TechNation: Automotive Tech Startup Founded by Four Americans Acquired by Lear

Israel approved TASE-traded venture capital fund; Small investments rounds on decline for Israeli startups

The interior of an autonomous Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept vehicle is shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 30, 2017.
MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

EXO Technologies, a developer of GPS technology for autonomous vehicles, agreed on Monday to be acquired by America’s Lear Corporation. The two sides didn’t disclose financial terms, but sources said Lear would pay in the tens of millions of dollars for the startup, which has operations in San Mateo, California and Tel Aviv. EXO has developed technology that uses existing GPS receivers to provide centimeter-level accuracy for vehicles anywhere on the globe without the need for terrestrial base-station networks. It will now be integrated into Lear’s vehicle and connectivity systems, the two sides said. Exo was formed just over two years ago by CEO Nuri Golan, Chief Technology Officer Adam Hillier, Isaac Zafarani and Adam Weiner, all of whom grew up in the United States. Weiner and Golan served as lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and met Zafrani when they were all studying at the Technion-Israel Institute of technology. Exo has just eight employees. (Eliran Rubin)

Israel approved TASE-traded venture capital fund

Israel has approved Eucalyptus Innovation Capital to manage a new state-guaranteed technology investment fund, one of four that are planned to boost retail investment in high-tech companies. Eucalyptus said on Monday the fund would be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and given government protection for some losses. Eucalyptus, which is in an advanced stage of fundraising, is managed by four veterans of Israel’s high-tech and finance industries: Eldad Tamir, head of the Tamir Fishman investment house; David Perlmutter, former chief product officer at Intel Corp; Amir Gal-Or, managing partner of Infinity Group; and Adi Gan, a partner in Evergreen Venture Partners. Perlmutter said there had been a “huge disconnect” between the local capital market and the high-tech industry and the new funds would be a first step towards changing that. The treasury and Israel Securities Authority are planning four new funds that will enable the public to invest in the country’s high-tech industry. (Reuters)

Small investments rounds on decline for Israeli startups

An analysis by TheMarker of data from Start-Up Nation Finder shows a clear decline in the number of early-stage investment by venture capital funds. In 2015, 154 companies raised rounds of less than $1 million. The next year the number dropped to 131 and in the first 11 months of 2017 it was just 67. The number of startups raising between $1 million and $5 million rose to 199 last year from 119 in 2015 but dropped to 115 in the first 11 months of 2017. However, the number of companies that raised $5 million- $10 million rose from 67 in 2015 to 75 in the first 11 months of 2017. In the $10 million-$20 million category, the number climbed to 61 so far this year from 47 in 2015. Across all funding stages, the average round for an Israeli startup rose from $6.8 million two years ago to $11.9 million in the first 11 months of 2017. (TheMarker)