1. Israel’s best quarter in seven years: A 52% rise in investment ($617MN) in Israeli start ups (135), compared with the first quarter of 2007 and a 23% rise in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2007. A decline is expected during the second quarter of 2008, in view of global economic uncertainties (Israel Venture Capital, “The Marker” and “Globes”, April 30, 2008). According to “Dow Jones Venture Source”, investment in Israeli start ups during the first quarter of 2008 ($600MN) was similar to China ($700MN) and India ($100MN) combined, compared with the $1.5BN for the whole of Europe and $6.8BN in the US (“The Marker”, May 25).
2. Current economic uncertainties highlight the competitive edge of Israel’s high tech industries, as demonstrated by the sustained wave of investment in – and acquisition of – Israeli high tech companies. $64MN was invested in Ormat Technologies by institutional investors (The Marker, April 21). VMware, the world leading virtualization company, made its first Israeli acquisition ($15MN) – B-hive Networks (The Marker, May 29). The British Micro Focus has acquired Israel’s NetManage for $73MN (Globes, May 2). Texas Pacific Group, the 2nd largest private equity fund, acquired 25% of Israel’s Strauss Group (coffee operations) – the 7th largest coffee manufacturer – for $288MN (Globes, May 5). Private Canadian investors acquired 50% of Israel’s investment bank, Hellman & Aldooby, for $33MN (Globes, May 20). InterActive Corp acquired Israel’s StarNet InterActive for $17MN (Globes, May 23).
3. All time high defense exports (4th global exporter): $5.6BN in 2007, compared with $4.9BN in 2006. Israel’s defense high tech export shines, as evidenced by the lack of exported sizeable Israeli platforms. The US is Israel’s leading customer (Globes, May 29).
4. Japan’s Yasakawa – the $2.7BN robotic giant – is establishing its first R&D center in Israel, joining over 200 centers constructed in Israel by global companies. $4.5MN was invested by Yasakawa during April 2008 (Globes, May 30).
5. A private bio-tech US fund invested $40MN in Israel’s Vascular Biogenics (Globes, May 14). Menlo Park-based Canaan Partners led a $20MN 2nd round by Israel’s PrimeSnese (Globes, May 6). Roh Capital participated in a $20MN 3rd round by Israel’s Celtro (Globes, May 13). Carlisle, ATA Ventures, Dupont Capital and Global Catalyst participated in a $15MN 6th round by Israel’s Actelis (Globes, May 28). Benchmark co-led a $15MN round by Israel’s TVeez (The Marker, April 23). Graylock Partners and Coral Capital participated in a $10MN 4th round by Israel’s Red Bend (The Marker, April 23). Graylock Partners co-led an $8MN 2nd round by Israel’s Metiis (Globes, May 19). The US-based 21st Ventures invested $8MN in Israel’s TechnoSpin (Globes, April 28). Medtronics invested $7MN in Israel’s Ventor (Globes, May 13).
6. Intel-Israel is constructing a $150MN power-station in Israel (The Marker, May 26).
7. Economic indicators, first quarter 2008: 5.4% GDP annual growth (5.3% in 2007), 12.6% annual export increase (8% – 2007), in spite of a weakened dollar, 18.7% annual import increase, due to a weakened dollar (The Marker, Globes, May 26).