JANVEST Adds Israeli Security Company Lingacom to its Second Fund Portfolio

Lingacom LogoLingacom is an early stage technology company based outside of Tel Aviv, which is harnessing the power of Cosmic Ray Muon particles for the development of a patented passive detection system aimed at identifying shielded materials inside vehicles, airplanes, and shipping containers.

As the sun’s rays hit the earth’s atmosphere, muon particles are created, which due to their weight, fall to the earth. In this descent, the muons penetrate everything – buildings, cars, and even people.  Because these particles are naturally occurring, they have no adverse effect on humans or objects and therefore require no protective layering or infrastructure, unlike radiation. Through the research of Lingacom’s globally renowned founders, the company has come to understand that as these muon particles fall and penetrate objects, they deflect and change direction. The angle at which these muons deflect tells a great deal about the material with which those particles collided, thus providing security personnel with a more accurate, reliable, and cost-effective way of determining whether a scanned vehicle or object contains harmful (even shielded) material.

Lingacom’s scanning and detection capabilities are applicable at over 20,000 sites associated with borders, air transportation, critical infrastructure, police, civil events protection, and high-value enterprises and corporations.  The company also has agreements with global providers of conventional detection methods as their provider of nuclear material detection capability.

For more information on Lingacom or JANVEST, please contact Brian Rosenzweig at Brian@JANVEST.com.

 

 

JANVEST Hosts Delegation from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta

image1JANVEST Technologies and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta partnered this month during a community mission to Israel. On June 18th, at one of the most prominent high-tech parks outside of Tel Aviv, JANVEST Managing Partners, Daniel Frankenstein and Brian Rosenzweig, hosted an Atlanta delegation aiming to get an insider’s look at Israel’s emerging technology market.

The program began with a brief analysis of the dynamics and economics of Israel’s innovation sector based on JANVEST’s experience over the last four years as one of the country’s most active seed stage investors. Such topics included:

  • The catalysts and drivers of Israeli innovation
  • Israel’s high-tech competitive advantage
  • The economics of Israel’s start-up market from venture financing to M&A
  • Challenges and opportunities facing Israeli businesses abroad 

Following this overview, two of JANVEST’s most exciting portfolio companies shared their technology and experiences, after which, each company’s CEO fielded questions from the group.

We at JANVEST thank the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta for their support of the program.

For more information, please email Brian Rosenzweig at Brian@JANVEST.com.

 

 

JANVEST Portfolio Company, BioCatch, Raises $10MM Growth Round

BioCatch-LogoBioCatch, the global leader in behavioral biometric authentication and threat detection, announced today that it has completed a $10MM financing round. The funding will be used to expand R&D efforts and continue growth in key markets, including the U.S. and Europe. This round was led by venture capital firm, Blumberg Capital, equity crowdfunder, OurCrowd, and JANVEST Technologies, which seeded BioCatch and has been an investor in the company since August 2011.

Also committing to this round is Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist, which operates under the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor.

BioCatch proactively collects and analyses over 400 bio-behavioral, cognitive and physiological parameters to create unique user profiles for visitors to banking and eCommerce sites. BioCatch also significantly reduces friction associated with risky transactions, and then authenticates visitors upon their return to a site as well as identifies users exhibiting behaviors consistent with fraudsters. Enterprises use BioCatch as a tool to improve the employee authentication experience while protecting access to critical IT assets.

ADDITIONAL PRESS
TechCrunch – Pre-Crime Start-up BioCatch Raises $10M Series A – LINK
GeekTime – BioCatch hooks $10M for biometric security tool – LINK
Times of Israel – Mouse movement cyber security firm raises $10M – LINK
VentureBeat – BioCatch tech snags online fraudsters and $10M – LINK
BBC (Video) – BioCatch featured by the BBC – LINK
CNBC – Here’s what will replace the dying password – LINK
Reuters – BioCatch spots the movement of cyber criminals – LINK

JANVEST Adds Tel Aviv-Based Unomy as 10th Portfolio Investment

logos_unomyUnomy is a game changing business and competitive intelligence platform that provides sales and marketing teams with unparalleled insights and actionable information on any person or company with an online presence. Through Unomy’s patented search and data aggregation engine, as well as partnerships with leading data providers, the company is able to automatically collect, analyze, and provide up to date information on millions of companies using thousands of web sources including news, social media networks, and business directories.

