Another huge deal for Israeli high-tech: Only two days after the sale of Traiana for $247 million to British firm ICAP, U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs is investing $100 million in the Israeli company Mobileye. This reflects a valuation of $600 million.
Mobileye develops vision systems to prevent imminent accidents and assist drivers. These systems work as a "third eye" for the driver. Applications support the driver in performing several routine driving tasks, such as keeping distance between vehicles and dynamic cruise control, and provide timely warnings in dangerous situations.
Mobileye develops the chips and algorithms for the systems.
The company was founded in 1999 by Professor Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram. Aviram is CEO, and Chairman Shashua is a professor of computer science at the Hebrew University, and is an expert in 3D vision and pattern recognition.
Commenting on the investment, Shashua and Aviram said: "We believe the investment by Goldman Sachs will help us enhance our opportunities in our existing markets and reach new markets. We look forward to working with Goldman Sachs as we continue to develop effective, market-leading solutions for accident prevention and mitigation."
Some of the new investment will be used for development, and the rest will go to investors in Mobileye. Investors in Mobileye include Lev Leviev, Udi Recanati, Colmobile (The Israeli importer of Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Mercedes vehicles), and Delek Motors (The importer of Mazda and Ford). Motorola Ventures also invested in the firm.
Mobileye has raised about $65 million so far, and its revenues are estimated at $10 million a year.
Mobileye's R&D center is located in Har Hotzvim in Jerusalem, and the company has sales and marketing offices in the United States, Cyprus and Japan. Its headquarters are in the Netherlands.
It has some 185 employees worldwide.
Its main product is its EyeQ vision system on a chip, which, among other things, monitors the location of other vehicles on the road so that the driver can avoid accidents if other drivers swerve from their lanes or get too close.
EyeQ is marketed in two forms: for vehicle manufacturers as part of the production process, and Mobileye is producing such systems for General Motors, BMW, Honda and Volvo.
The product can also be fitted on vehicles already on the road.
Mobileye has been picked as a Top100 Innovator by U.S. Red Herring magazine.
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