TechNation: Bizzabo Secures $15 Million for Events-management Platform

Ecoppia raises $13 million for robots that clean photovoltaic solar panels ■ Big Shopping Centers shuts ecommerce site ■ Upstream nabs $9 million for vehicle cybersecurity

Bizzabo staff.

Bizzabo secures $15 million for events-management platform

Bizzabo, an online platform for marketing and managing events, said Wednesday it raised $15 million from investors led by Pilot Growth Equity, with participation from European Maor and existing investors. The investment brings Bizzabo’s total funding to $30 million, following an $8 million round just eight months ago. The company declined to provide a valuation for the latest deal but it claims annual revenue in the millions of dollars after growing over 200% last year. Bizzabo’s platform automates tasks like emailing, social media and web marketing, manages contacts and analyzes data to help organizers increase registrations and improve the user experience. Organizations that have used Bizzabo for events include WeWork, the Bank of Ireland and Teach for America. Bizzabo said proceeds from the latest round would be used to expand its workforce at its Tel Aviv and New York offices, which have around 60 employees. (Ruti Levy)

Ecoppia raises $13 million for robots that clean photovoltaic solar panels

Ecoppia, which makes robots for cleaning photovoltaic solar panels, said Tuesday it completed a $13 million funding round. Existing investors Swarth Group, GlenRock and Gandyr were joined by the Israeli insurance group Harel. Solar farms are often located in arid, dusty locations, and dust-covered panels can dramatically reduce solar-energy output. Ecoppia says that using a patented water-free process, its robots can remove 99% of accumulated dust, adding that they exploit cloud computing, advanced data analysis and machine learning to automatically create their own cleaning schedules. The robots have been used in cleaning over 200 million solar panels in India and the Middle East. “They’ve successfully identified a critical need in the solar industry and created a reliable and cost-effective solution that contributes to lowering [energy costs] worldwide,” Harel said in a statement. Based in Herzilya, Ecoppia was founded in 2013 by Moshe and Eran Meller, the inventor of the technology and the company’s CEO, respectively. (TheMarker)

Big Shopping Centers shuts ecommerce site

Big Shopping Centers said Wednesday it was abandoning its online shopping site Big Plus after investing 10 million shekels ($2.8 million), saying it could not compete with foreign sites, where purchases are exempt from customs and value-added tax and. Israelis may buy up to $75 worth of products abroad without paying these fees. “Discrimination against Israeli sites versus international sites is the main reason we are suspending operations,” said Hay Galis, deputy CEO of the mall owner and operator. “We also realized that if we’re going to make money online we would be competing with our mall tenants.” But Big isn’t giving up. “We’re working on developing another structure that can overcome the distortions created by the VAT and customs authorities,” Galis said. Big will continue to operate its “Click and Carry” centers that let online shoppers pick up their orders at a Big mall, try them and return items if they’re not satisfied. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

Upstream nabs $9 million for vehicle cybersecurity 

Upstream Security, whose cloud-based cybersecurity platform protects connected cars and autonomous vehicles from hacking attacks, said Wednesday it had secured $9 million in new funding from investors led by Charles River Ventures. The round included follow-on investment from Israeli-based Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility. Following a $2 million seed funding round in June, the company will use the latest proceeds to expand research and development and open marketing and sales offices in the United States and Europe. The market research firm Gartner predicts the number of internet-connected vehicles to grow to 250 million by 2020, from 60 million today, which means the number and sophiscation of hacking attacks on them are likely to increase drastically. Upstream offers operators of fleets owned or leased by a business or government agency services including data protection, anomaly detection and real-time analytics of cyber attacks and vehicle fleet health. The startup was formed this year by CEO Yoav Levy and Chief Technology Officer Yonatan Appel. (TheMarker)