News April 24 2018

First Paralysed Man Completes London Marathon With ReWalk Suit

A resident of Norfolk, England became the first paralyzed man to finish the London Marathon on Monday, national British daily The Telegraph reports, with the help of the Israeli-developed exoskeleton suit, Rewalk, with helps paraplegics regain mobility. Simon Kindleysides was able to complete the entire 26.2 miles (42 km) with the help of the suit, but was not awarded a medal because he only finished the race a day later, a full 36 hours after the race began at 10 am. He was the last person to cross the finish line. The 34-year old was diagnosed with a glioma brain tumor and a functional neurological disorder in 2013, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He ran to support a charity that funds brain tumor research and raised over $12,000. While he received no official medals for the feat, the London Marathon named him the #SpiritofLondon award winner for 2018 and he received numerous donations from spectators and supporters. On his crowdfunding page, he wrote: “I want to be a HUGE role model not just to my children but to others out there who are ‘disabled’ and don’t get enough credit and to people who don’t think they can do stuff.” Kindleysides is the first paralyzed man to complete the marathon, but he is not the first paralyzed person to do it. Claire Lomas in 2012 completed the course in 17 days with the help of ReWalk. At the time, Lomas, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident said the suit had been invaluable to her. ReWalk was originally created two decades ago by mechanical engineer Dr. Amit Goffer. He began working on the device after a road accident left him paralyzed in 1998. The bionic suit has since helped people around the world regain relative independence and autonomy over their bodies. Rewalk recently began focusing on a new product for the rehabilitation of people who have suffered a stroke, with the aid of a “soft exo-suit system,” the ReStore.

News April 2 2018

TIME magazine poll of 100 top influencers of 2018 is powered by Apester

Tel Aviv-based startup Apester provides publishers with visual and interactive content tools. Apester, a Tel Aviv-based startup that provides publishers with tools to create visual and interactive content, has partnered with media giant Time Inc. for the second consecutive year to poll readers about who they think should be in the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Voting for Time’s poll list began March 28 and will end on April 17 at midnight Eastern Time. The names of those who made it to the Time 100 list — across five categories: pioneers, artists, leaders, titans and icons — will be announced on April 19. The Apester platform allows publishers, enterprises, and content marketers to tell their stories visually. i.e, to transform text-heavy content into visual and easily shareable content, using its editorial tools. The tools allow the creation of polls, quizzes, and interactive videos that can be used by publishers to interact with their audience. The company also creates exclusive content tailored for selected publishers. This year, Time is polling its readers using a new Apester story format — a gallery of multiple slides with interactive buttons for people to click on to choose their preferences. Launched in February and inspired by Snapchat and Instagram, Apester said its story format is the only one available to news and commercial websites, allowing them to create multi-slide galleries that contain text, images, videos, GIFs, and custom-made interactive buttons. For instance, for April Fool’s Day, Apester launched “Fake or Real” interactive buttons for publishers to test their audience’s knowledge. Candidates for this year’s Time poll include activists like the Parkland students, who are advocating for gun control and The Dreamers, who are fighting for immigration rights; Hollywood figures including Israel’s Gal Gadot; TV stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Colbert and Kris Jenner; musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and Rihanna; statesmen and royals including Donald Trump and Prince Harry; athletes such as Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, and Cristiano Ronaldo; and business and tech moguls such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Bob Iger. Since the start of the voting, Korean boy band BTS has received the highest approval ratings with 96% of the votes, followed by the Parkland students with 67% and former US president Barack Obama. The TIME 100 poll lets the audience rank the candidates according to their popularity. The final list of influential individuals is, however, exclusively chosen by TIME editors. Apester’s clients include CNN, Entertainment Weekly, People, Essence, Trusted Reviews, and NME.

