TechNation / MassChallenge Accelerator to Open in Jerusalem Next Year

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A cybersecurity expert monitors telecommunications traffic at a network operations center in a Verizon facility in Ashburn, Virginia, July 15, 2014.
A cybersecurity expert monitors telecommunications traffic at a network operations center in a Verizon facility in Ashburn, Virginia, July 15, 2014.Credit: Reuters

MassChallenge Accelerator to open in Jerusalem next year

MassChallenge said yesterday it will expand its global startup accelerator network to Jerusalem next year. The program will focus on promising startups from throughout Israel and is meant to serve as an attractive entry point to Israel’s high-tech sector for entrepreneurs from all over the world. “Launching a new accelerator in Jerusalem that is connected with other global hubs dramatically expands the MassChallenge community,” said MassChallenge founder and CEO John Harthorne. MassChallenge accelerator competitions in Boston and London support scores of startups every year, with entrepreneurs getting mentors, office space, education and other resources over four months. Winners are awarded over $2 million in grants. Key sponsors of the expansion of MassChallenge Israel include the Jerusalem Development Authority, The Kraft Group, Bank Hapoalim, EMC and the Herzog, Fox & Ne’eman law firm.  (TheMarker Staff) 

Shlomo Kramer’s Cato Networks raises $20 million for cybersecurity

Cato Networks, the startup formed by Shlomo Kramer, one of Israel’s top cybersecurity entrepreneurs and investors, said on Tuesday it had secured $20 million from the U.S. venture capital funds US Venture Partners and Aspect Ventures. Cato, which had been bootstrapped by Kramer and his partner, Gur Shatz, was formed at the start of the year but had kept its activities in distributed, mobile and cloud-enabled network security under the radar. It said its network-security-as-a-service product is in pilot tests and will be launched commercially in the first half of 2016. The proceeds of the funding round will be used for marketing and to hire additional developers. The Tel Aviv-based startup has 20 employees. “Shlomo Kramer has already had a major impact on the shape of network security, and we see the potential for Cato Networks to represent the next major paradigm shift,” said Steve Krausz, general partner at USVP. (Inbal Orpaz)

Signals Group raises $15 million for business intelligence tech

Signals Group, an Israeli startup that helps companies develop new products by mining big data, said Monday it had raised $15 million in an investment round led by the U.S. venture capital fund Sequoia. Existing investor TPY Capital joined the round, proceeds from which will be used to expand to offers its product to new industry sectors like automobiles, finance and cosmetics.The companbt will be hiring as many as 40 new staffers in Israel in the next few months, it said.  Signals was founded six years ago by CEO Gil Sadeh and Chief Research Officer Kobi Gershoni, taking military intelligence methods they used in the Israel Defense Forces to study and correlate external data, connect “faint” signals and glean insights quickly andf apply them to business. “There is tremendous potential for strategic insights to be derived from external big data, yet most data science remains in the proverbial lab and is not made actionable for decision makers,” said Sadeh. (Inbal Orpaz)

Abramovich puts $10 million new VC fund 

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is deepening his presence in Israeli high-tech, with a commitment to put $10 million into an Israeli venture capital fund managed by AltaIR Capital. Abramovich, who is best known outside Russia as the owner of Britain’s Chelsea soccer team, will provide about a third of the new fund’s backing. AltaIR, which was formed 10 years ago, is led by the tech investor veteran and angel investor Igor Ryabenkiy. It manages about $60 million and has invested in about 80 startups, 13 of them in Israel. Abramovich has put money into a host of Israeli startups, including the smartphone battery developer StoreDot and the music startup Music Messenger. In June, he led a $21 million investment round in the startup AnyClip Media. (Inbal Orpaz)

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