Ride-on-demand Startup Gett Raises $80 Million From VW, Others

TechNation | Tech wages climbed 2.2% last year to more than twice nationwide average ■ Zebra secure $30 million for AI-based x-ray technology ■ Israel to invest NIS 30 million a year to foster transportation tech

File photo: A Gett vehicle.
\ Eyal Toueg

Ride-on-demand startup Gett raises $80 million from VW, others

Gett, the Israeli ride-on-demand startup that competes with Uber and Lyft, said on Thursday it had secured $80 million in new funding and predicted it would become profitable on an operating basis in the first quarter of 2019. The capital came for existing investors Volkswagen Group, Access Industries, Baring Vistok and MCI Capital and valued Gett at $1.4 billion after the money. Gett is expected to become profitable – not counting research and development costs -- across all of its countries of operation by next year’s first quarter, “well ahead of the competition, said founder and CEO Dave Waiser. Operating in 120 cities worldwide, Gett said that half of its revenues come from London and New York.  In the latter, the company operates under the Juno name after acquiring its Israeli competitor for $200 million a year ago. “New York City is our fastest growing market, where 45,000 drivers -- more than 50% of the NYC driver base -- have already joined Juno,” Waiser said. Gett has raised more than $700 million in funding, including $300 million from VW in 2016. (Eliran Rubin)

Tech wages climbed 2.2% last year to more than twice nationwide average

Israelis employed in the high-tech industry earned an average monthly gross salary of 21,542 shekels ($6,050 at current exchange rates) last year, just over twice the average 10,109 nationwide, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Thursday. It was the first time the CBS  broke out high-tech wages from the broader economy. The average tech wage, which includes everyone employed in the industry, including secretaries and other non-tech workers, climbed 2.2% while the average wage nationwide grew 3.2%. However, over the last five years, tech wages have risen nearly 27% while overall wages have increased just 12.7%, according to CBS figures. The highest paid tech workers were in research and development, where the average monthly gross pay was 26,186, the CBS said. The tech industry employed 302,500 people, an increase of 4.3% from 2016. But as a share of Israel’s overall workforce, the industry remained stuck at 8.4%, about the same level as the past decade. (Avi Waksman)

Zebra secure $30 million for AI-based x-ray technology

Zebra Medical Vision, which is developing an automated artificial intelligence-based chest x-ray reader, said on Thursday it had raised $30 million in a round led by the Israeli healthcare fund aMoon backed by Check Point Software co-founder Marius Nacht. Others joining in the round were the U.S. healthcare company Johnson & Johnson Innovation; Aurum, a fund controlled by Amdocs cofounder Morris Kahn; and artificial intelligence experts Fei-Fei Li and Richard Socher. Chest x-rays are among the most common radiographs ordered, but also among the most difficult for radiologists to interpret.  Zebra says it product, whose AI capabilities were developed using nearly two million images to identify 40 different common clinical findings, will give physicians a critical tool in making diagnoses quickly and correctly. Zebra was founded in 2014 by CEO Elad Benjamin, Eyal Gura and Eyal Toledano and employs 40 people in Shafayim and New York. It has raised to date to $50 million. (Eliran Rubin)

Israel to invest NIS 30 million a year to foster transportation tech

Israel’s government said on Wednesday it would invest 30 million shekels ($8.4 million) a year on a pilot program aimed at improving transportation and developing the country’s high-tech industry. The program looks to promote companies that will impact the state of transportation in Israel and globally, the Israel Innovation Authority said in a statement. The authority is working together with the Transportation Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office on the initiative. The program is intended for Israeli tech companies in the field of transportation. They will receive financial support ranging between 20% and 50% for approved research and development expenses – with additional support of up to 75% of R&D expenses for projects that can demonstrate significant potential to streamline and improve transportation within Israel.Companies will repay their grants to the Israel Innovation Authority via royalties from sales only if an initiative has been commercialized. (Reuters)