Business in Brief

Start-ups Taboola, Pentalum raise combined $20.5m

Taboola, a content-distribution and monetization platform company with offices in New York and Tel Aviv, said on Tuesday it had raised $15 million from investors led by Pitango Venture Capital and joined by existing investors Evergreen Venture Partners, WGI Group and Marker. The round comes just six months after the company raised $10 million in a round led by Marker. Taboola’s EngageRank quantifies how users interact with content in real-time to accurately predict and recommend content of interest to them. Meanwhile, Rehovot-based Pentalum Technologies said it raised $5.5 million. Venture capital firm Bright Capital led the round and was joined by the company’s existing backers Cedar Fund, Evergreen Venture Partners, ABB of Switzerland and U.S.-based DFJ. Pentalum develops laser-based systems to measure wind direction and speed for the wind energy industry. ‏(Orr Hirschauge‏)

Zim workers start sanctions following deadlock in talks

Workers at Zim Integrated Shipping Services began instituting sanctions on Tuesday following a deadlock in talks with company management, and after the mandatory two-week freeze on sanctions following the workers’ committee declaration of a labor dispute had elapsed. The workers started by crippling activity at company headquarters in Haifa and now threaten to widen their sanctions on a daily basis. The Histadrut labor federation outlined three grievances: transfer of the Pacific line management to Hong Kong, the outsourcing and transfer of the company’s computer operations to Germany, and the hiring of new staff without internal tenders. Management responded that the company has been massively cutting back expenses since 2010 and its workforce in Israel has played a just minor role in these efforts. ‏(Haim Bior‏)

Daka 90 gains foothold in extreme tourism by partnering with Medraft

Daka 90, the online travel agency, has bought 50% of Eran Borochov’s Medraft Tours, which specialized in nature, adventure and extreme tourism aroundthe world. Medraft is also active in incoming tourism to Israel and provides ground services like hotels, shuttle services and tours for tour operators from Russia and the Ukraine. Shahar Turgeman, CEO of Daka 90 ‏(Hebrew for “last minute”‏) Group, said the Medraft operations are expected to boost the group’s turnover by about NIS 80 million to about NIS 500 million overall this year. (Rina Rozenberg‏)

Better Place laying off 30 more employees

An additional 30 employees of Better Place are due to get dismissal notices as the struggling electric-vehicle refueling company makes another effort at cutting costs. The latest round of firings amounts to 10% of the company’s remaining workforce, is the first since Dan Cohen took over as CEO a month ago. His predecessor, Evan Thornley, axed 600 of the company’s 1,000 employees. The next round of layoffs focuses on employees involved in global strategy and engineering rather than in the company’s two key markets, Israel and Denmark. ‏ (Daniel Schmil‏)