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Jewish Business News

StartUps

Israel High Tech Scene and Other Business Stories January Feb 4 – Feb 10

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv at sunset, Israel Startup Israel

New Startups / VC Funding
Skybox Security Rakes In $335 Million
Skybox Security, an Israeli cybersecurity firm that offers Security Policy and Vulnerability Management, closed $50 million in financing from CVC Growth Funds, Pantheon, and J.P. Morgan. The company also appointed Mordecai (Mo) Rosen as Chief Executive Officer. With this new raise, Skybox Security has now brought in a total of $335 million in funding to date.

This is a large raise in any market. But lately, there has been… Read More Here

One Zero Hits $320 Million Valuation
One Zero, the new Israeli digital bank previously called The First Digital Bank, is on the verge of closing a new funding round for $62 according to a report by Calcalist. This would leave One Zero with a $320 million valuation. The company has now raised $250 million.

One Zero is a bank controlled by Prof. Amnon Shashua, and managed by Chairman of the Board of Directors Shuki Oren, and CEO Gal… Read More Here

Earth & Beyond Ventures To Invest $125 Million in Israeli DeepTech and Space Startups
Earth & Beyond Ventures, a new early-stage venture fund backed by global technology, manufacturing, and space industry conglomerates has launched with commitments of $125 million to leverage Israel’s expertise in DeepTech, aerospace, and satellite engineering. The firm said that plans to use the new funds in a bid to boost Israel’s emerging commercial space ecosystem.

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This is the first fund of its kind in Israel to focus specifically on supporting deep technology innovations with dual purpose space and terrestrial… Read More Here

Steve Cohen Invests In MediWound
MediWound Ltd., an Israeli biopharmaceutical company focused on next-generation biotherapeutic solutions for tissue repair and regeneration, completed a funding round of $27.5 million. According to Calcalist, none other than New York Mets owner Steve Cohen was one of the new investors through his hedge fund Point72. Point72 will reportedly hold a 9% share in MediWound.

MediWound is a biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and commercializes novel, cost effective, bio-therapeutic solutions for tissue repair and regeneration. Our strategy leverages our enzymatic… Read More Here

Meala FoodTech and Wisor AI Fintech Startups Make Small Raises

Wisor AI, an Israeli startup that offers advanced freight booking software solutions, and Meala FoodTech, another Israeli startup that develops a functional protein platform, both made small raises. Meala FoodTech brought in a $1.9 million pre-Seed investment led by The Kitchen FoodTech Hub and DSM Venturing – the corporate venture arm of the Dutch multinational Royal DSM. Wisor AI raised $8 million in a seed funding round led by Team8.

Founded in 2020 by CEO Raz Ronen, and Eiran Bolless… Read More Here     

 

IPOs and Unicorns 

Hub Security NASDAQ IPO in Trouble?
Hub Security, an Israeli cybersecurity startup, has hit a snag in its planned NASDAQ IPO which is to be held through an SPAC merger. In March 2022, the company merged with blank-check firm Mount Rainier Acquisition Corp., a NASDAQ traded SPAC in a deal valued at nearly $1.3 billion. But there have been snags in that deal that have forced Hub Security to delay the IPO a number of times.

Hub Security is currently traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with a market cap… Read More Here

Israeli Unicorn Gong and EBay Both Making Job Cuts In Israel
Gong, an Israeli startup and a unicorn that uses artificial intelligence to transform revenue teams is set to lay off about 7% of its workforce, or 80 people. And world leading online retailer/reseller warehouse is also making cutbacks, firing several dozen of its 300 employees in Israel. The cuts are a sign of the times as the world is still reeling from the negative effects on financial markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last March. But financial observers have said that the crisis is passing so these cuts may mark the last of the crisis, so people hope.

At least Gong CEO Amit Bendov expects that his company is done… Read More Here

Verbit CEO ‘Quits’ Israel to Protest Judicial Reform Plan
Tom Livne, the CEO of Verbit, an Israeli startup and a unicorn that has built an AI-powered real-time transcription and captioning service, said that he is leaving Israel in protest over the judicial reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government. Livne is doing this so as not to pay taxes in Israel anymore.

