U.K. utility Centrica invests in Israeli electric vehicle startup Driivz
British utility Centrica said on Monday it had invested in the Israeli start-up Driivz, which develops electric vehicle-charging software. Centrica said the investment would help it to explore new products for EV drivers as the company moves away from large centralized power generation — selling its last large power stations last year — and increasing its services offerings. “With 14 million EVs expected on U.K. roads by 2030, there can be no doubt that e-mobility will have a significant impact on how we manage the delicate balance of supply and demand to the grid,” said Jonathan Tudor, director of technology and innovation strategy for Centrica Innovations, the utility’s investment arm. Centrica said its investment was part of a wider 9 million pound ($12 million) funding round by Driivz. Formed in 2012, Driivz has developed a cloud-based EV charging operating system that helps power network operators, car manufacturers and utilities manage charging and account billing.
Number of Israeli-Arab computer science students climbs 50% in five years
The number of Israeli Arabs studying computer science has increased by 50% in the last five years, the Council for Higher Education reported this week. The number reached 1,597 in the 2016-17 school years, up from 930 five years earlier, it said, a pace of growth far faster than the general 30% increase in computer science studies. Overall, the population of Israeli Arabs at the country’s universities and colleges seeking bachelors or masters degrees grew 80% in seven years to 46,855 in 2017, or close to 18% of the total, the council said. The increase comes as the council has sought to increase Israeli Arab enrolment through programs like the high school level Rowad that helps teenagers prepare themselves for higher education as well as on-campus programs once they begin their studies. Israel’s high-tech industry is counting on growing numbers of Arabs with tech-related degrees to help solve a chronic labor shortage.
OurCrowd top tech investor by number of deals, Pitchbook says
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OurCrowd, the crowdfunding tech investment platform, has chalked up the most investments in Israeli startups by number since the beginning of 2016, according to figures compiled by Pitchbook Data, a U.S. research house focused on private capital markets. Jerusalem-based OurCrowd made 32 investments since the start of 2016, nearly double the pace of the next three tech investors in the rankings – Magma Venture Partners, Pitango Venture Partners and Vertex Ventures Israel, each of which counted 17 investments. The OurCrowd community consists of almost 25,000 accredited investors from over 150 countries that have invested in 160 portfolio companies. Among other top investors, according to Pitchbook, were Jerusalem Venture Partners and a U.S. based aggregator of angel investors called Keiretsu Forum, both of which made 16 investments. This year has been a banner year for tech investing in Israel, with about $1.4 billion invested in close to 200 deals, Pitchbook estimates.
First Israel-India R&D grants are awarded to four pairs of companies
Four pairs of Israeli and Indian companies are the first recipients of research and development grants awarded by the bilateral Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund established last year during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel. The $40 million fund awarded India’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited and Israel’s Bacsoft a grant to boost water and energy efficiency in Indian villages by developing management systems and internet-of-things monitoring devices. In addition, India’s Frog Cellsat Limited one a grant to work with Israel’s Ubiqam to develop mobile solutions for the Indian cellular market to mitigate the interference in cellular networks and improve network quality. Vyoda Private of India and Israel’s Agrosolar Irrigation Systems will develop solar energy-based water pump systems for irrigation while India’s Appasamy Ocular Devices and Israel’s Sanoculis will jointly develop affordable surgical devices to help ophthalmologists treat glaucoma in India at lower costs.