TechNation: Startup Led by Teenager Raises $3.5 Million From Andreessen Horowitz

ICQ, Israeli tech’s first big success, marks its 20th anniversary | PTL Group offers solution for websites ensnared by China’s firewall | Deloitte launches center to connect clients with Israeli startups

Startup led by teenager raises $3.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz

He hasn’t yet celebrated his 19th birthday, but Iddo Gino has already founded not one but two startups — and the second one announced on Sunday it had raised $3.5 million from investors led by Andreessen Horowitz, one Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital investment firms. Additional investors in Rapid API, whose marketplace enables software developers to share application program interfaces, the tools for building apps, included SV Angel, Green Bay Capital and Israeli tech entrepreneurs Dov Moran, Marius Nacht. Gino and Mickey Haslavsky founded Rapid API in 2015 after a failed effort at developing a digital wallet that led to the idea of sharing APIs. The company has 16 employees — 10 in Tel Aviv and three each in Ukraine and at its San Francisco headquarters. “Mickey and I were born in a digital world,” Gino told TheMarker. “I can’t remember a world without the internet. (Eliran Rubin)

ICQ, Israeli tech’s first big success, marks its 20th anniversary

It was 20 years ago this month that ICQ, the groundbreaking instant messaging program developed by the Israeli startup Mirabilis was first released, paving the way for the country’s first giant high-tech exit, two years later. Mirabilis was founded in June 1996 by Yair Goldfinger, Sefi Vigiser, Amnon Amir and Arik Vardi, backed by Vardi’s father Yossi, who has since become a high-tech legend. ICQ was developed as an improvement on the internet chat rooms that were popular at the time. Two years later AOL, then one of the online world’s top companies, bought ICQ for $287 million up front and $120 million in milestone payments over the next three years. With ICQ catching on like wildfire and its user base reaching 100 million by 2001, ICQ’s founders got their full $407 million and put Israeli high-tech on the map. While ICQ has been superseded by other chat applications it remains popular in Russia even today. (Refaella Goichman)

PTL Group offers solution for websites ensnared by China’s firewall

PTL Group China, an Israeli company that provides management and operational services to foreign companies in China, this week began offering a service that solves a problem overseas faced by foreign websites serving the Chinese market. The Chinese government’s internet firewall often prevents websites using overseas servers from loading or displaying properly, with long wait timesing for each web page to refresh. PTL said its Chinaware enables websites hosted outside China to load properly so that companies don’t need to build and maintain a dedicated Chinese website, which involves a government license. Small companies or those exhibiting at trade shows in China can use their regular website to present their offerings without glitches, the company says. “The solution we’ve developed quickly scans the website to identify the elements that are working properly and those which do not. It then moves on to automatically correct 99% of the issues caused by the Chinese firewall,” said PTL’s Chief Information Officer Yotam Neuthal. (TheMarker Staff)

Deloitte launches center to connect clients with Israeli startups

The accounting and advisory firm Deloitte opened Innovation Tech Terminal in Tel Aviv last week, offering its clients from around the world immersion tours and scouting services to introduce them to Israel startups. “Our large multinational clients are pursuing innovation and growth strategies and often turn to Deloitte to explore and grow their external innovation networks,” said Jeff Schwartz, a principal at Deloitte Consulting. “Deloitte has a unique ability to scan and identify emerging technologies, trends, and startups and introduce clients to potential alliance partners. ... The ITT allows us to expand the reach of that work by helping clients establish relationships.” Deloitte noted that Israeli startups focus on cybersecurity, mobile and blockchain technologies in the financial services industry, automotive and mobility solutions, digital health, and the internet of things. (TheMarker Staff)