“Over the past few years, I’ve paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes and my company has paid hundreds of millions… Read More Here

Other Business Stories
JPMorgan Joins Those Issuing Warning on Israel’s Economy Because Of Its Government
JP Morgan has now joined the growing list of financial firms and corporations that are expressing concerns about the future of Israel’s economy should the country push through judicial reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government. Israel’s opposition has said that the reforms, which would greatly curtail the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court and its Attorney General, would harm Israel’s democracy thereby eroding foreign confidence in the country and hurting its economy.

The opposition in Israel’s Knesset… Read More Here

Investments from Japan in Israel Drop 40%
Investments from Japan in Israel Startup Nation firms saw a decline of 40% in 2022 over previous years, found Harel-Hertz Investment House Ltd (HIH). The number of investments declined by 28% to 67 investments compared to 2021, returning to the pre-pandemic trend.

The drop was attributed to a sharp decline in the value of the Yen against the Dollar, making it less likely that Japanese firms would invest anywhere abroad and not just in Israel. And investment in Startup Nation declined overall in 2022 as the entire world suffered from a global financial crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March 2022. H2 2022 saw a large number… Read More Here

Wiz Pulling Money from Israel to Protest Netanyahu’s Judicial Reforms
Wiz, an Israeli cloud security startup and a unicorn, is now the latest Israeli firm to take financial action in protest over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s proposed judicial reforms. The reforms would greatly limit the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court and its attorney general, leading the country’s opposition leaders to accuse Netanyahu of moving to harm Israel’s democracy. This has led many, including the governor of the Bank of Israel, to say that the reforms could harm Israel’s economy.

The company’s leaders have been among many… Read More Here

Cyren and Lightico Latest Israel Startup Nation Firms In Trouble
Lightico, an Israeli startup that offers an enterprise-consumer interaction platform, and Israeli-founded cybersecurity company Cyren are the two latest Israel Startup Nation firms to be in trouble due to the worldwide financial crisis. Lightico reportedly will lay off 25% of its workforce, about 20 people and Cyren has already sent all of its 121 employees home.

Founded in 2014, Lightico declares its mission is to empower businesses to create “streamlined experiences in the last mile of… Read More Here

Arbe Robotics Pulling Money from Israel over Netanyahu’s Judicial Reform Plan
Arbe Robotics, an Israeli startup that offers a 4D Radar solution for automobiles, is the latest Israeli company to declare its intention to “jump ship” and divest from its own country in protest of the government’s policies. Specifically, the judicial reforms that Benjamin Netanyahu wishes to pass that Israel’s opposition says will harm the country’s democracy. Some experts have said it will cause a drop in foreign investments since the world would lose confidence in Israel’s stability.

It is the last point that is the motivation here. Arbe Robotics… Read More Here

Tourism to Israel Rebounding After Covid Crisis
Israel is seeing a jump in tourism to its pre-Covid Crisis levels. While world travel everywhere has rebounded, this is especially important for a small country like Israel that has always been dependent on international tourism for its economy. While Israel is also known as Startup Nation, raking in billions a year from its high-tech industry, the country is still largely dependent on income coming from its tourism industry.

According to data released by Israel’s Government, in January 2023… Read More Here

BOI Gives Israel Thumbs Up For H2 2022
The Bank of Israel (BOI) released its Financial Stability Report on Israel’s economy in the second half of 2022 and the outlook was good. Israel clearly did better than most developed nations during the worldwide financial crisis of 2022, with lower than average inflation and continued investments in high tech startups. However, Israel did see a lot of contraction and shutdowns even in Q4 2022.

In the report, BOI economists analyzed exposure to the main risks to the financial system, and assess potential risk scenarios. The assessments and analyses contained in the Report are based on a survey of… Read More Here

Israel’s Foreign Currency Reserves Are Way Up
Israel is swimming in hard foreign currencies like the US Dollar, the British Pound and the Euro. The Bank of Israel (BOI) reported that Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of January 2023 stood at $201 billion, an increase of $6.782 billion from their level at the end of the previous month. The level of the reserves relative to GDP was 39%.

This is both good and surprising news considering that foreign investments in Israel slowed in H2 2022. This means that fewer foreign… Read More Here

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