Tech Briefs / Obama Awards Israeli an Innovation Medal

SanDisk co-founder Eli Harari, whose company pioneered the use of flash computer storage technology, won highest U.S. honor for technological achievement.

SanDisk co-founder Eli Harari, whose company pioneered the use of flash computer storage technology, has won this year’s National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest U.S. honor for technological achievement. “One month after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Eli Harari came to America from Israel to study the effects of radiation on electronics in space,” U.S. President Barack Obama said at the award ceremony last week. “The physics he learned as a PhD student at Princeton led him to co-found SanDisk, and, eventually, to the creation and commercialization of flash storage technology.” Harari founded SanDisk with Sanjay Mehrotra, who is today the company’s CEO. (Amitai Ziv)

EToro seeks money from Chinese, Russian firms
EToro is in advanced talks with Ping An, a giant Chinese financial services company, and Russia’s Sberbank to invest in the social-trading platform, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. The two would join a $15 million round eToro is trying to raise now, some of which would be used to expand its trading platforms in China and Russia through the two companies. Cyprus-based eToro, which allows users to watch the financial trading activity of other users, has so far raised about $31.5 million from investors that include Spark Capital and BRM Capital. A year ago, Ping An Ventures, the venture investment arm of Chinese financial conglomerate, launched a $100 million fund dedicated to investing in U.S.-Israel technology companies. (TheMarker Staff)

Kaiima sets up U.S. unit in St. Louis
Kaiima Bio-Agritech, an Israeli startup that has developed a way to improve crop productivity without using genetically modified organisms, is establishing its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis. Sharon Berberich, who has held several senior positions with Dow AgroSciences and agrochemical company Monsanto, will head the new unit. “We chose St. Louis as the base of our U.S. operations because of the region’s unique ecosystem that combines an entrepreneurial environment with strong plant science research and commercial activity,” she said. (TheMarker Staff)