Tech Nation

Court orders sale of CallApp; Leumi plans marathon effort to develop banking apps; investor Kochavi sets up $120 million VC fund with an eye on fields including the Internet of things.

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Haaretz
Bank Leumi
Bank LeumiCredit: Bloomberg
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Haaretz

Court puts CallApp up for sale amid dispute between CEO and investors

A court on Tuesday ordered CallApp, a Tel Aviv startup whose app identifies incoming telephone callers and provides other call-related tools, put up for sale after its founder and chief executive, Oded Volovitz, and investors in the company traded accusations of wrongdoing. The Tel Aviv District Court also issued a 60-day stay of proceedings by creditors. CallApp had attracted $1.6 million in investments and until recently had a staff of six. At the center of the spat are Volovitz and Giza Venture Capital. Volovitz contends that investors in the company have scuttled proposals for its sale at a valuation of tens of millions of shekels, while the investors say no such offers were ever made. For his part, Volovitz said Giza and other investors were trying to take over the company themselves, while Eyal Niv of Giza said there were differences with Volovitz over the company’s management. But Niv expressed confidence in CallApp co-founder Amit On. (Inbal Orpaz)

Leumi to sponsor banking-app-development marathon

Bank Leumi will be holding a 36-hour marathon event in October for entrepreneurs, developers and programmers with the aim of developing applications for the banking industry. The organizers hope the event will generate banking apps tied to topics like an improved user experience, online payments, the use of social media, promotion of small and medium-sized businesses, gaming in non-game contexts and the Internet of Things, in which common daily items are linked to the Web. The winning app will be awarded 50,000 shekels ($14,200) and will receive business-consulting support. The event is one of a series of steps Leumi has taken to broaden its involvement in high tech. In preparing for the marathon, the bank’s Leumitech high-tech financial subsidiary has linked up with the U.S.-based software firm Salesforce and the international high-tech event planner BeMyApp. The marathon is set for the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on October 22 and 23. (Michael Rochvarger)

Mati Kochavi sets up $120 million venture-capital fund

Investor Mati Kochavi has set up a $120 million venture-capital fund. The fund will invest as much as $5 million in individual Israeli companies and will specialize in advanced-stage startups. The fund, Moonscape Ventures, said in a statement that it would concentrate on, among other fields, the Internet of Things, in which common items are linked to the Web; smart city technology; big data; new technology; and new media. The fund’s first investment, $1.3 million, is in video-content developer Social Studios. Kochavi’s business ventures include Zurich-based AGT International, which specializes in the Internet of Things, and Logic Industries, which provides information-technology solutions for critical infrastructure. (Amir Teig)

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