Israel Delivers: TechnoSpin, Gizmox, Endogun, Applicure

Today Israel’s innovators made all kinds of headlines from cleantech to medical devices to software security.

Let’s start with TechnoSpin. The four year old startup has raised $8 million from US VC 21 Ventures. They develop and produce rotors for small wind turbines which, it claims, are cheaper to produce and more easily assembled than competitor’s products, and can be operated on 80% of the earth’s surface – not just in high-wind areas. TechnoSpin also develops wind turbine gears which produce torque that is then converted into electrical power. Check out an interview with the CEO, Maxim Rakov.


Next on the list is Gizmox. This 2006-formed web application design startup announced today that it has reached an agreement to market its software through Microsoft marketing platforms. The Maayan Ventures portfolio company will use its Ajax-based environment for running web applications to enhance Microsoft’s Visual Studio environment development partnership program.


Then there’s Endogun Medical Systems. The 2004-founded graduate of Meytag Technology Incubatorand now Biomedix Incubator portfolio company has announced FDA approval for its internal soft-tissue fastening solution. This procedure, a key element of many Minimally Invasive Surgeries (MIS), is difficult to perform. Endogun’s technology, apparently, makes MIS procedures more safe, effective and simpler to perform.


Finally, Applicure Technologies released a statement via email that it has signed an agreement with British Trafalgar Capital Management for an investment of up to $5 million over a three year period. The four year old company, which is still negotiating with other investors in Israel and abroad for additional financing, creates software-based products for web application security and database compliance.


TuneWiki Lyric Service Raises Capital

TuneWiki, an Israeli startup founded in 2007 by two former airforce pilots and serial entrepreneurs, Amnon Sarig and Rani Cohen, recently launched a servce which allows you to listen to your music on an iPhone/iTouch and PC while scrolling the lyrics of the song in real-time.

According to TechCrunch, “The service, which was launched in December 2007, became a hit with “hundreds of thousands” of downloads to jailbroken iPhones alone (says our source), despite the very sketchy nature of the main website and the fact that only hacked iPhones can use the app.”

“A source tells us that the startup has raised an initial round of financing from Benchmark Capital’s Israel fund. General Partner Michael Eisenberg joined the board of directors. We’re still trying to track down the size of the round, and if there were any other investors.”

As far as the legal nature of publishing lyrics, the company’s website states that Universal Music has given them permission to use their lyrics, and they are trying to get permission from other publishing companies as well.

Check out this youtube video to see how it works.

Alefo Launches Beta Site

Alefo is a new Israeli startup launched yesterday that wants to replace services such as iGoogle and Netvibes as your personal aggregator. The site essentially allows you to copy your favorite widgets, RSS feeds, and even what it calls “site shots” or pieces of other websites, and paste them onto an ultimate personal homepage.

According to Globes, the company was founded in 2005 and has attracted investors such as Alon Carmel of JDate. It has raised hundred of thousands to date through partnerships with various entrepreneurs, and is currently seeking to raise an additional $3.5 million.

Members of the Alefo team are ecstatic. In the article they claim their product will change the way people surf the net and search for relevant information. “We want to be every internet user’s personal homepage,” says one of the founders.

I tested the service and built my own page, as you can see below. Kinks do exist, like when I couldn’t disengage the pointer from one of the windows. The founders do acknowledge that these will be worked out eventually. While I’m not sure that I would use it in its current form, the service does seem pretty cool.

Alefo aims to eventually use its services in cellphones, where the ability to aggregate your favorite sites and widgets onto one central page can be especially useful. It will raise revenues using text-supported ads like AdSense.

Ultra-Orthodox VC Invests in Verifuel

There isn’t much connection between the ultra-orthodox community in Israel and aircraft, especially the military kind.  Nevertheless, Bashalva, a Haredi VC fund, has invested NIS 1.1 million in Aviv Tzidon’s new startup, Verifuel, which is valued at NIS 7 million.  Aviv Tzidon is the founder of BVR Systems, a company that develops and manufactures training and simulation projects for the military and civilian industries.

The former IAF combat pilot, according to Globes, “has developed an optical sensor that enables pilots and ground crew to spot the presence of water in a plane’s fuel tanks, which is a significant hazard.”  The investment is Bashalva’s second in a company established by Tzidon. “It also invested in his ergonomic chair, called the “Netron”, which has hydraulic and massage systems, designed for the computer working environment.”

Bashalva, which means “in peace”, is managed by Yosef Boimgarten out of Jerusalem.  It was launched two months ago with the mission of investing in the Haredi community and has already raised $5 million.

IBM Buys Diligent for Estimated $200M

A Globes article published today reported that IBM has bought Israeli storage solutions developer Diligent Technologies Corporation for an estimated $200 million.  The acquisition comes just one week after the computing giant bought FilesX for $70-90 million (see post). 

IBM is snatching up Israeli startups left and right–  It recently acquired XIV, partnered with Siverge and is keeping its eye on the mysterious Ctrue.  From Globes:

“Diligent Technologies is closely linked with XIV executive chairman Moshe Yanai, who is now responsible for storage development at IBM. Yanai and Diligent chairman and CEO Doron Kempel co-founded the company as a spin-off of EMC Israel in 2002. EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) still owns 20% of Diligent, which develops solutions for one of the hottest fields in data storage – the prevention of duplicating files when they are backed up (de-duplication). The company’s solutions enables data storage facilities to back up only changes made in files, rather than duplicate the entire file, thereby eliminating redundancies to save space and memory mechanisms.

According to IVC Online, Diligent Technologies has raise $50 million. Its shareholders, in addition to EMC, include Accel Partners, Gemini Israel Funds, Eastward Capital Partners, and Matrix Partners.”

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.”