Wix Buying TV Ad Time for 2015 Super Bowl, Following SodaStream’s Lead

Tech Nation: AOL to give $5 million to fund Internet research at N.Y. Technion center.

Zef Nikolla

AOL to give $5 million to fund Internet research at N.Y. Technion center

AOL, the American Internet and media company, announced last week it would contribute $5 million to establish an Internet video and media research laboratory at New York’s Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, with research also extending to Haifa’s Technion Israel Institute of Technology and AOL’s Tel Aviv R&D center. TCII is a joint graduate school of Cornell University and the Technion. The Connected Experiences Laboratory, as the AOL-funded lab is to be known, will allow “researchers at Cornell Tech and at the Technion in Israel to address a varied set of areas including communication and coordination, food and wellness, education and safety, information and entertainment,” according to the TCII website. AOL has promised that half the researchers hired for the new lab will be women. Initially AOL will fund five studies, including one in Israel on the effects of watching videos on the viewer’s senses. (Inbal Orpaz)

More than 100 Intel employees in Kiryat Gat opt for voluntary severance package

More than 100 workers at multinational chipmaker Intel’s production facilities in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat have opted to take a severance package that the company was offering. Last Tuesday was the final day on which Intel’s Kiryat Gat employees could sign up for the package, which offered sweetened departure terms. Intel, which is also in the midst of a 5% cut in its global workforce, declined comment on the details, but it is apparently related to the return to the company’s ranks of former employees of the Micron plant in the city who will not be part of a new production facility that Intel is building in Kiryat Gat. In September, the government approved a 1.1 billion shekel ($288 million) grant for the new 10 mm chip plant, which will employ 1,000 additional staff people. Intel committed that 50% of the plant’s employees would be residents of the south (from the town of Gedera and southward). (Inbal Orpaz)

NeuroDerm raises $45 million in U.S. IPO, after 25% share price cut

Rehovot-based NeuroDerm, which develops drugs to treat disorders of the central nervous system, particularly Parkinson’s disease, raised $45 million on Thursday in an initial public offering in the United States for trading on the Nasdaq exchange. That may increase to $50 million if underwriters’ options are exercised. This IPO appeared to follow the recent disappointing trend for Israeli biomed IPOs: NeuroDerm was forced to cut its share price by 25%. The initial stock price reflected a corporate valuation of $164 million after the money. In Nasdaq trading on Friday, company shares slumped a further 8.5%. NeuroDerm chairman Robert Taub (former controlling shareholder of Omrix, which was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2008) owns 18% of NeuroDerm. Its lead drug in the pipeline, currently dubbed NDO612H, is aimed to treat patients with advanced Parkinson’s. (Yoram Gabison)

Wix buying TV ad time for 2015 Super Bowl, following SodaStream’s lead

Wix, a Tel Aviv-based website platform developer, said last week it will advertise for the first time on U.S. broadcasts of the Super Bowl in February. The 30-second commercial, which has yet to be produced, is expected to cost Wix about $4 million, due to the huge viewing audience that the American professional football championship game attracts. Last year, when the broadcast had 111 million viewers, Israel’s SodaStream advertised its home drink beverage dispensers on the show. Wix, which has more than 55 million customers, went public about year ago and is traded on the Nasdaq exchange. It had revenues of $101 million for the first nine months of this year, an 80% jump over the period in 2013. Two and a half weeks ago, Wix announced that before the end of the year, it would be launching an e-commerce platform for businesses that wish to sell their wares online. (Omri Zarchovich)