CEVA Announces CEO Transition Plan

Above: Amir Panush (left) and Gideon Wertheizer

CEVA announced that CEO Gideon Wertheizer has chosen to retire at the end of 2022. The board of directors has unanimously appointed Amir Panush as CEO effective January 1, 2023. Wertheizer will continue to serve as an active member of board of directors and will be employed in an advisory role, to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Wertheizer had joined CEVA since the company’s inception 20 years ago and served as its CEO for the last 17 years. Amir Panush was selected following an extensive search. He joins CEVA from InvenSense, a TDK group company, where he served as CEO and General Manager of TDK Corporation’s MEMS Sensors Business Group and where he led the company through revenue growth of over 100% since 2020. Previously he had held various leadership positions at TDK, following TDK’s acquisition of InvenSense in 2017.

Prior to InvenSense, Panush held several leadership roles at Qualcomm and led strategic marketing and partnerships at Atheros Communications (acquired by Qualcomm). Panush said: “CEVA is uniquely positioned to leverage its deep portfolio of wireless connectivity and smart sensing IPs at a time when the market opportunity for these technologies has never been greater.”

$15.7 million write-off

CEVA license wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies such as Digital Signal Processors, AI engines, wireless platforms, cryptography cores and complementary software. Its total revenue for the third quarter of 2022 was $33.7 million, a 3% increase compared to $32.8 million for the third quarter of 2021.

GAAP net loss for the third quarter of 2022 was $22.3 million, as compared to a $0.2 million reported for the same period in 2021.  This is primarily attributable to a $15.7 million write-off of deferred tax assets, , (b) a $5.0 impairment charge with respect to  an investment in Immervision and $3.5 million of which was recorded in operating expenses.

“IceCure is about to achieve the ‘holy trinity” in medical device market” 

IceCure Company, the developer of cryoablation-based cancer tumor destruction system, is preparing for the most significant phase of its technology commercialization. A month ago, the company had submitted regulatory filing (De Novo Classification Request) with the FDA for marketing authorization its ProSense system as an approved procedure for treating early stage breast cancer. For several years IceCure market its ProSense system in various markets and for different cancers such as liver, bone, and lungs cancer. nevertheless, receiving an FDA approval for the current submission will open the major market the company targets: breast cancer patients in the United States. 

The company estimates that about 40,000-60,000 annually diagnosed women across the USA  meet the indication’s criteria and will be able to undergo the treatment, following FDA approval. The innovative process is conducted by inserting thin needles into the tumor and  generating, using liquid nitrogen, a sub-zero temperatures ice sphere at the tip of the probe and obliterate the tumor by freezing. This method is tissue-harmless, thus there is no need for breast excision surgery, nor any other cosmetic damage is taking place. The minimally  invasive procedure is completed in less than 30 minutes and no full anesthesia is required.  

In the medical device market, an FDA authorization is indeed a mandatory precondition, however, such authorization is not a warranty for commercial success. As part of its preparation for the opening of the new market, few months ago IceCure brought to its ranks Mr. Gilad Glick, formerly CEO of Itamar Medical, as a strategic advisor to the Company. Glick will assist the company in establishing its marketing and sales infrastructure in the USA and in forming its go-to market strategy. 

The medical device companies’ trinity 

IceCure hope that Glick will be able to reproduce Itamar Medical’s business success during  his term as the CEO. Itamar Medical developed a wearable medical watch to aid in the diagnosis of respiratory  sleep disorders. The main advantage of the device is by being a non-invasive, user-friendly  instrument that provides the ability to diagnose sleep disorders in the patient’s house and  not spending the night in a sleep lab. Glick was CEO of Itamar Medical from 2013  through 2021 when Itamar Medical was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation for $538 million at the end of 2021. From $2.3 million revenue in Q1 2017, the company’s revenue increased to $12.6 million in Q2 2021. Glick is also well familiar with the American market,  which constituted 80%-90% of Itamar Medical’s revenues. Glick is marketing and sales oriented, and before joining Itamar Medical he held the position of VP Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Biosense Webster, a world Cardiology leader. 

In a conversation with Techtime, Glick explains: “Throughout my whole career I was engaging in commercializing medical technologies. For a medical equipment company, the holy trinity that makes it possible to generate value is quality clinical data, finding solution for a medical issue not yet resolved or without a proper alternative, and insurance indemnity. IceCure is approaching towards this value creation, and it is currently in the most  interesting phase in the life of a medical equipment company”.  

