Worklight Raises $12M with Pitango Leading Round

WorkLight Inc., a startup that provides web 2.0-style access to a wide variety of enterprise applications and databases, today announced that it has closed a series B round of funding totaling $12 million led by Pitango Venture Capital, Israel’s largest VC. Founded in 2006 by CEO Shahar Kaminitz and CTO Yuval Tarsi, the company was initially backed with $5.1 million from Genesis Partners, Index Ventures and Shlomo Kramer.

Worklight’s flagship solution is a server-based software product that allows companies to leverage consumer tools such as RSS, iGoogle and. Facebook behind the corporate firewall, working with internal IT controls for completely secure use by enterprise employees. Most recently the company announced Workbook, a secure Facebook overlay that enables collaboration, access to enterprise applications and knowledge sharing using the popular social networking application.

The round triggers renewed commitment from Genesis Partners, Index Ventures and Shlomo Kramer, a world renowned security expert and Imperva CEO.

Check out the press release.


In the News: Fixya, Intercure, Mazor, Perytons

According to webware, tech-support startup Fixya will announce a partnership with Best Buy whereby “customers wanting to perform their own fixes (or trying to dig others out of trouble) can go to the Best Buy Web site and access from the “Customer Service” tab. They can search by product, SKU, manufacturer, or product category, or post a new query and receive community troubleshooting” for free. This is sure to boost traffic on Fixya’s site, which already claims over 6 million views per month. The site also boasts more than 30,000 “geek” contributors.

InterCure Ltd., a medical device company (TASE: INCR), announced yesterday that its RESPeRATE hypertension treatment device, clinically-proven to significantly lower blood pressure, will launch into full-scale retail distribution in the UK this May through leading pharmacy chain Lloyds.

“The full-chain launch of RESPeRATE at Lloyds Pharmacy clearly demonstrates the broad appeal of our effective and truly natural device-guided breathing therapy for hypertension,” said Erez Gavish, president and CEO of InterCure. Sixteen million adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure. Left untreated, it may lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney or heart failure.

Founded in 2005 and based in Ness Ziona, Perytons provides developers, implementers and field engineers with analyzers for standard and proprietary wireless communication protocols. The startup announced today an enhanced version of it’s multi-antenna multi-channel 802.15.4/ZigBee analyzer based on Integration Associates EZLink 802.15.4 USB dongles. The tool provides the capability to analyze and track multiple network sessions that coincide in time in a user friendly manner. “We are excited to provide our customers a feature rich, user friendly analysis tool with very high reliability needed for analyzing sophisticated wireless networks.” – Yaron Soffer, Perytons Founder and CEO.

Mazor Surgical Technologies, a 2001-founded provider of the SpineAssist, a miniature surgical assistance system for a wide range of spine procedures, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Mazor has received exclusive, worldwide licenses to two patents for the development of permanent implants for the spine.

CEO Ori Hadomi predicts that the product, which has already undergone a feasibility study, can reach market within a year. He adds that the product will open a new market to the company – orthopedic implants – and that it can also boost sales of Mazor’s own SpineAssist product line.

Finally, check out this Globes article about a Israel Venture Capital Research Center survey that shows that high tech start-ups in Israel have not been affected so far by a possible global slowdown, and that in fact venture capital funding is at a seven-year high.

A Blow for Israeli Startups? Jeff Pulver Quits PulverMedia

Jeff Pulver announced in his blog that he’s resigning as director of PulverMedia. Here’s a rough translation of Guy Grimland’s article in the Marker:

A Blow for Israeli Startups? Jeff Pulver Announces His Resignation from PulverMedia

Jeff Pulver, one of the biggest name investors in Israeli startups and a well-known figure amongst Israeli entrepreneurs, announced at the end of the week in his blog that he’s resigning.

It looks like the rumors of hard financial times at Pulver’s media company were correct. Pulver declined to explain his decision. Pulver most recently visited Israel when he participated in The Marker’s The Marker COM.VENTION. When asked, on that occasion, of the financial state of PulverMedia he also declined to comment.

The blogger Om Malik said at the end of March that TICC Capital Corporation, the investor in PulverMedia, closed the company and its bank accounts. As a result various checks the company had issued bounced. Malik points out that in a TICC statement to the SEC last March it stated that “PulverMedia forecasts a sharp decrease in revenues in the coming year.”

PulverMedia is responsible for the convention organization VON which deals with VoIP technology. A source familiar with Pulver told The Marker that in their estimation Pulver’s financial position has little to do with his investments in Israeli startups. Pulver has, to date, invested in Jerusalem Capital Ventures and in Israeli startups Kayote, Corbomite Games, Semantinet, Innovid, Urbanseeder and ZShow.

Generally, Pulver tends to invest sums ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 in seed-stage companies.

Orange Launches NewACT’s Mobile Data Service

Partner Communications Company, which operates the Orange cellphone network in Israel, has launched NewACT’s mSync-based suite of services, branding it ‘Orange Forever’, according to the press release.

