TechNation / Israeli Desalination Company Named Among World’s 50 'Smartest Firms'

Intel launches startup accelerator, Microsoft Israel gets new boss and EFI buys Israel’s Matan Digital Printers.

Israel's desalination plant in Hadera.
Eyal Toueg

IDE named among world’s 50 'smartest firms'

IDE Technologies, the maker of desalination technology, was named one of the 50 smartest companies in the world by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s magazine, MIT Technology Review. IDE was the only Israeli company on the list, which is compiled based on what the magazine’s editors deem to have “displayed impressive innovations in the past year.” IDE ranked 18th, ahead of a host of iconic tech companies, including SpaceX (22), Facebook (29) and Uber (50). IDE, which is owned jointly by Israel Chemicals and Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group, was cited for providing “more affordable water desalination at a scale never before achieved.” Smart or not, ICL and Delek are seeking to sell the company and have retained investment bank UBS to overseas the sale.

Intel launches startup accelerator

Intel launched a startup accelerator program in Israel on Monday, naming nine startups for its first six-month program. The company said its Intel Ingenuity Partner Program will provide the startups with an expert mentor as well as access to resources in its facilities. At the end of the six months, the nine should be able to demonstrate a proof of concept or joint project or demo, consider joint marketing initiatives and generate opportunities for a business idea that benefits the company as well as Intel. Among IPP partners are Lexifone, which offers real-time voice interpreting; and Extreme Reality, the developer of Extreme Motion, which extracts information based on a user’s gestures with a standard camera. Registration for the second cycle is already underway, with the focus on companies involved in wireless technologies, connected devices, mobile, Internet of things and wearables, among others.

Landsmann named Microsoft Israel boss

Shelly Landsmann has taken over as country manager for Microsoft Israel, replacing Danny Yamin. Landsmann – who has been at Microsoft for 17 years, most recently as head of sales to the public sector – is now responsible for all the U.S. software giant’s sales operations in Israel, including to the government, the private sector and the armed forces (but not for its research and development operations). Yamin stepped down as country manager in May, taking a job in Microsoft’s global organization as vice president. He has since moved to Beijing.

PayPal hiring 50, Marvell firing 180

PayPal Israel is looking to hire 50 employees for its Israel research and development centers in Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva, adding to the 160 or so currently employed there, the company said on Monday. PayPal has been in Israel since it bought the startup Fraud Science in 2008. In March it spent $60 million buying CyActive. Marvell, meanwhile, has invited as many as 180 of its local staff to prefiring hearings, starting tomorrow. Yossi Meyouhas told employees that the U.S.-based semiconductor firm was making payroll cuts worldwide, focused on loss-making operations of mobile and wireless communications. Marvell employs between 200 and 250 staff at its mobile R&D center in Petah Tikva.

EFI buys Israel’s Matan Digital Printers

Electronics For Imaging, the Efi Arazi-controlled Silicon Valley maker of printing technology, has bought Matan Digital Printers, a maker of superwide-format display graphics and other industrial printing applications. EFI said last week it was spending $50 million to buy the company, based in Rosh Ha’ayin. But shareholders will only see $29 million of that for now. Another $5 million will repay debt, while $14 million is being deposited into an escrow account to serve as security for EFI’s benefit, for the indemnification obligations of Matan shareholders. Matan’s printers are as large as five meters and are used to print advertising and outdoor signs. Matan’s 70 employees are joining EFI, as is CEO, Hanan Yosefi, who becomes vice president and general manager, EFI Inkjet Israel.