Sales of Cybersecurity Insurance Policies Jump in Israel After Global Attack

Meanwhile, Israeli life science startups share of tech fundraising shrinking, study finds

Netanyahu delivers a speech at a Cyber Security Conference in Tel Aviv, January 31, 2017.
Netanyahu delivers a speech at a Cyber Security Conference in Tel Aviv, January 31, 2017. BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

Sales of cybersecurity insurance policies jump in Israel after global attack

Israel came out relatively unscathed from the massive cyberattack on the world’s computers over the weekend. But the event was enough to spook many Israeli business owners and sales of cyberinsurance have jumped 30% compared with the same time last year, according to AIG Israel, one of the biggest providers.

Businesses that had been sitting on the fence about whether to buy coverage acted quickly and policies offering coverage for ransom attacks, like last weekend’s, were especially popular. Still, said Aviram Gavish, vice president for legal and business development, only about 10% of Israel’s publicly traded companies have policies, a third the rate common in most other countries where AIG offers cyberinsurance.

“Publicly traded companies … should be especially concerned about not having cybercoverage. Worldwide we’re seeing legal and regulatory developments that assign more responsibility to directors and management for the damage from hacking attacks,” he said. (Assa Sasson)

Life science startups share of tech fundraising shrinking, study finds

Israeli life science startups are capturing a smaller and smaller share of total high-tech funding, but the companies that do succeed in raising money are showing signs of greater maturity, according to a study released Wednesday by the Israel High-Tech Industries Association.

Biotech’s share fell to just 17% of all tech investing last year from 24% in 2012, with 132 startups raising a combined $823 million. But the number of companies advanced enough to raise amounts in excess of $20 million grew to comprise 55% of the total last year, up from just 24% a decade ago, the IHTI said.

The average round for a life science startup was for $6.2 million, double the level of 2010, it said. All told, it counted 1,350 startups in the sector, 80% more than a decade ago. Each year 123 new startups are formed and 62 close on average. (Ruti Levy)

Sweet Inn raises $22 million for apartment-hotel offering

Sweet Inn, an Israeli-French startup that offers rental apartments for tourists with many of the amenities hotels provide, said on Monday it had secured $22 million in new capital from Israeli funds Qumra Capital and BRM.

The company was formed in 2014 by Paul Besnainou, who had emigrated from France to Israel six years before. The company was bootstrapped with family funds its first two years. It operates some 350 apartments in seven cities in Israel and Europe that can be booked on its own website or through aggregators like Expedia.

Unlike Aribnb, Sweet Inn’s apartments are for longer-term and provide services like housekeeping, laundry, breakfast and a 24/7 dedicated guest relation representative on par with a four- or five-star hotel. “We’ve taken the best of both worlds – apartment rentals with the pampering of a hotel,” said Besnainou. Sweet Inn employs 150 people, 30 of them in Israel, and plans to take on 80 more over the coming year and upgrade its application.” (Eliran Rubin)

Karamba raises $12 million for auto security

Karamba Security, a provider of cybersecurity for connected and self-driving cars, said on Tuesday it raised $12 million in a round led by Paladin Capital in the first-ever Israel investment from the Washington-based cyber-focused venture capital fund. The round, which brings Karamba’s total fundraising to $17 million, included existing investors YL Ventures of California and Detroit-based Fontinalis Partners as well as GlenRock Israel.

Other new investors are Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Sumitomo Corp’s Presidio Ventures and security management provider Asgent. Karamba’s software protects cars based on their factory settings, blocking hacking attempts as they deviate from these settings and before they infiltrate the car.

“We see this notion of Karamba trying to prevent attacks as substantial progress on what exists today to detect attacks,” Paladin managing director Kenneth Minihan told Reuters. Paladin, with $1 billion in four funds, said this was its first investment in automotive security. (Reuters)