Eltek Resumed PCB Deliveries to Its Customers

Above: A look inside one of Eltek’s production rooms. Credit: Techtime

Eltek reported that it has resumed making deliveries to its customers after a fire had broke out on June 14, in one of the production rooms in the Company’s plant in Petach-Tikva (near Tel Aviv). The fire, which damaged part of the production line located in that room, was extinguished without any casualties. The manufacturing processes performed in the damaged room are required for completing the manufacturing process.

Currently, Eltek revealed that it is utilizing an alternative production line to complete its production process while continuing its efforts to complete the repair of the damaged production line. The Company is in communication with its customers in order to prioritize deliveries and avoid critical delays, and is also in contact with its insurance company with respect to the compensation to be paid for the damages caused by the fire.

Eltek specializes in the manufacture and supply of complex and high quality PCBs, HDI, multilayered and flex-rigid boards for the high-end market. The Company’s headquarters and R&D, production and marketing center are located in Israel. Eltek also operates through its subsidiary in North America and by agents and distributors in EuropeIndiaSouth Africa and South America. Its FY 2021 revenues totaled $33.8 million.

 

Cybersecurity agreement for Israeli company in Turkey

Israeli Cymotive Company, leading provider of smart mobility cyber solutions, has signed extensive cooperation agreement with the leading vehicle manufacturer in Turkey, Ford Otosan Company, a subsidiary of Ford Motors focused on manufacturing and marketing heavy-duty commercial vehicles for local and European markets. Ford Otosan is planning on using Cymotive’s solutions to prepare its vehicles for compliance with the new EU regulations concerning cybersecurity and to identify potential vulnerabilities in connected systems.

The cooperation between Cymotive and Ford Otosan was born through Ford’s innovation center in Israel, which was looking for a local cybersecurity partner to assist the Turkish manufacturer. The first phase of this cooperation will focus on certifying F-Max diesel trucks developed by Ford Otosan.

Ford Otosan is jointly owned by Ford Motors and the giant Turkish industrial conglomerate Koç Holding, and it specializes in manufacturing trucks and heavy-duty tools. It currently operates five R&D and manufacturing sites throughout Turkey, and is capable of producing 450,000 vehicles annually. The company markets trucks to the Turkish market, the Middle East countries, including Israel and many East-European countries. Last March, Ford Otosan has acquired Ford Motors’ fabrication site in Craiova, Romania, as part of its strategic plan to expand to the West-European automobile market. 

One of the barriers in entering the West-European market is complying with rigorous cybersecurity regulations. In order to achieve an EU vehicle-type certification, OEMs must comply with UNR 155 and UNR 156 regulations forms by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). These regulations draw the binding requirements regarding cybersecurity level of the connected systems and the electronic control units (ECUs) in the vehicle, and the communication channel used for remote software updates (Over The Air – OTA). These regulations are already in force within the EU and it is prohibited to market vehicles not complying with them.

Volkswagen’s Israeli cybersecurity company 

Ran Borberg, Security Risk Assessment and Architecture Group Manager, explain in a conversation with Techtime: “We bring our automotive cybersecurity know-how and experience to this cooperation, especially regarding regulations and standards. Our solutions guide the manufacturers regarding the processes they have to perform in order to comply with regulations, and how to do that wisely at the aspects of risks assessment and threats profile, and we also carry out vulnerability assessments. Trucks have features and characteristics different from passenger vehicles, which influence the preparation of the model for regulation compliance. We have tailored a unique holistic service for Ford Otosan in the form of Certification as a Service (CaaS)”.    

Cymotive was founded in 2016 as a joint venture of the German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen and three Israeli founders, all former security system seniors: Yuval Diskin, former Director of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), CEO Tsafrir Kats, former Head of the Technology Division at the ISA and Dr. Tamir Bechor, former IT & Computing Division at the ISA. The Israeli partners hold 60% of the company’s shares, while the German company holds the other 40%.  

Cymotive’s solutions automatically map all hardware and software components in the electronic control units (ECUs), locate potential vulnerabilities and recommend the best path for risk minimization. The platforms also checks and validates the vehicle’s compliance with the regulations. The company has reported that its solutions currently monitor more than 2 million vehicles of Volkswagen’s group , including Seat, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ducati, Audi and other brands. The company employs 200 employees, most of them in offices at Tel-Aviv and Bar-Lev Park near Karmiel. The company also holds offices in Wolfsburg, Germany (next to Volkswagen’s headquarters) and an office in Sweden. 

Samsung Ventures invests in Israeli AI company NeuReality

NeuReality, an Israeli AI systems and semiconductor company, announced that Samsung Ventures has made an investment in the company. NeuReality makes inference technologies, such as computer vision, natural language processing, and recommendation engines easier to implement for a broader set of less technical companies.

