TechNation: eToro Raises $100 Million for Social-trading Investment Platform

Ex-Mossad chief counts 30 hackers for his startup XM Cyber ■ Higher Education Council mulling incentives to boost women in electrical engineering ■ New Fidelity VC fund targets Israel, Europe

The team members of eToro, the U.K.-based social trading invested platform.
Nir Keidar

eToro raises $100 million for social-trading investment platform

eToro, a U.K.-based social-trading investment platform founded and run by Israelis, said on Wednesday it had raised $100 million in a funding round led by China Minsheng Financial Holding Corporation. It was joined by Tokyo-based SBI Group, World Wide Invest and Korea Investment Partners. eToro enables users to see, follow and automatically copy the actions of other investors trading currencies, commodities, indices stocks and cryptocurrencies real time. It claims a community of over nine million users and over $1 billion in customer deposits in 2017 alone. “This investment round will help us to enter new markets, enabling us to bring our social approach to investing to more people around the world,” CEO Yoni Assia, who cofounded the company with his brother Ronen, said in a Twitter post. The latest round brings total capital raised by the startup since it was founded in 2007 to $162 million. (TheMarker Staff)

Ex-Mossad chief counts 30 hackers for his startup XM Cyber

Retired Mossad chief Tamir Pardo says he has assembled a team of more than 30 hackers from Israel’s security and intelligence services into a startup called XM Cyber that seeks to keep companies’ networks safe by imitating how real hackers work. Pardo, who headed the spy agency from 2011-2016, started XM Cyber two years ago and serves as its president. “I thought there are so many companies with great products, but they are not focusing on the right question,” Pardo told Reuters. “The real question is, ‘Are my crown jewels really protected?’” Pardo brought with him hackers that were on the offense teams the Mossad, Shin Bet and army’s elite 8200 unit, and raised $15 million, mostly from Israeli billionaire Shaul Shani. (Reuters)

Higher Education Council mulling incentives to boost women in electrical engineering

Israel’s Council of Higher Education is weighing a plan to give hundreds of thousands of shekels in aid to state-subsidized institutions of higher education that significantly increase the proportion of women in tech-oriented academic programs. Releasing figures on high-tech studies by women for the first time, the CHE found that in the 2016-17 academic year women accounted for only 18% of the 14,695 undergraduates in electric engineering programs in Israel, including electronic, computer communications network and electro-optic engineering as well. That is less than the 29% who study computer science and far under women’s’ 59% share of Israel’s total undergraduate population, according to the CHE. Its goal is to raise the 18% to 35% by 2022. (Ruti Levy)

New Fidelity VC fund targets Israel, Europe

Fidelity’s Eight Roads Ventures Europe has raised $375 million for a third fund that will invest in growth-stage tech firms across Europe and Israel that aim to scale up globally, said Davor Hebel, managing partner and head of the European investor. The firm plans to invest in 15 to 20 companies over the life of the fund in deals ranging from $10-$30 million. Eight Roads said it will focus on a conventional set of tech venture themes - business enterprise, consumer, fintech and healthcare - but each with their own twist. (Reuters)