Tech Briefs / Broadband Costs More in U.S. Than It Does in Israel, but Less in Europe

Social marketing app Wannabiz raises $2.2 million; Chinese VC fund will target Israeli startups.

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Prices for broadband Internet in Israel are lower than in the United States — and even lower than in Berlin, home to cheap chocolate pudding – but are higher than in most other European cities. A New American Foundation report called “The Cost of Connectivity” said Israelis pay an average of $40 a month for 25 megabits, after adjusting for purchasing power. That compared with $41.80 in Berlin and prices ranging from $52.20 in Washington, D.C., to $58.10 in San Francisco. But Londoners pay just $23.70 a month, Parisians $31 and Tokyo residents $34.50. The reason, said the report, is the absence of competition in high-cost markets. Most U.S. households have access to just a single broadband provider, and in Israel there are just two competitors. Israel has been working for the last six years to set up a wholesale market for Internet. (Amitai Ziv)

Wannabiz raises $2.2 million
Wannabiz, which has developed a social marketing application for small businesses, said it has raised $2.2 million and released an Android version of its product. Led by Firstime Ventures and TheTime, as well as private investors Ilan Shiloah and Zohar Gilon, the money will be used to further develop the Android version and extend the user base in the United States and other markets, said CEO and cofounder Tamar Shor. The mobile app was released in a beta iOS version last year called Sociopal, and the company says it has acquired about 10,000 regular users. It enables independent professionals to create and deliver content integrated across Facebook, Twitter, websites and blogs, as well as intelligent online advertising. Wannabiz was cofounded in 2012 by Yoav Reich, who is now chief operating officer, and Avi Kapuya, chief technology officer, along with Shor. (TheMarker Staff)

Chinese VC fund will target Israeli startups
Qihoo 360 Technology Company, a cybersecurity provider based in China, is forming a $60 million venture capital fund to invest in the Internet of things, The Wall Street Journal reports. In a presentation shown last week by Qihoo executives during a visit in Israel, the 360 Capital-IoT Fund will invest in China, the United States and Israel, the newspaper said. Qihoo, which develops and distributes free software for personal computing and mobile security, has a $9 billion market capitalization. In the past year, Qihoo has invested in Israeli venture funds Carmel Ventures and Jerusalem Venture Partners and led an investment round in the image recognition startup Cortica. The Journal said Qihoo had made at least two more unannounced investments in Israeli startups: in the gesture control company Extreme Reality and video chatting app Glide. (TheMarker Staff)