Slight Reversal in Israeli Brain Drain

Business in Brief: WireX raises $9.3 million; and online used car retailer Vroom raises $54 million.

The Bar-Ilan University campus in Ramat Gan.
Tomer Appelbaum

10 percent of Israelis with PhDs in science live abroad

Newly released government data reflect the extent of Israel’s brain drain problem, although they also show a slight reversal of the trend recently. Roughly one in 10 Israelis with a doctoral degree in the sciences was living abroad as of 2014, the data from the Central Bureau of Statistics show. Among Israelis with doctorates in math, nearly 22% were living outside of Israel, as were about 18% of those with doctoral degrees in computer sciences. Of nearly 545,000 recipients of academic degrees in Israel between 1984 and 2008, nearly 5% had been living abroad for at least three years. Graduates of the Weizmann Institute of Science were most likely to be living abroad while those with degrees from Bar-Ilan University were least likely to be residing overseas. (Lior Dattel)

Cyber security firm WireX raises $9.3 million

WireX Systems, a communications interception and network intelligence cyber startup, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $9.3 million, led by the Vertex Venture Capital of Savyon, which was joined by the Magma Venture Partners — the Israeli venture capital fund that led WireX’s first $2 million funding round — and Entrée Capital. The company, which has raised $11.3 million since it was founded in 2010, by a threesome with experience in military industries, includes the company’s CEO, Tomer Saban. WireX, which currently has a staff of 12 in Israel, said it would use the new funding to expand its Israeli development center and to establish an American headquarters by the end of the year in Silicon Valley. The company currently has eight openings. (Inbal Orpaz)

Vroom online used car retailer raises $54 million from investors

Vroom, a U.S.-based online used car retail website run by Israelis Elie Wurtman, the company’s chairman, and Allon Bloch, its CEO, announced this week that it has raised $54 million from a number of American investors including Catterton and General Catalyst Partners. The new funding brings the total capital raised by Vroon to $73 million, some of which came from retired American football star John Elway. Founded in 2013, Vroom, which has an Israeli development center in Nes Tziona, bills itself as the largest online car retailer in the United States, with $20 million in sales in May alone. The company stores and refurbishes cars at its Texas logistics center and delivers them directly to the buyers. Bloch is the former CEO of MySupermarket and former co-CEO of website design firm Wix. Wurtman is a serial entrepreneur and former general partner at Benchmark Capital. (Omri Zerachovitz)