to coronavirus,” Goren says.
This article was originally posted by NoCamels.com. See Featured article: Artificial Intelligence.
Tel Aviv-Yafo will be one of the most popular urban destinations in the world by 2030 if everything goes according to the municipality’s long-term tourism strategic plan.
On the heels of a powerful year for tourism in 2019, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality recently unveiled a “Master Plan” detailing the city’s needs to make it a top holiday destination: better branding, an upgraded tourism infrastructure, more accommodation options, and efficient, integrative management.
“The work on the Master Plan included an in-depth examination and analysis of the city from a tourism perspective. We carefully assessed our assets and advantages but were also unwavering in confronting the challenges and flaws,” said Eytan Schwartz, director of media and communications at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality.
According to the Master Plan document, Tel Aviv said tourists have complained most about the high prices, the traffic jams and the lack of an efficient transportation system, the lack of affordable lodging, and the general uncleanliness of public spaces.
The goal is to focus on improving these aspects and focus on developing the more distinct and unique offerings.
Schwartz said Tel Aviv’s “unique DNA” as a tourist destination “rests on three pillars: the ancient city – Old Jaffa – which is our main attraction; the new city – Tel Aviv – which is characterized by phenomenal urban vitality; and, of course, the beach – with its extraordinary qualities.”
Indeed, for its 20 Destinations for 2020, Forbes magazine hailed Tel Aviv as a place where “ancient history and modern living meet in the bustling beach city along Israel’s Mediterranean coast.”
Of course, Forbes was just one of dozens of travel magazines and media sites the world over to splatter superlatives on Tel Aviv’s vibe and appeal as a tourist destination. The Washington Post chose Tel Aviv to be its first Israeli city included in its local guide series. The BBC’s Good Food magazine chose the city-by-the-sea as one of its top 10 destinations for foodies in 2020. And Google ranked Tel Aviv among its top trending destinations worldwide this year.
In addition to all these accolades, Tel Aviv snagged the spotlight in 2019 when it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, which was the largest international event ever held in the city in its 110 years of existence.
Israel slipped to 6th place in the newest Bloomberg Innovation Index of 2020, dropping one spot from last year’s index where Israel ranked 5th. Prior to 2019, the country ranked 10th for two consecutive years.
Israel maintained its top spot for research and development intensity for the third year in a row in the 2020 index. But it dropped to second place for researcher concentration, where it held the top spot last year. Israel placed fifth for high-tech density and seventh for patent activity. The country ranked in the 15th spot for productivity and 31st for value-added manufacturing.
This article was originally posted by NoCamels.com. See Featured article: Artificial Intelligence.
The Bloomberg Innovation Index ranks the world’s 60 most innovative countries using seven criteria including research and development expenditure as a percentage of GDP, productivity, patent activity, concentration of researchers, including postgraduate PhD students, engaged in R&D per one million people, and concentration of high-tech companies.
While dropping to sixth place in the overall survey, Israel overtook Finland which was third in 2019. It was just one spot below Sweden, which was in seventh place last year and in fifth place this year. South Korea, the country that held the top spot in the index for the last six years, was ousted by Germany, who took first place. The US, which had fallen out of the top 10 in 2018, was in the ninth spot this year, dropping from eighth place in 2019.
Singapore came in third, up from 6th place last year, while Switzerland retained fourth place in the rankings.
Israel once again beat South Korea in the R&D intensity category as it did in 2019, which means it took first place in R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP. First place in researcher concentration — or professionals engaged in R&D per population — went to Denmark for the second year in a row. It also took the top spot in 2019.
While Israel made a significant jump in patent activity in 2019, surging from the 19th spot from the previous year, it slipped in its number of patent filings this year to seventh place. In high-tech density, the number of locally domiciled high-tech companies, Israel retained its fifth spot for the third consecutive year. Israel once again improved its tertiary education efficiency ranking, measuring the share of new science and engineering graduates in the labor force and those enrolled in a post-secondary education program. The country took 31st place this year, moving up from 36th in 2019 and 41st in 2018.
Meanwhile, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2019-2020, published in October, Israel stood firm in 20th place out of 141 countries. It was also in 20th place in the 2018-2019 report, but dropped four places from 16th in the report from 2017-2018.
In that report, Israel also secured the top rank for entrepreneurship and the embrace of disruptive ideas as well as macroeconomic stability (the minimizing of a national economy’s vulnerability to the impact of external shocks, companies’ innovative growth, R&D expenditures, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.
Israel received an overall score of 76.7, while the average score for the 141 economies was 61 points.
The report, first published in 2004, ranks an economy’s competitiveness based on 12 pillars (categories) including innovation capability, business dynamism, market size, health, skills, macroeconomic stability, institutions, and infrastructure, and 103 indicators (subcategories.)
The latest index paints a “gloomy picture” a decade after the world financial crisis with a world economy “locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth.” The report’s survey of 13,000 business executives also highlights a “deep uncertainty and lower confidence.”
