Tech Nation

Pitango partners found south TA startup complex

The partners in the Pitango Venture Capital fund are establishing a joint work space for tech startups in south Tel Aviv. SOSA (for South Of SAlameh, a major road in the area) joins similar ventures nearby, including Junction, a complex run by the Genesis Partners venture capital fund, and “Hamifal” (“the plant,” or enterprise). Over the past year Pitango, which may be joined in the SOSA project by other VC funds, has set aside $10 million for 15 to 20 young startups in the seed money and pre-seed stages. (Orr Hirschauge)

Orange targets older users with a simple smartphone

Partner Communications (Orange) has begun marketing what it says is a smartphone designed for older users. It’s not a new device, but rather a redesign of the user interface of one of the company’s existing Android-powered phones to simplify operations and enlarge screen icons. Sold under the Orange Friendly brand, for now the new interface is available only on the company’s Infinity X model phone (1,700 shekels, or $483, through Orange. The new software is the result of collaboration with Israeli startup UIU. A stripped-down version of the interface, called Wiser-Simple Launcher, is available for download from Google Play. (Amitai Ziv)

Bennett announces effort to attract multinational drug companies

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says he has directed his ministry’s Office of the Chief Scientist to develop a plan to attract multinational drug firms to Israel for manufacturing and research and development. He was speaking Wednesday at a conference sponsored by Pharma Israel, a trade group that represents multinational pharmaceutical companies here. The organization’s director general, Daniel Berman, told the gathering that with proper investment in research infrastructure, appropriate regulation of the industry and of intellectual property as well as economic incentives, Israel has the potential to become a world leader in pharmaceutical innovation. (Ora Coren)

Yoram Reshef