Israeli Start-up Wix to Make $75 Million IPO in the U.S.

The website-creation software start-up, which is expected to be worth up to half a billion dollars after the offering, is the fourth Israeli company to head for Wall Street this year.

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Wix, a start-up that makes online tools for creating websites, is planning to raise $75 million in an initial public offering in the United States, making it the fourth Israeli company to begin the process this year.

Including the money raised in the IPO, Wix will be valued at between $400 million and $500 million, industry sources said. JPMorgan Chase will lead the offering, Bloomberg News reported.

Since Wix was formed in 2006, it has attracted more than $60 million in venture capital, according to figures from the venture capital database IVC online.

Wix, whose platform allows people without computer-programming skills to build webpages, brought in about $60 million in revenue in 2012 and is expected to double that number in 2013. Its backers include Bessemer Venture Partners from Boston and Mangrove Capital Partners SA based in Luxemburg.

Last year, Caesarstone Sdot Yam, a maker of quartz countertops, was the only Israeli company to go publicon Wall Street. This year, three companies have already begun the process. Kamada, a biopharmaceutical company, filed a draft prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on January 24. The online-translation company Babylon published its fourth-quarter earnings earlier this week in anticipation of a U.S offering. Both companies already trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Home Skinovations, which develops and makes laser-hair-removal devices, last month filed a draft prospectus to raise as much as $80 million.

Wix was founded by Giora Kaplan and the brothers Nadav and Avishai Abrahami. The company initially offered products to build websites in Flash, but last March launched a new product that uses HTML5. In October, it introduced the Wix App Market, an application store for people who use Wix products.

Wix is one of the biggest and most-celebrated Israeli start-ups. The company has about 300 employees in New York, Tel Aviv and San Francisco, with about two-thirds of them based in its research and development center in the Tel Aviv Port. It has 25 million customers around the world.

In 2011, Wix turned down a buyout offer that valued the company at more than $200 million. It was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue a year at the time and appeared to be bucking the Israeli start-up trend of selling out, opting to take the IPO route instead.

Wix founders Nadav and Avishai Abrahami.Credit: Limor Adary

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