To date, Unomy has been in stealth mode as it completes the necessary development before going to market. In Q2 2014, Unomy is planning to officially unveil its platform and corresponding partnerships.

With the addition of Unomy as its 10th portfolio investment, JANVEST has completed the capital allocation from its inaugural fund.

For more information on JANVEST or Unomy, email Brian Rosenzweig at Brian@JANVEST.com.

Tel Aviv-based ‘Social Proofing’ Start-Up, SeatID, Becomes JANVEST’s 9th Portfolio Investment

seatid logoJANVEST is proud to welcome SeatID as it’s 9th Israel-based portfolio investment.

SeatID is an award-winning patented Software-as-a-Service Social Seating and Booking Platform that provides ticketing and booking websites and applications with dynamic social capabilities.

An increasing number of people share and socialize online as part of a cognitive process to help them make purchasing decisions. Yet, despite the growing importance of e- and m-commerce socialization, online and mobile retailers have limited expertise in effectively meshing social media and sales. SeatID provides this necessary integration, while in parallel, adding consumer insights and analysis to help customers better understand and attract targeted audiences. The socialization of online properties has significant value for the transportation industry (airlines, trains, etc.), stadiums, online ticket sellers, and the hospitality industry.

SeatID has been recognized by Gartner as one of 2013’s Top 5 ‘Social Software’ Technologies, in addition to being featured by mainstream American media such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and TechCrunch.

 

 

 

GUEST BLOG: An Ad Tech Entrepreneur’s Analysis of Facebook’s Quarterly Financial Report

Facebook Exceeds One Billion Users and Confirms the Approaching Launch of its Own Advertising Network Will Directly Compete with Google

What Can Be Learned From the Quarterly Financial Reports Published by the Social Media Giant?

OMER EFRAT / FOUNDER & CEO –  SENSEGON

Facebook-logo-PSD MAY 1, 2014

On April 23rd, Facebook presented its first quarterly financial report of 2014. With $2.5 billion in Q1 revenues, a 72% increase from a year ago, the world’s largest social media network proved that despite analyst predictions, it is here to stay. While Facebook critics in the recent past have been pointing towards a decreasing number of users as the beginning of the end for the company, the social network reported that the number of Daily Active Users (DAU) actually increased by 45 million.

BETTING ON MOBILE WAS THE RIGHT MOVE

Of the 82% increase in Facebook’s advertising revenue this past quarter, much of it came from an aggressive mobile strategy designed to engage the social network’s 1.28 billion mobile device users. Facebook’s implementation of technologically advanced advertising tools can be credited with much of this success. Such tools include: Mobile App Installs, which allows for the installation of mobile applications directly from within a customized advertisement on Facebook Mobile App Ads for Engagement, which allows a user to carry out various actions on a mobile application directly from within a customized advertisement on Facebook. An example of this is the booking of a hotel or flight, or purchasing a product directly through the advertisement without having to leave Facebook. Although these ads are currently displayed only within Facebook’s mobile application, the high efficiency and ROI for advertisers has caused a consistent and significant increase in advertising budgets, thus leading to impressive revenue figures for Facebook. Beyond this bottom line though, there are a number of performance indicators that need to be examined. More important than the number of Daily Active Users (which is increasing either way), one must ask the question of advertisers – What do you actually get from Facebook? There are some interesting trends here when seeing how advertisers answer this question. The initial and primary value advertisers get from Facebook is sheer quantity – the ability to reach billions of users around the world through one network. While the number of Facebook followers of the 20 leading global brands has barely changed since December 2013 (increase of 1%), the user engagement of brands on Facebook has seen an impressive 33% increase thus showcasing the ability for companies to more effectively engage audiences through social media.