Recently, IceCure published the results of an extensive clinical experiments held in the USA. For 5 years, the research followed 196 patients that went through the new procedure. Thus far, only six patients (3%) experienced cancer recurrence. The results of this research formed the basis for the last FDA approval request, and it should be the basis for future indication expansion, in order to increase the future target patients. 

ProSense: Needles flow nitrogen into the tumor

Beyond the high recovery and the low recurrence rates, a major added value of the system, and a one that differentiate it is the fact that the procedure causes no damage to the tissues surrounding the tumor. The liquid nitrogen is flowed directly into the tumor through the  needles, without harming any tissue. Then, when the tumor is frozen, the remains are gradually draining through the lymph nodes. Usually, when a breast tumor is discovered, a partial breast excision surgery is required in order to prevent the tumor’s growth. 

“The surgery alternative, a breast excision, is highly invasive and fundamentally changes the  patient’s body. We offer a non-invasive alternative that does not change the shape of the  breast. This is a huge advantage in in the medical equipment world nowadays: offering a non invasive alternative for a traditional, invasive procedure. Also, some of the patients underwent the surgery need additional operation in the future, something that our treatment eliminates”. 

Until now, without the FDA approval, the most strategic market of the company’s operation  is the East-Asian market. The company had been granted regulatory approvals at several countries, including Japan. However, the revenues from this market stay modest in the past years. IceCure operates in this market through cooperation with Terumo, the giant Japanese medical equipment company, who serves as the exclusive distributor in Japan, Singapore, and Thailand. However, profit margins are lower in distribution model, and the marketing initiatives, as well as the communication with the local medical bodies, are in the hands of the distributor. 

Within the American market IceCure operates through subsidiary and is intended to mange the marketing and sales channels by itself. “Commercializing medical technology is a  coherent doctrine. It is a process to be prepared for. My role is to prepare the company, so  we will be ready to accelerate the commercialization in the minute we receive the FDA approval. We establish our sales force and the supporting infrastructure, the marketing strategy, and the messages. There are various fields we can approach, from Interventional  radiology, breast cancer surgeons and Interventional Oncologists – and we must suit the messages and the proper marketing channel for each of them”. 

Nemo partners with Kafrit to bring nanomaterials to multiple industrial markets

Israeli startup Nemo Nanomaterials, which that revolutionize a broad range of products, and Kafrit Industries (1993) Ltd. (“Kafrit Group”), a global masterbatch and compounds producer, have signed an agreement which combines investment by Kafrit in Nemo and collaboration of the companies in the field of nanomaterial-based concentrates.

Nemo Nanomaterials, which was established in 2018 by Alexander Zinigrad and Jonathan Antebi, offers a line of innovative additives with unique set of properties, such as electrical conductivity and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) shielding in plastics.

The companies aim to join forces in marketing existing Nemo’s products, including masterbatches for electrical conductivity and EMI shielding in plastics, to the markets that Kafrit is active in, as well as in development of new products based on carbon nanomaterials.

Nemo Nanomaterials develops and manufactures game-changing industrial additives, designed to respond to the most pressing needs of the world’s leading industries. The industrial additives are based on Nemo’s patented Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWCNT) and other advanced carbon nanomaterials.

Nemo’s proprietary NemoBLEND additives allow new features and properties in thermoplastics and provide versatile functions and capabilities. Nemo’s technology weaves together base materials and advanced carbon nanomaterials such as SWCNT, evenly distributing them within the matrices. NemoBLEND is affordable and effective with ultra-low dosing. Nemo Nanomaterials technology can be applied to automotive, electronics, textile, construction, telecom, energy, alongside the aviation and aerospace sectors.

Alexander Zinigrad, Nemo’s CEO, stated: “The new collaboration combines Nemo’s unique technological capabilities and Kafrit’s manufacturing, marketing, and business development capabilities, unique market presence, and reputation. This move is of great importance, as it will allow the two companies to break into new markets and bring Nemo’s innovative products to a wide range of industrial customers over the world.”

Nadav Goldstein, VP Business Development and Innovation at Kafrit Group, noted: “Kafrit is continously looking for breakthrough technologies which create extraordinary value for our customers. Working together with innovative entrepreneurs such as the founders of Nemo Nanomaterials fits this strategy. We found a unique technology both in the process and in the additives produced by the company, and we are delighted to invest in Nemo. Together we will work for the future of the plastics industry.”

