Tech Roundup / Israeli Public Transport App Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple

Israeli funds were stingier in 2012; Israeli start-ups to get coached in Boston; Carmel ventures ranked most active fund in Israel; MVP raised $110 million in capital.

Public transit app Moovit trying to make it in New York: The Israeli app Moovit, formerly known as Tranzmate, recently expanded its coverage to New York City. The app’s launch in the Big Apple follows its release in 20 other cities in the United States, Europe and Latina America. Moovit has also been operating in Israel for some time now. Moovit gathers data from public transportation schedules and users to provide information on how to get from point A to point B, including arrival times and estimated trips durations, so users can plan ahead. Moovit claims that its information is accurate close to 90 percent of the time in New York City.

Fundraising by Israeli funds fell 29 percent in 2012: The amount of venture capital raised in start-up fundraising rounds in which Israeli funds participated fell 29 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a MoneyTree report published by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Israel this week. The number was $867 million in 2012, compared to $1.2 billion in 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the average investment by funds in these rounds was $5.3 million, compared to $5.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the report.

Startup accelerator to help Israeli companies: MassChallenge is a non-profit program for start-ups that is supported by companies like the Kraft Group, Fidelity Investments, Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Microsoft Corporation along with private investors such as Boston Red Sox baseball team owner John Henry. The program has been active in Boston since 2010. To date, 361 start-ups have participated in the accelerator program. MassChallenge will enable Israeli entrepreneurs to participate in an intensive four-month-long program in Boston that will provide them with mentors, marketing assistance and free use of software programming tools and cloud computing services. Three Israeli start-ups have already participated in the program: Driveway Software, JoyTunes and STUI.

Carmel Ventures ranked most-active investor in Israel: The IVC Research Center named Carmel Ventures the most active venture capital fund operating in Israel in 2012. The fund made 11 first-time investments in high-tech companies founded in Israel or by Israelis over the year, up from just 3 in 2011. Coming in second was Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing’s Horizons Ventures, with 10 first investments. Israeli funds Genesis Partners and Gemini Israel Ventures each made seven first investments, Jerusalem Venture Partners made six first investments and Magma Venture Partners made five first investments. By IVC's count, a total of 90 venture capital funds made first investments in Israel in 2012. 

Magma Venture Partners raised $110 million for new fund: The Israeli venture capital fund announced this week that it completed fundraising for its third fund, Magma III, raising $110 million in capital. Approximately 70 percent of the fund’s capital was raised from foreign investors in the United States, Europe and Asia. The rest of the fund’s capital was raised from Israeli investors, including institutional investors. MVP currently has more than $300 million under management and invests in early-stage information and communications technology companies. It particularly focuses on microchip and digital media companies that provide software as a service. MVP has seen some of its biggest returns from big exits by microchip companies it invested in: the sale of Provigent to Broadcom Corporation for over $300 million, the sale of Wintegra to PMC-Sierra for over $200 million and the sale of DesignArtNetworks to Qualcomm for $140 million.

Reuters
AP