Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak has joined the board of an Israeli startup that specializes in biometric identification technology. FST Biometrics said Monday that it had received a $15 million investment from GMF Capital, a firm led by Swiss investor Gary Fegel, and that Barak would serve as GMF’s representative on the company board. FST’s In Motion Identification technology uses a combination of facial recognition and behavioral analytics to identify people entering a premises without their needing to stop or slow down to present an ID. The Rishon Letzion-based startup counts among its customers governments and big corporations. Its founder and CEO is Aharon Zeevi Farkash, a former head of Israeli military intelligence. Barak, a former army chief of staff, served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001. More recently, he served as defense minister before retiring from politics in 2013.
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Property-data firm CreditFi takes in $8 million
The U.S.-Israeli startup CrediFi, which provides data and analytics for the commercial real estate finance sector, said Monday it had raised $8 million in a funding round led by Battery Ventures. The Israeli venture capital fund Carmel Ventures and OurCrowd, a crowdfunding platform, added another $2 million to the round, said the company, which provides key loan, financial, property and market information and asset analytics for banks, hedge funds and other customers to get breakdowns on property loans, tenants, building occupancies, real-estate investments and legal and compliance issues. New York-based Credifi was started in 2014 after CEO Ely Razin, a former executive at Thomson Reuters, was approached by Battery, which has been looking for ways to apply data analytics to different industries, Battery General Partner Scott Tobin told The Wall Street Journal.
India’s Infosys seeking bigger footprint in Israel
The Indian software giant Infosys is quietly beefing up its operations in Israel to tap into the country’s startup ecosystem, the financial daily Economic Times reports. Shortly after the company bought Israeli automation-technology startup Panaya for $200 million in February, CEO Vishal Sikka hired away Jake Klein from Germany’s SAP to oversee startup investments in Israel. At Infosys, he holds the title of vice president for corporate development in Israel. Klein and Sikka met while they were both working at SAP. Infosys has set aside at least a quarter of its $500 million Innovation Fund for investments in countries like India and Israel. The Economic Times noted that Infosys is not the only Indian IT services firm looking to tap into Israel: Rivals such as Wipro have also initiated conversations with venture capital funds in the region such as Jerusalem Venture Partners.
Webydo raises $13 million in round led by Singulariteam
Webydo said last week it has raised $13.8 million, with Moshe Hogeg’s Singulariteam fund contributing $5 million. Other investors include the plastic-products maker Keter Holdings and the crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. Like its bigger, publicly traded rival Wix, Webdo’s tools are used to build websites, but unlike Wix Webydo is aimed at professional graphic designers rather than amateurs, enabling them to create and manage customer HTML websites without writing code. “Designers are the future of creativity,” said Shmulik Grizim, one of the startup’s two co-founders and its CEO, who estimates its core client base numbers about 140,000 people around the world. “This financing round will allow us to integrate all the tools and features customers demanded that shape our community.” Webydo’s software was developed initially as an inhouse tool for the web design agency of the founders Grizim and Tzvika Steinmetz.