Bank Hapoalim, Microsoft Team Up to Employ Blockchain for Bank Guarantees

TechNation | Elastifile raises $16 million for cloud-computing storage tech ■ Axonius raises $4 million just three months after its founding ■ StageOne raises $110 million for its third and largest fund

A Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim, June 13, 2016.
David Bachar

Elastifile raises $16 million for cloud-computing storage tech

Elastifile, an Israeli-U.S. startup developing a distributed file system for hybrid clouds, said on Wednesday it secured $16 million in new funding. Western Digital Capital led the round along with new investor CE Ventures and a group of existing investors that included Lightspeed Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital and Cisco Investments. The new capital infusion brings the total raised by Elastifile since it was formed in 2014 to over $65 million, the company said. The company was founded by CEO Amir Aharoni together with Chief Technology Officer Shahar Frank and Roni Luxenburg, vice president for research and development. Elastifile has nearly 100 employees in the U.S., Israel and Europe and counts over 40 customers. “Elastifile has developed a cloud-scale distributed file system designed to free data locked inside storage silos so all users and workflows can access it instantly from anywhere,” said Mark Long, president of Western Digital Capital. (TheMarker Staff)

Bank Hapoalim, Microsoft team up to employ blockchain for bank guarantees

Bank Hapoalim and Microsoft said on Wednesday they were cooperating to employ blockchain technology to offer digitalized bank guarantees. The two sides said the project would enable Hapoalim clients to avoid visits to their bank branch to arrange bank guarantees by digitizing the entire process, including getting the signatures of the guarantors and the notary. That is possible because blockchain – the technology behind the virtual currency bitcoin – is a shared, encrypted database that allows users to securely record details of transactions or contracts in several places at once. Using the platform for bank guarantees would be a first in Israel banking and presages further deployments of other applications. “We’re talking about a revolution in connection with everything involving the management of money and assets,” said Hapoalim CEO Arik Pinto. “Blockchain is expected to play a central role in the smart economy over the next decades.” The project is scheduled to launch next year after trials. (Eliran Rubin) 

Axonius raises $4 million just three months after its founding

Just three months after it was formed by three veterans of the Israel Defense Forces 8200 intelligence unit, the Israeli startup Axonius said on Wednesday it had raised $4 million in seed funding for tools that secure and manage internet-connected devices. The backing came from Silicon Valley-based YL Ventures, with participation from the Israeli Vertex Ventures and Emerge funds. Information technology security and operations teams now rely on device-specific, stand-alone tools using manual processes and custom scripting to tie them together. But with the growth of web-linked devices growing – to more than 10 billion by 2020, according to the market research firm 451 Research – businesses need that kind of standardized interface that Axonius provides. Its platform eliminates blind spots on the network and provides a single place to understand, manage and control the security of end user, computer and internet of things devices. The Tel Aviv-based startup’s platform will go into commercial use early next year. (Eliran Rubin)

StageOne raises $110 million for its third and largest fund

StageOne Ventures said on Tuesday it raised $110 million for its newest and biggest fund, $10 million more than it had planned. The Israeli fund manager, which invests in information-technology and infrastructure-technology startups at their initial phases, said it raised most of the money from U.S. and Israeli institutional investors. Formed in 2001 by Yuval Cohen, who had previous been with the Israel Infinity Fund, StageOne raised $47 million for its first fund. In 2014 Tal Slobodkin joined as a general partner and StageOne raised $65 million for its second fund. Cohen said the new fund is the right size of StageOne’s strategy. “We want to generate a good return to the investors and that amount enables us to invest in no small number of startups and at the same time have enough capital for follow-on investments,” he said. In the last three years, it has stepped up the pace of investments to about one every quarter, added Slobodkin. (Eliran Rubin)