Business in Brief

Israel, U.S. to offer special visas for investorsl Soccer site FTBpro raises $18 million.

Haaretz

The cabinet voted on Sunday to approve special visas for investors from the United States who visit Israel frequently for business purposes, and in return the U.S. will ease similar visa restrictions for Israeli investors. Ynet reported that the pilot program will create a new fast track for E2 visas that will allow Israeli businesspeople to stay for up to two years in the U.S. to open and manage a business. The Americans made the visa program conditional on Israel providing reciprocal arrangements for U.S. citizens. The Interior Ministry will implement the plan within a few months, after the necessary legislative changes are made. The E2 visas will require extensive background checks. (TheMarker Staff)

Adler Chomski establishing fund to invest in advertising startups

The Adler Chomski group, the owners of Israel’s second largest advertising agency, is establishing a fund for investing in advertising startups, the group announced Sunday. The fund will invest in early stage initiatives. The company declined to say how much it will invest, but said it expected to put up to a million dollars into each startup and plans on investing in three to five such ventures a year in areas such as mobile, e-commerce, social media and marketing research. Tamar Reshef Bezalel, the company’s vice president for business development, will manage the fund. Adler Chomski is following the example of other Israeli advertising firms that have also invested in similar startups, such as Ilan Shiloach’s TheTime. (TheMarker Staff)

Soccer site FTBpro raises $18 million

Media startup FTBpro, proud maker of a platform for soccer fans to create content, has closed an $18 million financing round, bringing its total take from backers to $24 million. The fundraising round included FTBpro’s existing investors, Battery Ventures and Gemini Israel Ventures, as well as new investment from London-based Dawn Capital and a major Asia-based media investor. The usual venture capital pack was augmented by an “Asian strategic investor,” and with its proceeds it means to open an Asian office. Asaf Peled founded the firm in 2011 and is CEO. FTBpro is headquartered in London and has offices in Tel Aviv. Its site has been quite the hit, with readership growing by 50% each quarter to about a million surfers presently. Another stat: It’s reached about 100 million page views a month. Some 2,000 writers publish articles on FTBpro, using the site’s advanced tools. It runs about 300 articles a day. (TheMarker Staff)