TechNation: Hot Mobile Offers Three-year Price Freeze on Some Service Plans

Waze exec lowers expectations of carpooling feature | Israeli startup Hibob to collaborate with British insurance giant Aviva | U.S.-Israeli firm Zimperium raises $15 million from SoftBank of Japan

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A HOT Mobile service center in Tel Aviv.
A HOT Mobile service center in Tel Aviv.Credit: Reuven Schneider

Hot Mobile offers three-year price freeze on some service plans

Hot Mobile announced on Monday that it will be offering customers a three-year price guarantee on three cellular service plans even though customers have no obligation under Israeli consumer law to remain on the plans for the entire duration. One Hot package offers a guaranteed 39 shekel ($10.60) monthly charge for a calling plan that includes 7GB of data. International calls are extra. A second plan for 49 shekels offers 12 GB of data and 500 minutes of international calling to select destinations, while the third, for 65 shekels a month, provides 100 GB of data and 1,000 monthly minutes of international calls. The promotion will continue throughout the month of March. Hot Mobile’s move is an effort to increase its market share. Most of the company’s competitors offer promotional pricing that is guaranteed for the first year, after which the price can jump substantially. Golan Telecom and the smaller Telzar firm are currently offering two-year plans. (Amitai Ziv)

Waze exec lowers expectations of carpooling feature 

Noam Bardin, the CEO and one of the founders of Waze, the Israeli-developed GPS and traffic navigation app, is lowering expectations regarding the success of the app’s carpooling feature that has been offered over past year to commuters in Israel and California. Bardin, whose company was sold to Google, is now also a vice president of Google. He dampened the outlook for the carpooling feature in comments last week in which he said people will need to leave their comfort zone a little if carpooling is to take off, but added that it would alleviate traffic jams if just a small portion of motorists opted for ridesharing. The Waze app is based on a crowdsourcing model. The carpooling feature matches users with similar commuting routes to ride together, and the driver has the option of requiring the passengers to chip in for travel expenses. If the service takes off, Waze is planning to charge a 15% commission for the fees that the driver earns. The Moovit app also offers a carpooling app. (Oren Dori)

Israeli startup Hibob to collaborate with British insurance giant Aviva

Hibob, an Israeli startup that develops digital systems for use in human resources and employee pension management, has signed a cooperation agreement with the major British insurance firm Aviva through which Hibob will provide assistance to small and medium-sized businesses on how to make use of Aviva’s pension insurance programs. Hibob, which offers personnel management products for companies with up to 300 employees, was founded in 2015 by four entrepreneurs including its CEO, Ronni Zehavi, who previously established Cotendo, which in 2012 was sold to Akamai for $300 million. Hibob, which has raised $7.5 million, has a staff of 50, thirty of whom are based in Israel; the others are in London. About half a year ago, Lady Barbara Judge, the former chairwoman of the U.K.’s Pension Protection Fund, became the board chairwoman of Hibob. Britain is Hibob’s primary market. Aviva has 33 million customers in 16 countries. (Eliran Rubin)

U.S.-Israeli firm Zimperium raises $15 million from SoftBank of Japan

The U.S.-Israeli firm Zimperium, which provides information security solutions for smartphones has raised $15 million in its latest funding round, its fourth. The latest funds, which bring the company’s total funding to $60 million, came from Japan’s SoftBank, which has other Israel-related investments as well. In June, Zimperium raised $25 million. The company, which has about 70 employees, was founded in 2010 by Israelis Zuk Avraham, the company chairman and chief technology officer, and Elia Yehuda. Zimperium made headlines in 2015 when it identified one of the largest smartphone security breaches in history threatening most Android phones around the world. The company, which has its headquarters in San Francisco and its development center in Tel Aviv, sells smartphone security software to businesses at $3 to $10 per month per license. (Amitai Ziv)

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