News March 12 2018

Behavioral Biometrics Leader BioCatch Closes $30m New Investment

BioCatch, a global leader in behavioral biometrics, announced today that it has closed a $30 million financing round, cementing its growth plan and vision to redefine digital identity and enable renewed trust in online interactions. The round was led by Maverick Ventures, with additional participation from American Express Ventures, NexStar Partners, Kreos Capital, CreditEase, OurCrowd, JANVEST Capital and other existing investors. With identity fraud and cybercrime continuing to grow rapidly, it is clear that the concept of digital identity is broken. Behavioral biometrics, which BioCatch helped to pioneer, holds the promise to upend the cybersecurity paradigm and provide identity assurance throughout the connected economy. “BioCatch helps to answer the question, ‘who are you’ in an online world where fraudsters operate with the legitimate credentials of others, making it very hard to distinguish them from authorized users,” said Howard Edelstein, BioCatch Chief Executive Officer. “We take pride in the track record we have amassed and the role that we play as an integral part of our clients’ identity strategy. This strategy cuts across the digital ecosystem, from stopping fraud in real-time to preventing fake accounts from being opened in the first place, all while enabling a seamless user experience.” “As the company pursues its growth trajectory, we are pleased to welcome our new investors into the fold. This latest investment round is a testament to the commitment and the capacity that we have to change the way identity is managed online.  Relationships with companies like Experian, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Samsung SDS and others demonstrate how BioCatch is contributing to digital transformation, and this round of funding will enable us to take our efforts to a whole new level,” Edelstein added. “BioCatch’s robust behavioral analytics platform is helping companies identify and stop fraudulent activity without sacrificing the user experience for legitimate customers,” said Harshul Sanghi, Managing Partner of Amex Ventures, the strategic investment group within American Express. “The demand for organizations to strike that balance will only increase as digital engagement with their customers grows, and cyber threats become more sophisticated. We’re excited to support BioCatch as it works to expand its capabilities and help organizations, including American Express, address this critical need.” Founded by experts in big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, BioCatch set out to address the next generation of cyber threats by focusing on the behavior of the fraudster as opposed to adding new endpoint security layers. BioCatch proactively collects and analyzes more than 2,000 parameters to generate user profiles and model different types of genuine and malicious behavior. BioCatch’s platform can address a wide range of threats at login and beyond by identifying malware, robotic activity, social engineering (phishing, etc.) and other cyber threats, which is a differentiator from traditional fraud approaches and other behavioral biometrics providers.  The company monitors more than 5 billion transactions per month and generates real-time alerts when behavioral anomalies are detected, stopping fraud at the source and reducing the significant operational costs associated with managing the fraud. BioCatch also has a robust IP portfolio, with more than 56 patents that are either granted or pending. BioCatch has earned recognition for its innovative approach from many prestigious organizations, including Frost & Sullivan, Singapore FinTech Festival, Red Herring and others. “BioCatch has made its mark as behavioral biometrics emerges as a key component in driving authentication and fraud strategies today. Their technology helps minimize friction for the end user, working passively in the background, eliminating the trade-off that has been made to date between security and the user experience,” said Julie Conroy, Research Director of Aite Group’s Retail Banking & Payments Practice. “Practitioners are being hit from multiple directions – ever changing cyber threats, new regulations and open banking requirements, global trends towards real-time and faster payments, and customer demands for more functionality in the digital channel. Whether in banking, insurance, cryptocurrency, P2P payments, healthcare, government or otherwise, enterprises large and small are all facing the same identity challenges. BioCatch has shown that behavioral biometrics can help change the paradigm,” she added. “Identity is becoming a central component that drives all things digital, which makes the BioCatch story  extremely compelling on multiple levels,” said Matthew Kinsella, Managing Director of Maverick Ventures. “The company has demonstrated impressive traction and its clients are enthusiastic on the many ways that the technology can be used. We are delighted to be part of the next chapter as the company leads the way in redefining how identity is defined and managed.” About BioCatch BioCatch is a cybersecurity company that delivers behavioral biometrics analyzing human-device interactions to protect users and data. Banks and other enterprises use BioCatch to significantly reduce online fraud and protect against a variety of cyber threats, without compromising the user experience. With an unparalleled patent portfolio and deployments at major banks around the world that cover tens of millions of users to date, BioCatch has established itself as the industry leader. For more information, please visit www.biocatch.com.

News March 8 2018

ReWalk Robotics Announces $20m Strategic Investment from Timwell Corporation Limited

ReWalk Robotics, Ltd. announced today that the company has entered into a strategic investment agreement with Timwell Corporation Limited, a Hong Kong corporation. ReWalk will receive $20 million in exchange for an aggregate of 16,000,000 of ReWalk ordinary shares, at a price per share of $1.25m as part of a broad strategic agreement to fund ReWalk's overall development worldwide and to establish ReWalk's presence in the Chinese market. Under terms of the agreement, ReWalk and Timwell, through its affiliates and RealCan Ambrum Healthcare Industry Investment (Shenzhen) Partnership Enterprise (Limited Partnership) (“RealCan Ambrum”), plan to form a joint venture in China to develop, manufacture and market ReWalk’s products in China, including Hong Kong and Macau. The joint venture will initially focus on development, production and marketing of ReWalk’s Restore soft-suit exoskeleton for stroke patients in a rehabilitation setting, followed by commercialization of ReWalk’s spinal cord injury products for community and rehabilitation use. All capital funding for the joint venture will be provided by RealCan Ambrum with ReWalk contributing the technology. “This investment from Timwell, a well-capitalized partner with deep local knowledge, enables us to expand the planned launch of the Restore soft suit exoskeleton in the United States and Europe to China. The expansion to China adds access to a market where there are more than 11 million stroke survivors, and 2.4 million people suffer stroke each year. To serve that population, the number of stroke rehabilitation centers in China is expected to exceed those in the US and EU combined by 2021,” said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski. “This agreement also underscores Timwell’s belief in the strength of our Restore technology to address the mobility and rehabilitation needs of the stroke community. We believe the unique Restore technology has the potential to revolutionize the use of and cost structure for exoskeletons worldwide,” added Jasinski. Under the terms of the agreement, Timwell will make the $20 million investment in three tranches. The first tranche of $5 million placed in escrow will be released upon shareholder approval of the transaction. A second tranche of $10 million will be provided upon formation of the joint venture in China. The third tranche of $5 million is expected to be provided by December 31, 2018 and no later than April 1, 2019. The investment agreement also contains certain other conditions precedent, which must be satisfied at each tranche. Timwell will add one member to ReWalk’s board of directors upon closing of the first tranche, and may be able to designate more under the agreement. The broader strategic investment agreement includes a joint venture agreement, license agreement and supply agreement which are expected to be executed no later than July 1, 2018. Additional information regarding the investment is included in ReWalk’s Form 8-K to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 8, 2018.  

