Deci, the deep learning company dedicated to transforming the AI lifecycle, today announced it has raised $9.1 million in a seed round led by Israel-based VC firm Emerge and global VC fund Square Peg. The company is building an AI-based platform that can automatically craft robust, scalable, and efficient deep neural network solutions ready for production at scale. Deci aims to help AI practitioners build the next generation of deep learning models. Advancements in AI, mainly powered by deep learning, have triggered groundbreaking innovations in medicine, manufacturing, transportation, communication, and retail. But, prolonged development cycles, high computing costs, and unsatisfying inference performance are making it nearly impossible for enterprises to productize AI.
Hailo, a Tel Aviv-based startup best known for its high-performance AI chips, today announced the launch of its M.2 and Mini PCIe high-AI acceleration modules. Based around its Hailo-8 chip, these new models are meant to be used in edge devices for anything from smart city and smart home solutions to industrial applications. Today's announcement comes about half a year after the company announced a $60 million Series B funding round. At the time, Hailo said it was raising those new funds to roll out its new AI chips, and with today's announcement, it's making good on this promise. In total, the company has now raised $88 million.
Gong.io, the US-Israeli company that uses AI to analyze customer data for sales teams, has announced it has raised its third round in 18 months, securing $200 million at a whopping $2.2 billion valuation in a Series D funding round. The funding round was led by Coatue Management, Index Ventures and Salesforce Ventures and joined by earlier investors like Sequoia Capital and Battery Ventures. Gong said it will use the new funding to "fulfill strong market demand for its Revenue Intelligence Platform, reinforce its market leadership, and invest in its product, engineering and go-to-market teams." The company said it has raised a total of $334 million to date. This includes a $65 million Series C funding round in December 2019 and a $40 million Series B investment in February 2019.
About half of the Autonomy Ventures portfolio companies are based out of Israel. One portfolio company is Aurora Labs, which focuses on providing a software platform for autonomous and connected cars to monitor their onboard software. Aurora Labs calls their software a "self-healing software for connected cars." Your average car needs to go to a dealership in order to receive any kind of firmware or software update if an issue is detected. This is because the technician needs to plug a device into the OBDII port of the car.
"Top 10 Tech Trends for 2020, and Beyond" was one of the most packed plenary sessions at the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, held February 13 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. The largest tech event in the Middle East and the biggest business event in Israel's history, this year's summit attracted 23,000 registrants from 183 countries, including 22 Arab or Muslim nations. Over the course of the day, 231 Israeli and international experts spoke at 34 sessions. OurCrowd, the largest global venture investing platform, has been ranked "Most active venture investor in Israel" by Pitchbook for the past two years. At the opening session, OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved told delegates he believes that "Together we can make this next decade a truly Roaring Twenties."
American technology giant Intel Corp. has acquired Israeli AI processor developer Habana Labs in a deal worth approximately $2 billion, the companies announced on Monday.Founded by David Dahan and Ran Halutz in 2016, Tel Aviv-headquartered Habana Labs is the developer of powerful artificial intelligence processors, optimized for training deep neural networks and artificial intelligence systems, and for deployment in production environments.Intel said the acquisition, the company's second largest in Israel to date, will strengthen its artificial intelligence portfolio and accelerate its efforts in the fast-growing AI silicon market, expected to be worth more than $25b. Chairman Avigdor Willenz will serve as a senior advisor to both the business unit and to Intel.The company currently employs 150 people worldwide at its offices in Tel Aviv, Caesarea, California, Beijing and Gdańsk."We We are excited to partner with Intel to accelerate and scale our business. Together, we will deliver our customers more AI innovation, faster."Prior to the acquisition, in November 2018, Intel Capital - the strategic investment arm of the Santa Clara-headquartered chipmaker - led a $75 million Series B round of fundraising for Habana.The purchase of Habana represents Intel's second largest in Israel to date and the latest in a long line of investments in the country. In August 2017, Intel purchased Jerusalem-based vision technology company Mobileye for a record $15.3b., the largest sale or "exit" of an Israeli company yet.Intel, which has been active in Israel since 1974, employs nearly 13,000 workers in the country, exporting products worth $3.9b. in 2018 and procuring local materials and services worth $1.7b., primarily from peripheral areas.In January, Intel announced plans to invest approximately $10.9b. in the company's Israel-based operations to construct a vast production facility in Kiryat Gat.
Jerusalem-based drug discovery start-up Pepticom announced Thursday that it had managed to secure $5 million in Series A funding from the Chartered Group investment firm. The start-up, which was founded in 2011 after it spun out of Yissum, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's technology transfer company, utilizes advanced AI technology to discover new peptide-based drug candidates and alleviate development risks by searching an enormous set of possible solutions. This streamlined and less risky process has turned them into world leader in the field of peptide drug discovery.
Hailo, a Tel Aviv-based AI chipmaker, today announced that it is now sampling its Hailo -8 chips, the first of its deep learning processors. The new chip promises up to 26 tera operations per second (TOPS), and the company is now testing it with a number of select customers, mostly in the automotive industry. Hailo first appeared on the radar last year, when it raised a $12.5 million Series A round. At the time, the company was still waiting for the first samples of its chips. Now, the company says that the Hailo-8 will outperform all other edge processors and do so at a smaller size and with fewer memory requirements.
Seven Israeli and Israeli-founded companies were among over 400 firms featured by US business magazine Fast Company on its annual "World's Most Innovative Companies" for 2019. The monthly publication's editors and writers said they sought out groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries in every world region, listing the top 10 in 41 categories such as AI, Biotech, Branding, Health, Robotics, Food, Security, and Middle East, for a total of 410 organizations. Fast Company also released its annual "50 Most Innovative Companies" but no Israeli firms made that list. In 2018, Israeli-founded navigational app Waze was featured in the top 50 alongside giants such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify, and Israel had its own category with 10 top startups. An additional 5 Israeli companies and startups were featured in other categories.
Sight Diagnostics, an Israeli medical devices startup that's using AI technology to speed up blood testing, has closed a $27.8 million Series C funding round. The company has built a desktop machine, called OLO, that analyzes cartridges manually loaded with drops of the patient's blood -- performing blood counts in situ. The new funding is led by VC firm Longliv Ventures, also based in Israel, and a member of the multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison Group. Sight Diagnostics said it was after strategic investment for the Series C -- specifically investors that could contribute to its technological and commercial expansion. And on that front CK Hutchison Group's portfolio includes more than 14,500 health and beauty stores across Europe and Asia, providing a clear go-to-market route for the company's OLO blood testing device.