Investments in Israel
by Yoram Ettinger
The 77th issue of Straight From The Jerusalem Boardroom highlights
the resurgence in the investment, in Israel, by American pension
1. Illinois Teachers Pension Fund ($25MN), California Institute
of Technology (Cal Tech) Pension Fund, Ontario State Employees
Pension Fund, Bank of America, Harbor West and Japan’s NIF and
Nippon have participated in the closing of $140MN by Israel’s
Evergreen VC Fund. Evergreen’s success is due to the track record
of the Israeli VC funds and in defiance of security concerns.
Astute investors have noticed that the presence of the Dot.Com
companies in Israel has been much slimmer than in the US, and
that most Israeli technologies are solid engineering (production/export
oriented) in nature (Globes, Sept. 15, 2003, The Marker, Sept.
2. Nokia Ventures, which is the largest VC fund in the areas of
wireless communications and Internet, has just established its
Israel Office. According to Nokia’s Helsinki headquarters, "Israel
has become one of the key investment targets for Nokia Ventures.
One can’t ignore the Israeli market, if one wishes to be a global
VC fund. The Israeli potential is larger than the entire European
potential for Nokia." Nokia’s first investment in Israel
took place earlier in 2003 ($4.2MN in EZ-Chip). (The Marker, Sept.
3. Alabama’s ($7BN) SCI has acquired Israel’s Elcint plant in
Ma’alot, expanding its Israeli operation to four plants. Chicago’s
LBNF has acquired Israel’s Mavix for $1.2MN (The Marker, Sept.
4. Ken Levy, the Chairman of the $11BN KLA-Tencor, a global leader
in the production of equipment and supplies for the semi-conductors
industries: "KLA-Tencor intends to increase its 180 manpower
in Israel by 50% during the next two years… KLA’s Israel plant
(established 16 years ago and scoring a $60MN profit in 2002)
oversees the development and global marketing of KLA’s overlay
products… Notwithstanding security problems, Israel possesses
unique technologies unavailable in any other country in the world.
In spite of the unpleasant TV reporting from Israel, it is much
easier to do business in Israel in 2003 than it was 16 years ago…"
(Ha’aretz, Sept. 7, 2003).
5. Bloomberg Capital, Garage Technology Ventures and Japan’s Hitachi
participated in the $3MN round of private placement by Israel’s
iCognito (Globes, Sept.11, 2003).
6. IIRF’s Jungo concluded a $5.5MN 3rd round of private placement
, led by Partech International, joined by Siemen’s Infinion VC
fund, Intel Capital and Silicon Valley’s Telesoft Partners. Jungo
is adding 10 more employees to its current 90. Jungo has concluded
long-term contracts with Texas Instruments, Intel, Toshiba, Altera,
US Robotics, Samsung, which yielded $7MN revenues in 2002 (The
Marker, Sept. 8, 2003).
IIRF’s TopSpin (26 employees) has launched clinical trials in
two major medical centers in Germany. Topspin raised $16.5MN in
its 2nd round in December 2002.