Tech Nation: Israel’s Genome Compiler Bought by U.S. Company Twist Bioscience

Vasona raises $14.6 million for mobile technology; Minigo secures $15 million for marketing technology; Unispectral raises $7.5m for smartphone camera technology.

Vasona Networks's products help mobile operators cope with 'data rush hours' on their networks and prevent pileups. The photograph shows gridlock at a highway intersection in Israel.
Dim Schliefman

Israel’s Genome Compiler bought by Twist Bioscience of the U.S.

Twist Bioscience, a U.S. company that manufactures synthetic DNA, said Wednesday it was buying Israel’s Genome Compiler Corporation for an undisclosed price.

Twist said it planned to use the software that Genome Compiler develops for genetic engineers and for molecular and synthetic biologists to create new products, including an ecommerce solution with gene-design capabilities.

“By combining our advanced software design capabilities with the technology leader in DNA synthesis, our customers will be able to streamline the design-build-test cycle,” said Genome Compiler CEO Omri Amirav-Drory.

San Francisco-based Twist said Genome Compiler’s 15-person research and development team in Israel will become Twist’s first overseas branch and that it planned to hire additional employees.

Amirav-Drory founded Genome Compiler in 2011 with three other former employees of Intel’s Haifa R&D center. The company raised $6 million from Autodesk, LionBird VC and angel investors. (Inbal Orpaz and Eliran Rubin)

Vasona raises $14.6 million for mobile technology

Vasona Networks, whose software helps mobile operators to cope with data congestion on their networks from social media and streaming media, said Wednesday it had raised $14.6 million from a group led by Bessemer Venture Partners that also included New Venture Partners and NexStar Partners.

The funding round brings the total raised by the startup since it was founded, in 2009, to $48 million.

Vasona, whose customers include five of the world’s top 20 wireless carriers, including Telefónica UK’s O2, said the capital would be used for research and development as well as deployment of its technology.

Vasona’s products reduce network congestion between a user’s device and the provider’s nearest antenna. The San Jose-based company operates an R&D center in Tel Aviv. (Inbal Orpaz)

Mintigo secures $15 million for marketing technology

Mintigo, an Israeli startup that helps companies identify potential customers online, said on Tuesday it raised $15 million, with Sequoia Israel as the lead investor.

The third funding round for the Raanana-based Mintigo brings the total capital raised since its establishment in 2009 to $39.5 million.

The company’s predictive marketing technology uses data from 200 million people and 125 million companies and processes it using artificial intelligence and other models to help businesses cull sales prospects.

“If Oracle wants to sell a certain product, we help it to find the most appropriate customers at any given moment and the best channel through which to reach them. When you’re talking about tens of thousands of customers, there’s no other way of managing so complicated a process,” said Mintigo CEO and co-founder Jacob Shama.

Other investors in the round included Genesis Venture Partners, Adams Street Partners, Vantage Investment Partners and Yaron Carni’s Maverick Ventures. (Eliran Rubin)

Unispectral raises $7.5m for smartphone camera technology

Unispectral, an Israeli startup that develops camera sensors with next-generation seeing and sensing capabilities, said Tuesday it had closed on a $7.5 million funding round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners.

Germany’s Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Korea’s Samsung Catalyst Fund and Tel Aviv University’s Technology Innovation Momentum Fund also joined the round, whose proceeds will be used to expand the workforce and accelerate product development.

Formed just three months ago, Unispectral is developing an imaging sensor for the consumer market that promises higher resolution and richer colors. The company aims to transform the four-decade standard of color-sensing mechanisms in compact cameras in wearables, digital health and medical imaging and the Internet of Things.

"A supermarket shopper can use his smartphone to take a picture of a vegetables he wants to buy and an app on his phone will be able to tell him whether it’s fresh and if it has been sprayed with chemicals,” explained CEO Rami Feig. (Eliran Rubin)