The service allows subscribers to synchronize their contacts, calendar, pictures, videos and messages between their cellphone and the Orange website. Subscribers are then able to edit, manage and archive their data on the site as well as share it with other users, and restore data in case of a handset upgrade, loss or damage.

Ofir Yaffe, Head of Product Marketing at Orange Israel, said ‘orange forever’ answers a growing need for customers as mobile phones increase their content creation capabilities and continue to take on the role of storage devices.  “Serving as many mobile phones as possible and reducing the time and effort required to introduce new devices are key for our success.” NewACT’s technology “practically eliminates this effort, significantly contributing to service take up and success.”

Rafi Ton, CEO of NewACT added that the mSync suite “provides the most complete end-to-end synchronization, storage and collaboration solution for mobile operators and service providers. Combined with our unique client technology which makes this service available on virtually any mobile device, we believe this service is geared for immediate success.”

Human Monitoring Teams Up With Kulabyte

Human Monitoring Ltd. is a Tel Aviv-based developer of video and image processing solutions for PC and embedded platforms that uses innovative algorithms and superior DSP engineering capabilities to produce high quality, low cost video products.

The six year old startup has recently teamed up with Kulabyte, a Texas-based developer of advanced video optimization technologies. According to the press release, Kulabyte will use HM’s Matisse H.264 encoder to deliver to the video industry a new Kulabyte H.264 encoding solution.

Chris Gottschalk, CTO and Co-founder of Kulabyte said that “superior encoding speeds and increased picture qualities at lower bandwidths make the Matisse H.264 a natural fit for Kulas product line. Our customers will now have a choice between codec solutions depending on their needs and target applications. Our new Xstream and XPress Live solutions will give web casters and Internet TV broadcasters higher quality live H.264 streaming capabilities over other H.264 products available in the marketplace.”

Dr. Nitzan Rabinowitz, Human Monitoring’s CTO adds that the “Matisse H.264 encoder excels in handling wide range motion, by using an ultra wide frame-to-frame search window of 288×288 pixels. HM’s quantization strategy produces refined processing of macro-blocks according to their video content, producing superior subjective quality at low bit rates at twice the speed of the best PC encoders.”

Coming Soon: Spikko’s Free Phone Service

Spikko is a three-year-old Israeli startup that claims to have developed a way to offer free telephone services between any mobile phone or land line and any other phone anywhere in the world. The service is now in beta mode but CEO Shai Gilboa says the service will be launched globally in the very near future.

The company’s website, which is in Hebrew only, offers little about the technology itself but claims that altruistic concerns for the “little guy” paying for the big profits of a few large telephone companies has driven it to create an entirely free telephone service using VoIP internet technology.

The service is currently limited to members, and to become a member you must be invited by another member. Once invited you receive a unique telephone number and a special software download which allows you to make seven minutes worth of outgoing calls to a mobile device anywhere and 30 minutes to any land line. However, anyone anywhere can call you and talk for free for an unlimited amount of time by dialing your unique number. For every minute of incoming call time you receive one minute of outgoing call time. Also for every minute of call time that a friend that you invited makes you receive 12 seconds of outgoing call time.

Additionally, all text messages are free, so you can text your friends and ask them to call you back, and incoming callers can leave voice messages. The number of outgoing minutes will increase based on the number of members, which is currently 50,000. While the company doesn’t state how this all works, the model is apparently similar to virtual mobile operators who trade in airtime. How is this different from Skype? Skype offline calls are not free. Gilboa says the company has a revenue-generation model in place but doesn’t disclose details.

Investors in Spikko include the founder of JDate Alon Carmel, who serves as Spikko chairman and business development and marketing manager, and UK real estate tycoon Igal Ahouvi, who invested $1 million, which, according to Globes, will be used to launch the company’s service internationally.

Guiness World Records: Modu is Lightest Phone Ever

modu.jpgModu, which recently raised $100 million, has just been named the world’s lightest mobile phone by the Guiness Book of World Records: It weighs 40.1g (1.41 oz.) and its dimensions are 72.1 mm (2.8 inches) x 37.6 mm (1.4 inches) x 7.8 mm (0.3 inches).

Throughout Modu’s design process the emphasis has been on keeping the phone small, light and compact, according to the press release, so that it can be slipped into the various “jackets” it is intended for. Despite being miniature and minimalist, the phone still offers all the functions and capabilities of a normal-sized handset.

Zack Weisfeld, VP Marketing, said: “The Guinness World Record is a great achievement for a team that has worked tirelessly to take Modu from the drawing board to producing full working devices in less than a year. From the outset, Modu’s tiny dimensions and super light weight have been fundamental to delivering the disruptive, modular communication concept that Modu embodies.

“With Modu, the mobile phone can now be added to the list of ‘invisible’ items that people carry with them wherever they go, such as a bunch of keys, their wallet and their watch.”