Business in Brief

Jobless rate fell in first quarter to 6.5%

Israel’s unemployment rate fell again in the first quarter to 6.5% from 6.8% in the final three months of 2012, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. In March, the rate was also 6.5%, down 0.1 percentage point from February, it said. However, the percentage of the labor force − defined as people over age 15 working or actively seeking work − dropped to 63.5% in March from 64.12% in February. The labor force participation rate also fell in the first quarter, edging down 0.1 point to 63.7% from the fourth quarter of 2012, the bureau said. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Economic indicators declined in first quarter

Most of Israel’s major economic indicators fell during the first quarter, led by a 7.7% decline in annualized merchandise exports, extending a 14.2% drop the previous quarter, according to Central Bureau of Statistics figures released on Tuesday. The number of overnight stays at hotels by foreign tourists fell 21.6% on an annualized basis, with an 11.1% gain in domestic tourism picking up part of the slack. Other key indicators that dropped include merchandise imports and imports of raw materials, both of which were down more than 20% in annualized terms in the three months. Sales at retail chains edged down 0.7%. Service exports edged up 0.2%, slowing from a 0.6% gain the previous quarter, the bureau said. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Startup ClickTale raises $17 million in funding

The Israeli web analytics startup ClickTale said on Tuesday it has completed a second round of venture capital funding of $17 million. The round was led by the Europe’s Amadeus Capital Partners and joined by Goldrock Capital and Viola Credit, formerly Plenus, both based in Israel. Until now the company only raised $800,000 − mostly from Yoav Leitersdorf’s YL Ventures, which has been associated with ClickTale since 2007. Founded in 2006 by CEO Tal Schwartz and Arik Yevilevich, the company maintains a low media profile. It has over 120 employees in Ramat Gan. With an annual sales growth of 50%, it has over $10 million in revenues and has been profitable since 2009. ‏(Inbal Orpaz‏)

Four Israeli finalists in MIT tech competition

Four Israeli companies are among 10 finalists chosen in the MIT Sloan School of Management annual Innovation Showcase. Capriza is a developer of an organizational mobile applications generator. CloudLock, formerly called Aprigo, deals with securing data in the public cloud. IT Central Station developed a website for the ranking and recommending organizational computing software and equipment. Zerto is the developer of a DRP cloud-based system. ‏(Orr Hirschauge‏)