Kafrit (TASE: KAFR) is an innovative and leading producer of customized masterbatches and compounds for the plastic industry. It employs more than 550 professionals around the world, all contributing to an annual turnover of around $300 million.

“The most important development since jet engine”

Following the historical debut test flight of the all-electric Alice aircraft last month, Eviation is preparing to move forward with the licensing processes and preparing the infrastructure for manufacturing, assembly, and delivery of the flits for its first customers, which already placed orders for 140 cargo and commuter aircrafts. The company plans to make three more planes that will be used in the coming years for the required test flights, with the target of starting commercial flights in 2027. 

Alice’s first test flight lifted on September 28 from Grant County International Airport (MWH). The plane took off to an altitude of 3,500 feet for 8 minutes before landing back. It  was the first time the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified an all-electric  demonstration flight. 

“It was history in the making”

Two of the people present at the demonstration were CEO Gregory Davis, who was appointed to this position 6 months ago in place of co-founder Omer Bar-Yohay, and CTO Lior Zivan, who monitored flight data from control room. In a conversation with Techtime, the two talked about the excitement of the first flight and the path that remains until the sky will be filled by the company’s electric planes. 

Davis: “Alice demonstrates the greatest development in aviation world since the transition from piston engine to the jet engine. It was an amazing feeling to see the plane take off and later return after mission successfully completed. Everyone in the field knew they see history in its making”.

Zivan: “We aware of the importance of our work for both sustainability and for connecting between communities. It is the future of aviation. This is a once in a lifetime experience”.  

Alice’ electric engine

Reviving the regional flights market 

Alice is powered by two electric motors and does not emit carbon. It can carry up to nine passengers for 620 miles and 260 knots operating speed, and is targeted for the regional  short flights market, which usually consists of flight routes of a few hundreds miles between cities within the same state. In the US, for example, such lines exist between Miami and Orlando, or between Dallas and Houston. Flights from Tel-Aviv to Eilat are also considered regional. These flights are usually operated by small planes, taking off and landing at small airports.  

In recent years, the volume of the regional flights is steadily decreasing, mainly due to  the high operational costs. According to Davis, Eviation’s plane can revive this market. “The key for the future regional flights market is costs reduction and environmental focus. The  regional aviation is decreasing year by year in the last two decades, and we observe shift to larger planes between larger airports”.

“Alice’s operation costs are 90% lower than equivalent jet plane. No air pollution is produces and it is much quieter. Electric aviation will make huge transformation at the economic and environmental levels. It will commute people easily and will connect between communities in a cleaner and convenient ways. This will assist in reviving the dwindling market and many small airports currently stand deserted”.  

Alice’ interior

All-electric, all-electronic 

Alice is a full all-electric plane, and it is controlled by a fully electronic pilot control system (fly-by-wire). While in conventional planes the pilot controls by mechanical or hydraulic means over the actuators that operate the various systems , the electric plane’s systems are controlled by electronic commands, including the tiller, engines, and the landing gear. Today, fly-by-wire systems are usually in use in large commercial planes such as Boing 777/787 or Airbus A340  and A350. Alice is the first small passengers’ plane (classified as FAA’s Part 23 rules for small airplanes) in the industry that is fully all-electric. 

According to Zivan, this is a landmark no less important than the electric propulsion. “With fly-by-wire the pilot is using the computer to control the flight. The advantage of using this  method is the ability to add safety improvements and human errors protection mechanisms, and make the flight much easier and safer, for example in severe weather conditions”. Eviation developed Alice’s control systems in collaboration with industry leaders  such as Honeywell, Parker Lord, and Curtis Wright. “Developing the system was a joint  effort. This is a highly complexed systems, involving many systems within the plane”. 

Battery capacity is not a limit?

“Today’s batteries enable us to operate commercial flights between cities. Already today there are thousands of flights that Alice can serve. As technology advances, the number of potential lines will increase. I believe that the development in the batteries industry in the  next years will make it possible for us to reach greater flight ranges and higher speeds”. 

Until now, the company received letters of intents from companies intending to place orders  for 140 cargo and commuter aircrafts. In April 2022, Massachusetts’ Cape Air announced its  intention to place order for seventy-five units, and few weeks ago, Eviation reported another letter of intent received from Miami’s GlobalX, showing interest in purchasing fifty electric Alice aircrafts. 

