The office of the Chief Scientist in the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry announced on Sunday the formation of a new technology incubator program, geared towards aiding those companies that were not eligible to receive funding from the country's existing incubators.
The program is aimed at technology companies that are focused on research and development, those that are preparing to begin marketing their products, those that are trying to raise money for an initial public offering as well as those that are constructing infrastructure for further product development.
Technology companies that are accepted into the incubator program will be eligible to receive up to NIS 500,000 per year for a period of two years. Companies that, during their time in the incubator, develop products that succeed on the market, will be required to pay back the sum of the loan to the government.
The incubators will be located in Haifa and the Negev. The Haifa project was officially launched a few months ago and is working in conjunction with the Haifa Development Authority, while the Negev incubator will be operational within a short period of time, according to the ministry.
"There is a great need in Israel to constantly increase the tools that we have for research and development - in the center of the country it is needed, but it is also very important for us to develop the underprivileged periphery areas that need support and encouragement," said Dr. Eli Opper, the ministry's chief scientist.
Meanwhile, underlining the importance venture capitalists play in this country, the Israel Venture Association announced on Sunday the appointment of Yifat Adoram as the association's new director-general, replacing Asaf Harel, who had served in the position for the last three years. Adoram comes to the position with significant management experience, having served previously as a deputy director general at Ernst & Young Israel in charge of marketing and development.
Separately, the venture capital firm Pitango, announced that they have successfully raised Pitango Venture Capital Fund V, with committed capital in the amount of $300 million, bringing the total funds managed by Pitango to over $1.3 billion. Pitango Venture Capital is Israel's largest venture capital firm and a lead investor in seed, early and expansion stage companies, that invests primarily in hi-tech start-ups. The new fund will be invested mostly in the US, Europe and Asia.