Innovation cities

Israel’s Interior Ministry and Peres Center for Peace and Innovation has selected Eilat, Beit Shemesh, Netanya and Sakhnin to join the Hazira innovation program to benefit municipal economies. They join Bat Yam, Ashdod, Acre and the Western Negev Regional Cluster, which have already launched projects.

Milk and Honey is a winner

Israeli single malt whisky distiller Milk and Honey (reported previously) has won Whisky Magazine’s Craft Producer of the Year in the category Icons of Whiskies Rest of World 2021.

Investment in Israeli startups 28/2/21

raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ; ; raised ; raised ; raised ; raised ;

More protection for Europe

Germany has signed an agreement to protect its fleet of Leopard 2 tanks with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Trophy active protection system. The system (called me’il ruach, or “windbreaker,” in Hebrew) is designed to protect armored vehicles from anti-tank missiles and rocket fire.

7th Israeli acquisition for Palo Alto Networks

Silicon Valley cyber powerhouse Palo Alto Networks has bought its seventh Israeli company. It is paying $156 million for Israeli cybersecurity startup Bridgecrew (reported previously) which only emerged from stealth (secret development) in June.

The first Israeli bank digital wallet

Israel’s Bank Hapoalim has launched its new digital wallet, allowing customers to pay at stores by simply touching their smartphone to the checkout device. Bank Leumi and Israel Discount Bank, plus supermarket chains Shufersal and Rami Levy are also said to be developing digital wallets.

Fashion retailer launches tech accelerator

Israeli retailer Fox-Wizel has launched Fox Labs, an accelerator for companies and entrepreneurs that are active in the retail-tech sector. It is seeking startups to invest in, partner with and that can test and implement technology, solutions and products in the chain’s 800 stores.

European VC giant makes first Israeli investment

EQT Private Equity, the giant European Venture Capital fund, has invested in its first Israeli company - cybersecurity startup EVC. EVC’s flagship product, Hyver, uses advanced algorithms and graph modeling to assess an organization’s security, as well as third-party vendors.

Huge surge in job openings

The OurCrowd jobs index at the end of 2020 shows its Israeli portfolio of companies has seen a 400% increase in vacancies from six months earlier. Software engineers are most in demand.

An impossible year

Israeli VC firms JVP, Pitango and Qualcomm thought the coronavirus pandemic would sink many Israeli startups. But something crazy happened - the opposite occurred, and funds flooded in. They found that business can be done without face-to-face meetings and that (in Israel at least) anything is possible.