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Worldwide venture capital (VC) investing reached $25.5 billion last year, up 12% on the previous year, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report released this week. The level of financing was the highest since 2001, and was mainly focused on the technology, life sciences and energy sectors.
A separate report from Ernst & Young found that Israeli VC fundraising grew at a slightly faster rate between 2005 and 2006, up 13% to $1.44 b.
This week saw the trend continue, with a raft of Israeli companies reporting successful financing deals.
Actelis Networks announced a $22m. investment from private sources. The Petah Tikvah-based Ethernet carrier company, which provides services for connecting local networks over existing copper infrastructure, said it would use the money to build infrastructure needed for industry growth.
"[The investment] will also enable us to sustain our market leadership by expanding our manufacturing, customer support and sales capacity worldwide" said Actelis CEO Tuvia Barlev.
Likewise, Israeli venture capital firms Lightspeed-Gemini Internet Lab, based in Herzliya, and Ofer High-Tech, based in Tel Aviv, contributed in the seed investment of IncrediTrade, an online financial service for retail investors. IncrediTrade is an American-based company spearheaded by industry experts in the fields of Internet and finance, which has a research and development facility in Tel Aviv.
Lightpeed and Gemini also this week led a successful $5.3 million fundraising for Wikio, the European blog and media search engine. The financing will enable the company to launch further sites in the UK and US, expanding on the platforms it already has in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Meanwhile, Ness Ziona-based Proneuron Biotechnologies said it received a $430,000 grant to develop its treatment for Parkinson's Disease from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Proneuron's PN277 drug is currently close to completing most of the required studies, and is expected to move to an FDA-approved Phase I study this year. PN277 has been found to induce a protective mechanism that reduces neuronal loss and stimulates neurogenesis for patients who have suffered from strokes and other degenerative conditions.
Silicom Ventures Fund, along with the fund's members, is investing $750,000 in Israeli-based Yoggie Systems, , which provides protection to mobile computers. Yoggie was established in 2005, and has developed its eponymous Gatekeeper product, which protects mobile laptop users from breaches of Internet security. The company has completed its production line and embarked upon its sales campaign, and the funds raised will be spent on marketing in Europe and the US.
Outside the financing sphere, BrainsGate Ltd. that it had received a Technology Pioneer Award for 2007 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The award was handed out to 47 companies from a short-list of 225, and honors companies who develop "life-changing technology innovation with potential forâ€¦ impact on society."
BrainsGate, which is partly owned by Elron Electronic Industries, is a medical device startup company, whose products are used in treating victims of ischemic strokes.
Finally, Northrop Grumman announced a partnership with RADA Electronic Industries to work together on the Skyguard Rocket Shield System for Israel.
Northrop and RADA will cooperate in all areas of the project, which includes supplying equipment and installing it on behalf of the IDF. Skyguard is the result of a 30-year-old scheme that utilizes laser technology to combat incoming missiles. The first Skyguard system could be delivered and in use within 18 months, according to Northrop.
Laura Rheinheimer contributed to this report.