TechNation: Tel Aviv University Alumni Among World Leaders for Forming Unicorns

Wind-tech startup Pentalum put into receivership | Cellcom entering smart-city business in cooperation with AGT | Intensix raises $8.3 million for technology to monitor ICU patients

The business administration faculty at Tel Aviv University.
Alon Ron

Tel Aviv University alumni among world leaders for forming unicorns 

Tel Aviv University is No. 8 in the world for the number of unicorns – startup companies worth at least $1 billion – founded by its graduates, according to a survey by the cloud-accounting software firm Sage this week. Tel Aviv counted seven unicorn founders, putting it one place behind Oxford University’s eight and one ahead of Cornell and the University of Southern California, which had six each. The unicorns founded by Tel Aviv alumni include ForeScout, a computer security firm, and ironSource, which makes tools for app developers. Stanford University topped the list with 51 alumni responsible for founding startup firms worth more than $1 billion, followed by Harvard with 37. On overall unicorn rankings, Israel also performed well: The country is headquarters for only two companies, tying with Sweden and putting it ahead of France and Australia, according to Sage. The United States, China and India lead the way with 144, 47 and 10, respectively. (TheMarker Staff)

Wind-tech startup Pentalum put into receivership

Pentalum, which had developed a low-cost laser-based technology for the remote sensing of wind speed and direction, was put into receivership earlier this month after it failed to pay employees their January salary. Since it was formed in 2009 by Sagie Tsadka and Nathan Sela – two graduates of the army’s elite Talpiot program and serial entrepreneurs – Pentalum raised $18.9 million from venture capital funds including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Cedar, Bright Capital and GE Ventures, according to the TechCrunch database. The Rehovot-based company’s SpiDAR system is designed to help wind farms to better evaluate wind speed and direction and site their facilities in the most optimal way. Pentalum’s days may not be over: Tsadaka said he didn’t opposed the court order and employees said they were willing to contribute to help turn the company around. Asher Engelman, a PwC accountant named temporary receiver, is supposed to find a buyer while he manages the business’ day-to-day operations. (Efrat Neuman)

Cellcom entering smart-city business in cooperation with AGT

Cellcom Israel, the country’s biggest mobile operator, is getting into the smart cities business, Chairman Ami Erel told a press conference this week. The company has begun conducting trials in Safed, Kfar Sava and Nahariya together with AGT International, a Swiss company controlled by Israeli Mati Kochavi that employs Internet of Things, social media and traditional data in applications like parking management, waste removal, smart lighting and air-quality monitoring. “Over the last few years we’ve been transforming Cellcom from a cellular company to a communications group,” said Erel, “Today 30% of the company’s revenue doesn’t come from cellular – it comes from television, data and other activities. Now we’re focusing on the next stage.”  He said the company hoped to win at least two contracts by the end of the year and said cities could save at least 10% of their operating costs by using smart-city technology, allowing them to reduce local taxes and offer better services. (Amitai Ziv)

Intensix raises $8.3 million for technology to monitor ICU patients

Intensix, which is developing a device for the early detection of patient deterioration in hospital intensive care units, said on Wednesday it had raised $8.3 million from investors led by Pitango Venture Capital. It said the funds would be used to boost the company’s sales and marketing operations in North America and to expand and accelerate the development of its predictive analytics platform. Intensix uses predictive modeling and machine learning to provide accurate predictive clinical analytics to save lives, improve clinical outcomes and reduce the average length of hospital stays. “The explosion of patient data, via electronic health records, sensors and medical devices, provides physicians with an untapped wealth of new information,” said Ittai Harel, a Pitango partner who will be joining Intensix’s board. Based in Netanya, the company was founded by CEO Gal Salomon, who earlier founded and sold Discretix to Britain’s ARM for $75 million in 2015. (TheMarker Staff)