TechNation: Israeli Workers Worry After Intel Announces Worldwide Layoffs

Startup employee shareholders win important tax break; Digital storytelling platform Apester raises $17 million; Takipi secures $15 million from Lightspeed-led group.

High-tech workers in Israel.
Tomer Appelbaum

Israeli workers worry after Intel announces massive worldwide layoffs

Intel’s 10,000-plus employees in Israel are wondering whether their jobs are secure after the U.S. semiconductor giant announced on Tuesday it would be cutting 12,000 jobs out of a worldwide workforce of 107,000, most of them over the next 60 days.

Intel Israel, which operates research and development centers as well as a giant chip plant in Kiryat Gat, sought to reassure employees.

“This is a global announcement and we’re studying its implications on the operation in Israel. One thing is certain: Intel will meet its obligations to the Israeli government,” Intel Israel said in a statement, referring to employment commitments it made in exchange for 1.07 billion shekels ($280 million) in state aid to upgrade the plant to 22-nanometer technology.

Intel Israel engages in many of the core areas CEO Brian Krzanich said would be spared cuts, including data center, Internet of Things, memory and connectivity businesses. (Inbal Orpaz)

Startup employee shareholders win important tax break

Employee shareholders at startup companies that are bought out will pay much less tax on their income from the stock they sell, under a change issued Tuesday by the Israel Tax Authority.

The directive relates to a common practice whereby companies buying startups condition the deal on key employees staying on after the sale. Under the old rules, the sale of shares sold by employees whose compensation included stock were subject to a tax rate of 48% to 50%, if the sale was contingent on their remaining after the takeover.

Under the new rules, the income from the sale of shares will be regarded as a capital gain and subject to a tax rate of 25% (or 30% if the employee is a major shareholder in the startup).

The new rate does not apply to retention payments unrelated to share sales. (Efrat Neumann)

Digital storytelling platform Apester raises $17 million

Apester, a digital storytelling platform for publishers, said on Tuesday it raised $17 million in a financing round led by Blumberg Capital.

Mangrove Capital, former AOL executive Tal Simantov, Wix Cofounder Gigi Kaplan, Silverstein Properties President Tal Kerret and Wellborn Ventures also participated in the funding.

Apester is based in New York with its research and development in Israel. It said its platform is used by thousands of publishers, including Time, AOL, The Daily Telegraph, The Huffington Post, Fox, USA Today, BBC, Sky and Bild.

It noted that publishers working with its platform release hundreds of unique interactive content and video units per day, reaching an audience of hundreds of millions and recording more than a billion engagements to date across mobile devices and desktop computers. Publishers using the company’s technology report more than 90% completion rates, 25% increase in time spent on articles and 15% increase in content sharing. (Reuters)

Takipi secures $15 million from Lightspeed-led group

Takipi, whose technology is used by developers to quickly identify flaws in applications, said Tuesday it had raised $15 million in a financing round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners to invest in sales, marketing and research and development.

Existing investor Menlo Ventures joined the round, which brought Takipi’s fundraising since it was formed in 2012 to $22 million. It now has over 120 customers, including HP, TripAdvisor and Samsung.

Takipi was founded by CEO Tal Weiss, VP research and development Niv Steingarten; Chief DevOps Chen Harel and Chief Architect Dor Levi. Another founder, Iris Shoor, was VP Product before leaving the company.

In 2007, Weiss and Shoor founded VisualTao, which they sold to AutoDesk in 2009.

Takipi says its software turns application logs into real-time intelligence to solve critical production issues in minutes instead of days or weeks. (Eliran Rubin)