News March 8 2018

Rockley Photonics closes $40m Series D, bringing total funding to $100m in last 5 years

Takes total funding raised to $100 million in five years to address “billion-dollar silicon photonics market opportunity”. Rockley Photonics, a pioneer in integrated optics for high-density digital systems, this week announced that it has raised $40 million in its most recent funding round. The company says this latest investment, which takes the startup’s total raised so far to $100 million since its 2013 launch, will enable Rockley “to rapidly expand the design and production of its platform for high-performance optical networking solutions, imaging and sensor photonics, and custom photonics for consumer applications”. Rockley’s differentiated silicon manufacturing technology can produce optical devices, such as silicon photonics-based transceivers, at a competitive cost with relatively low power consumption. The company’s new funding announcement states, “Rockley’s ability to integrate electronics and photonics without compromising manufacturability or performance enables us to serve numerous emerging applications”. Rockley’s target markets include consumer electronics, autonomous vehicle, biomedical and industrial sectors, as well as high-performance networking optics for datacenter and infrastructure networking. “The industry has responded strongly to our platform approach, especially given its flexibility to address a range of market applications,” said Dr. Andrew Rickman, chief executive officer, Rockley Photonics. “This round of funding will enable us to focus our technology on these emerging, high-growth market opportunities.” ’Accelerate market focus’ Rockley’s chief financial officer, Mahesh Karanth, commented, “This latest funding will accelerate our strategic market focus. We will deliver an IP portfolio that will enable customers to quickly deploy the Rockley platform across their multiple markets.” “We are seeing rapidly emerging, high-growth market opportunities for our integrated photonics platform,” added Rockley’s chief commercial officer, Nick Kucharewski. “With active customer engagements in multiple high-growth segments, the new investment round will enable us to deliver advanced solutions for our customers.” In January, Rockley announced a $42m joint venture with Hengtong Optic-Electric to manufacture high-performance optical transceiver modules based on its silicon photonics technology.

News January 9 2018

smava receives $65m investment led by Vitruvian Partners

Vitruvian Partners and other investors are investing $65 million into smava The new investment will further accelerate smava's product innovation and enhance the company's offering to consumers and lenders alike smava, Germany's largest independent consumer loan portal, has originated over $3 billion in loans through its platform. smava, Germany's largest independent consumer loan portal, today announced that it has closed a $65 millioninvestment which is led by growth private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, with additional participation from other investors including Runa Capital. Vitruvian is an independent European private equity firm which invests into technology growth companies. Jussi Wuoristo, Partner at Vitruvian Partners will join the advisory board of smava. "We are dedicated to executing our mission to make personal loans transparent, fair and affordable for consumers," says Alexander Artopé, CEO and co-founder of smava. "The new capital will allow us to better serve consumers, continue developing our scoring technology and to expand into new market segments. We are thrilled about Vitruvian Partners joining smava. Vitruvian will bring deep expertise from successfully working with fast growing consumer marketplaces and we also share a common vision for smava and the industry we operate in. We are also grateful for the continued commitment of Runa Capital, as well as that of our other longstanding investors Verdane Capital and Earlybird." "We are delighted and excited to be backing a company that is instrumental in transforming the financial services industry in Germany," said Jussi Wuoristo, Partner at Vitruvian Partners. "As a thought leader in this space, smava has proven that its marketplace model combined with continuous technological innovation materially enhances the experience and alternatives available to consumers. smava also adds significant value to the product providers by offering an attractive direct online channel to high quality prime customers. The online penetration for personal loans continues to grow fast in Germany and smava is uniquely positioned to accelerate and benefit from this trend. We look forward to working with Alexander and his team." smava is the only loan portal in Germany which offers a transparent market overview of 70 loan offers, both third-party loans from over 25 banks as well as loans which are funded by private lenders. In this way, borrowers can choose the deal most favourable to them and save up to €2,000. smava has developed and continuously refined its proprietary credit scoring technology since 2007. With this, the company established a superior platform to bring together borrowers and lenders in offering the most attractive rates for each borrower.