Senior representatives of these companies also attended at the demonstration flight, and they issued enthusiastic responses. Davis: “We have amazing customers, who are also partners to our vision. Alice is an essential component in their long-term environmental strategy. Cape Air, for example, strive to reach zero-emission flights. Alice’s current model can serve about 80% of their airline routes”. 

“The payload is the system. Drones become sub-systems”

By: Roni Lifshitz

Thirdeye Systems received a grant of NIS 900,000 from the Israel Innovation Authority and the Ministry of Defense for the development of a Non-GPS based navigation solution, totaling in NIS 1.8 million. Non-GPS based navigation eliminates the dependence on satellite communications and immune to GPS jamming efforts. This is a new market for a company that was known mainly for its electro-optical smart algorithmics.

Lior Segal, CEO and co-founder  of the Natanya-based company (in the center of Israel), told Techtime the market is rapidly changing: “In the past, the drone was considered by customers as a ‘main system’. “However, today we see a different approach:, drones are becoming a sub-system within the complete solution. The center of interest has shifted towards the payload. This dramatic change helped us to win a Ministry of Defense NIS 9 million project, in which we take the place of a main contractor.”

Locating people inside buildings

Thirdeye was founded 12 years ago by Lior Segal, the CTO Yoel Motola and the COO Gil Barak. The idea for the company resulted military service were Lior and Yoel took active role in urban warfare events in 2009 in their role as combat infantry officers. Segal: “We started talking about a problem we faced as warriors: how to find out a person inside a room without using a screen. This is how the idea of ‘third eye’ was born: A thermal camera that identifies human beings and provides a silent warning to the warrior. We needed to find a way how to integrate this capability into a compact kit, flashlight-like gadget, placed on the personal weapon.”

With the help of Ministry of Defense Thirdeye had developed its unique algorithm and IR sensors for the warrior personal weapon, which were delivered to IDF special units that immediately put them into operational use. In 2015 it won a NIS 2 million order from the MoD for these systems called Cerberus. However, at that drones began to play a vital role in the civil and military markets, and Thirdeye decided to adjust its technology to be used with drones.

Thirdeye's Chimera payload for drones. Credit: Techtime
Thirdeye’s Chimera payload for drones. Credit: Techtime

The first product for the new market was Chimera: An electro-optical system that includes a thermal camera, a daylight camera, and people identification algorithmics, enabling identification across wide areas. The system performed its first baptism of fire during Operation Guardian of the Walls in middle of 2021. Segal: “Our main market today is the local market. We collaborate with companies such as Elta Systems, Elbit, Aeronautics and the Israel Aerospace Industries.”

“The company employs fifty employees, with all the development, manufacturing and assembly works done in Israel. Even the AI systems’ database was developed here by us, without using external databases or sub-contractors. Our systems are platform-agnostic and can be installed on any drone – civil or military- as well.”

In April 2021 you went public on TASE. Why?

Segal: “This was our way of bringing funding to the company without being considered as a business partner of any costumer, to avoid deterring other costumers.”

What are your main current projects?

“Several products are currently in transition from R&D to serial production. We develop the Chimera-X to provide wider area grip. It is expected to reach maturation early next year. We are developing a platform for drones’ detection called Medusa and a new system for ground platforms. Unmanned vehicles will be able to use our systems for various missions, such as people tracking an people avoidance to prevent unwanted damages, especially in difficult terrain conditions.”

The core of your market is the military. What are the main trends in this market?

“We believe that Western societies refuse to pay heavy prices in a human’s lives, and therefore the need for autonomous instruments is growing. Western armies need many robotic tools in order to save human lives. The war in Ukraine illustrates how modern warfare turns into a multidimensional warfare: The warrior should be aware to everything that is happening around and above him.”

Translated by P. Ofer

 

“Clock synchronization in 5G is a compute-intensive challenge”

Right after the announcement of the Skyworks Solutions new NetSync platform for clock synchronization in G5 and Open RAN networks, a professional Skyworks team arrived to introduce the innovative technology to the Israeli industry. The team’s product manager, Lokesh Duraiappah, told Techtime that this is the first Skyworks’ product combines both software and hardware. “5G networks are based on IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol. It consists of 128-bit words and requires high level of intensive computations in order to define the correct time on each device”.

