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Start-ups boost big technology cos
Author  Roy Goldenberg

Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up.

From Globs

Exactly three years ago, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) co-founder Larry Page again took over as CEO, ten years after leaving the position. Eric Schmidt vacated the post to become chairman, and Page began to take the search giant in a new direction. Schmidt, who had been parachuted into the company in 2001 because of investor pressure as a responsible adult to turn the small and bubbling start-up into the corporate giant that Google has become. However, three years ago, it was decided to go back to basics, and not just with a personnel change, in order to give Google the feel and atmosphere of a start-up that it had lost over the years. The idea was to instill innovation, agility, and a faster pace of decision-making in a company with tens of thousands of employees.

This was only part of Google's strategy to feel younger and more innovative. In fact, the company is one of the most active buyers of start-ups and technology companies, with over 150 acquisitions amounting to billions of dollars. This method has brought many new faces to Google's departments, and kept its head above the water in a range of fields.

Google is not alone of course. Many enterprises in Israel and other countries are trying to bring in innovation through the back door. However big and smart they may be, these enterprises know that not all wisdom is found in the company's corridors, and that there is a need for some smarts and new thinking from outside, either through acquisitions, or more efficiently and smartly through strategic collaborations.

Examples are Qualcomm Corporation (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Deutsche Telekom AG (XETRA: DTE). The two giants have shown great interest in tiny Ness Ziona-based Magisto Ltd. and have embraced it. The Israeli company has developed an advanced app for editing video clips directly from smartphones. The app is installed in hundreds of thousands of Deutsche Telekom handsets and the company works closely with Qualcomm on future developments.

"Video is one of the key elements in 4G networks, which are far faster than their predecessors. We consume as much as Facebook or WhatsApp in almost the same way, but Deutsche Telekom sought the extra something to offer its users, and provide this with our video editing service," says Magisto co-founder and CEO Oren Boiman.

Boiman says that the collaboration with Qualcomm put it in the lead. "All of Magisto's technology and the set of products that we're developing are not part of Qualcomm's repertoire," he says. "They know how to make high-speed cameras, but we bring the product that is supposed to be the killer app, which can differentiate between what it sees through the camera, how to take automatic pictures, track the person in front of the camera, and so on.

"The advantage of big enterprises cooperating with start-ups is the added value and differentiation for their users when the need to answer the question whether our product causes their product to be better and different from other products. They know that they can't do everything in-house."

In Israel, too, the same feeling that the lack of innovation can be solved by linking up with start-ups is also understood. For example,Zap Group Ltd. linked up with several Israel start-ups to offer added value to its advertiser clients. Zap Group CEO Nir Lempert says, "Assimilating a start-up in a big company can give it many advantages, such as a system-wide perspective, relevant ties in Israel and other countries, and help solve relevant business problems from life and not just in theory."

Lempert says that the company's cooperation model with start-ups allows them use the large enterprises as a kind of beta site for various experiences and to see how things work in practice, and to change direction, if necessary. "We can install the product on our websites and apps and together try and promote the finished product in the world," he says.

Lempert says that two successful examples are MobeeArt Ltd., which began as a company for building mobile sites for small businesses, and now develops systems for managing a full digital presence for these companies, and Vcita Ltd., which began as a diary management solution for free professionals, and with the influence of Zap Group developed the product to manage leads for small businesses.

"The change and development was made at our demand and needs, and these products are now sold in a number of countries. These transactions are win-win for both sides," says Lampert.

Who will win smartup2?

"Globes", in collaboration with Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) is launching the second annual SmartUp competition for Israeli start-ups. As part of the project, "Globes" correspondents will track three start-ups, which receive assistance from incubator experts and Bank Hapoalim advisers, based on the understanding that many companies with good groundbreaking ideas get stuck at the start because of difficulties that prevent them from achieving their potential.

The project is designed for Israeli companies that have raised at least NIS 250,000 in seed funding. Each company selected for the program will receive over three months advice from the high tech and business world on a range of topics relevant for early-stage start-ups, such as marketing, financing, human resources, and heading overseas. All they have to do is to register at smartup2 page (in Hebrew), and tell us why your start-up should participate. Participating companies will receive a start-up package from Bank Hapoalim, including a high-tech account at preferred terms and a NIS 20,000 grant.

The three winners will receive assistance from leading Israeli incubators and accelerators Explore.Dream.Discover8200 EISP, andNielsen Innovate.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 21, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

Globes - Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up

 

 

 

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Where biotech and high-tech meet
Executives in Israel for the MIXiii conference tell "Globes" about the future of medicine.From Globs2014 is positioned to go down in history as one of the stormiest years for biomed. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has risen sharply, by tens of percentage points, since the beginning of the year - a process that opened the door to dozens of IPOs - but has recently lost ground.Pfizer is in talks to acquire AstraZeneca for more than $100 billion, the pharmaceutical and biotech companies continue to launch groundbreaking products, and the field of medical technology is in the throes of a revolution.Senior industry executives from around the world who participated in the MIXiii Israel Innovation Conference (which combined the Israel Advanced Technology Industries annual international biomed conference with a high-tech conference for the first time), spoke to “Globes” about the latest breakthroughs, gave forecasts for the future, and explained what brought them to Israel.According to Pitango Venture Capital General Partner and MIXiii Biomed Co-Chair Ruti Alon, “The forecast in the field of biomed is fundamentally complicated, due to of the interaction between political trends, such as globalization and different modes of distribution that bring Western diseases to new countries, and technological trends, such as genomics.“In light of this, we can expect continued pressure to lower prices, significant changes in marketing systems, broader use of Internet, and the continued rise in prominence of the consumer as a factor in decision making. In Israel, there is a deep understanding of what is required to develop HealthIT products, that will connect the medical community.”DFJ Tel Aviv Venture Partners General Partner and MIXiii Biomed Co-Chair Dr. Benny Zeevi said: “I believe the transitions from hospital care to remote care, from general care to personalized care, from treatment-based care to more preventive care, and higher patient involvement in treatment, will translate into a more pleasant patient experience, and greater commitment to maintaining therapeutic regimes as a result.””More holistic diagnosis and care”Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) seems to be one of the less familiar among the 20 big companies, but only because it is not publicly traded. The company has 50,000 employees, and invests 20% of its revenue in R&D, with an emphasis on internal R&D.The company has, in the past, been in talks to acquire an Israeli company, and has recently established a branch in Israel, headed by Orna Fiat Steinberger. The branch is responsible for running the company’s clinical trials in Israel.The company was established 129 years ago. It was founded by, and is managed still today, by the Boehringer family, and Ingelheim is the German city in which the company was founded. Today, the company has a rich pipeline of products. Chief Medical Officer Prof. Klaus Dugi points in particular to the new cancer drug Volasertib, a small molecule inhibitor that prevents cancer cells from dividing by attacking the PKL1 protein. The company is testing the product for leukemia treatment, and is currently in Phase II clinical trials.According to Dugi, the most significant scientific breakthrough of recent years is the recognition of the role that the mix of live organisms living in and on our bodies has in causing and preventing illness. “Today, using genome sequencing technology, we can know precisely what the genomes of our intestinal bacteria are. These genes, which are not exactly part of our bodies, apparently affect not only diseases of the intestine, but others as well. This knowledge can lead to entirely different medical diagnoses and treatments from those we know today - more holistic diagnosis and care.”Dugi claims that the patent cliff troubles the industry, but not BI, and it is likely to be less problematic for the industry in the future. “In a world where most newly approved products are biological, which are harder to duplicate, it is possible that patent expiry will be regarded differently, and less seriously, in the future.”The real industry crisis is not an R&D crisis, in his opinion is, but rather a budget crisis - governments are unable to maintain the health budgets necessary to create significant continued growth in biotech and pharmaceuticals, and drugs will soon need to prove that they save not only lives and suffering, but also money (as is the case for medical devices today). In order to do this, it will be necessary to improve existing patient monitoring data systems, and to match the best treatment to each patient.Fiat Steinberger says that: “The fact that BI is a private company allows it to invest in R&D without thinking about how the analysts will look at the bottom line next quarter, or even next year, and, therefore, we have many long-term plans.” The company has 90 research projects, and it classifies ten products (in eight categories) as “pre-launch,” which means they are either in advanced Phase II with good results in previous trials, post-Phase III, or they have already been approved.BI also has a venture capital fund that seeks out biomed companies to invest in, including companies in early stages of development that are not yet suitable for traditional venture capital funds. 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Following its acquisitions of US company Millennium Pharmaceuticals, which is developing a cancer treatment, and veteran European pharmaceutical company Nycomed, Takeda has become one of the most significant global powers in the pharmaceutical industry.Despite the acquisitions, Takeda, like all the major pharmaceutical companies, has been forced to contend with the patent cliff: the expiry of patents on leading products, while R&D fails to produce new products at the expected rate.“The patent cliff troubles the pharmaceutical companies and the investors,” said Takeda Head of R&D Tetsuyuki Maruyama, who was tasked with finding a solution to the problem, and has succeeded in doing so.“It seems that the worst is behind us,” he says, “And I believe that the industry has learned from it: to place less emphasis on bestselling drugs, and to vary the product offering.“A decade ago, large pharmaceutical companies avoided anything ‘difficult,’ like cancer, or rare diseases. The smaller companies proved that these are attractive markets, and now the big companies are scurrying to close the gap. We believe that this will happen also for the brain, so as larger companies leave this field, we focus on it.”What are the developments that are likely to have the most significant impacts on the future of medicine?“I believe in a combination of drugs and antibodies, where the antibodies lead the drugs directly to specific targets. Our company has such a product that should reach the market soon, after having waited for years for the right combination.“Using such technology, together with products that use the immune system to treat cancer, I believe that the medical world will actually reach a cure for cancer, and I am not the only one who believes this.“Another exciting technological development is the bacTRAP platform, which we loved so much that we bought the company that developed it. 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We are focusing on the digestive system.”“Israel has an ideal mix”Becton Dickinson (BD) is a medical device supplier that deals in a broad range of products, including hospital lab equipment. The company specializes in cheap medical equipment that is manufactured in large quantities.“I have been with the company for 11 years,” said BD Director of Business Development Al Lauritano, “First, I headed the life science new business incubator in North Carolina, and I have basically held the same job ever since, only the job has grown.”Incubator? That must have been revolutionary, at the time.“We had an incubator from 1998 to 2008, into which we accepted mostly companies from academic institutions, but it wasn’t so successful. The business model was that after our initial investment, more investors were meant to join in, financial institutions, but, in order to attract such investors, the companies were forced to change their business models in directions that interested us less, as strategic investors. So we didn’t get what we wanted out of them.“We never really shut the incubator down, but we became very picky. In the beginning of this year we decided to establish a ‘virtual incubator.’ We won’t host the companies, instead, we will support them wherever they are. We won’t only invest money - we will also send our people. That way, we will be able to get to know the companies well.”In the coming year, BD will announce its first incubator company. “This is one of the reasons I am in Israel” says Lauritano.“We believe that Israel has an ideal mix of entrepreneurs, technology, financing, and operational infrastructure, including the support of the chief scientist. In April, we announced our participation in a collaborative project between the chief scientist and the international corporations. This summer, we will put out a call for opportunities in Israel,” says Lauritano, who worked at Israeli company D-Pharm in the past.Lauritano is particularly interested in combinations of information technologies in daily medical products. “Therefore, it makes sense for us that the conference brings high-tech and biotech together,” he says. He notes that many BD products are in competitive markets, where the product is manufactured by the millions (syringes and catheters, for example).“How can we bring added value to such a product? Adding information technology in or around it is one method. We see that hospitals need to improve their workflows, in order to prevent mistakes in drug administration and to make sure that patients follow through on the treatments that are prescribed to them. So we want as much information as possible to be entered into medical records automatically from our medical devices.”In the future, the company intends to help healthy people as well, “For example, diabetics, who are at the forefront of the population that monitors and manages its health regularly, every single day. Why shouldn’t all the healthy people, or people with chronic diseases, monitor themselves in such a manner in order to maintain optimal health? Our goal is to make a business of this.”What is the most interesting product you have launched in the past two years?“We surprised the industry this year when we announced that were opening a generic drug department. We have always had syringes that added value to drugs, and now, instead of selling them only to companies, we will incorporate generic drugs ourselves.”Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 26, 2014© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014 Taken from Globes - Where biotech and high-tech meet
Israel-International Agreements
International Agreements  Following is a list of several economic international agreements Israel is signed on, divided by type of agreement.Note: This page contains only major economic agreements related to or under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance.Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (Soon)Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT)Financial Protocols (Soon)Free Trade Area (FTA) Agreements and Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) AgreementsFunds for Cooperation in Industrial R&D AgreementsBilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) Israel provides a legal framework for protecting Israeli private overseas investments through a global network of Bilateral Treaties for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Foreign Investments which express the signatories' commitment to the promotion of bilateral investment.Read MoreInvestment Agreements are intended to protect and encourage investment by reducing political risks associated with the investment climate in foreign markets. The agreement guarantees the repatriation of both initial investment and returns in case of nationalizations, expropriations, and damages resulting from armed conflict, and provides foreign investors with treatment equitable to that received by local, and third party, investors. Furthermore, the agreement assures the free transferability of investment related funds convertible at market exchange rates. The agreements' significance stems from the arbitration clause which commits national governments to unconditional international arbitration in case of disputes with private investors. Disputes are to be brought before ICSID- the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an organization dedicated to the resolution of legal disputes, operating as part of the World Bank Group.ICSIDIsrael's BIT Background Israel's strategy of globalization and liberalization led to a process of specialization and increased efficiency in which uncompetitive industries were relocated to emerging markets, allowing the economy to focus on its core sectors. Furthermore, Foreign Exchange liberalization enabled Israeli enterprises to invest in, and establish subsidiaries abroad, in both the manufacturing and services sectors. These reforms, implemented in the 1990's and early 2000's, including liberalization, deregulation and global integration, increased the Israeli economy's growth rate, consequentially, causing a substantial increase in the stock of Israeli outward investment. Israel views its Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements, along with its Double Taxation and Free Trade Agreements, as a prime tool for the achievement of economic growth via integration with global real and financial markets.Israel negotiates Bilateral Investment Treaties on the basis of a model text from 2003 which replaced the model text from 1994. For further information: Model BIT Text 2003New developments in the 2003 Model BIT Text Overview of Bilateral Investment TreatiesFor additional information, please contact: Mr. Ilan SosnitskyDirectorBilateral DivisionInternational Affairs DepartmentMinistry of FinanceIsraelilans@mof.gov.ilAgreements: AlbaniaArgentinaArmeniaAzerbaijanBelarusBulgariaAmending ProtocolChina, People's Republic ofCroatiaTreaty in force, negotiations for amendment, resulting from Croatia's ascension to the E.U. are underway.CyprusCzech Republic El Salvador Estonia Ethiopia Georgia Germany Guatemala Hungary Treaty terminated on June 26, 2007; existing investments are protected for ten years after termination.India KazakhstanKorea, Republic of Latvia Lithuania Macedonia, FYRUnder negotiationMoldova Mongolia Montenegro PeruUnder negotiationPoland RomaniaAmending ProtocolSerbia Slovakia SloveniaTreaty terminated on June 26, 2007; existing investments are protected for ten years after termination.South AfricaPending ratification by South Africa, Israel ratified agreement on March 30, 2009.Thailand Turkey Turkmenistan UkraineNew treaty signed on November 24, 2010, ratification pending.Uruguay UzbekistanVietnamUnder negotiation 
Israel doing big things with nano-materials
Israel doing big things with nano-materialsIsraeli scientists are making significant contributions to the advance of nano-technology, discovering and developing some of the most important breakthroughs.26 Oct 2010Applied Nanotech, one of the many companies presenting new products at the International Nanotechnology Conference, will highlight its nano-based copper ink technology. By David HaleviIsraeli high-tech has done some big things in the past - creating some of the most important advances in computer security and networking, social media, and telecommunications. Today, Israeli companies are set to do some little things - which may have an even bigger impact than some of those high-tech achievements.What Internet startups were to the past decade, nanotechnology will be to the next one, experts say - and Israel is already a world leader in development and deployment of applications based on this new science. Already, Israeli scientists have made significant contributions to the field, discovering and developing some of the most important breakthroughs.Among the applications Israeli start-ups have developed using nanotech are water purification membranes, agents for oral drug