TechNation

Ginger Software not in the red after selling tech platform to Intel, Q1 investment uptick for startups and Conduit employees get birthday present.

Bloomberg News

Ginger Software sells personal assistant offerings to Intel for tens of millions of dollars

Israeli startup Ginger Software has sold its platform that enables third parties to create customized personal assistant technology to Intel, for a price tag of between $10 million and $20 million, Geektime website reported over the weekend. TechCrunch website put the price at up to $30 million. Ginger’s English-as-a-second-language products are not being sold. “Following this transaction, the team that dealt with the development of the [personal assistant] technology along with Yael Krov, the entrepreneur who founded the company, are expected to merge [into Intel], while the rest of the employees, including CEO Maoz Shacht, are expected to continue to develop the company’s other products,” Geektime stated, adding that Ginger employs 50 employees at its Tel Aviv offices. Both Ginger Software and Intel have confirmed the deal, Geektime added.

Q1 investment in high-tech continues uptick

Israeli high-tech companies collectively attracted an average of $673 million in investment during the first quarter of the year, which was 53% more than that raised in the first quarter of last year, the IVC business research firm reported. Although first quarter figures were still 16% lower than the figure for the last quarter of 2013, the numbers reflected a strong quarter following a period of growth for the Israeli high-tech sector. PwC Israel published similar figures with respect to high-tech venture capital financing last week. That report states that the average investment per company in the first quarter of 2014 was $6.1 million, down from $6.8 million in the preceding quarter but up from $3.8 million in the first quarter of last year. During the first quarter of 2014, $121 million was invested in seven deals each worth over $10 million, PwC said.

Conduit celebrates birthday with employee stock warrants

The Conduit software firm is providing each of its employees stock warrants collectively worth $40 million to $50 million, the company announced last week in conjunction with celebrations marking its ninth anniversary. It is also planning on repricing existing warrants from $4.04 to $1.49. The company, which has offices in Nes Tziona, is a bit unusual when it comes to employee compensation, in that the founders have been insistent on sharing a relatively large chunk of Conduit’s profits with staff, who collectively hold just under 30% of company stock. That makes Conduit’s employees the second-largest shareholder group after founders of the company. About two years ago, it also launched a co-sale plan that allowed employees and other shareholders to sell off some of their shares. In the past, the warrants have also been made available to the company’s cleaning staff.

Partner consolidates divisions

Partner Communications, which does business in Israel as Orange, has decided to fold business administration of its separate 012 Smile and 012 Mobile businesses into the company’s core operations. The 012 brands offer Internet, landline phone and international long-distance services and cellular service separately from the Orange brand. With the corporate reorganization, the head of the landline division, Uri Veterman, will be leaving the company, to be succeeded by Miri Levy, Partner announced. Although operated separately, 012 is wholly owned by Partner Communications.