Startup Cofounded by Ehud Barak Raises $12.5 Million for Cybersecurity

TechNation | Mantis Vision secures $55 million for 3D-camera technology ■ Alibaba executives in Israel to examine food-tech innovations ■ Gett weighing sale of Juno and exit from U.S. market

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, 2017.
Ofer Vaknin

Mantis Vision secures $55 million for 3D-camera technology

Mantis Vision, an Israeli startup that provides 3D content capture and sharing technologies, said Monday it has secured $55 million in new funding from investors led by China’s Luenmei Quantum. Samsung Catalyst Fund, a unit of the Korean electronics giant and an existing investor, joined the round. In addition, Mantis Vision said it had formed a joint venture with Luenmei called Mantis Vision Technologies to address the Chinese market via offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Proceeds will be used to double Mantis Vision’s workforce in Israel, the U.S., China and Slovakia to 280 by the end of 2020. Founded in 2005 and based in Petah Tikva, Mantis Vision develops technology used to create 3D cameras for smartphones, industrial/professional grade 3D camera/scanners and as the basis for a live 3D studio. It recently announced a partnership with Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi to put Mantis Vision’s 3D technology in its new premium flagship smartphone, the Mi8. (Eliran Rubin)

Startup cofounded by Ehud Barak raises $12.5 million for cybersecurity

Toka, a startup backed by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, said Monday it had raised $12.5 million just months after it was formed to provide cyberdefense to governments. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, the A-list Silicon Valley venture capital fund that has until now invested little in Israel, joined by Israel’s Entrée Capital; Dell Computers’ VC unit; Launch Capital; and Ray Rothrock, CEO of cyber analytics firm RedSeal.  “Our Cyber Designer Team will help nations develop the strategic capabilities, an operational approach, and an ecosystem of software products tailored for them,” said Toka co-founder and President Yaron Rosen, a former chief of the Israel Defense Forces cybersecurity staff. “And if there isn’t a product on the market that meets our client’s needs, we will build it with our R&D team.” Toka’s founders also include Alon Kantor, a former vice president of business development for Check Point and Kfir Waldman, former CEO of cybersecurity and mobile companies Kayhut and Go Arc. (Eliran Rubin)

Alibaba executives in Israel to examine food-tech innovations

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is exploring a foray into food and agriculture, and for that purpose a delegation has been in Israel for the past week meeting with scientists at the Volcani Institute, the Hebrew University agriculture facility in Revohot and Agriculture Minster Uri Ariel. This week the delegation is spending two days in the Galilee to visit local startups, the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and the Tel Hai Academic College and sample innovative products like coffee served in a cup-shaped cookie and a “mojito ball” ice pop. The visit is part of a drive by the government, together with Erel Margalit, the head of the JVP venture capital fund, and local authorities to turn the Galilee into a global food-tech center. Among the startups the group visited was Saturas, whose technology uses sensors embedded in trees, vines and other plants to helps growers fine-tune their water needs.  (Ora Coren)

Gett weighing sale of Juno and exit from U.S. market

Just a year after spending $200 million to enter the U.S. market, the U.S.-Israeli taxi-hailing company Gett is thinking about bailing out, Bloomberg News reported this week. It said Gett was weighing the sale of Juno, a New York-based, Israeli-founded startup it acquired in April 2017 for $200 million that now constitutes most of Gett’s American operation. Sources told Bloomberg that Gett was concerned about rising costs at Juno after its raised only a fraction of the $500 million it had aimed for in a fundraising round last month. Gett had plans to expand into other U.S. cites, but a year after the acquisition of Juno it remains confined to New York, where it competes with Uber, Lyft and Via. An unidentified sources told Bloomberg that said Juno made a profit in the first quarter and that Gett aims to be profitable in the first quarter of 2019. A Gett spokesman declined to comment to Bloomberg. (TheMarker)