delivery, inkjet digital printing systems, diagnostic tools, holographic storage systems - and an 'e-beam on a chip,' which is similar to a laser beam, to be used for semiconductor manufacturing.Thanks to nanotech, for example, organ transplants may become a thing of the past, as special growth factors based on nanotechnology help grow healthy cells in an organ to replace unhealthy ones. Nanotechnology could also help to vastly reduce pollutants from internal combustion engines and could even develop elements that provide the taste of sugar in foods, without the calories and tooth decay that are part and parcel of the product today.The nanotechnology revolution is here, and moving forward rapidly, with a host of Israeli companies already producing applications based on this new science, which allows researchers to control matter on an atomic and molecular scale.Highlighting Israel's nano-accomplishmentsHighlighting Israel's accomplishments and research in the emerging nanotech field, the second annual International Nanotechnology Conference will be held in Tel Aviv in November. It will focus on innovations and business opportunities in the energy, water, environment, nano-material, nano-electronics, nano-photonics, nano-bio and nano-medicine fields.Investors seeking opportunities and companies from Israel and abroad will attend, showing off their nano-wares. Speakers will include the leading lights of the discipline from Israel and abroad. Among them will be the 2010 co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics, Professor Andre Geim, for his discovery and work with the nano-material graphene.The conference is being chaired by Nava Swersky-Sofer, who is one of the leaders of Israel's life-science industry and is the former CEO of the Hebrew University's tech transfer arm, Yissum; Mr. Dan Vilenski from the Israel National Nano-technology Initiative (INNI); and Prof. Arie Zaban from Bar-Ilan University."Israel is known worldwide as a center of knowledge and innovation in nano-technology and research in the nano field. Israel's achievements are at the forefront of a variety of the industrial fields, such as communications, electronics, computerization, security, medicine and life-sciences," says Swersky-Sofer.Israel is already on the international nanotech map, according to the INNI, one of the conference sponsors. The group lists about 80 large and small companies working in Israel's nanotech sector, along with more than 40 academic and governmental labs, employing some 300 researchers and scholars. The INNI states that Israel has the third-largest concentration of startup companies in the world, surpassed only by California's Silicon Valley and the Boston technology corridor.A survey conducted by INNI shows that the Technion employs 119 nano-researchers, followed by 55 at Tel Aviv University, 47 at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 43 at the Weizmann Institute of Science, 39 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and 30 at Bar-Ilan University. Since 2002, the number of nano-researchers in Israel has doubled. The two main scientific disciplines are chemistry (25.6%) and physics (19.5%). Most of the researchers (33%) focus on materials, followed by electronics and photonics (22%) and biotechnology (17%).Israel had a head-startIsrael is ahead of many other countries in this new field, because its researchers have been working in the nano sphere for years. Among the researchers is Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute. Tenne, who will chair a session at the conference, is best known for leading the group that discovered and studied the inorganic fullerene-like nanospheres and nanotubes, generally termed IF nanoparticles, considered a new class of nanomaterials. Tenne says that nanotech development suits the Israeli development model: "This is a small country, and nano-material research, of course, is done on a small scale. But the research can yield big results, and we expect that today's research will pay off handsomely in the coming years.""Over the next five to 10 years we'll see nanotech applications take off," Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute.Israeli researchers have done a great deal of work in helping to discover new nano-materials, and Israel is by far the most advanced country in its neighborhood in nano-research. "You can tell how advanced a country is by the number of high-resolution electron microscopes a country has. We certainly don't have the resources that rich European countries like Germany and Holland have, but we've got quite enough for a country of our size. We're in a good spot in the middle, and our researchers take full advantage of the resources available," Tenne says.Tenne himself conducts ongoing nanotech research at the Weizmann Institute in both basic materials and applications, a combination that he says suits him well."Over the next five to 10 years we'll see nanotech applications take off. Most of the first round of applications will probably be in the medical field, and we here in Israel have been making great strides in the area of nano-medical technology," Tenne relates.Manipulating small elements of matter as it does, the science of nanotechnology is also considered an art form. 'Nanoart' features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes, which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These scientific images, captured and processed with various artistic techniques, will be on display at the November conference.
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