“This is why we had to develop a complete system with dedicated hardware components such as PHY for Ethernet and the AccuTime software, which is installed on the devices processors and is in charge of performing the computations. Almost every element in 5G network (Radio and control Components) will have to perform the Boundary Clock computations by itself. The platform is ready for use in an Open RAN networks, and thus is expected to open a new large market for us, beyond traditional equipment manufacturers which dominate the Telecom market today.”

The Synchronization Solution Group was founded by Silicon Labs twenty years ago, and is specializing in supplying low jitter clock solutions. Silicon Labs targeted the utilization of Digital CMOS technologies for the development and production of Analog and Mixed Signals components, based on TSMC process. In April 2021 Skyworks acquired the Infrastructure & Automotive Business of Silicon Labs, which includes the 100-employees of the synchronization group.

Atomic clock + multiple intermediate computations

Last month the company announced its new solutions within the NetSync family, Si551x and Si540x, which enables synchronization at all nodes and components in a Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) networks, especially Telecom networks. Lokesh: “Network synchronization is a complicated process, and it even more complicated with 5G networks. The signals are originated from atomic clock connected to the network and provides the initial datum of time. When the network operates, every component within the network is required to calculate its exact time, and when two components are communicating, there is a need to calculate the time differences and to synchronize their clocks.

“The computation is highly complicated, as there are many types of delays within the network. One method we are using to improve performance is based on the traditional Silicon Labs’ approach: We took a system composed of separate components, and merged them into a single silicon solution. One of our business partners is now developing the ability to migrate our software to RISC-V processors.

“The Israeli market is of high significance for us. We have many customers here, at list a few dozen.” Skyworks synchronization division is represented in Israel by Elina Electronic Engineering Group, following its representation of Silicon Labs in the past 25 years. According to Arie Yosef, Elina’s owner and CEO, the Israeli market has special importance at this area for Skyworks: “They arrived here with a strong team of professionals to meet local companies such as Intel, Mobileye and many others.”

Translated by P. Ofer

EVR Motors partners with Tsukasa Electric to bring its electric motor to Japan

Israeli startup EVR Motors has signed an agreement with Tsukasa Electric for the distribution in Japan of EVR’s proprietary Trapezoidal Stator – RFPM electric motors, which measure half the weight and size of competing electric motor, at significantly lower cost.

EVR motors has developed a unique, patented motor topology: The Trapezoidal Stator Radial Flux Permanent Magnet (TS-RFPM) Motor, enabling smaller, lighter, lower-cost motors, which can be tailored to user requirements. EVR’s first motors are designed for 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers, and are suited for a wide range of additional applications. EVR is now developing a variety of motors for multiple mobility applications. These include Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs), hybrid vehicles (HEVs), and full Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). While the company mainly targets the automotive sector, its breakthrough electric motor is attracting interest from other sectors, which would like to leverage the competitive advantages of EVR’s TS-RFPM proprietary topology.

As part of the agreement, Tsukasa will offer EVR’s electric motors to several markets in Japan, including: industrial vehicles, such as forklifts, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and onboard cranes; construction vehicles; agricultural machinery and large lawn mowers; industrial robots and automated warehouses; and the Japanese small boats sector.

Tsukasa sees the new collaboration with EVR as one of its primary growth engines for the upcoming years, as the Israeli electric motors are expected to be in high demand in the Japanese market.

“The agreement with Tsukasa in Japan is part of the strong business momentum that EVR is experiencing,” said Opher Doron, CEO of EVR Motors. “Our entry to Japan follows our strategic commercial agreements with Badve Engineering and Napino Auto & Electronics in India. While EVR focused mainly on the automotive traction market, various players in adjacent market segments are interested in the benefits of our high power-density motors. Having successfully developed two initial motor families, EVR is now developing additional motors to increase and diversify our motor offerings, expanding our geographical presence and entering additional market segments.”

EVR is expected to present its motors at the Automotive World show in Nagoya, Japan, which will take place from October 26th to October 28th, 2022.

Tsukasa Electric co., Ltd., which was established in 1969, is a Japanese motor manufacturer, specializes in industrial motors, factory automation and medical devices.

The company manufactures brushless geared motors, DC geared motors, and motor drivers. Its headquarters is located in Tokyo, and it operates offices in Osaka and Fukuoka, alongside a factory in Miyazaki. Tsukasa’s sales network covers Japan, Korea, Europe, and North America.