According to the report, Israel is an innovation hub, ranking 15th on the Innovation capability pillar thanks to a well-developed ecosystem, and up from last year’s 16th place.
For the second year in a row, Israel came in first of 141 countries in R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP under the innovation capability pillar. It also ranked first in the multi-stakeholder collaboration sub-pillar, up from third last year.
“Israel spends the most of any country on R&D (4.3 percent of GDP) and is where entrepreneurial culture is the strongest, the acceptance for entrepreneurial failure the highest, where companies embrace change the most, and where innovative companies grow the fastest,” the WEF report read.
Israel ranked second in the venture capital availability subcategory and “ease of finding skilled employees” as it did last year, coming in only behind the United States in that sub-pillar. Both factors support a “flourishing and innovative private sector”, according to the WEF report.
In the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2019-2020, Singapore knocked the United States out of the top spot as the most competitive country in the world. The United States came in second and Hong Kong ranked third, surging four spots from last year’s report. The Netherlands came in fourth and Switzerland dropped one spot to round out the top five.
Israeli startups and high-tech companies raised a record-breaking $8.3 billion in 522 deals over the course of 2019, according to a new report by IVC Research Center and ZAG-S&W Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co law firm published on Wednesday.
This marked a 30 percent increase compared to 2018 when Israeli companies raised $6.35 billion in 532 deals.
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From 2010-2019, Israeli tech companies raised a total of $39.1 billion, according to the report. Since 2010, capital raising by Israeli tech companies has grown by a whopping 400 percent and the number of deals by 64 percent, the report said. In 2010, Israeli high-tech firms raised $2.1 billion in 319 deals.
VC-backed deals accounted for $6.4 billion in 2019 compared to $4.75 billion in 2018 and $1.13 billion in 2010, which marked “a decade of extensive growth,” according to the report.
“2019 marked a record year, capping a decade of successive increases in capital invested in the Israeli high-tech industry. The final quarter of 2019, and the entire year of 2019, symbolize the clear and consistent trend of the Israeli high-tech industry: tremendous growth and frequent record breaking,” Shmulik Zysman, managing partner and tech industry leader at Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co. (ZAG-S&W), said in a statement.
Zysman said this growth is partly due to the growing foreign capital invested in the Israeli high-tech industry, as well as investments in a wide range of fields, from software and the internet through life sciences to semiconductors.
Still, the phenomenon of “venture capital with less risk” has gone from warning sign to “real, alarming trend” as more and more VCs declined to invest in early-stage companies in favor of late-stage firms, according to Zysman.
In 2019, seed funding rounds for early-stage companies decreased to $148 million, dropping from $169 million in 2018.
Despite the drop, Zysman remains positive. “It’s easy to remain optimistic, however, when in the last year the total capital raised by the Israeli high-tech industry was more than 30 percent higher than in 2018. Another reason for optimism is that we have recently noticed many investors dedicated to investment in early-stage companies. These are positive signs that we hope to see in the coming quarters.”
Later rounds continued to attract large amounts of capital in 2019, accounting for $2.87 billion compared to $1.91 billion in 2018.
Mega rounds, where companies raised more than $50 million, peaked in 2019 with 41 deals that captured 50 percent of the annual capital inflow. There were 20 “mega” deals in 2019. All companies that raised more than $100 million each were in growth stages, and mostly in the software sector, the report said.
Mid-size deals of $10 million to $50 million stood out, according to the report, but the number of smaller deals of up to $1 million decreased to 17 percent. These deals made up 24 percent of the total amount of deals in 2010.
“More Israeli companies in the growth stage aim to become their market’s leader. The continual increase in the amounts invested in mature start-ups is due to new investors, such as Israeli and foreign private equity funds,”
said Guy Holzman, IVC CEO. “Furthermore, IVC noticed a decline in the number of newly established companies. We believe that both trends will continue in 2020.”
The software sector led the pack in 2019 with $4.4 billion raised in 26 deals that were each over $50 million, making up 58 percent of the total amount raised in the sector.
Interest in AI-based companies and cybersecurity firms skyrocketed, according to the report, with AI firms raising $3.7 billion in 199 deals in 2019 and cybersecurity companies raising $1.88 billion. Eighteen deals over $50 million accounted for 55 percent of the total amount of capital raised by AI-based firms.
Fintech companies raised $1.7 billion in 2019, up from $880 million in 2018.
And life sciences companies raised $1.37 billion in 121 deals in 2019, up from $1.18 billion in 102 deals the previous year.
The authors of the report also made predictions for 2020, noting that “barring any dramatic changes,” the Israeli private market will “continue to attract investors” and “allocated capital for large and more established companies will continue to grow.”
The number of first investments is expected to continue to slow down, the report said, and this trend, which was first recognized in 2018 and expanded in 2019, will not change course in the coming year.
AI and cybersecurity companies will also continue to be the most attractive for investors.
The pre-IPO round figures suggest that more companies will explore the IPO option in 2020.