TechNation / NYC Accelerator for Israeli Startups Opens

Apple expanding its Israeli workforce; new fund to buy shares from start-up staff.

NY accelerator for Israeli startups opens

ICONYC labs, a new accelerator project that opened this week in New York City, is designed to provide support for young Israeli startups seeking to expand into the American market. There are already 250 Israeli startups with a presence in the Big Apple. In its first stage, the accelerator has the involvement of five of the 200 firms that applied to participate. Another five are expected to join by the end of the year. ICONYC labs was established out of the sense that most venture capital firms in New York invest in the earlier seed stage of startups’ development, while Israeli firms come to New York already into their first or second funding rounds. The accelerator is therefore designed to attract companies at an earlier stage. 

Apple expanding its Israeli workforce

Apple, which earlier this year inaugurated its development center in Herzliya, is expected to expand its workforce there by 150 to 250 employees. Apple currently employs about 700 people in Israel, most of whom are chip engineers. Just two years after its arrival in Israel, the company’s R&D center here is its largest beyond the confines of its Cupertino, California headquarters. Apple also opened a development center in the Matam high-tech park in Haifa, where it took on 100 employees who had been laid off by Texas Instruments. Apple’s initial foray into Israel came with its acquisition of the firm Anobit in December 2012 for $390 million, with offices in Herzliya and a workforce of 200. 

New fund to buy shares from startup staff

A new fund is targeting high-tech firm employees who own shares in their companies. The fund, Hi-Tech Employees Index, which is current seeking to raise 50 million shekels ($12.9 million) to fund the venture, is targeting senior staff at privately-held high-tech firms, and will enable the employees to exercise stock options prior to an exit and in turn make the stock available to investors. The fund is being established by PrivatEquity.biz, which created a platform for secondary market trading in shares, and will be headed by Yaron Jacobs, who joined PrivatEquity.biz as its chairman and is a former director general of the Government Companies Authority.