from the June 2011 issue

Image sensor co Advasense acquired by Pixim

Advasense raised $31 million in 2005-07, but has reportedly been sold for only a few million dollars.

Pixim Inc. of the US has acquired Advasense Technologies Ltd., a developer of next-generation CMOS image sensor technology. The companies did not disclose the value of the deal, which was mostly in shares, warrants, and the assumption of Advasense's debt, but it was reportedly for a few million dollars.

Advasense was founded in 2005, and a review of the company's founders and management indicates its potential. The company chairman is backed by Gideon Barak, one of Israel's top high-tech entrepreneurs, whose achievements was the sale of DSP Communications to Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) for $1.6 billion, and by Vladimir Koifman, a former executive at Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (Nasdaq: AMCC). Advasense CEO Naftaly Sharir was formerly CEO of Emblaze Research Ltd., which was sold to Zoran Corp. (Nasdaq: ZRAN), and of Electronics Line 3000 Ltd. (EL3K) (FSE:ELN).

According to Israel Venture Capital (IVC), Ra'anana-based Advasense raised $31 million in 2005-07 from Giza Venture Capital, BlueRun Ventures. VentureTech Alliance, and Taiwan's CIDC.

But the names, money, abilities, and technologies were not enough. Advasense's story is more complicated than that of the usual start-up, as is its acquisition agreement with Pixim. A lot of money and quick footedness are needed to complete in the target markets, and in 2009, in the midst of the global financial crisis, the company's investors gave up. Advasense changed direction, and its management and employees, took control of the company together with Kreos Capital. The company restructured, fired employees, and focused on a business model that quickly generated millions of dollars in revenue from the sales of user licenses to its technology. The road ahead was clear. Sharir said, "When the acquisition offer came, we knew we'd take it."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report June 2011

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