FACEBOOK’S ARSENAL OF ADVERTISING TOOLS

Seeing such a spike in advertising revenues, Facebook developers are feverishly working to develop additional tools to add to the social network’s advertising system. These tools include Partner Categories, which allows advertisers to reach their relevant clients using information collected outside of Facebook (through research companies such as Acxiom and Datalogix). Until recently, this option was only available in the United States and Canada, but has since been opened up to advertisers in Western Europe. Another advertising tool Facebook has added is the Website Custom Audience, which provides publishers with the ability to present relevant ads exclusively to users who have previously visited a brand’s website or mobile application.

But that’s not all.

Rumor has it that Facebook has a strategic card up its sleeve and is allowing advertisers to reach users even when they are not on Facebook. According to various sources, Facebook is currently creating a mobile ad network through which it can present ads in multiple mobile applications. If this happens, Facebook will compete with Google’s mobile advertising network, adMob, thus dramatically boosting its advertising capabilities. As we’ve learned in recent years, and are continuing to learn, the raw potential in Facebook’s advertising capabilities is far from being realized. The depth of information and the number of interfaces that Facebook has in our lives continue to increase, as do the technologies which convert this information into useable data for advertisers.This ever-growing social network giant no doubt has many challenges to face, but one thing has become abundantly clear, the real battle for the world’s advertising market has just begun.

 

OmerEfratOmer Efrat is the Founder and CEO of Sensegon, an Israel-based technology company which has developed the world’s first psycho-social digital advertising platform for persona-based targeting on social media networks.
sensegon_VerySmall

JANVEST to Speak on Israeli Innovation at AIPAC Policy Conference

Each year, AIPAC brings together pro-Israel activists from around the world to learn about the U.S.-Israel relationship.  At its inception, Policy Conference was a small gathering to educate activists on policy. Since then, the conference has grown into a cast of thousands, not only discussing policy, but also celebrating the many aipacfacets of the American-Israeli alliance.

Israel’s economy continues to be a beneficiary of that alliance. With a strong U.S.-Israel relationship comes an environment conducive for business – an environment that supports Israeli companies expanding into high-value American markets, American stock exchanges successfully attracting Israeli IPOs, and U.S.-based tech conglomerates maintaining their role as the chief acquirers of Israeli start-ups.

This is no coincidence. FINAL_LOGO4

Bi-partisan support, which AIPAC has worked so hard to cultivate, has created a warm and welcoming environment for Israelis as they come to the United States with their high-tech products and services. In parallel, foreign aid allows Israel to spend unprecedented levels of GDP on research and development, the products of which, developed through Israel’s military and universities, increase the quality of life of those around the world, especially Americans.  From advances in medical technology, agriculture, and security to computing and telecommunications, Israeli innovation plays a dramatic role in our daily lives. 

Israel’s economic story embodies the AIPAC story, which is one of cooperation, mutual benefit, and an unbreakable alliance.  It is for this reason that AIPAC continues to devote more and more time at Policy Conference to Israeli innovation and technology.  This year, one of the featured speakers is JANVEST’s Managing Partner, Daniel Frankenstein, who will be on a panel titled, Entrepreneurial Oasis: Israel as an Innovation Hotbed. This back-to-back panel is scheduled to run Sunday March 2nd from 12:30-2:00 PM and again Monday the 3rd from 12:00-1:30 PM.  Daniel will be joined by Inbal Arieli of Gammado and the panel will be moderated by Wendy Singer, of Israel’s Start-Up University

If you plan to attend the Policy Conference in Washington DC March 2-4; please make an effort to attend this exciting panel.

