TechNation: Israeli High-tech Charity Got $2m From Exits in 2015

Tech salaries rose 6% in 2015, but Ethosia sees no bubble; TopSpin raises $7m for malware prevention ; Freescale shuts Israeli R&D center, firing 150.

Israeli high-tech workers. Rare is the Ethiopian-Israeli among them.
Alon Ron

High-tech charity got $2m from exits in 2015

A record year of $11 billion in Israeli high-tech exits yielded Tmura – The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund some $2 million in 2015, bringing its total take to $12.8 million since it was formed in 2002. The fund, which takes donations of shares in high-tech startups and cashes them in when the companies are sold or go public, earned money last year from stock it held in CyberArk, ReWalk and Kornit, all which had initial public offerings, and from the sale of Panoramic Power, Panaya, Checkmarxs, eXelate, BillGuard and WatchDox. The IPOs of CyberArk and ReWalk Robotics were in 2014, but Truma got the proceeds last year. Truma, which donates its proceeds to education- and youth-related charities, said 56 startups allocated shares to it last year, bringing its total portfolio to 429 since it was formed. “Tmura’s goal, to foster a culture of giving in Israel’s high-tech sector, is being achieved,” said Executive Director Baruch Lipner. “From 2011 to 2014, we succeeded to raise $3 million and in 2015 alone the amounts exceeded $2 million.” (Inbal Orpaz)

Tech salaries rose 6% in 2015, but Ethosia sees no bubble

Salaries in Israeli high-tech rose 6% in 2015, exceeding the previous year’s 5.4% and a 4.1% rise in 2013, the high-tech job placement agency Ethosia reports. At 10%, software developers enjoyed the biggest wage hikes, followed by information technology experts (9.5%), web developers (7%) and project managers (6.5%). But Ethosia CEO Eyal Solomon said that even though salaries were pulled higher by record fundraising by startups and $11 billion in exits, he did not see any sign of a bubble. “The signs we’ve seen in bubbles in the past, like hiring inexperience employees and offering extravagant, outsized benefits, don’t exist today. Not only is there no overstaffing, there are layoffs. Companies are becoming more efficient. Big companies aren’t hiring indiscriminately,” Solomon said. Between 1999 and 2001, before the bursting of the big tech bubble, nominal wages jumped 40%, he noted. He estimated the supply of engineers is about 6% short of demand. (Inbal Orpaz)

TopSpin raises $7m for malware prevention 

TopSpin Security, a maker of advanced malware-detection technology, said Monday it had raised $7 million from a group that includes many of Israel’s leading angel investors. Among them are Shlomo Kramer, a founder of Check Point Software Technologies; Zohar Zisapel, who controls the RAD Group; and Rakesh Loonkar and Mickey Boodaei, who founded Trusteer. TopSpin’s DECOYnet belong to the class of honeypots, whose purpose is to attract attackers so that they can be identified and blocked without causing any damage to the system. DECOYnet also provides network traffic analysis. This allows organizations to see how data flow in, out and within their networks and to assess risk and employ preemptive measures. Founded in 2013, TopSpin has around a dozen employees. The company will use the funds to accelerate its sales efforts. (Amitai Ziv)

Freescale shuts Israeli R&D center, firing 150

Freescale Semiconductor, the U.S. chip maker that merged with Holland’s NXP last month, is reportedly closing its Israeli research and development center and laying off its 150 employees. Sources said the center is being shut down because its expertise in mobile infrastructure is not of interest to the merged company, which is focused on the automobile industry. Led by Israeli David Galanti, Freescale had been focusing on the emerging Internet of things market, but the Israeli R&D center was not involved in that. The company had been downsizing its Israeli operation for some time. In 2012, it dismissed 120 of what had been a workforce of 450. Those employees soon found jobs in the Israeli R&D centers of other chip makers, but now the industry is laying people off. Marvell Technology Group, for instance, closed its Israeli mobile R&D center last year and laid off 150. Freescale declined to comment. (Inbal Orpaz)