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Tech Nation: Abramovich Charges in With $10m StoreDot Investment

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Roman Abramovich, worth $14.2 billion.Credit: Reuters

StoreDot gets $10m investment from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is investing $10 million in StoreDot, the Israeli startup that’s developing technology to charge mobile device batteries in 30 seconds and digital screens that don’t pollute. The investment by Abramovich, who owns the English soccer team Chelsea, is being made as part of a $30 million financing round that StoreDot is undertaking to fund mass production. In a prior round, the company raised $6.25 million from investors including Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer and the Team Singular fund of Yuval Rabin, the son of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Samsung is reportedly among the other investors in StoreDot, which promises to address the major inconvenience experienced by many smartphone users in the form of constant need to recharge their phones’ batteries. StoreDot’s fast-charging technology was discovered almost accidently by Tel Aviv University professor Ehud Gazit, in the course of work on treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Facebook opening Israeli commercial office

Facebook has decided to transfer its four-person advertising staff dealing with the Israeli market from its offices in Dublin to Israel, where it is opening an official commercial office headed by Adi Soffer Teeni, the former executive chairman of Ginger Software. “A major reason for our being here is out of a desire to be close to the local startup scene,” Soffer Teeni said, adding that Israel not only has a lively Internet and mobile technology scene but now also has companies aspiring to become global brands. The remarks suggests that her company not only sees the potential of attracting advertising from local advertisers seeking to reach Israeli customers, but also from tech companies based in Israel that have global operations. Facebook’s Israel office, Soffer Teeni said, will also provide support to WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which were Facebook acquisitions.

Technical glitch causes major Internet service disruption

The country’s largest Internet server center, which is maintained by Med-1, experienced technical difficulties late Thursday evening, disrupting Internet service in the process. The outage was the result of a problem with the electricity supply at the company’s server center in Petah Tikva, which provides Internet connections to all of Israel’s major Internet service providers. Med-1 said the problem was accidentally caused during other maintenance work. Although the electricity outage lasted just a few minutes, it caused Internet service disruption for several hours, as equipment recovered and as the backlog in demand was accommodated. It has been five years since a similar technical glitch.

Index Ventures’ fund to finance Israeli startups

Europe-based Index Ventures announced last week it had finished raising $550 million (400 euros) to be invested for early-stage startups in Europe, the United States and Israel. Index Ventures, which was established 18 years ago and has invested more than $100 million in Israeli startups since the 1990s – including Outbrain, MyHeritage, Soluto and Adallom – has offices in London, Geneva and San Francisco. Israel is ranked fourth when it comes to where Index Ventures has chosen to invest, the venture capital fund’s partner, Saul Klein, told TheMarker. He said he expects its investing in the Israeli high-tech scene to continue, partnering with other funds. Over the past year, seven firms in which Index has invested have attained billion-dollar valuations, either through exits or public offerings. They include King, the developer of Candy Crush; Dropbox, a cloud storage site; and Etsy, the e-commerce website.

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