Tech Nation / App for Soccer Fans Recruits Celebrity Agent

Diamond retail site gets $26.4 million funding; BlueSnap, a U.S.-Israeli startup whose software is used by e-commerce sites, raises $50 million.

AP

Pini Zahavi, an internationally renowned soccer agent and confidant to the owner of England’s Chelsea club, Roman Abramovich, is teaming up with two Israeli tech companies to develop a branded keyboard app for sports clubs and their fans. The two companies, Apply and White Smoke, said Sunday they would each own 42.5% of the new venture, with the rest held by Zahavi. Called Kibo, the multi-language keyboard will be branded with team colors and function in different languages, enabling fans to give and receive scores and other news about their team. It will be launched is customized versions for Manchester City, Chelsea and Benfica Lisbon clubs. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Diamond retail site get NIS100m funding
Israel Growth Partners, a new private equity fund, is about to make its first investment in the diamond online retailer R2Net, investing 100 million shekels ($26.4 million) at a $100 million valuation. R2Net sells diamonds and jewelry on a branded site called JamesAllen.com. Headquartered in Herzliya and controlled by Oded Edelman, who founded the website builder Daronet, R2Net is one of the biggest online diamond retailers in the United States and among the biggest e-commerce companies in Israel, generating about $80 million in sales annually. Formed by Haim Shani, former CEO of Nice Systems, and Moshe Lichtman, former corporate vice president of Microsoft Israel, Israel Growth Partners has raised about $200 million. (Michael Rochvarger)

U.S.-Israeli startup BlueSnap raises $50m
BlueSnap, a U.S.-Israeli startup whose software is used by e-commerce sites for their international checkout functions, reported last week it had raised $50 million from a group of investors led by Great Hill Partners, Parthenon Capital Partners and its own CEO, Ralph Dangelmaier. BlueSnap, which Great Hill acquired three years ago for $115 million, will use the new funding to expand operations and pursue strategic acquisitions. Formed in 2001 by Tomer Herzog and Daniel Kleinberg, BlueSnap technology supports shoppers in 180 countries with localization in 29 languages, 60 currencies and 110 payment types. Among its Israeli customers are the websites MyHeritage and One Hour Translation. BlueSnap has over 110 employees in Boston, Chicago, London, Silicon Valley and Israel, where it conducts research and development led by Meir Gefen. (Inbal Orpaz)