Two Israeli Startups Raise Nearly $100 Million in Capital

Innoviz nabs $65 million from two leading automotive suppliers, while Airbotics raises $32.5 million

The Innoviz team
David Garb

Two Israeli startups, representing two up-and-coming segments in the country’s high-tech industry, said on Thursday they had raised nearly $100 million from investors.

Innoviz Technologies, maker of laser-based sensor technology for autonomous vehicles known as LiDAR, said it pulled in $65 million from two of the world’s biggest automotive suppliers – Delphi Automotive and Magna International – and said it expected to raise more capital in the next few weeks from what it termed other “strategic investors.”

Meanwhile, Airobotics, a maker of automated industrial drones, said it secured $32.5 million in a funding round led by BlueRun Ventures China, Microsoft Ventures and OurCrowd.

The fundraising rounds came a day after TalkSpace, a U.S. startup offering online psychotherapy and started by an Israeli couple, raised $31 million and Elastifile, an Israeli-U.S. startup developing a distributed file system for hybrid clouds, secured $16 million in new funding.

Innoviz was formed only 18 months ago but has attracted a lot of attention as Intel’s $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye brought Israel’s auto-tech sector to global attention. Last December Innoviz formed partnership with Magna and last month it signed a commercial partnership agreement with Delphi to integrate its LiDAR into Delphi’s systems

Other new investors in the current round were 360 Capital Partners, Glory Ventures and Naver. In addition, investors in Innoviz’s previous fundraising round joined in, including Israeli serial entrepreneur Zohar Zisapel, Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures and Delek Motors.

“While other LiDAR companies remain in the research and development stage, Innoviz is moving into mass production with LiDAR technology that delivers superior performance and affordability in a compact and reliable design,” said Zisapel, who is the startup’s chairman.

LiDAR, which relies on light pulses reflected off objects to gauge their position on the road, is widely seen as forming a crucial component of fully autonomous vehicles. Innoviz said it plans to mass produce its LiDAR platform for testing and development available in the first quarter of 2018.

Airobotics said it also received funding from existing investors, including the venture capital funds CRV and BRV as well as private investors Waze CEO Noam Bardin, Richard Wooldridge, and David Roux, the cofounder and former chairman of Silver Lake Partners.

Airobotics’ drones are used to view difficult-to-access areas in big industrial complexes, saving inspectors the time and risk of being physically present to monitor operation-critical processes. It will use the new funds for business development efforts and expansion into new segments.

It added that it was creating a homeland security and defense unit and an initiative to use drones to perform emergency tasks in cities.

Formed in 2014, Airobotics was the first company in the world to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, as licensed by Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority.