TechNation: Israeli Makes It Into Forbes’ Youngest and Richest List

Elbit passes NATO test for anti-missile systems for passenger jets; ColorChip raises $25 million for optical chips.

Bloomberg

Elbit passes NATO test for anti-missile systems for passenger jets

Elbit Systems said on Monday that a system it developed to protect civilian aircraft from shoulder-fired missiles passed a test conducted by NATO. The NATO test took place in last month in Germany on an Airbus C295 aircraft, said the defense electronics maker. “A successful NATO test may promote the installation of such systems among companies in member states of the organization,” it said. Called Music, the technology is fitted on aircraft to jam incoming heat-seeking missiles with a laser. Israeli airlines are already using the technology. Elbit said it already has contracts to supply more than 110 of the systems to more than 10 customers, for installation of its Directed Infrared Countermeasure systems on 20 different fixed and rotary-wing platform types. The advanced Passive Airborne Warning System, or Paws, family of missile-warning systems uses infrared technology to detect threats and is in use with more than 10 customers worldwide, Elbit said. (TheMarker Staff)

ColorChip raises $25 million for optical chips

ColorChip, a maker of optical components and sub-systems used for high-speed computer networking, has raised $25 million in funding led by the venture capital fund Israel Growth Partners with participation from Vintage Investment Partners and existing investors Gemini Israeli Funds and BRM Group. The money will be used to double production at the company’s Yokeneam facility over the next two years and develop new products. Founded in 2001 by Shimon Eckhouse and Prof. Shlomo Rushin of the Tel Aviv University School of Engineering, and based in Yokneam near Haifa, the company’s technology is used in up-and-coming applications like streaming high-definition video, virtual reality, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. The company slid into insolvency in 2009 but recovered and today employs 160 people in Israel, has tens of millions of dollars in annual sales and expects to become profitable soon. The latest round brings total fundraising since it was founded to $60 million. (Michael Rochvarger)

Polycom closing Israeli R&D center, firing all 200 employees

Polycom, the U.S. maker of video conferencing technology, on Monday reported it would be closing its Israel research and development center in Petah Tikva and laying off 200 employees, equal to 6% of the company’s payroll. In a meeting staff, Polycom said the move was part of a “business optimization” strategy that would relocate R&D to other parts of the world and outsource some of it. The firings will begin in January and continue to the end of the third quarter, Polygon said.  The company laid off 10% of its Israeli staff, or 25 people, last year and shuttered a second R&D center it had in Yokenam in 2008. The publicly traded company had a 9.5% drop in revenues in the third quarter to $178 million, leaving net profit down 20% at $13.6 million, but analyst are expecting it to recover to $20 million this quarter. (Shelly Appelberg).

Israeli makes it into Forbes’ youngest and richest list

Israeli Adam Neumann, the co-founder and CEO of WeWork, made it onto Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40. Ranked 16 in the rankings, Neumann’s net worth was estimated by the magazine at about $1.5 billion. “Raised on a kibbutz in Israel, the 36-year-old CEO of WeWork Adam Neumann has turned communal work spaces that rent for as low as $45 a month into a $10 billion business,” the magazine said. He launched  the company five years ago with Miguel McKelvyand and has since raised more than $900 million from investors like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Benchmark Capital. WeWork has business centers in 12 U.S. cities, London, Amsterdam and Israel. Thirty-four of the top 40 made their money in high-tech, in a list topped by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. (TheMarker Staff)