Intel Israel Exports Up 10% to $4.25b in 2014

Tech briefs: Brenmiller to build innovative solar field; OurCrowd leads $19.5m funding round for online lender; Jerusalem offering prize for best city app.

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Intel Israel boosted its exports 10% last year to $4.25 billion, equal to 9% of the country’s total industrial exports, the company said this week. That brought the total value of exports by the U.S. chip maker’s Israeli operations over the 41 years since it first set up operations to $39 billion, Intel said. The company agreed last year to upgrade its Kiryat Gat fabrication plant at a cost of 20 billion shekels ($5.2 billion), 5% of which is funded with a government grant. Maxine Fassberg, Intel Israel’s CEO, said the investment would be among the biggest foreign invest projects ever for Israel. Intel is one of Israel’s largest employers, with 10,085 employees at the end of 2014. (Ora Coren)

Brenmiller to build innovative solar field
Israel’s Brenmiller Energy plans to build a 300 million shekel ($77.3 million) solar power field using an energy storage technology that generates electricity for about 20 hours a day. The 10-megawatt field, to be built on about 110 acres in the southern town of Dimona, will combine existing solar thermal technology with an underground system that stores heat for use at night. Brenmiller, which hopes to complete the field in early 2017 and then sell electricity through the grid, said it would use biomass to produce power during the four hours of the day that solar energy is insufficient. Founder and CEO Avi Brenmiller was a co-founder and CEO of Solel Solar, a producer of concentrated solar power fields, which was bought by Siemens in 2009 for $418 million. (Reuters)

OurCrowd leads $19.5m funding round for online lender
Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd announced that it led a $19.5 million funding round for Borro, a British-American online lender. OurCrowd investors put up $6 million, which the platform said made this the single largest equity crowdfunding round ever. Founded in 2009, Borro offers short-term loans online using luxury personal assets such as watches, jewelry, supercars and fine art as collateral. (TheMarker)

Jerusalem offering prize for best city app
The city of Jerusalem is offering 100,000 shekels ($25,900) in prizes for the best mobile app about the city. Winners will selected for 20,000 shekel prizes in five categories: transportation and infrastructure, tourism and entertainment, access to municipal services, parks and recreation, and volunteering. Winners will get help from the city in launching the app, and could qualify for aid of up to 500,000 shekels if they base a startup in Jerusalem. Applications must be filed by March 15. (Amir Ziv)