Tech Roundup / No California Love for Israeli Venture Caps

CalPERS says Israeli venture funds didn't improve performance in 2012; Wix and Conduit make Business Insider's list of top 100 privately owned high-tech companies.

*Israeli venture capital funds did not significantly improve their returns in the first quarter of 2012, according to a report from CalPERS, the Californian state workers' pension fund, which has invested in the funds.

An analysis of fund performance shows that some funds slightly improved their performance in the first quarter, but others are still showing negative performance results. Four funds managed by Carmel Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners presented annual returns of over 3.5 percent.

*The American-Israeli investor Jonathan Medved, founder of telecommunications company Vringo Inc., which had its IPO on Wall Street in June 2010, revealed his new venture this week, OurCrowd. The project will act as a crowd-funded venture capital fund focus on investing in early-stage Israeli companies.

Investors, regardless of their business background, will be accepted after a selection process and must make at least one investment per year with a $10,000 minimum per investment. OurCrowd will provide investors with information about companies considered to be suitable prospects for OurCrowd and provide them with weekly investment proposals. Each investor will choose the companies he wants to invest in and OurCrowd will execute the investment on his behalf.

*Rhythmia Medical, a company that develops solutions for three-dimensional mapping and monitoring of the heart, founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Doron Harlev and Leon Amariglio, is about to be sold to the medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific for $265 million. According to the terms of the deal, the company will receive $90 million in cash and an additional $175 million according to various milestones to be achieved until 2017.

*The Israeli company Mindojo, which developed a software platform to help would-be business types prepare for the GMAT (a standardized test used for business school admissions) completed a round of capital fundraising led by Barry Fingerhut this week. This last round brings the total invested in the company to approximately $2 million. The company will use the money to distribute the new platform, a computerized private tutor that transforms learning material into an online course. In addition, the company announced that it will be cooperating with The Economist to offer its product through the magazine.

*The Israeli companies Conduit and Wix have made it onto a list, published this week, of the 100 privately owned high-tech companies with the highest market value organized by the website Business Insider.

Conduit, which develops toolbars and a Web browser, ranked No. 25 on the list. The company received an appraised market value of $1.3 billion in April when Yozma Venture Capital sold its holdings in seven percent of the company's shares to the investment bank J.P. Morgan Chase for $100 million. However, the company received a more modest valuation of $1 billion from Business Insider due to changing business conditions after Facebook's IPO.

Wix, which developed a Flash-based platform for creating websites, was listed at No. 65 on the list. The website estimated that the company would chalk up revenues of $40 million this year and reach a market value of $310 based on a price-earnings ratio of between seven and eight.

*The Israeli start-up flavyr, which developed an app to automate photo and movie clips organization, raised $450,000 in seed funding. Several Israeli angel investors participated in the round of funding, including Moshe Lichtman, the former president of Microsoft Israel R&D Center and vice president of Microsoft Worldwide, Rafi Gidron, former Chromatis Networks CEO and chairman of Israel Brain Technologies, and the serial investors Yariv Gilat and Zohar Gilon, as well as Partam High-Tech, which is owned by Igal Ahouvi.

*The Israeli start-up Contacts+, which developed an app to organize contact information saved on smartphones, also completed a round of seed fundraising, raking in $1 million. Several angel investors participated in the seed funding round, such as Pejman Nozad and Richard Chen, as well as foreign venture capital funds like Triple Point Ventures, Tencent and TMT Investments.

*The Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's investment fund Horizon Ventures has undertaken another investment in Israel, participating in a round of fundraising that brought in NIS 800,000 for the website, which provides beauty tips to women. Some other investors who also participated in the round were Israeli venture capital fund Genesis Partners and the angel investor Oren Zeev.