Tech Nation: Israel Ranks 35th in ITU Telecom Access Roster

uMake and Kidoz raise money for their apps; Taldor buys XGlobe.

Tomer Appelbaum

Israel came in a disappointing 35th place in the International Telecommunications Union ICT Development Index for 2015 released last week. Since 2010 Israel has fallen nine places in the index, which measures the availability and usage of computers, telephones and the Internet, because other countries are gaining pace. The index showed that Israelis were abandoning landline phones as the number of lines per 100 people dropped to 37 last year from 46 in 2010. Israelis have 121 cellphones per 100 people, down slightly from 122 in 2010. But home computer penetration climbed to 82% from 76% while Internet connectivity grew to 71% from 68%, the ITU, a UN agency, found. Still, among developed economies, only Italy and Portugal did worse and Israel was No. 22 among European-region countries. (Amitai Ziv)

uMake secures $5m for 3D-drawing app
uMake, whose new app lets you generate a three-dimensional version of a sketch using an iPad, has raised $5 million. The Israeli startup said the financing round was led by BlueRun Ventures, a U.S. investor that was behind companies like PayPal and Waze. It was joined by existing investors UpWest Labs and private investors including Waze CEO Noam Bardin and Uber executive Brian McClendon. uMake was formed in 2014 and today only has three people on its payroll – founders Evi Meyer and Erik Sapir and employee Nyko de Peyer. It said it would use the proceeds to add more staff, open a U.S. marketing office and develop collaboration agreements with leading brands. “We worked on uMake for a year and a half as part of a private beta with a lot of users and two weeks ago released the official version on App Store,” Meyer told TheMarker. “The product is designed for product designers, architects, engineers, students and anyone who wants to work in a 3D environment.” (Inbal Orpaz)

Kidoz raises $3.5m for child content-recommendation app
Kidoz, which boasts a content-recommendation app for children, has raised $3.5 million from Millhouse Capital, the venture-investing vehicle of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. The startup, whose software filters apps to display only those whose content is recognized as safe and age-appropriate for kids, said it would use the money to expand its development team and open offices in the United States and other markets. It also hired Aviram Grinberg as marketing chief. Founded six years ago by CEO Gai Havkin, Kidoz employs 16 people and has been profitable since 2014. Until now its technology was only available on devices made or sold by companies like Acer, U.S. Cellular and Deutsche Telekom. But the company is now opening its content discovery platform to third-party brands and developers, so Kidoz technology can be embedded inside apps as a content-recommendation tool. (Inbal Orpaz)

Taldor buys cloud services company XGlobe
Taldor, an Israeli information services company, says it’s buying XGlobe to expand its cloud-based hosting services in a deal valuing XGlobe at 25 million shekels ($6.5 million). XGlobe has about 100 employees in Israel, operating seven server farms in Europe, North America, the Far East and Israel, offering companies cloud-based services, dedicated hosted computers and virtual services for companies using Google, Microsoft and Amazon servers. “Taldor is adapting itself to technology advances and the requirements of business customers by joining other leading players in the country in cloud computing,” said CEO Nati Avrahami. In the first half of the year XGlobe generated 12.8 million shekels in revenues and 500,000 shekels in net profit. Taldor said that in the acquisition it would make the first 4.4-million-shekel payment now with the rest tied to profit performance from 2014 to 2017. (Shelly Appelberg)