TechNation: Israeli Lawmakers Ease Rules for High-tech IPOs

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The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.Credit: Moti Milrod

Lawmakers ease rules for public trading of tech companies

In a bid to bring Startup Nation to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the Knesset Finance Committee on Monday approved measures making it easier for biomedical and other high-tech companies to list their shares on the bourse.

The rules aim to make it easier for such companies to tap the TASE as a source of capital rather than selling themselves to multinationals or going public on Wall Street.

“We have to create attractive conditions so that high-tech companies will stay in Israel, and encourage them to float their share locally,” said Shmuel Hauser, the chairman of the Israel Securities Authority and a prime mover behind the imitative.

Among the new rules, small tech companies will now be allowed to issue their financial reports solely in English and need to conform only to U.S. accounting standards. Other rules that had previously been approved for publicly traded tech companies will be applied retroactively to small tech companies already trading. (Uri Tomer)

CEO Heins to be ousted in Powermat settlement

Thorsten Heins, the German executive who was ousted from BlackBerry, appears to be on his way out from the Israeli startup Powermat, too. Battling shareholders told Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday they had reached a preliminary settlement that calls for finding a new CEO in exchange for dropping legal proceedings.

Heins joined Powermat in 2014, but last October shareholders, led by Ron Feber and founder Ran Poliakine, filed a suit claiming Heims was recklessly spending money. Poliakine said he did not plan to take over as CEO, and that accountant Mickey Blumenthal would assume the responsibilities of CEO and head up a search committee to fill the role. Founded in 2006,

Powermat, which makes wireless cellphone charger accessories used most notably at Starbucks cafes, has raised $80 million from a group of blue chip investors that includes Godman Sachs, General Motors and the rapper Jay Z. (Elian Rubin)

Gett retains Wells Fargo to raise up to $400 million

Shahar Smirin, founder of Get Taxi.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

Gett, an Israeli taxi-hailing application that competes with Uber, is seeking to raise as much as $400 million in a fundraising round that could value the company at $2 billion, Bloomberg news reported.

The company has hired Wells Fargo to find investors in a bid to keep pace with Uber and other ride-hailing apps stocking up on capital. China’s Didi Kuaidi is seeking $1 billion and Lyft recently closed a $1 billion round of financing, pegging its worth at $5.5 billion.

Gett operates in 57 cities including New York, London, Moscow and Tel Aviv, where it is based. Last summer, the company expanded its ride-hailing services to include deliveries. Its corporate user base has grown to more than 2,500 businesses, up from about 1,500 since the company last raised $150 million in 2014. It’s raised $207 million since it was formed in 2010. (TheMarker Staff)

Deep Optics raises $4 million, enSilo $9 million

Deep Optics said Monday it has raised $4 million for its innovative electronic lenses from Essilor, a French producer of ophthalmic lenses, Taiwan’s Atomic 14 Ventures and private investors.

Deep Optics’ glasses are equipped with sensors that detect the user’s viewing distance and control the lens so that it adjusts its optical power automatically. The tiny startup was founded in Petach Tikva and currently  employs just eight people. It plans to hire four more with the new cash.

Separately, enSilo, whose technology guards against the theft of sensitive information from within organizations, said on Thursday it raised $9 million in the second tranche of a $19 million fundraising round. The round was led by Rembrandt Venture Partners with previous investors Carmel Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners participating, bringing the company’s total fundraising since it was founded 18 months ago to $21 million. enSilo said the proceeds would be used to expand sales and marketing, and improve customer experience. (Inbal Orpaz and Elian Rubin)