TechNation / Israeli Children's App Maker TabTale Buys U.S. Competitor

Citi hiring 50 for fintech R&D center; two startups raise combined $8.5 million.

Tomer Appelbaum

TabTale buys U.S. kids-game app maker

TabTale, an Israeli kids’ gaming app publisher, has bought one of its biggest rivals, the U.S. company Sunstorm Games. TabTale didn’t say how much it paid for Las Vegas-based Sunstorm, but the technology website TechCrunch said it was $6 million. “Sunstorm Games has a proven loyal fan base, similar to that of TabTale,” TabTale CEO Sagi Schliesser said over the weekend. Sunstorm has developed more than 100 games aimed at the very young, and has five million monthly active users versus TabTale’s 40 million. TabTale, whose backers include the U.S. company Qualcomm, had 2013 revenues of 15 million shekels ($3.8 million), but has since bought two startups – Level Bit and Coco Play. Sunstorm is its first U.S. acquisition. (Inbal Orpaz)

Citi hiring 50 for fintech R&D center

The high-tech hiring orgy continues: Citigroup Israel’s research and development center said this week it is looking to take on 50 new staff over the next few months. Citi’s Technology Innovation Center, which has 100 people on its payroll in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Atidim technology park, joins a host of other multinationals in Israel, like Microsoft and Facebook, that have been adding scores of staff in recent months. The Citi R center was set up three years ago with a 93 million shekel ($23.6 million) grant from the Office of the Chief Scientist as part of the government’s drive to promote financial technology (fintech) in Israel. “Citi management’s decision to significantly expand the Israeli center is a vote of confidence in the innovation it has generated in three years of operations,” said Lyron Wahrmann, the head of Citi’s technology center. (Inbal Orpaz)

Two startups raise combined $8.3 million

Two Israeli-U.S. startups have raised close to $8.5 million in the past week. Infinity AR, whose software gives digital eyewear and other devices augmented-reality functions, said it signed an agreement for a group led by Japanese game maker Sun Corporation to invest $5 million in the company. Publicly traded Infinity AR will use the proceeds to develop its product and expand into the Japanese market. Meanwhile, Folloze – a U.S.-Israeli startup that helps companies with B2B sales and marketing – said it had raised $3.3 million in seed funding from the venture capital funds NEA, Cervin Ventures and TriplePoint Ventures, with participation by angel investors. Folloze was launched in Palo Alto in 2013 by Israelis Etai Beck, David Brutman and Zvika Menachemi. (TheMarker)