Tech Nation: Tech Pioneer Dov Moran Starts $100m VC Fund

Mayo Clinic looks for Israeli collaborators; Video chat firm ooVoo closing Israeli office.

Ofer Vaknin

Tech pioneer Dov Moran starts $100m VC fund

One of Israel’s most successful high-tech pioneers has cofounded a $100-million venture capital fund to invest in Israeli startups in the field of cloud computing, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Dov Moran, whose M-Systems company invented the USB stick and expanded the use of flash memory that drives most electronic devices today, is the managing partner of Grove Ventures, which announced an initial closing of $30 million last Thursday. The fund said it is backed by a global investor base from Japan, China, Taiwan, Europe, Israel and the United States, including strategic entities and financial investors. “Our experience enables us to support entrepreneurs and early stage startups during their inception period and guide them through their growth to become global market leaders,” said Moran. M-Systems was acquired by SanDisk for $1.6 billion. (Reuters)

Mayo Clinic looks for Israeli collaborators

Mayo Clinic is launching a program to collaborate with Israeli startups, with the goal of bringing Israeli health care technology to the United States. Mayo Clinic Israeli Startups will be managed by Mayo Clinic Ventures, the American health care nonprofit’s commercialization office. Mayo Clinic stated that it seeks to encourage collaboration between Israeli health care startups and its own innovators. The project is set to be announced at the Israeli Advanced Technology Biomed 2016 conference, which starts in Tel Aviv today. Dr. Amir Lerman is the project’s medical director and a cardiologist for the Mayo Clinic. Funding comes from Paul and Elisabeth Merage of the Merage Institute. (TheMarker)

Video chat firm ooVoo closing Israeli office

Much-touted video conference company ooVoo says it’s shuttering its operations in Israel and laying off its 70 workers. Founded in 2007, ooVoo had been hailed as a competitor to VOIP powerhouse Skype, and in 2012 Business Insider predicted that it would reach a billion-dollar valuation. The Israeli startup will continue operations only at its U.S. offices. The company has some 150 million customers worldwide, based on the number of times its application has been downloaded. “It’s breaking my heart, but the writing was on the wall,” said ooVoo founder Eran Kariti. “We went through many CEOs and apparently the company was not managed properly,” he said. (Eliran Rubin)

State of Mind Ventures raises $75 million

Venture capital fund State of Mind Ventures has met its top goal and raised $75 million, it announced. The fund was launched in 2015 by former Israeli signal intelligence (8200) commander Pinhas Buchris, and former Sequoia fund partner Yuval Baharav. The fund also stated that it is done accepting new investors. Half of its investors are Israeli institutional investors and other investment bodies. The other half includes private U.S. and European funds, including venture capital funds, and individual Israeli investors. “The fact that a large portion of the fund is local institutional investors contributes to a feeling of responsibility. That is a very healthy base for the fund’s management,” stated Baharav. State of Mind Ventures intends to invest in late-stage startups in the fields of technology infrastructure, cyber, communications and space. (Eliran Rubin)

OrbiMed launches new biomed fund in Israel

OrbiMed is launching its second Israel-focused venture capital fund with investments totaling $307 million, it stated yesterday. OrbiMed, which has now completed fundraising for that fund, intends to invest the money in Israeli biomed companies in all stages of development, much like its first Israel-focused fund, OrbiMed Israel Partners 1. The new fund’s investors include life science companies from around the world, U.S. institutional investors and individual investors. As opposed to the first fund, this second fund did not receive government money. OrbiMed Israel 1 and 2 focus on health care equipment, diagnostic developments and health care IT. (Eliran Rubin)