Magma raises $150 million for new VC fund

Magma Venture Partners, an Israeli venture capital fund that was one of the backers of the navigation-app Waze, said it had raised $150 million for a fund that will invest in early-stage technology companies. Magna said it raised the capital for what will be its fourth fund in just four-and-a-half weeks, most of that while Operation Protective Edge was underway. The fund said about half the $150 million was raised from family offices in the United States, Europe and Asia and about a quarter from Israeli institutional investors. Magma said it plans to invest in approximately 25-30 companies, putting between $500,000 and $6 million in each. “Our motivation is to build big companies,” said Yahal Zilkha, a managing partner and co-founder. “We’ve seen a big change since Waze and how it became a symbol for many entrepreneurs of how it is possible to create companies with a billion dollars.” (Inbal Orpaz)

Startup job applications plummet

The number of job applicants to Internet and mobile startups has been declining since the spring, with the third quarter seeing a drop of about 50% from a year earlier, the job placement company Jobinfo said yesterday. Internet startups have seen the biggest decline in applicants – an 84% year-on-year plunge, but bigger, older companies have also seen a decline, it said. Ilana Achimeier, Jobinfo’s CEO, attributed the drop to Protective Edge as well as summer vacation. “The sharp decline in the number of applications this quarter is a major problem in light of the fact that the number of new job openings in the first half of 2014, compared with a year ago, was up 2%,” she said. (Inbal Orpaz).

Israel Smart Grid consortium gets $10.9m

Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist agreed this week to fund the Israel Smart Grid project – a consortium developing monitoring, control, and communication capabilities for electric-power networks – by 40 million shekels ($10.9 million) for the next two years. The grant, which comes at a time when the OCS is facing severe budget problems, comes on top of the more than 50 million shekels it has put into ISG in its first three years. ISG said the funding will be used by a group led by Motorola Solutions to develop a system for trading electric power in real time. Companies such as ECI Telecom and Ceva as well as institutions like Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University are joining. “Israel could be a global pioneer in developing generic technologies for managing electricity production and distribution using a hierarchical configuration that includes green energy and energy storage,” said ISG Chairman Boris Kantsepolsky. (Ora Coren)