Tech Roundup / What Happens in Vegas? Israeli Firms to Find Out

Twenty Israeli companies head to CES; more rumors about Apple and Waze; start-up Cloudyn in talks to secure $4 million in funding; KitLocate wins innovation award.

Consumer Electronics Show to open in Las Vegas next week: CES is the largest digital trade show in the world where new products like televisions, computers, smartphones, and other tech consumer goods are exhibited. Some 3,000 companies will have displays at CES, including roughly 20 Israeli companies. A partial list of the Israeli companies at the exhibitions: Powermat Technologies, Celeno Communications, XTR3D, Jinni, eyeSight, Comigo, Siano Mobile Silicon, PrimeSense, MVB, DreamBots and Wi-Charge.

A tepid tech job market still has hot spots: The last quarter of 2012 was marked by wide-scale layoffs in the computer chip industry. Yet at the same time, software firms here, including a number of dynamic start-ups in the Internet and cellular software fields, continue to recruit new staff at a fast clip, and at handsome starting salaries. A 2012 industry survey reveals that demand for research and development and start-up workers in the chip industry declined by 10 percent, according to the Ethosia human resources firm, while salaries in the sector remained flat. On the other hand, demand for cellphone app developers for the iOS and Android operating systems grew during the year 25 percent. Salaries in that segment of the industry also grew – 9 percent on average, which was the largest average wage increase in the high-tech sector. Similarly, demand for Internet developers was up 14 percent and their salaries rose on average by 6 percent during 2012, while demand for software developers rose by 12 percent amid average wage increases of 5 percent during the same period.

Start-up company Cloudyn looking to reel in investors: The Israeli start-up that has created technology for monitoring and optimizing companies' use of cloud computing resources is pursuing $4 million in additional investment in the company. Cloudyn hasn't yet revealed to which investors it has been talking. In its previous round of fundraising, Cloudyn received $1.3 million from Elron, the high-tech investment arm of IDB Holding.

Start-up company KitLocate wins innovation competition:  The Israeli start-up, which develops location-based technology services, won the Israel Advanced Technology Industries and MasterCard Israel Technology Award last week.KitLocate won $25,000 and was accepted into the Junction acceleration program run by the Genesis Partners venture capital firm.

PolyPid raises $2.4 million from investors:The Israeli start-up, which has developed a new family of drug carriers, announced this week that it completed its third funding round worth $2.4 million. The latest funding round values the firm at $17.4 million. The newly raised capital will be used to continue investment in research and development and the clinical trials of its targeted drug delivery platform.

Rumors abound that Apple is looking to buy Waze: The reported size of the rumored deal is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. After receiving numerous complaints about its Apple Maps service on the iOS 6, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology and directed iPhone users to alternative GPS apps, including Waze. The Israeli company provides a free navigational solution to users based on crowd-sourcing. Waze was founded in 2008 and has raised $67 million in capital since. There has been no official confirmation of the reports.

Microsoft changes settings of Internet Explorer browser: Microsoft announced before the end 2012 that it was changing its browser's homepage security. Now, third-party companies must obtain the express permission of users ("opt-in") before downloading software. This change will likely seriously hurt Israeli companies whose business model is based on installed browser toolbars. In Israel, there are a whole slew of these companies that are collectively known in the industry as "Download Valley." Some of these companies include Conduit, Babylon and iMesh.

AP
Daniel Tchetchik