from the December 2015 issue

Pitango raises first $100m for growth fund

Pitango Venture Capital, Israel's biggest high-tech investor, said Monday it has raised its first tranche of capital for a new fund that will invest in growth-stage startup companies. Pitango didn't say how much it raised for its new Pitango Growth Fund, but sources said it was about $100 million, bringing total assets under management for all the group's funds to $2 billion. Pitango Growth aims to raise $250 million, but will begin putting money into companies now. The fund will focus on startups seeking to increase sales and penetrate global markets. "Israeli entrepreneurs have begun focusing a lot more on the long term and building bug companies. We believe the number of these companies will be growing from year to year," said Aaron Mankovski, who will be managing the new fund together with Isaac Hillel.

The U.K. edition of the tech magazine Wired has chosen Tel Aviv among the top 10 high-tech centers of Europe, even though the city is actually in Asia.

"Tel Aviv is where the money is. The startup nation became the exit nation in 2014, with Israeli tech sales and IPOs hitting $15 billion," Wired notes on its website. "Expect 2015 to be another huge year, with $910 million raised in one January week alone and Outbrain and IronSource preparing IPOs."

The magazine features 10 companies from each of the cities in its top 10 list. The Tel Aviv roster begins with Consumer Physics, which developed a spectrometer that can analyze the components of the food and medicine that we consume and provide the details on our smartphones. Then there is Playbuzz, founded by Shaul Olmert, the son of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which provides quizzes and themed lists for use by content websites.

StoreDot, a Tel Aviv University spin-off, developed a smartphone battery that can be charged in a minute. Also featured is Windward, a company founded by former Israel Navy officers, which developed technology that tracks the movements of every major sea vessel anywhere around the world. Moovit offers a public transportation app that provides real-time information about buses, trains and subways that the company says is more accurate than its competitors.

SimilarWeb provides data analysis of websites, including the number of users they attract. Zebra Medical Vision, based just north of Tel Aviv at Kibbutz Shfayim, has a product that allows computers to diagnose diseases, while AppsFlyer offers a platform that analyzes mobile-based advertising campaigns. Also on the list is Herzliya-based information security firm Adallom, which is being purchased by Microsoft. FeeX, which is also in Herzliya, has developed technology to help consumers minimize commissions on financial transactions.

"What sets Israel and Tel Aviv apart is its openness," Naomi Kieger Carmy, the director of the British embassy's U.K.-Israel Tech Hub, told Wired. "You can meet almost anyone, and everyone knows and talks to - and about - each other."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report December 2015

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