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Haifa’s hiCenter to raise NIS 40m

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

As reported in IVC: The incubator has eight companies in which NIS 16 million have been invested.

hiCenter, the Haifa Hi-Tech Acceleration Center is planning a new NIS 40 million financing round. Its original budget was NIS 40 million.
hiCenter CEO Yael Mittelman said, “We want to raise more capital in order to invest in more companies, as well as to continue support for our portfolio companies.”

hiCenter operates under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Scientist as an incubator for companies in the commercialization stage rather than the R&D stage, and is not part of the Chief Scientist’s incubator program. hiCenter focuses on software, electronics, medical devices, and cleantech. It was founded in 2008 as a subsidiary of the Haifa Economic Corporation, which manages it.

Mittelman wants to amend hiCenter‘s business model when it closes the new financing round. “We’re improving the business model. Once we saw that the incubator was working well, both in recruiting ventures and in their success, we gained further support from the Haifa Economic Corporation.”

Incubators don’t usually make follow-on investments in companies.

“True, but we’re a different kind of incubator. Our objective is to increase employment in Haifa. We don’t want to be diluted. We have an economic and social interest. If we support companies that continue to grow, the number of direct and indirect jobs will increase.”

How much will you invest in companies’ second rounds?

“Companies that meet the test and show progress and sales can obtain a budget of about $1 million. It depends on the company value and the significance of its development.”

hiCenter has a diversified portfolio. It has three software and communications companies: Quammy Ltd., InfoCall Ltd., and Lexifone Ltd.; Spacemute, which is developing technology for silencing noise for a variety of products, such as air conditioners and planes; Physionip, which developing a “smart” bottle nipple for infants; Bright Led Ltd. which is developing MCL technology for assembling dense circuits with the capability of distributing very high power; internet games developer Dassa Games Ltd.; and a company developing clean technology for deep sea fish farming.