TechNation: Israel Planning Major Drive to Boost Number of Engineers

PhysiMax signs with NBA’s Pacers for player-health monitoring technology | Dynamic Yields raises $22 million personalized online-experience technology | GE Health moving to Haifa’s new Life Sciences Park and adding staff

Students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, March 31, 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

Israel planning major drive to boost number of engineers

Israel is planning a five-year, 750 million-shekel ($196 million) program to increase the number of engineering graduates by 40% and reduce a yawning shortfall of some 1,000 jobs the country’s high-tech companies can’t fill every year. The money will go to expanding engineering programs at Israel’s institutes for higher education, enabling them to hire extra faculty, build news labs for training and offer more scholarships. It also seeks to address the high dropout rate in engineering programs and step up offerings of refresher courses for people in the field. The plan also calls for encouraging more foreign engineers to come and work in Israel, although officials are still divided on whether to offer financial incentives. The plan is now being completed by officials at the National Economic Council, the National Innovation Authority and the finance and labor ministries and should go to the cabinet for approval sometime in the next several weeks. (Meirav Arlosoroff)

PhysiMax signs with NBA’s Pacers for player-health monitoring technology

PhysiMax Technologies, whose technology is used to monitor athlete health, said on Tuesday it had signed a contract with the National Basketball Association’s Indiana Pacers. The team will use PhysiMax’s system to assess players for injury risk and build customized training programs to strengthen musculoskeletal deficiencies. Founded in 2013 by Ram Shalev, an engineer with a background in medical rehabilitation, together with David Kahani, an expert in video analytics, the company already works with colleges teams from the University of Maryland and Connecticut as well as the U.S. Marines and the Wingate Institute. The Pacers had previously used it to evaluate players leading up to the NBA draft. PhysiMax’s technology uses computer vision and machine learning-based algorithms to analyze body-movement parameters, allowing trainers and coaches to score jumping and landing patterns, symmetry of motion, dynamic balance and other factors. (Eliran Rubin)

Dynamic Yields raises $22 million personalized online-experience technology

Dynamic Yield, a company offering tools to help online businesses deliver personalized experiences for their customers, said this week it has raised another $22 million. The new round was led by the Israeli venture capital funds Vertex and ClalTech, with participation from the Chinese search giant Baidu and Germany’s Global Founders Capital. Existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Marker LLP and Innovation Endeavors also joined in. Dynamic Yield’s software enables companies to offer things like to personalized product recommendations or even adjust the appearance of their websites. “It’s like going on a first date. The first impression counts for a lot,” CEO Liad Agmon told the technology news site TechCrunch. Dynamic Yield says it has customers in ecommerce, media, gaming and travel, among them the publisher of Rolling Stone and the cosmetics maker Sephora. Founded in 2011,Dynamic Yield has raised more than $36 million in funding to date and has offices in Tel Aviv, New York and Berlin. (TheMarker Staff)

GE Health moving to Haifa’s new Life Sciences Park and adding staff

GE Health, the healthcare unit of America’s General Electric, is moving its ultrasound-technology research and development center to the new Haifa Life Sciences Park from Tirat Hacarmel and expanding its workforce. The company, which has been in Israel since the 1990s after it bought Israel’s Elbit Imaging, is building a 4,000-square-meter facility that is scheduled to be ready in the first half of next year. It will house the 200 people who already work for it and will hire another 40 who specialize in software, algorithms and big data. Located at the city’s entrance, the Haifa Life Sciences Park is part of the city’s drive to secure its place as a high-tech center. The first of its five buildings, a 100 million-shekel ($26 million) facility, is due to get its first tenants next month. Among its tenants are Sonova Israel, a maker of advanced hearing-aid technology, and the MindUp technology incubator. (Ruti Levy)