For more information: 

JANVEST Website

AIPAC Policy Conference Registration Site

JANVEST’s 2013 Portfolio Gains and Growth

Four years ago, knee deep in a global recession, we at JANVEST began raising capital for a series of Angel funds slated for best-in-class Israel-based emerging technology companies. Our aim has been to access, identify, due diligence, and invest in Israeli entrepreneurs who are developing practical, yet cutting edge solutions to growing problems in existing markets. FINAL_LOGO4Chasing trends and investing in ‘the next’ anything has neither been a part of our internal conversations nor a desire of our management team.

As a result, we are now deeply entrenched in what is arguably the ‘hottest’ technology market in the world today with one of Israel’s most dynamic seed portfolios. The industries in which we are investing are not only growing exponentially, but many of our investments are very well positioned for incredible success.

Below are some notes from this past year as it pertains to just a few of our investments and their place in global business.

Information Security & Access and Identity Management

The threat of cyber-attacks and fraud has never been greater. As our defense mechanisms increase in sophistication, so too do the attack strategies of hackers and fraudsters. Enterprises and governments alike have come to the realization that not only are their computers and websites vulnerable, but so too are their associated mobile devices. Yet, the challenge has become three-fold – one, how do you defend against such attacks? Two, how can you do so in a way that doesn’t interfere with or impede a user’s ability to easily interact with their computer, tablet, or smart phone? And three, how can you ensure that only authorized users have access to a system or device? Enter the world of Access and Identity Management – a market currently valued at over $5B and which is expected to soar to $10B+ by 2018. From banking, telecommunications, and energy to manufacturing, education, and healthcare, there is hardly a business vertical or country to which access and identity management isn’t relevant. To meet the growing demand in this space, companies like CA Technologies, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and Amazon are developing and/or acquiring advanced solutions.

To date, JANVEST has invested in two security companies, which are poised to revolutionize the access and identity management space. Both BioCatch and Hybrid Security have developed and are currently marketing patented behavioral biometrics-based fraud prevention solutions. That is, instead of using passwords or tokens to identify a user, BioCatch and Hybrid Security are counting on the unique mechanics of your hand on the mouse, the way you key your keyboard, or move your finger on a touch screen or touch pad to be the identification method. On top of all this, behavioral biometrics cannot be replicated, are frictionless (as in, the user never knows they are there), and can continuously authenticate an individual even after they are granted access.  Throughout 2013, each company saw significant progress in terms of their research and development, strategic partnerships, and growth abroad. This coming year could be a landmark year for Hybrid and BioCatch with plans to integrate into multiple large financial services institutions across the globe.

Digital Advertising & Social Media

In the U.S. this year, advertisers spent $109.7B trying to reach targeted audiences online. Of all marketing dollars spent here in the States, 6.6% went to social media marketing – a number projected to increase to 9.1% next year and 15.8% over the next five years. A recent report by eMarketer indicates that in 2014, over half of all businesses in the U.S. with an online presence intend to increase the amount of money they spend on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. As more marketing dollars are allocated to social media sites, those sites are under increased pressure to provide the best targeting tools possible to ensure advertisers are seeing the desired results. Despite the ability to effectively target based on demographic, geographic, interests, and behavioral data, consumer-facing brands and social media sites are constantly on the lookout for solutions that will enable them to further segment desired audiences in order to deliver as hyper relevant content as possible.

Sensegon, a company in which JANVEST invested in December 2012, has developed and is currently marketing the first ever psycho social digital ad targeting platform. Through their patented innovation, advertisers can identify consumers on social media sites based on their unique personality differences. The introduction of psychographics into ad targeting offers the ability to segment consumer audiences in a way not previously possible, but which has been proven, through Sensegon, to significantly increase the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns. This past year, Sensegon began their expansion into the U.S. with the opening of a NYC office and the hiring of a former ad exec as their Chief Revenue Officer. The coming year will present the company with the ability to further build out their existing relationship with Facebook, as well as global ad agencies McCann Erickson and Publicis Groupe.

