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 http://geeksquad.fixya.com 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.

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Leviathan Energy Signs $50M Deal to Provide Electricity for India

Leviathan Energy Ltd., is an Israel-based cleantech startup that aims to offer the least expensive electrical energy generation on the market by developing clean energy from waves, water, tidal, and wind. They take their name from the bible: “The Leviathan is mentioned in the Bible as a huge and powerful sea creature and is commonly translated as a whale. We chose this name as a reminder of the enormous energy present in nature.”

According to Jonathan Shapira over at Cleantech Investing in Israel, the two-year-old startup and Maple Leaf India PVT “have signed a letter of intent for a $50 million-plus contract to provide clean electricity for India.

The letter of intent covers three points: (1) Leviathan Energy will provide aerodynamic improvement technology for the development of Maple Leaf’s 450 MW wind farm in Kerala, India. The wind farm itself will provide over 900,000 homes with electricity and prevent the emissions of 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the environment. (2) The parties will cooperate on development and implementation of Leviathan’s ocean wave energy technology in the Indian Ocean. (3) The parties will partner to manufacture Leviathan’s Wind Energizer for local use in India.

Raul Goldemann of MATIMOP, director of the India-Israel program, said, ‘We had a successful trip to India, and found tremendous interest in Israel technology.'”

The new startup has a one page website with a description of its core products.

RoofArena Launches Beta Site; Interview with Shay Sharon

So you live in a three-story brick building somewhere in Brooklyn and you wanna let you’re friends in Tokyo know exactly where you live. Why not email them a Google Map with your face plastered on the roof of the building itself?

Or you’re a business, let’s say a bar, and you want to provide directions on your website. Why not put your roofarena map on your site with your logo on the actual spot where the bar is located?

Sound cool? If everything goes according to the founder of roofarena Shay Sharon’s plan, the whole (inhabited) world will be covered with pictures of people and businesses buying and selling rooftops. I had a chance to interview him about the launch of his cool site:

So what’s the basic idea behind Roofarena? Why would somebody want to buy a rooftop and put their picture on it?

In our vision, Roofarena is a site combining the one million dollar homepage, social networking and a virtual real estate market. One million dollar homepage was a great gimmick and a huge success but was missing any type of user experience. There was no reason for the user to come back and we thought it could be nice to try and bring the world of social networking into those pixels and maybe create, in the long run, a market place for those roofs.

Can you give me a little background on the team, and how you came up with this idea?

Started out as an idea of selling virtual real estate, like an online sim-city, and then we started to realize the potential behind it. The fact that you own a piece of virtual space that has geographical presence means you will have ‘neighbors’, you can form ‘neighborhoods’, as well as the commercial potential of reselling your property as an investment. The team is a group of entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the software market. We have Beta’d using self funding and are only now considering the option of bringing in some external capital.

So I can see putting my own pic on a roof as a novel thing to do, but what other applications do you have in mind for roofarena, i.e. businesses that put their pic up on a roof to advertise their store, or using the roofarena map to give directions etc…?

The most obvious reason for buying a roof is to advertise your business. We hope the buzz around it will attract businesses to get a roof and ride the PR this site will might get. Our main goal and the initial idea was to create geographic communities like what Geocities was suppose to back in the late nineties and just like the real world, allow individuals to buy, sell and rent those roofs.

Will the site be incorporated into other sites, such as Facebook, using a widget?

Facebook is definitely one of the first integration we really want to do. We feel that Facebook, myspace and other social networks along with roofarena can make what Geocities tried more than ten years ago to create.

Do you plan to extend the service beyond Manhattan?

Of course. I have great plans on my apt in San Francisco where I used to live… But first we take Manhattan…

Will users be able to sell their roof, perhaps even make a profit by selling later at a higher price as the service becomes more popular?

Assuming the site will become popular, there is no reason why one will not be able to buy a roof and sell it later on or even rent it to someone else. We believe it is possible to create a virtual real estate market.

Other than the initial selling price of a roof, what other revenue-generation methods are possible with a site like yours?

In the future, the site will offer many more services and affiliations to our ‘residents’. There are several business models we are considering around these new services. Still remains to be seen.

See you on top of the world…

Thanks!

Check out roofarena for yourself.

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.

Cryotherapy Startup Arbel Medical in Second Round

Last month we reported on Core Dynamics, a company that develops technology to freeze human organs and increase their shelf life. Another Israeli startup, Arbel Medical, is developing office-friendly, next-generation , minimally invasive Cryo-therapy products for the treatment of breast tumors and other internal diseased tissue.

Founded in 2005, the company has previously raised $2.75 million in funding from Giza Venture Capital, Ofer Hi-Tech Ventures and TRD Instrum, and has now added an additional $450,000 from Bridge Investment Fund, which aims to set-up operations for Israeli life science companies in Cleveland, Ohio. Arbel is conducting trials in Cleveland and possibly opening offices there.

The company offers the following description of its flagship product IceSense:

“Cryotherapy is a fast-developing minimally-invasive procedure, in which a cryoprobe is used to ablate diseased tissue through the application of extreme cold.

IceSense™, Arbel’s breakthrough N2-based platform is adapted for use both in operating theaters and in freestanding clinics, offering the following key advantages over classical Joule-Thomson based products:

  • User friendliness (operation and maintenance) and reduced cost
  • Higher freezing capacity resulting in shorter treatment time
  • Easier control over the ablation process”

The company has future sights set on the growing area of women’s health, including using its IceSense technology in treating tumors from breast cancer, and also using it for aesthetic applications.