Tech Briefs: Histadrut Forms Union to Represent High-tech Workers

Quiz startup co-founded by Olmert's son raises $3 million; Nucleix raises $5 million from New York's OrbiMed.

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High-tech workers in Israel.
High-tech workers in Israel. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Histadrut forms union to represent high-tech workers
The Histadrut labor federation has set up a new division that will represent workers in the cellular, Intenret and high-tech industries, an area that has traditionally seen little or no union activity. The new union, led by Yaki Halutzi, a veteran Histadrut organizer, will take under its wing workers who have already organized at the cellphone companies Pelephone, Cell Israel, Hot Mobile and Partner as well as at Bezeq International and Ness Technologies. Two more workers groups are expected to join shortly, which will bring the new union’s membership to about 17,000, the Histadrut said. “This a natural development signifying the changes that have begun in the labor relations map,” Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn told a gathering Monday to mark the new union’s launch. (Haim Bior)

Silentium raises $10 million for quiet technology
Silentium, a developer of technology for reducing noise from home appliances and other devices, has raised $10 million in equity capital in a funding round led by a Russian investment bank, TheMarker has learned. CEO Yossi Barath, who co-founded the company in 1997 with Nehemia Amir, confirmed the investment but declined to identify the investors. Silentium had raised $15 million, including from Israeli cleantech fund Terra Ventures, before the latest round. Based in Rehovot, the company employs 25 people and is believed to have sales in the single millions of dollars annually. Sources said the latest investment round valued the company in the tens of millions of dollars. Silentium’s chips and controllers reduce by as much as 90% the sound of humming and whirring in everything from corporate computer servers to home air conditioners and automobiles. (Inbal Orpaz)

Nucleix raises $5 million from New York’s OrbiMed
Nucleix, a start-up developing a test for the non-invasive detection of bladder cancer, said Monday it has raised more than $5 million, the first time it has raised capital from a venture capital fund since its founding in 2008. More than $4 million of the total came from New York-based health care investment firm OrbiMed, and the rest from a follow-on investment by Israeli tech entrepreneur and investor Zohar Zisapel, Nucleix said. The capital will enable the company to complete clinical trials and pursue U.S. and European regulatory approval for its Bladder EpiCheck, a urine test with high sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis and monitoring of bladder cancer. Nucleix also plans to use the proceeds to develop diagnostic tests for other kinds of cancer and to expand its workforce. “The unique approach to performing biochemical tests developed by Nucleix can potentially be applied to the diagnosis of other kinds of cancer,” said Erez Chimovits, the managing director of OrbiMed’s Israel arm. (TheMarker Staff)

Startup co-founded by Olmert’s son raises $3 million
PlayBuzz, a new startup co-founded by former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s son Shaul, said Monday it has raised $3 million from a group of investors led by venture capital firm Carmel Ventures, an affiliate of Viola Group. Founded by Olmert, Yaron Buznach and Tom Pachys in 2012, PlayBuzz’s platform is used by Web publishers, bloggers and companies to create quizzes, polls, lists and other tools that can be embedded on any website or mobile app. Six months after its launch, the PlayBuzz website claims more than 40 million unique users a month and is ranked among the top 50 sites in U.S. traffic, according to digital advertising company Quantcast. “PlayBuzz provides an outstanding experience to publishers and brands, allowing them to leverage user-generated content or create original content and embed it on their products to increase engagement, viral distribution and monetization,” said Daniel Cohen, a general partner at Carmel. (Inbal Orpaz)