More than just a chip company, NeuReality’s comprehensive solution includes hardware, software and tools that work together to simplify and accelerate AI deployment. The company currently employs more than 30 employees and plans to double its size and recruit talent in VLSI chip design, AI, software, and hardware.

Ori Kirshner, head of Samsung Ventures in Israel, stated: “We see substantial and immediate need for higher efficiency and easy-to-deploy inference solutions for data centers and on-premises use cases, and this is why we are investing in NeuReality. The company’s innovative disaggregation, data movement and processing technologies improve computation flows, compute-storage flows, and in-storage compute – all of which are critical for the ability to adopt and grow AI solutions. Samsung Ventures is committed to invest in companies with strong synergy to Samsung’s core business and NeuReality fits well into this commitment.”

The adoption and growth of AI solutions face various obstacles, which prevent retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and other sectors from deploying AI inference capabilities into business workflows. While the company is new, NeuReality’s team draws from decades of experience in AI, data center systems, hardware design, and software development. As a result, NeuReality uses a system level approach that combines easy-to-use software with high efficiency deep learning and data handling acceleration hardware. This holistic approach dramatically simplifies and accelerates the adoption and mass deployment of inference technology.

Focusing on the growth of real-life AI applications, NeuReality’s solutions are purpose built for a wide variety of sectors including public safety, e-commerce, social networks, medical and healthcare, digital personal assistants, and more. NR1 solution targets cloud and enterprise datacenters, alongside carriers, telecom operators and other near edge compute solutions.

NeuReality emerged out of stealth last year with $8 million seed funding from Cardumen Capital, OurCrowd and Varana Capital. In November 2021, NeuReality signed an agreement with IBM to develop the next generation of high-performance AI inference platforms that will deliver disruptive cost and power consumption improvements for deep learning use cases. NeuReality is also collaborating with AMD to deliver its first-generation AI-centric FPGA based platforms for Inference acceleration to customers.

NeuReality is creating purpose-built AI-platforms for ultra-scalability of real-life AI applications and positioned itself as a pioneer in the deep learning and AI solutions market. The company’s NR1 is the company’s next generation integrated circuit device that is based on its AI-centric architecture. The SoC improves the utilization of AI compute resources that are currently deployed by removing the existing system bottlenecks, lowering the latency of AI operations and saving in overall system cost and power consumption. The company also develops complementary software tools and runtime libraries that make it easy for customers in various skill levels and various deployment topologies to adopt new AI based services in their business workflows.

Moshe Tanach, CEO and co-founder of NeuReality, stated: “The investment from Samsung Ventures is a big vote of confidence in NeuReality’s technology. The funds will help us take the company to the next level and take our NR1 SoC to production. This will enable our customers to evolve their system architecture, and this evolution will make it easier for them to scale and maintain their AI infrastructure, whether it is in their data center, in a cloud or on-premises.”

NeuReality was founded in 2019 and is led by a seasoned management team with extensive experience in AI, data-center architecture, system, and software. NeuReality was co-founded by CEO Moshe Tanach, formerly Director of Engineering at Marvell and Intel and AVP R&D at DesignArt-Networks (later acquired by Qualcomm); VP Operations Tzvika Shmueli, formerly VP of Backend at Mellanox Technologies and VP of Engineering at Habana Labs; and VP VLSI Yossi Kasus, formerly Senior Director of Engineering at Mellanox and the head of VLSI at EZChip. The company’s leading team also includes CTO Lior Khermosh, former co-founder and Chief Scientist of ParallelM and a fellow at PMC Sierra.

Aviat is trying a Hostile Takeover of Ceragon

US-based Aviat Networks, announced it has submitted a nonbinding proposal to acquire all the outstanding shares of Ceragon Networks for $2.80 per share in cash. Aviat holds more than 5% of Ceragon’s outstanding shares as of June 24, 2022, making it Ceragon’s third largest shareholder. The total amount of the deal is $235 million. The two companies are competitors in the market of wireless transport solutions.

Aviat published its attempts to acquire Ceragon following earlier offers that were declined. Aviat has called for an extraordinary general meeting of Ceragon shareholders for the purpose of increasing the size of the Ceragon board, removing three of Ceragon’s current directors, and electing its nominees to evaluate proposal.

“Over the past year, we have sought to engage on numerous occasions with Ceragon’s Board and management team to negotiate terms for a transaction that we are confident would deliver meaningful near- and long-term value for shareholders of both companies,” said Aviat President and CEO Peter Smith. “We have twice attempted to reasonably address concerns voiced by Ceragon, and have met only with delay and rejection.”