Digital Music & Streaming Services

With the quick rise of companies like Pandora and Spotify, and added music services from Apple, Google, and Amazon, it is obvious that not only is streaming music here to stay, but it is here to grow. Customizable online radio is drawing the attention, and the money, of consumers around the globe. While the streaming music market in the U.S. accounts for only $571M of a $7B retail music market, that is expected to change rapidly in the coming years. At present, market leaders Pandora and Spotify lead the way with 200 million registered users and 24 million registered users respectively with Spotify experiencing 200% growth year over year since launch. Yet, despite the success these streaming music services are experiencing, they have yet to figure out how to capitalize on the immense enterprise opportunities. Bars, hotels, restaurants, and other public venues are taking advantage of streaming music licenses, which are intended for use by individuals. In other words, without an enterprise solution, Pandora and Spotify are leaving a lot of money on the table.

Based in Tel Aviv, JANVEST portfolio investment, Sevenpop, is a premier provider of audience engaged entertainment. Via the company’s unique mobile music platform, Sevenpop brings a commercial streaming solution with big data capabilities to public venues such as the aforementioned bars, hotels, and restaurants, as well as stadiums, shopping centers, and clubs. This past year, Sevenpop became the 100th company and the only Israel-based application to get accepted into Spotify’s prestigious app store. Throughout 2014, Sevenpop will continue their global expansion via distribution vehicles such as online communities and multimedia providers.

Is There a Role for Government in an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

JANVEST Co-Founder and Managing Partner

DANIEL FRANKENSTEIN / JANVEST Co-Founder and Managing Partner

There are many articles, typically in periodicals that are proponents of big government, that government is not doing enough to foster a start-up ecosystem.  There could be more programs, more training, and more jobs in these “innovation” sectors and government is expected to play a role in making this happen.

When I hear things like this, I hear “mission creep”.  There is certainly a role for government in providing services to its citizens.  But can government foster entrepreneurship?  Directly, no.  But indirectly, absolutely.

Entrepreneurs are not trained in the classroom or taught how to take risk.  Entrepreneurs have a particular DNA that encourages the road less traveled and a creative approach to our most pressing challenges.  Government cannot infuse people with Entrepreneurial DNA.  However, government can provide a jump start for those who have it.

Government can play a decisive role in helping entrepreneurs to reach their full potential.  This can be done through investments in education, incubators, and infrastructure such as free and available wireless internet and good transport.  These items have a multiplying impact on dynamic entrepreneurs.  Government can also do a lot to hurt industries through inefficient tax regimes, burdensome regulations, and red tape that prevent people from starting businesses.

Israel’s start-up industry is better supported by government than most others around the world.  For example, Israeli entrepreneurs have universal and inexpensive healthcare that gives them job mobility.  Infrastructure is great, and every place you go is connected via fast and reliable Wi-Fi.  The Army plays a crucial role by teaching skill sets and group collaboration at an early age.  Finally, there is a lot of government funding available to entrepreneurs looking to seed their products.  The Israeli government has also put in place some very attractive foreign direct investment incentives specifically for the technology sector.  

Entrepreneurs in the technology sector have the ability to create high paying jobs, underscore the tax base, and increase the efficiency of markets.  Let’s encourage government to play the right role and avoid mission creep.

JANVEST Portfolio Company One of Four Finalists at AdTech NYC Competition

sensegon_VerySmallJANVEST portfolio company, Raanana-based Sensegon, has been selected as one of four finalists in the AdTech NYC Startup Spotlight Series competition, which aims to reward the most innovative and enterprising young companies in digital marketing today.

The AdTech Startup Spotlight Series will feature MasterCard, the leader in the payments industry, as well as Tourneau, the world’s largest luxury watch retailer, as brand judges.

Sensegon, which has developed the world’s first psycho-social digital ad targeting system, was one of four startups selected by MasterCard to pitch them live at AdTech NYC in front of 5,000+ attendees, including ad agencies, investors, journalists, and marketing teams for globally renowned brands.

The winner of the competition will receive $25,000 in advertising dollars sponsored by AdWeek, as well as the chance to pitch MasterCard in-house.

AdTech NYC will take place at the Javits Center on November 6-7, 2013.