Investment in Israeli venture capital funds has fallen hard this year. Many companies that had managed to scrape together pre-seed and seed money found themselves stymied at the stage of first funding rounds, let alone second ones. This was especially true of hardware companies, which require heavy investment and where the risk for investors is higher.
In the world of venture capital, this trying period between seed money and the first and second financing rounds has been dubbed the Valley of Death. Yet despite the paucity of funding, in the second week of July, three Israeli companies managed to cross that valley alive, scoring more than $60 million together.
Quixey – a search engine that allows users to find applications on various platforms – said it scored $20 million in its second fundraising round. Its program works on smart phones, social networks, organizational software and vehicle consoles, which the company is currently developing. Last year, the company’s founders, Tom Kagan and Liron Shapira, raised $3.8 million and saw their staff grow from six to 30 people. The technology website TechCrunch compares Quixey to Chomp, another app search engine, which was acquired by Apple last February.
Kaminario, a Yokneam-based advanced data storage system developer, raised $25 million in a fourth financing round. Kaminario is similar to XtremIO, which was bought by EMC last month for $450 million in one of Israel’s larger exits. Israel is becoming quite the hotbed for innovation in data storage. Other prominent Israeli companies in the field include PetaScan and Densbits, which makes flash memory devices similar to Anobit – a company that was bought by Apple for $390 million in December 2011.
Israeli startup Gigya raised $15.3 million in a fifth financing round. Gigya makes websites social by letting their visitors log in from various social networks. The website users can then interact with each other and with content using their social identities. Gigya also provides plug-ins and buttons that lets users share information on social networks and allows them to design share buttons for communities created on websites that use the software. The company recently reported a billion unique users a month. At the same time, it announced that it was recruiting 20 new employees in Israel.
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