Tech Roundup Your iPhone Has a Mind of Its Own

Simplee scores in second round, Lord Alliance invests in SimilarGroup and Babylon backs off from Nasdaq issue, for now.

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster

Simplee raises $10 million in second round: The Israeli startup Simplee, last week announced raising $10 million in second-round financing, increasing its intake to $18 million. Simplee, which was founded in 2010, will use the proceeds to expand its customer base, find new partners and continue product development. It also plans to expand its development center in Petah Tikva and enlarge its sales and marketing division. The company's raison d'etre is to help patients understand their medical bills. Users receive a clear explanation of the payments they are asked to make: treatment received, the amount the insurance company should cover and an explanation from the insurer about the amount of the patient’s co-pay. Simplee also offers the option of paying medical bills via mobile phone, and is considering adding a tool that will enable users to compare medical providers’ prices. It sells its system to medical service providers — hospitals and physicians.

Did your cat download that OS? No, though it can unlock your latest iPhone. Some owners of older-generation iPhones and iPads were dismayed last week to discover that their devices went and downloaded the new operating system Apple launched last week, iOS 7, without asking first, CNet reports. Leaving aside issues of control freakery, one problem is that the new system is a memory glutton, occupying a whole 1-3 gigabytes, and once it's inside, you can't get rid of it. "What the heck.. iOS 7 downloaded while I was sleeping. #crap #dontwantit," tweeted one irked user. Do note, CNet advises, that while the download seems to have a mind of its own, actual installation requires the user's permission. On the upside, the iOS7 comes with major new features, including a new and improved Siri.

SimilarGroup raises $3.5 million, bringing its take from backers to $7 million all told. Among its investors are serial entrepreneur Yossi Vardi, a forefather of Internet chat, and Lord David Alliance, a British businessman and Liberal Democrat politician of Jewish origin from Iran. SimilarGroup provides a "recommendation engine" service – helping surfers find relevant websites to what they need. The surfer types in a domain name; SimilarGroup then delivers a list of up to 20 related websites.

Gigya raises $25 million: Those financing rounds are lovely but then there's Gigya, an Israeli-U.S. startup that scored $25 million, bringing its venture backing to a whopping $70 million. It makes software to help companies access and manage customer data. Among its investors are Advance Publications, a media company whose assets include The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Gigya said the new capital would help it meet increased demand for products like Social Login and Registration-as-a-Service and will be used to expand U.S. and international sales and marketing teams. The company says its technology is currently used by more than 700 of the world’s largest businesses, including ABC, Pepsi, Verizon and the NFL, and reaches 1.5 billion unique mobile and desktop users per month.

Babylon cancels Nasdaq offering: The online translation company Babylon has canceled its long-anticipated flotation on Wall Street, to devote its energies to merging with IronSource. It might well float on the Street after the merger is done, though, which would make it a bigger and therefore potentially more attractive company to global investors. It isn't exactly a minnow, with a Tel Aviv market cap of NIS 1.4 billion, but that's not huge in Wall Street terms.

With reporting by Orr Hirschauge

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking in California on September 10, 2013. Credit: Reuters

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