TechNation: ICQ Founder Profits on Cannabis Craze

Axonius raises $13m for network security ■ Rapyd pulls in $40m for payments platform

ICQ founder, Yair Goldfinger, at the DLD Innovation Conference, Jaffa, January 2012.
Nir Keidar

Rapyd pulls in $40m for payments platform

Rapyd, whose platform lets businesses and consumers pay or be paid by whatever payment method they choose, said on Wednesday it had secured $40 million in capital. The round was led by General Catalyst and Stripe, joined by Target Global, IGNIA and others at a company valuation of $300 million. Using Rapyd’s platform, businesses can integrate payments like bank transfers, e-wallets, or cash into any digital application. More than half of all transactions worldwide are done by bank transfer, but merchants find it difficult to complete them. “The market opportunity for online merchants, the gig economy, online lenders and banks looking to provide access to funds instantly, is constrained due to the challenges of accepting and making local payment methods and cash transactions,” said Raptd CEO Arik Shtilman. Founded in 2015, Rapyd has offices in London, Singapore, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv and employs 150 people. It plans to add 30 to its payroll. (Irad Atzmon Schmayer)

ICQ founder profits on cannabis craze

Yair Goldfinger, one of the founder of the legendary ICQ, the first internet chat application, has struck gold twice – this time in medical marijuana and purely by accident. Goldfinger over a year ago bought a 10.4% stake in WhiteSmoke, which despite its name, was a struggling software company at 30 agorot (8 cents) a share and said he intended to become an active investor. But the company sustained losses and fired a third of its staff and not long afterwards, WhiteSmoke joined the medical-marijuana investment craze on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by announcing plans at the end of November to merge with the cannabis company Better. WhiteSmoke shares soared on the news. On Tuesday Goldfinger sold half his stake to 2.19 shekels, or 3.8 million shekels for a return of 630% in a year. (Guy Erez)

Axonius raises $13m for network security

Axonius, an Israeli-U.S. startup whose platform is used by companies to monitor their PCs and other devices for security, said on Tuesday it had raised $13 million. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round with participation from existing investors YL Ventures, Vertex, WTI and Emerge. The company said it would use the new funding to build sales and further develop its Axonius Cybersecurity Asset Management Platform, which creates a single view of PCs, servers, mobile devices and other elements on a company’s network, and automatically detects if they fit in its security policies. Headquartered in New York, with research and development in Tel Aviv, Axonius counts among its customers The New York Times. (Irad Atzmon Schmayer)