TechNation: Microsoft to Open R&D Center in Nazareth

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Microsoft's R&D center in Haifa.
Microsoft's R&D center in Haifa.Credit: Tomer Foltyn

Microsoft to open R&D center in Nazareth

Microsoft plans to open a research and develop center in the Arab city of Nazareth next month. Yoram Yaakobi, head of Israel R&D for the U.S. technology company, said the aim was to bring jobs closer to where Israeli Arabs live. “Twenty five percent of computer science students at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology are Arab, but they are less than 1% of all the people employed in the [tech] industry. These are people who studied computer science but return home to their villages,” he said. He said the aim was not just to hire Arab engineers but Arab women, too. The U.S. software giant, which has about 1,000 people in Israel at R&D centers in Herzilya and Haifa, will initially employ 30-50 people at its Nazareth center who will work on joint projects with other Israeli teams. Although far from the center of Israeli high-tech, Nazareth has attracted multinational tech companies like Amdocs, Broadcom and SanDisk as the tech industry taps Arab talent. (Inbal Orpaz)

Intel confirms it is buying Israel’s Replay Technologies 

Intel confirmed Wednesday it is buying the Israeli startup Replay Technologies, marking the fifth major merger-and-acquisitions deal for Israel in less than a month. Intel didn’t provide any financial details, but sources told TheMarker that it paid $174 million for Replay, which uses high-resolution cameras and computer-intensive graphics to let viewers see and experience sporting events from any angle. “We will scale this new category for sports entertainment that we call immersive sports, which is attracting the attention of leagues, venues, broadcasters and fans,” said Wendell Brooks, senior vice president at Intel and president of Intel Capital venture capital unit. “Immersive sports requires the high-performance computing Intel is known for, and it’s also data driven – fueling the continued build out of the cloud.” will convert Replay into a research and development center and hire new employees. Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Israel, Replay sells its services to broadcasters and sports leagues. (Inbal Orpaz and TheMarker Staff)

Verint laying off up to 100 Israeli employees

Verint, the U.S.-Israeli maker of software and hardware for security, surveillance and business intelligence, is readying to fire as many as 100 Israeli employers, TheMarker has learned. Between 50 and 100 staffers were called up this week for pre-dismissal hearings as required by Israeli law. The layoffs by Verint, which has about 5,000 employees worldwide, a fifth of them in Israel, comes after the company reported disappointing third-quarter earnings in December as net profit dropped to $7 million from $11 million a year earlier. CEO Dan Bodner told Reuters in December the company’s government business in emerging markets was weaning because slowing economies are pressuring state budgets while the enterprise segment was hurt by long lead times to contracts. Shares of Verint, which have fallen by 20% since its third-quarter results, were down 1.2% at $36.84 in early Nasdaq trading Wednesday. (Uri Tomer)

iAngels raises $14 million to expand crowdfunding platform overseas

iAngels, an Israeli crowdfunding platform that gives accredited investors exclusive access to early-stage startups as co-investors with leading angel investors and venture funds, said last week it had raised $14 million to expand overseas. The round was led by Australia’s Thorney Investment Group. iAngels said it would be adding services to provide institutional investors access to startup investments. Formed two years ago by Mor Assia and Shelly Hod Moyal, iAngels has linked investors with about 55 startups, 15 of them through a Silicon Valley accelerator NFX Guild, after conducting what it call data-driven due diligence. iAngel says its investors get the same terms as the angels and VCs. It fundraising comes as another Israeli crowdfunding platform, OurCrowd, raised $10 million last week from Singapore’s United Overseas Bank. (TheMarker Staff)