JTA NEWS
2 July 2016 - 26 Sivan 5776 - כ"ו סיון ה' אלפים תשע"ו
JTA NEWS :
Business
China funding for WakingApp E-mail

According to GlobesNewswire, Israeli startup WakingApp, which provides tools for the quick and easy creation of augmented and virtual reality content, has raised US$4.3 million in Series C funding from Youzu Interactive and one of largest Internet and search companies in China.

Funds from the round will be used to expand the company’s AR/VR platform offerings, ENTiTi Creator and ENTiTi Viewer, and to expand its sales, marketing and business development in the US and China.

The two Chinese companies join existing investors Inimiti VC and Globis Capital in the round. For Youzu, an entertainment company specialising in online game development and distribution, this is its first investment in an Israeli-based startup and represents an opportunity to move AR/VR content creation tools into the Chinese market.

WakingApp is led by president and founder Alon Melchner and CEO Udi Shani. Based in Rosh Ha’ayin and founded in 2013, the company has developed a groundbreaking AR/VR platform to enable any person, even someone with no prior programming experience, to create advanced interactive augmented reality and virtual reality content that includes live data feeds, high-quality 3D imaging and animation, and games.

Content can be created and distributed quickly and easily with the ENTiTi platform and is accessible online on smartphones, tablets and leading smart glasses without the need for additional devices.

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Israel announces “innovation visas” for foreign professionals E-mail

Israel will be introducing a new visa for foreign workers, specifically geared towards hitech and the startup sector.

A first batch of around 50 so-called “innovation visas” will be approved for two years and given to foreign professionals employed by a select group of companies. Twelve established companies will be the first beneficiaries of the visas. Meanwhile, the programme is expected to expand to allow visa holders the ability to set up new firms later. Tel Aviv Global, an arm of the city’s municipal government, and Israeli Chief Scientist Vai Hasson have been pushing for the visa for years.

“We expect an immense response on the part of entrepreneurs as this programme helps them develop ideas and establish unique startup companies,” said Hasson.

Current visa rules are strict in Israel, requiring companies to justify a foreign hire by proving they cannot find an Israeli who can match a foreign candidate’s skills. The Wall Street Journal last year featured a story on how those laws might be hurting the country’s appeal to globetrotting entrepreneurs.

“I have real trouble explaining what I do when travelling,” Elephone CTO Bob Singor of the Netherlands said last year. “And the security checks just drag on and on.”

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Softbank invests in Cybereason E-mail

Japanese-based Softbank Corp announced recently that it has made an investment of around US$50 million in Cybereason, an Israel-based company that is involved in providing real-time alert and defence against cyber threats.

Cybereason provides a detection and response platform in real-time attacks and accelerates incident investigation and response. It also connects together individual pieces of evidence to form a complete picture of a malicious operation.

The cyber security firm plans to open an office in Japan, while the investing company, Softbank, will act as a local distributor.

The cyber security startup is headquartered in Boston, US, but maintains a research and development segment in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Israeli equivalent of the National Security Agency, Cybereason was founded in 2012 and has been witnessing some funding rounds recently. Just last May, it attracted US$25 million worth of funding from Lockheed Martin, an aerospace giant.

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Israeli Diamond Pavilion at November HKJMA Show E-mail

The Israeli diamond industry returned to the Hong Kong International Jewellery Manufacturers’ Show (HKJMA), which was held from 26 to 29 November at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Last year was the first time that Israel had a national pavilion at the show. This year, the Israeli Diamond Pavilion, organised by the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI), hosted 27 companies, 10 of them participating in the show for the first time.

The HKJMA show features fine jewellery, loose diamonds, pearls and coloured gemstones, and attracts buyers from China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and other parts of Asia Pacific. IDI Managing Director Eli Avidar commented that the timing of the show enables buyers to stock up on last-minute purchases before the busy holiday season.

IDI’s “Find Your Diamond” system, which enables buyers to search a computerised database, in both English and Chinese, for exactly the goods they seek among the Israeli exhibitors, was available at a dedicated terminal at the pavilion. Moreover, buyers were able to access “Find Your Diamond” on their smartphones. In addition, IDI was a sponsor of the HKJMA 27th Anniversary Dinner held on 26 November, where the 2015 Miss Jewellery Hong Kong pageant took place.

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Israeli-owned Chinese company acquires John Bryce operations in China E-mail

John Bryce, a specialist hitech training company, has been acquired by a new company, TRIG.

TRIG is owned by Zvi Shalgo and Ron Efron, both seasoned entrepreneurs in China, while John Bryce is the training division of Matrix, Israel’s leading IT company.

Apart from the hi-tech training division, the new company will offer computerised adaptive testing for employees and talents in the Chinese market.

An approved vendor to some of the biggest corporations in China, TRIG will also represent Western companies offering HR management software and applications services. The latter activity is based on an algorithm developed in Israel by a leading team of organisational psychologists and software experts. The Chinese version of the system has been adapted to Chinese cultural, language and behavioural norms to ensure effective and accurate talent assessment.

Zvi Shalgo, the major investor in TRIG, is the founder of PTL Group China, and had served until a year ago as its CEO. The Group supports the operations of many foreign technology companies in China, providing them with outsource management and operational services in the Chinese market.

Among other initiatives, Shalgo was also a co-founder of John Bryce China. His partner, Ron Efron, has over 18 years’ experience in China, focusing on organisational computing and integration of security solutions in Asia and in the Chinese market. A partner CEO in the new company is Yoav Chernitz, formerly CEO of John Bryce China.

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