Failed meeting in Israel

“Along with Aviat’s Chairman, I traveled to Israel last week to meet in person with Ceragon’s Chairman, CEO, and a member of its Board. They refused to engage with us in constructive discussions, instead making further demands for unorthodox and off-market provisions that seem intended only to delay, leaving us with no other option but to make Ceragon shareholders aware of our proposal.”

Peter Smith sent a letter to Zisapel and the CEO of Cergon, Doron Arazi to explain the move: “We are surprised and disappointed by your rejection of our April 2022 proposal to acquire Ceragon for $2.80 per share in cash, which represents a 34% premium to Ceragon shareholders based on the closing price on June 27, 2022.

“Last week, our Chairman and I traveled to Israel to meet with you in person. However, rather than engaging with us, you once again insisted that Aviat would have to agree to pay a break-up fee, which at the time translated to an outrageous ~$60 million on a $235 million transaction, or roughly 25%.  You also advised us that if Ceragon were to be presented with a superior bid, Ceragon should be permitted to terminate the agreement with Aviat without the payment of a termination fee. Consequently, we are left with no choice but to take our compelling proposal directly to your shareholders by making its terms public.”

Who will control Board?

Aviat seeks to replace three Ceragon directors who have close ties to the Chairman Zohar Zisapel: Ira Palti, Ceragon CEO from 2005 to 2021, Yael Langer and David Ripstein, and to add its own five nominees to get the board’s approval for the acquisition offer. “We believe that a combination of our two companies would create a leading wireless transport specialist with the scale and expertise to deliver superior performance to customers and shareholders.”

In Fiscal Year 2021, Aviat reported total revenue of $274.9 million, compared to revenue of $238.6 million in Fiscal Year 2020, and Net Income of $110 million. Ceragon’s 2021 Revenues totaled $290.8 million, up 10.6% from $262.9 million in 2020 and Net loss of $14.8 million,

The LiDAR Coalition Against Elon Musk

Above: Omer David Keilaf, CEO and Co-Founder of Innoviz (left) and Elon Musk

Two of the world’s experts in safety LiDAR technologies, established a new industrial group aiming to promote the deployment of lidar-based intelligent infrastructure and automotive safety technology. Ted Tewksbury, CEO of California-based Velodyne Lidar, and Omer David Keilaf, CEO and Co-Founder of Israel-based Innoviz Technologies, along with AEye, Cepton, Continental, Ouster and Quanergy Systems inaugurated last month The Lidar Coalition activity in a coordinated effort to convince decision and policy makers to adopt broad lidar deployment.

Tewksbury and Keilaf published a letter on Auto Jobs Now to explain the motived of the new advocacy group: “In recent years we have seen a tragic rise in pedestrian fatalities on our nation’s roadways. Public awareness campaigns and enforcement can only go so far in stemming the tide — we must embrace innovative technologies to prevent crashes and reverse this trend. This is why we are forming the Lidar Coalition, a global group of companies that, through U.S. policy advocacy, is dedicated to deployment of lifesaving technology that has the most potential to prevent harm to vulnerable road users.

3D map of the surrounding environment

“According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths in the U.S. jumped by 46 percent to 6,516 in 2020 from 4,457 in 2011. Even more alarming, the most recent statistics from NHTSA project that 42,915 people died on U.S. roadways in 2021, the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the highest annual percentage increase in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 13 percent over 2020, which outpaced the 10.5% increase in overall fatalities.”

Nightlife LiDAR image produced by Innoviz' sensor
Nightlife LiDAR image produced by Innoviz’ sensor

Light Detection and Ranging, or “lidar,” is a remote sensing method that uses pulsed light to create a 3D map of the surrounding environment. Lidar is an important component in emerging transportation technologies including smart infrastructure, traffic management, autonomous vehicles (“AV”), advanced driver assist systems (“ADAS”), and many other applications. According to the letter, “Light Detection and Ranging, or lidar, can “see” at the speed of light and in all lighting conditions, including at dusk and at night.

“LiDAR ‘a fool’s errand'”

The biggest opponent of the The Lidar Coalition is Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk, known also as a vocal opposer of LiDAR. “It’s a crutch that will drive companies to a local maximum that they will find very hard to get out of,” He said during February 2018 earnings call. “Perhaps I am wrong, and I will look like a fool. But I am quite certain that I am not.” In April 2019 he gave a presentation on Tesla’s autonomous driving project,  calling LiDAR “a fool’s errand”.

He said: “LIDAR can be incredibly expensive, and it’s a costly bet for most companies. They can make the job of selling self-driving cars to customers practically impossible thanks to the added costs. But companies that use LIDAR are already working on reducing those costs. “They are expensive sensors that are unnecessary.”

