TechNation: mPrest Raises $20m to Develop Internet of Things Software

Sony said to buy Israel’s Altair for $200m; Singapore’s Temasek backs $150m VC fund.

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Command and control systems at mPrest Petah Tikva offices.
Command and control systems at mPrest Petah Tikva offices.Credit: Eyal Toueg

mPrest raises $20m to develop Internet of things software

mPrest, whose monitoring and co00$ntrol software used in the Israeli army’s Iron Dome anti-missile technologies, said Monday it had raised $20 million from an investor group led by GE Ventures, the venture arm of GE, and OurCrowd, a crowdfunding platform. mPrest said it would use the proceeds to expand in industrial and commercial markets and expand operations for an expected surge in demand for Internet of things technology. mPrest’s software is used in the defense industry, by electric and water utilities and in fleet management. For the past six years, mPrest has been a strategic partner with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in supplying the command and control system for Iron Dome. Founded in 1996 by Eli Arlazoroff, now vice president of research and development; Reuven Gamzon, vice president of air-defense systems; and Alexander Arlievsky, chief software architect, mPrest nearly collapsed after the crash in the early 2000s. It took on its current CEO, Natan Barak, and revived itself and sold half its shares to Rafael in 2010. (Inbal Orpaz)

Singapore’s Temasek backs $150m VC fund

Temasek Holdings, a Singapore government investment company, is in the final stretch of raising a $150 million fund to invest in mature Israeli high-tech company, TheMarker has learned. The new fund, called Red dot, which is nicknamed for the tony city state, plans to invest between $10 million and $15 million in each company in its portfolio. Yoram Oren, who was behind the Vertex Ventures fund formed in 1997 with Singaporean capital, will be chairman of the new fund. It will act as a sister investor to Vertex, which will continue to invest in younger startups. Other partners will be Tzvika Nagan, a former executive at Bank Hapoalim in charge of information systems, and Yaniv Stern, a former McKinsey & Company consultant. Other investors will be joining the fund, but Tesamek, which manages some $200 billion, will be the anchor investor. (Inbal Orpaz and Omri Zerachovitz)

Sony said to buy Israel’s Altair for $200m

The Japanese electronics giant Sony is reported to have agreed to buy the Israeli startup Altair Semiconductors, which makes semiconductors for fourth-generation mobile devices, for $220 million. Neither side has reported the sale, but TheMarker has learned that an agreement will be signed in the next few weeks. If it goes through, it will be the first major acquisition ever by Sony in Israel and one of the few by a Japanese company. Sony is expected to retain and expand Altair’s staff in Israel and turn it into a research and development center. For Altair’s investors, which include SanDisk Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, BRM Capital, ETV Capital SA, Giza Venture Capital, Jerusalem Venture Partners, Jerusalem Global Ventures, and Pacific Technology Partners, the exit won’t be bringing a spectacular return. Altair has annual revenues of about $45 million and has raised $134 million since it was formed in 2005. (Inbal Orpaz)

Elbit cracks Drixdex malware mechanism

Cyberbit, Elbit Systems’ cyber forensics subsidiary, said on Monday it had uncovered the mechanism in Dridex malware, which is especially malicious because it constantly generates new variants of itself to launch new attacks. Its so-called persistency mechanism allows it to remain uncovered and undetected due to its unique mode of operation. Cyberbit said that since it first appeared just over a year ago, Dridex malware attacks are said to be responsible for the theft of over $50 million, out of which $30 million was stolen from U.K. accounts alone.  Designed to steal personal banking information and credentials mostly from small and medium-sized organizations, the malware is believed to have been developed by cybercrime gangs, the company said. (TheMarker Staff)