TechNation: Israel May Ease Rules on Drone Exports

Survey finds that typical Israeli startup entrepreneur is a male in his mid-30s; Tech exits reached $10b in 2016, IVC says.

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An Israeli soldier with a Sky Rider drone, 2011.
An Israeli soldier with a Sky Rider drone, 2011.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Israel may ease rules on drone exports

Israel is moving toward easing exports on drones for civilian use amid heightened criticism that regulations are holding back a key industry. Yoram Ziflinger, who heads the Defense Ministry’s unit on international cooperation, yesterday told a the Knesset Science and Technology Committee that he is working with lawmakers from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on a plan to end export controls on drones that don’t exceed a certain a range limit yet to be determined. A Knesset Research and Information Center report criticized the rule for being outdated and including restrictions on technology that is widely available in civilian markets. Ori Aphek, CEO of Dronomy, a company using drones to monitor construction sites, complained that plans to enter the U.S. market were at risk because of the rules. “Our biggest headache is regulations of dense exports for these drones. Unlike every other country, Israel supervises the civilian [drone] sector and not just drones used for military purposes,” he said. (Eliran Rubin)

Survey finds that typical Israeli startup entrepreneur is a male in his mid-30s

The typical Israeli startup entrepreneur is male in his mid-thirties, who served in the army and has a bachelor’s degree. That is what the tech-news website Geektime found is a survey of 783 Israeli startups that were active during 2016. The average entrepreneur was 36 years old, with the oldest 64 and the youngest not yet 18. Men accounted for no less than 95% of all the entrepreneurs. Some 47% had a BA, but only 6% had a doctorate and 9% had just a high school education. Around 92% had completed army service, with 29% alumni of the intelligence corps and its famed 8200 unit. Another 22% were programmers and 7% had been in the infantry. Tel Aviv University was the biggest supplier of entrepreneurs, accounting for a quarter of the total. Overseas institutions accounted for 21% and the Technion Israel Institute of technology for 11%, Geektime found. Nearly a third were born in Tel Aviv while 14% were originally from abroad (TheMarker Staff)

Tech exits reached $10b in 2016, IVC says

The value of Israeli high-tech exits rose to $10 billion last year, the IVC-Meitar High-Tech Exits Report released on Tuesday showed. That was 12% more than in 2015 but also nearly three times the figure consulting firm PwC estimated in a report last month. The difference is because IVC included the $4.4-billion acquisition of gambling-technology company Playtika by a Chinese consortium and Mellanox’s $811 million acquisition of EZChip, which PwC for various reasons did not. However, both researchers agreed that the exit environment looks poor. “Excluding the Playtika deal, the analysis shows figures substantially lower than in previous years,” said Alon Sahar, a partner at the law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal. “It’s impossible to tell whether this is the beginning of a new trend or a natural correction due to significant increases in previous years. We will need to wait a few quarters to see whether or not the market is facing a profound change.” (Eliran Rubin)

ARTSaVITgets $6m for anti-cancer tech 

ARTSaVIT, a company that is developing cancer treatments based on the natural and ordinary death of cells in the body, said yesterday it had secured $6 million in its first-ever fundraising from a group of investors led by Arkin Bio Ventures and the Israeli venture capital fund Pontifax. Merck Venuyres, the investment arm of the giant drug company, also joined the round and will now host ARTSaVAT as its biotechnology incubator in Yavneh. Formed in 2015 backed by the University of Haifa’s technology commercialization company Carmel, the startup uses technology developed by faculty member Prof. Sarit Larisch using the ARTS protein whose functions she had investigated and identified. ARTS regulates the levels of important proteins in apoptosis, the process of highly regulated process of natural cell death. Faulty apoptosis has been implicated in many diseases, including cancer. ARTSaVIT now employs just four people working in labs at the University of Haifa. (Eliran Rubin)