But on May 20, 2021, a Tesla Model Y was spotted driving the roads equipped with a LiDAR sensor system on its roof. In October 2021 a similar rig was observed at Illinois. Did he change his mind? There has been no official explanation from Tesla regarding this interesting issue, although unofficial commentators have guessed that Tesla is using LiDAR in order to train its vision cameras, and not to control its own Autonomous Driving Suite.

OurCrowd to Partner with the Singapore Economic Development Board

OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture firm, today announced its partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), under its Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) programme. The GIA is a platform that serves to catalyse cross-border collaboration between Singapore and major innovation hubs globally.

Israel joins the ranks of other notable tech hubs in the programme including Silicon Valley, China, and Europe. As the first Israeli company to run the programme, OurCrowd’s collaboration with EDB will provide thousands of Israeli startups the opportunity to work with Singapore-based corporates across the manufacturing and services sectors including healthcare, precision engineering and chemicals.

This collaboration includes a series of in-person meetings and virtual programmes including curated networking sessions and bespoke demo days. The first such programme involving in-person meetings will be held in Israel this July, where invited Singapore-based corporates will meet with Israeli entrepreneurs to discuss collaboration opportunities in technology and innovation.

Yakir Machluf [pictured above], OurCrowd’s newly appointed Head of Business Development said, “The partnership with EDB is the direct evolution of OurCrowd’s long standing relationships in Singapore and the entire region. Following the opening of the OurCrowd office in Singapore in 2016, as well as past collaborations with United Overseas Bank (UOB), Changi Airport, and Kepple, we will continue to strengthen the strategic partnerships driving corporate innovation between Singapore, the Israeli ecosystem and beyond.”

Ms Lily Phua, Vice President, Innovation Economy, EDB said, “With the reopening of global travel borders, our companies can now resume travel to meet with international partners to discuss growth opportunities and strengthen innovation collaborations. EDB is pleased to partner with OurCrowd to organise this series of programmes in Israel, which seek to enhance our companies’ capacity to create new products and businesses out of Singapore. Companies will be able to leverage OurCrowd’s extensive networks and deep understanding of technology capabilities in the Israeli startup ecosystem, which will further strengthen innovation ties between the two countries.”

Sarona Ventures Fund adds international investores to its pool

The Sarona Ventures Fund, under the Sarona Partners Group, announced that several significant investors have joined their fund, including multiple unicorn co-founders, among them TripActions, Verbit, Deel, ContentSquare and SumUP. Other investors include founders and managers from well-known funds in the world including, Spark Capital, which invested in Twitter and Slack and Green Bay Ventures, which invested in Lime, Dropbox, DocSign, Spotify and MoonPay. Anish Acharya, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, who led the firm’s investments in Deel and Titan among others, has also personally invested. 

Additional investors joining Sarona include the partners’ fund of the global law firm Orrick, and other remarkable entrepreneurs like the Afflelou family, owners of the French optics consortium, Johann ‘Hansi’ Hansmann today Austria’s largest angel investor, Justin Mateen, co-founder of Tinder, Dr. Ravi Dattatreya and Olivier Elbaz, former General Manager at Salesforce. 

The $20 million fund only includes investments from private investors and wealthy families. The fund’s focus is on early-stage investments in Israeli entrepreneurs and startups in the seed and Series A stages. The fund will primarily focus on companies who have completed Sarona Partners’ 365x scale-up programs, as well as companies who have graduated from the prominent U.S. accelerator, Y-Combinator, and recently launched fund-owned accelerators.

Recently, the new fund partook in a Series A investment in TINT, a company that enables tech platforms around the world to embed insurance and regulations into products, that was a graduate of the Y-Combinator’s program. The Israeli companies that the fund has invested in include: ByondXR, a 3D and augmented reality company that is backed by OurCrowd and the Union Group; Salvador Tech, a cyber-attack, software, and hardware recovery company, that is backed by Chemi Peres’ Pitango Fund; Agora, an investment management software that recently announced a fundraising round led by Aleph Venture Capital; Depoint, whose solution helps retail organizations track their inner-workings and is backed by monday.com’s first angel investors; and Medcase, a company that provides medical data to giants like Google. 

Sarona Ventures was founded in 2017 as an arm of the Sarona Partners Group, by Philip Bouaziz (Chairman) and Toot Shani (CEO), on the grounds of the Bouaziz family office investment house. With aggregated investments in over 300 startups, to date, the Group’s portfolio includes seven unicorn companies, amongst, Deel, which provides employment management services and freelancers worldwide, with a valuation of $5.5 billion, and Verbit, the transcription giant that automates transcriptions for videos and audio files which is valued at $2 billion, and Ramp, a fintech company that developed a corporate card designed to help businesses spend less

Beyond its venture capital fund, the group operates four acceleration and scale-up programs that range from seed to series B stages. They also provide corporate innovation services and communal workspaces throughout Israel and the United States.