Tech Roundup It's Raining Next Door at the Levys, and the Boys at Baloota Make Hit List

Israelis make list of most-popular Android apps, Boxee sells for loss, investment fund to promote local teamwork, Teva pays out of pocket, biomed startup helps hearts skip a beat and lawyers make exit of their own.

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster

Israelis on the 50 Most Popular Android list: Last Tuesday, Time magazine published its periodic list of the most popular Android apps and yet again, there are Israelis on the list. They are:

- Nooly Micro Weather – A "most localized" weather app developed by Yaron Reich, Daniel Rosenfeld and John Mecikalski for iOS and Android platforms. Forget "There is a probability of precipitation over the east coast": Nooly provides weather forecasts at the level of the square kilometer, based on information from local weather stations, satellites and more. No more wondering whether to bring umbrellas to that barbecue next door!

- Any.Do, the second coming of Taskos: Yeah, you can still upload Taskos, but meanwhile, there's Any.Do, the upgrade that enables intuitive task management, lets you record, share tasks, get updates when somebody else completes a task, synchronize with the Google Cloud and so much more. It can even synch with Gmail now.

- Onavo Extend, which will not only compress your data but warn you against "data hogging" apps.

- Dumpster, developed by a bunch of Israelis at a company named Baloota Applications. This is not the Haaretz Word of the Day column, but the word "baloota" warrants some dwelling on. Dear reader, this means "gland," as in pituitary gland, mammary gland and the like. Without the "a" on the end, the word – "baloot" –would mean "acorn," but it has an "a" on the end. It means gland. It also means "the bump you get when somebody hits you over the head." Why the boys at Baloota named their company after fibrous tissue is anybody's guess, but Roundup can tell you that they helpfully created an app for trash. No, not coffee grinds. It's like the Recycle Bin in Windows or Mac's Trash bin. This app runs below the surface – much like your glands do! Aha! –and collects all the stuff you deleted from your Android phone. If you discover you did so by accident, there it is! Sound weird? Friends, after just 10 months in the Play Store, it's approaching half a million uploads. The boys at Baloota touched a nerve.

Deal in the Boxee: While it seems to be true that the Korean giant Samsung agreed to buy Boxee for a handsome sum, it fell short of the $30 million invested in the Israeli start-up. VentureBeat reports that Boxee tried, tried and failed to raise fresh money despite the high hopes initially placed in its video-streaming technology. But the company changed model away from streaming to cloud-storage: the Boxee TV/Cloud DVR storage service (for recording live programming from HD broadcast signals or cable TV). Uncharmed, consumers did not flock and neither did dollars, apparently.

Aleph fund raises alpha capital: The Aleph "networking" venture capital fund, run by Michael Eisenberg of Benchmark fame and Eden Shochat of the Genesis group, closed pledges totaling $140 million. Aleph will be focusing on Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build global companies, not scurry for the exit, the two explain. Aleph will not only be investing in technologies, they say: It aims to help build a network in which the members help each other to achieve tech greatness, whether through sharing ideas or advice. That should work. Everybody loves advice.

Teva delivered bitter pill: Its insurer has refused to cover Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' $1.6 billion settlement with Pfizer over selling the generic heartburn drug Protonix before its U.S. patent expired. The Indian pharma Sun, which had also been hawking the anti-acid drug, was also part of the settlement. Teva never thought its insurer should cover the whole enchilada, but does opine that it should get back over half a billion dollars. It seems that Illinois Union Insurance feels otherwise, according to SeekingAlpha, on the grounds that the Israeli generics giant hadn't followed proper procedures in reporting the case. Teva presumably has what to say about that and it isn't "Take two of these patent-protected pills and call me in the morning." Stay tuned.

V-Wave raises money for clinical trials: Israeli biomed startup V-Wave, which is developing technology for heart patients, has closed a $2 million funding round from new investors and existing ones. The three-year-old firm based in Hod Hasharon means to use the money for its first clinical trials of its flagship product, a valve to regulate blood pressure in the hearts of patients suffering from congestive heart failure. The idea is to give the heart muscles a break.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the multiverse: While young starry-eyed techno-geeks dream of creating the ultimate start-up and haring for the exit with millions in sleek black James Bonds, maybe they took a wrong turn somewhere. Lawyers Hagai Ullman and Amit Lederman were slapped down this week by the very court that had appointed them receivers to the ill-starred company Aura Investments. They had asked for fees of NIS 20 million for a few months' work. Noting that even the lower sum might be considered a hair excessive, Judge Varda Alshech of the Tel Aviv District Court awarded them NIS 5.4 million, and they may get NIS 750,000 more, together, from stock options. Alshech noted that the sum she'd ruled the two lawyers was based on existing law and exhorted the legislators to think about that.

Israeli start-up Nooly knows not all weather is macro.Credit: Reuters

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