Technation: Gauzy Secures $7 Million or Smart Glass’ Technology

Web publishers having second thoughts about content-recommendation services; Wochit raises $13 million for text-to-video technology.

Gauzy
Gauzy headquarters. Courtey of Gauzy Glass

Web publishers having second thoughts about content-recommendation services

Publishers are having second thoughts about using content-recommendation services, an industry dominated by two Israeli companies, The New York Times reported. The recommendations, which typically appear at the bottom of a story touting other articles from “around the web,” recently stopped appearing in Slate and The New Yorker amid concerns they lead readers to websites with dubious content.  ChangeAdvertising.org said in a September report that 41 of the top 50 news sites use content-recommendation services, the biggest of which are from Israel’s Outbrain and Taboola. But it said more than a quarter of the recommendations were to “clickbait” sites containing ads and low-quality content. Both companies said they offer tools for publishers to remove potentially problematic content and employ staff to vet content. “For the most part, a lot of the value Taboola brings is to introduce you to things people may not even know about but like,” said CEO Adam Singolda.  (TheMarker Staff)

Wochit raises $13 million for text-to-video technology

Wochit, an Israeli startup that helps media companies make videos quickly from text stories with a package of automation tools, said last week it raised $13 million from media giants ProSieben of Germany, Singapore Press Holdings’ SPH Media Fund and Italy’s Carlo de Benedetti. Several existing investors, including Redpoint, Marker LLC and Cedar Fund, joined the round, whose proceeds will be used to enhance Wochit’s technology and to expand its business. The latest round brings fundraising since Wochit was founded four years ago by CEO Dror Ginzberg and Chief Technology Officer Ran Oz to $28 million. The company employs 50 people in Israel, New York and London and counts USA Today, Time Inc., and Der Spiegel among its customers, A second Israeli startup in the same area, called Wibbitz, recently signed with Reuters and has raised $11 million to date.(Eliran Rubin)

Gauzy secures $7 million or ‘smart glass’ technology

Gauzy, a Tel Aviv startup developing “smart glass” technology, has raised $7 million from Lazarus Israel Opportunities Fund, Olive Tree Capital and Russia’s Waarde Capital. The current round brings totaling fundraising for Gauzy since it was formed in 2009 to $14 million, including a $5 million round three years ago. Gauzy’s technology is based on liquid crystals and a controller, like the kind used in LCD screens. It employs the technology to create windows with special properties, such as a store display window that can alternate between transparent mode to showcase what’s behind it to a mode used to display an ad; or a car sunroof that adjusts transparency based on the sunlight. “Smart glass gives you control over the light that passes through it, which gives it a lot of applications in the auto industry, for example,” said Eyal Peso, cofounder. The company employs 38 people, a number it plans to double. (Ruti Levy)

Yoav Samet, former vice president at Cisco , joins StageOne Ventures

StageOne Ventures, which invests in early-stage information-technology infrastructure technology startups, said last week that Yoav Samet had joined as a partner. Based in Palo Alto, Samet will lead investments in new startups and provide strategic and operational support to existing portfolio companies establishing presence in the Silicon Valley, StageOne said. Samet comes from Cisco where he was the vice president of corporate development at Cisco and led close to 20 company acquisitions valued at just over $7 billion,and managed a $1 billion portfolio. Prior to Cisco, Samet was a principal at Israel’s Pitango Venture Capital. He is a graduate of the Israeli Defense Force’s intelligence technology unit and has an MBA from the Stanford University, as well as a BS and MS in Computer Science from the Hebrew University. Yuval Cohen started StageOne in 2001 and invested $50 million in 17 companies, seven of which have been sold. A second $65 million fund was launched in 2014.  (Eliran Rubin)